Even if you live outside the United States, I’m sure you’ve heard more than you’d like about the U.S. Presidential Election. In fact, whenever someone starts talking about the various candidates, my 12-year-old daughter covers her ears, sings, “La, la, la, la!” and walks out of the room.
With heightened emotions everywhere and all the doom and gloom, it’s easy to feel stressed about the future. It makes it a bit scary to be a young woman in the world today, doesn’t it?
I promise you this– everything will be OK.
No matter who wins, no matter the changes you see in the world, you, my dear ones, will be OK.
In October 2001, just weeks after airplanes toppled the World Trade Center, plowed into the Pentagon and crashed in a Pennsylvania field, Pres. Hinckley spoke words of comfort in General Conference:
Our safety lies in the virtue of our lives. Our strength lies in our righteousness. God has made it clear that if we will not forsake Him, He will not forsake us. He, watching over Israel, slumbers not nor sleeps (see Ps. 121:4).
God watches over us. He watches over you. Yes, bad things will happen. You’re going to read newspaper stories about natural disasters and wars and crimes and some of those calamities may touch your own life, but you are on the right team. You’re with Jesus Christ and I hope you’ve read to the end of the book, because the good guys win.
The next few years might be rough, but chances are you’ll scarcely see a change in your own life. You’ll still have a birthday cake, flowers will bloom in the spring, you’ll run in the park and watch sunrises and sunsets and rainstorms. You will always be able to pray to your Father in Heaven who loves you and your scriptures will always be at your bedside and they will offer the same messages of comfort and peace.
With all the chaos in the world you may feel powerless but there’s so much good you can do. As Elaine Dalton said, “I truly believe that one virtuous young woman or young man, led by the Spirit, can change the world…” Just the way you talk to people and live your life can make a tremendous difference.
One of my friends told me her children had never heard racial slurs or comments about the color of their skin until this year, “And now, they hear insults every day. I’m afraid all the name-calling in this election made people feel like it’s OK to be cruel.” Her children’s experience isn’t unique. All across the U.S. barbs and jibes are being used as verbal weapons.
As followers of Christ we can commit today to speak kindly. We can commit to reach out with compassion to every person we meet no matter how different they may be from ourselves. We can commit to NEVER abusing someone because of race, their religion, their appearance, abilities or sexual orientation.
In the past few months Mormons have been the subjects of very flattering stories in the press where the church has been lauded for their acceptance of people of all races and religions. But we can do better.
In the same Oct. 2001 General Conference, while bombs were dropping over Afghanistan, Pres. Hinckley admonished,
We must reach out to all mankind. They are all sons and daughters of God our Eternal Father, and He will hold us accountable for what we do concerning them. May the Lord bless us. May He make us strong and mighty in good works. May our faith shine forth as the sunlight of the morning. May we walk in obedience to His divine commandments. May He smile with favor upon us. And as we go forward, may we bless humanity with an outreach to all, lifting those who are downtrodden and oppressed, feeding and clothing the hungry and the needy, extending love and neighborliness to those about us who may not be part of this Church. The Lord has shown us the way. He has given us His word, His counsel, His guidance, yea, His commandments. We have done well. We have much to be grateful for and much to be proud of. But we can do better, so much better.
We have done well. As a people we’ve shown some wisdom and kindness. But you, my dear ones, you are the generation who will reject cruel words and stereotypes, who will set an example of goodness and compassion, who will truly see each person as a child of God.
You will be better, so much better.