In a world full of extremes, it’s not easy to find your place when you don’t feel fully formed. Others often want us to be roaring as loud as they are (and in the direction of their choice). Sometimes, in the middle of our messy, messy lives, things are more complicated than that.
For example, as millions of people honor the LGBTQ community during the month of June, it can be difficult to harmonize the gospel principle of the family with the gospel principle of love and charity. President Dallin H. Oaks taught, “We must try to keep both of the great commandments. To do so, we walk a fine line between law and love—keeping the commandments and walking the covenant path, while loving our neighbors along the way.”
Allyship is a process requiring education, experience, and often a lot of discomfort. Jesus Christ has made it clear that we are to make room for all in His Inn. Elder Gerrit W. Gong said, “He entreats us to make His Inn a place of grace and space, where each can gather, with room for all. As disciples of Jesus Christ, all are equal, with no second-class groups.”
How can we support and advocate for our marginalized brothers and sisters while continually moving forward the cause of Christ?
Study How Christ Treated Others
In all things, we should strive to follow the example of our Savior. He taught us how to treat those who are different, those who are antagonistic, those who are zealous. Look specifically at scriptures that have Christ interacting with another person. Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmadge is also a great resource that can help us better understand the life of Christ.
Don’t Focus on Performative Actions
It’s easy to feel a lot of pressure to vocalize support just for the sake of “wokeness,” especially on social media. Not only is this an ineffective form of support, but it doesn’t help us grow spiritually. Jesus always counseled to act with real intent and good motivations.
When we act with pride, wondering how we’ll appear to others, our hearts don’t expand. We don’t understand our fellow travelers. We can even become annoyed, feeling like things are being shoved down our throats.
Instead, access what you understand and what you’ve been taught from God. Seek more information. Prayerfully consider how you can help those in your community. Here are a few ideas on ways you can support marginalized persons without performing:
- Focus on your own education of a subject
- Listen to understand those who are or have been marginalized
- Stand up for people in real life, including speaking out against inappropriate speech
- Donate to or volunteer at organizations you feel are important
- Act without sharing on social media or calling attention to yourself
As we grow in our own knowledge and seek truth from God, we will be inspired on how to best help those in need.
Don’t Defend the Gospel—Live It
When Jesus came to the earth, He did not raise up an army of people to combat the opposition. He didn’t instruct His disciples on oration and how to win arguments. He didn’t draw up battle plans, plot against His enemies, or even reroute His path away from Samaria. He came with a radically different way of looking at the world and at each other.
He called for love and showed us the most effective way to spread His gospel was simply by living it. Don’t choose what you think is a great battle plan instead of welcoming someone into the fold. We live the gospel when we treat others as Christ would, as we humbly submit ourselves to Christ’s plan for our lives, and as we focus on our sacred covenants instead of social media clout. Opportunities to teach and testify will come naturally, and be much more effective when we have loving relationships with others.
As we follow Jesus Christ, we can find a beautiful balance between discipleship and allyship in today’s devisive world.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.