“Israel, Israel, God is Calling.” That was the hymn Elder Jeffrey R. Holland requested to have the congregation sing to begin the CES Devotional that was held on September 9, 2012. This was also the title of his talk.
Elder Holland discusses how in this last dispensation, “We no longer think of Zion as where we are going to live as much as how we are going to live.” And he talks about specific ways members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can and should live more as a Zion-like people…both in how we show love, compassion, patience, and concern for others, and also in how we uphold and share doctrine and moral principles.
Elder Holland talked about “vitriolic abuse” heaped on a basketball player by a crowd of people that included members of the Church. A fan justified this behavior by suggesting that there are times we can leave our religion behind. Elder Holland exclaimed, “You never ‘check your religion at the door.’” But then he declared that how we respond to others’ behavior requires also requires us to live our faith as disciples of Jesus Christ. Our behavior “has to reflect our religious beliefs and our gospel commitments.”
But Elder Holland explores, in various ways, that a love of others and of God also demand that we stand for the truth we believe in. “[T]his Church can never ‘dumb down’ its doctrines in response to social goodwill or political expediency. It is only on the high ground of revealed truth that gives us any footing on which to lift another who feels troubled or forsaken.” We do have to find a balance between not judging and exercising righteous, “intermediate judgments” (quoting Elder Dallin H. Oaks).
Some may wonder why it is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, while politically neutral, does sometimes speak out on social issues. Elder Holland explains to young adult members of the Church:
“You’re going to have to sensitively explain why some principles are defended, and some sins are opposed wherever they are found, because the issues and the laws involved are not social or political, but eternal in their consequence. And while not wishing to offend those who believe differently than us, we are even more anxious not to offend God,”
The talk in its entirety can be found in the following video.