Once upon a time Jesus taught a parable about a man from Jerusalem who was on his way to Jericho. The man was robbed by thieves and left half dead. Along the road, a priest and a Levite passed this man in distress but refused to stop and help him. They were too busy, and after all he WAS a Jew.
Then Jesus taught:
“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him. And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among thieves? He that shewed mercy on him."
Then Jesus delivered His final instruction: “Go, and do thou likewise” (see Luke 10:25–37).
We live in a world of many different lifestyles. Some people are very active, they work out many hours a week. Some are much more sedentary. Some people stay at home and raise children, while some climb corporate ladders, and some touch the hearts of many in their careers. Some live lives of traditional families, mom, dad and children. And some live in families with 2 mom's. Some live with grandma and grandpa. And the differences go on and on.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has NEVER taught a doctrine of exclusion. Members are urged to be loving, kind and tolerant of our friends, neighbors, family and even those of other religions.
My thoughts originated from a talk by Elder Ballard, The Doctrine of Inclusion. Many of his points were especially applicable for those who live in Utah, or in other areas where members tend to be the majority. He gave 3 ideas to help us...
1. Get to know your neighbors
2. Eliminate the phrases "non-member" and "non-Mormon" from our vocabulary.
3. If neighbors become frustrated with the LDS Church, don't suggest that they 'move elsewhere.'
The Lord does expect a great deal from us. All of us. And as I ponder this talk, I have made mental notes of things I want to say and do that help me be a person who chooses to INCLUDE more than I EXCLUDE. It's easier said than done! But nothing changes if you don't change. And that will always be a fact.