Having Humility Will Help Latter-day Saints to Listen, Learn, and Love

Dear Friends, 

I love these words from Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf: 

"How often has the Holy Spirit tried to tell us something we needed to know but couldn’t get past the massive iron gate of what we thought we already knew." 

Elder Uchtdorf's words remind me of what I call “the trap of unearned opinions” which is forming opinions of and finalizing conclusions about groups of people—and the issues they face—without ever listening to multiple people in that group. 

Over my lifetime, I realize I formed unearned opinions about LGBTQ people, people with honest questions about our Church, people who left our Church, people finding happiness and joy in their current religion, people in other political parties, people of other races, women, undocumented workers, people with mental health challenges, people living in poverty, younger generations, etc. 



As I’ve matured (I have a long way to go), I try to listen to a wide range of people in a group to develop informed conclusions and insights—which helps me better see them as members of the same human family. It helps me know what I can learn from them, what I can do to lift their burdens—and for Latter-day Saints to better help them feel welcome, needed and a sense of belonging. 

Until we take the time to listen to people outside our normal circle, I don’t think we should form opinions about them. How am I going to know how a Black teenager feels without talking to lots of Black teenagers? 

Humility is the better approach to say nothing or I don't know—than state unearned opinions. I believe listening is one of the keys to reduce divisiveness, heal over divides, and create Zion. 

Listening helps us learn what the Holy Spirit is trying to teach us so we can get past the ‘massive iron gate’ of what we thought we already knew. 

With love, Richard 'Papa' Ostler