It’s easy enough to do the right thing when everyone agrees it’s the right thing and is also doing it. It’s another to make the right choices when the world is against you and you are standing alone, or at least in the minority. This requires moral courage.

Noah's Ark MormonIn the scriptures, we see many examples of people doing the right things, even though the world disapproves. In the Bible, we learn of Noah, instructed by God to call the people to repentance. When they refused to listen, God instructed Noah to build a boat. Take a moment to imagine how the people reacted when they saw Noah building a boat in the middle of the desert. Surely they thought he was out of his mind, and most certainly, he and his family endured a great deal of taunting as they worked. There would have been those who felt he was intolerant of them, given that he was spending a fair amount of time telling them they were sinning and needed to repent. They are likely to have believed he should accept their right to have different values than he had, and that he should back off and let them live as they had chosen to live.

Noah could have done so, of course. He could have been very quiet and felt it was their lives and he had no right to interfere. But clearly, Noah had a different way of looking at things. First, of course, his first loyalty was to God. Knowing as he did that God was real, he had to respond to what God told him to do and he was willing to do this even though it meant being ostracized by others.

Have you ever wondered what he thought about as he built his ark, working hard while mockers stood in the background, jeering, calling him names—calling him intolerant, perhaps… Did he wonder at all about why he had to do this? Did he have moments where he thought it might be better to let everyone have his or her freedom and he could just quietly live his own life in his own way?

If so, he would certainly have remembered, then, what God had said was going to happen. Noah was building a boat not for entertainment, but as preparation for a future he perhaps had trouble envisioning. It was to be a place of refuge when the promised future came. God didn’t suddenly send the flood without warning. He gave everyone ample chance to listen, pray to know if it was true, and then to repent. The fact that they didn’t believe they were sinning, that they didn’t believe in God or in the prophecies didn’t make them any less true. Whether or not they believed couldn’t change truth.

Noah’s prophecies and pleas for repentance might have seemed like persecution of some kind, but in reality, they were the ultimate kindness. He was trying desperately to save both their mortal and eternal lives. Had any of them repented, they would have been allowed on the ark. It was their own decision that they preferred what they were doing to what God wanted them to do. They had their agency, and they were required to accept the consequences of their agency, just as we are today.

It is not easy to be in the minority, fighting for what we know God wants, knowing what will happen to those who reject the message. I’m sure Noah’s heart ached for those who ignored him. Among those people might have been friends and family he loved. But he chose the higher ground, no matter how hard it was and no matter how others treated him for it.
Today, many who choose the higher ground are persecuted or accused of intolerance. Today we, as did Noah, have to hold our heads high and keep building the ark. The rain is coming. All we can do is to plead with others to find out for themselves how to prepare—and not be ashamed of what we know.

About Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.

Copyright © 2024 LDS Blogs. All Rights Reserved.
This website is not owned by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon or LDS Church). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. The views expressed by individual users are the responsibility of those users and do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. For the official Church websites, please visit or