When does sugar-coating truth change the benefits of truth into something that is no longer good for us?
I absolutely love almonds and the health benefits of almonds are great! Almonds contain fiber, protein, magnesium, vitamin E, and healthy fats. Almonds are great for helping curb hunger, which helps me with my weight goals. However, an almond joy candy bar is not going to benefit my body on a nutritional level. In fact, if I try to live on sugar-coated almonds, then I’m going to end up overweight and depressed.
Are we afraid to speak unvarnished truth in our faith? Do we cover our words with sweetness and change the meaning so as not to give offense? Do we lose the value of our message by covering it with too much ooey-gooeyness?
Candy bars are mostly sugar—perhaps a few nuts sprinkled in. Are we giving too many comforting words of sweetness, that the truths sprinkled in are lost in the fluff?
Our missionary said several interesting and powerful things in his email this week. “You can’t sugar-coat things. If you do that, it causes problems. I simply know from personal experience that if you aren’t direct, it causes a LOT of problems down the road!”
There is a fire burning in our son’s heart that was there before his mission, but that burns so much more brightly now. His eyes shine with a power and a strength that was only in potential within him before. I want that change for myself. In only 3 short months, our son has become fearless in declaring God’s truths.
The prophet Alma wished for the same. Alma 29:1 reads:
O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart,
that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a
voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!
Shaking the earth and repentance are not calming, soothing activities. They are designed to shake us out of our comfort zones, to make us question ourselves and our surroundings. Joseph Smith said, “Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.”
If we are truly going to become a Christ-like people, we need to be willing to be shaken out of our comfort zones. Religion is a place for growth, sometimes painfully so. Sometimes, we will be asked to do more than we think possible and stretch further than we believed possible, so that we will see God’s hand in our lives as, with His help, we achieve the impossible!
Neighbors have shared that they see the change in our son, commenting on how much more mature he looks in his pictures—more adult than boy now. Where has my sometimes too timid, introvert son gone?
As a missionary, I’ve learned a lot about the fact that you HAVE to be direct. There are things that people don’t want to hear, but if you don’t tell them it, who will? Who will stand up as Lehi of old and tell the people that what they’re doing is wrong?
Someone else? Does that seem like something Christ would do?
I get being direct can cause hurt feelings, I really do. HOWEVER, the Gospel is not lollipops, rainbows, and unicorns. Don’t believe me, read the Old Testament! Or any scripture really.
Sure, would some people take offense? Yes. But if you simply want to be about happy feelings and never stepping on anyone’s toes, you might as well stop now, as you aren’t going to benefit anyone!”
The fire burning in our missionary is there because he has become fearless on the Lord’s errand. I hope and pray that I can reach within myself and be a little more fearless too. I can declare the Lord’s truth with trust that He will guide me and that He will guide my words to hearts willing to hear.
After all, if the Lord can take an army of 18-25 year-olds and change the world for the better, surely, if I trust Him, He can take my faltering hand and help me to be brave enough to face the truths in my life … even when they aren’t drenched in sugar.
Growing up all over the world gave Emlee Taylor an opportunity to see the incredible differences the Lord created in humanity; and even better, the passions we all share as members of the human race: love for family, faith, & a desire to make a difference. Emlee lives life with passion—focusing her time now on raising four children and teaching them to recognize truth and to live true to that truth, regardless of others’ expectations. Emlee is passionately in love with her bestest friend and husband of more than 20 years.