When I was a young missionary at the MTC, I was bothered by the idea that we were all expected to look the same, act the same, and even memorize the same lessons. At times I felt that the demands of conformity were stifling, as we seemed to be an endless parade of penguins, marching in lockstep.
My admittedly immature and cynical viewpoint faded as I immersed myself in the Lord’s service, and began to learn and grow. Now, more than 30 years later, I have decidedly moved to the opposite end of the conformity spectrum. Now I get it.
When I use the word “conformity,” I can feel people bristle. Relax – it is not a bad word. Nor does it mean that the doors of the Church are not open wide to people of all nations, cultures, political persuasions, personalities, and mindsets. Everyone is welcome.
President Uchtorf even made it a point in 2013 to invite everyone to the Church, saying, “Brothers and sisters, dear friends, we need you unique talents and perspectives. The diversity of persons and peoples all around the globe is a strength of this Church.”
We all have our differences, and the very next year, Elder Oaks spent an entire talk teaching us how to love and live with each other’s differences.
Before we get into the meat of this post, let’s stipulate 2 things:
1) Everyone is unique, and that is OK.
2) We need to love one another, even if we are different.