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FHE: Living with Differences

Living with Differences: Learning to develop tolerance and love

Thought:

In his talk "Loving Others and Living with Differences," Elder Dallin H. Oaks counseled: 

We are to live in the world but not be of the world. We must live in the world because, as Jesus taught in a parable, His kingdom is 'like leaven,' whose function is to raise the whole mass by its influence. His followers cannot do that if they associate only with those who share their beliefs and practices. But the Savior also taught that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments.

Song:

"We Are Different," Children's Songbook, p. 263.

Scripture:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

(John 13:16)

Object Lesson:

Arrange with one family member to dress up in all the extra clothing, jewelry, etc. that she can wear. Have her enter the room walking slowly back and forth twice, while the other family members are asked to observe everything she is wearing. This should be made as difficult as possible by including a hat, coat, scarf, earrings, bracelet, handbag, and any other items that might be handy. After she leaves the room each family member should be asked to write down a list of the girl's complete wardrobe. Have the girl return and let everyone check their list. Explain that while this is a fun game, we sometimes focus too much on people's outward appearances. We shouldn't judge someone based on fashion, popularity, attractiveness, or other superficial qualities.

(adapted from Alma Heaton, The LDS Game Book, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1968], p. 128.) 

Story:

As a young bride newly arrived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I experienced some cultural shock. In those days Boston billed itself as the hub of culture, which included the leading families of a society very unfamiliar to me. In our first Relief Society meeting in a little old house on Brattle Street in Cambridge, I listened as a strong, faithful, wise woman (a longtime resident) implored us:

Now don't you Utah girls come here and hold your noses for four years wishing you were back in the only true West, where things are done right. Absorb this wonderful culture! Learn New England cookery. Get to know your Yankee neighbors. That may take some patience, but it's well worth it. Catholics are people. Take the subway over to the Esplanade and hear the Boston Symphony, free, this summer. Do it; then you, as well as your husbands, will have something to take home.

I believed her. Her sound advice changed my responses, and changed my life. When our four years were over, my husband brought home a Ph.D., and I came back loving New England--its speech patterns, seafood, Catholics, and all. This kind sister taught me about differences and a most impressive lesson on tolerance, and I learned that tolerating differences can lead to love.

Tolerance so often does lead to love. Most of our missionaries serving throughout the world would bear testimony to that, as would those who have returned. Because my father served for three years in Samoa, I grew up loving the Samoan people, their customs, their food, and their language. My brother served in Alaska. Our son served in Germany. Our daughter served in Argentina. My husband and I served in New England. We've also spent much time in Israel and have had extended visits to Yugoslavia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. So in three generations my family has had the blessing of going over much of the world delivering a message, but also bringing home a message of kinship and love for many peoples. I can see in my mind's eye dear Sini Salanoa, our Samoan friend, half a world away from his beloved islands for the first time, asking us in his broken English to "be his family" during his time in Boston in 1953. And beautiful, fourteen-year-old Julie Wang, whom we met in K'Liao, a tiny fishing village in Taiwan. In her quiet Chinese manner she described her first prayers, which began with sweet familiarity: "Hello, God. This is Julie Wang." Or fine, spiritual Gunther Myer from Germany, who joined our family for scripture study on Sunday evenings for a whole year. These represent so many who have enriched our lives. There are no divisive differences between us. Our commitment to the gospel becomes the great common denominator. We know whose we are, all of us.

(Ann N. Madsen, "Tolerance, the Beginning of Christlike Love," Ensign, Oct 1983, 26)

Refreshment:

Fudge Pudding Cake

They'll think it's magic! A fudgy chocolate pudding cake that "bakes" right in the microwave.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  •  2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla 
  •  1 cup chopped nuts 
  •  1 cup packed brown sugar 
  •  1/4 cup baking cocoa 
  •  1 3/4 cups boiling water 

Mix flour, granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa, the baking powder, and salt in 2-quart microwaveable casserole. Stir in milk, oil, and vanilla. Stir in nuts. Spread evenly in casserole. Mix brown sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa; sprinkle over batter. Pour boiling water over batter. Microwave uncovered on medium (50%) 9 minutes; rotate casserole 1/2 turn. Microwave on high 5 to 6 minutes or until top is almost dry. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream. Serves 9.

(Betty Crocker Sunday Cookbook, [Minneapolis: Wiley Publishing and Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2007], p.153.)

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