Look around the room on any given Sunday in a Latter-day Saint chapel and you'll soon realize you're among a heterogeneous group. Granted, some congregations might look more homogeneous based only on skin color or the number of dark suits and white shirts present. But look closer, with the right lenses, and you'll notice something else.
You might see a 20-something mother of two, exhausted by the demands of parenting young children alone due to a recent divorce. Or a single woman in her 50s who never married and struggles to connect with the everyday challenges and experiences of the fathers and mothers around her. Or a refugee finding his footing in a new country with a frightening foreign language and insufficient employment prospects.
A Shared Struggle
These examples are not unique to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many faiths grapple with the challenge of how to best speak to everyone’s needs, and their leaders’ insights are worth noting.
In the Jewish tradition, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has said showing love and concern for everyone equally is critical, challenging and, if not done correctly, dangerous. "Love is not unproblematic," he says. "Given to one but not another, to one more than another, it creates tensions.… Love is necessary but not sufficient. You also need sensitivity to those who feel unloved."