While speaking to BYU-Hawaii graduates in February, Elder Dallin H. Oaks advised members to refrain from "ugliness, personal meanness" in conversations on and offline. In a recent Facebook post, Elder Oaks also advised members to "stand clear from the current atmosphere of hate and to refrain from participating in the contentious communications that are so common today."
I encourage you to stand clear from the current atmosphere of hate and to refrain from participating in the contentious communications that are so common today. Partly such contentious communications result from modern technology, which fosters conflicts by expanding the audience and the speed of dissemination.
As followers of Christ, we know that all of the inhabitants of this earth are children of God. Use that knowledge to push back against the worldly prejudices that preach hate or hostility toward other nations, ethnic groups, or even political parties.
Remember our Savior’s teaching that “he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another” (3 Nephi 11:29).
Followers of Christ should be examples of civility. But beyond this we should remember and follow the Savior’s teaching: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).
Of course this counsel to love, to avoid contention, and to be examples of civility is not meant to discourage us from participating in discussions, debates, and even taking adversarial positions against what we believe to be wrong or inadvisable.
Within the limits of our own resources of time and influence we should take a position, make it known, and in a respectful way attempt to persuade others of its merit, at least for us. Positive action is essential to our responsibility to push back against the world.