Friday, November 30, 2007

Teach Us Tolerance And Love

My favorite:

“The qualities most needed are charity and tolerance, not some form of fanatical faith such as is offered to us by the various rampant isms.” -Bertrand Russell

“Arguing is a sure sign of either pride or insecurity.” -Anonymous

“Too often pity is mistaken for charity, when it is really just pride in disguise.” -Anonymous

Judging is a lonely job in which a man is, as near as may be, an island entire.” -Abe Fortas

“The more arguments you win, the less friends you will have.” -American Proverb

“Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.” -Benjamin Franklin

“There is no suffering which pity will not insult.” -Anonymous

“I believe all Americans who believe in freedom, tolerance and human rights have a responsibility to oppose bigotry and prejudice based on sexual orientation.” -Coretta Scott King

“Don't brood. Get on with living and loving. You don't have forever.” -Anonymous

And my other favorite:

“We must work harder to build mutual respect, an attitude of forbearance, with tolerance one for another regardless of the doctrines and philosophies which we may espouse. Concerning these you and I may disagree. But we can do so with respect and civility” -Gordon B. Hinckley

And one I disagree with:

“But in discussing this topic, we must recognize at the outset that there is a difference between tolerance and tolerate. Your gracious tolerance for an individual does not grant him or her license to do wrong, nor does your tolerance obligate you to tolerate his or her misdeed.” -Russell M. Nelson

I don’t feel like explaining why I don’t agree with this quote right now, especially after I have included the quotes about arguing (and yes, I realize I’m disagreeing with an apostle). Maybe later…


Scot said...

Love the quotes. Though, I might argue with this one:

“Arguing is a sure sign of either pride or insecurity.” –Anonymous

It may not be the same sort of argue meant by Anonymous, but sometimes a good argument is the only defense (that, and, with my life, I tend to get in debates and don’t want to be prideful or insecure ;-)).

there is a difference between tolerance and tolerate

One’s a noun?

The semantics in such arenas are always interesting.

Neal said...


Those are good quotes. Thanks.

I've always found this scripture interesting:

Matthew 10 (Christ speaking):

"34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household."

I thought this was an interesting coming from the Lord. Perhaps there are some things worth arguing about?

Best Regards,


Peter said...

"whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." -Jesus (although Joseph Smith omits the "without a cause" in his inspired version, the JST).

"But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.. . whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also." - Jesus

Peter said...

Here's one you will like, Neal:

"If they throw the word diversity at you, grab hold of it and say, 'I am already diverse, and I intend to stay diverse.' If the word is tolerance, grab that one, too, saying, 'I expect you to be tolerant of my lifestyle—obedience, integrity, abstinence, repentance.' If the word is choice, tell them you choose good, old-fashioned morality." -Boyd K. Packer, October 2003 General Conference

Peter said...

Here's one you will like, Neal:

"If they throw the word diversity at you, grab hold of it and say, 'I am already diverse, and I intend to stay diverse.' If the word is tolerance, grab that one, too, saying, 'I expect you to be tolerant of my lifestyle—obedience, integrity, abstinence, repentance.' If the word is choice, tell them you choose good, old-fashioned morality." -Boyd K. Packer, October 2003 General Conference

draco said...

Nice try Neal :) but I'm going to stay away from arguing that arguing is bad.

I will agree that the Matthew 10 scripture is pretty interesting. I confess that I've never completely understood it because it seems so contradictory to what the Savior says about bringing peace into the world. Isn't he the Prince of Peace?
I love the line from the third verse of O Holy Night, "His law is love and his gospel is peace."

I should also clarify that there are two categories of arguing- one where you're reasoning out an issue and one where you're contending an issue. I think one is good and one is bad.

falula said...

you're on fine ground. from my perspective I can be tolerant of your diversity- but only to an extent. I can be empathetic and understanding and be a friend, but I can't tolerate you breaking the commandments, if that's the case. That's where the line of tolerance is drawn. Especially when you have more knowledge about the Truth. You've made covenants and as a true friend I have to help you stay on that path.

draco said...

Okay- so this is why I disagree with Elder Nelson:
First, I will say that I do believe that you can tolerate a person's behavior without approving of it. I also believe that there is such a thing as intolerable behavior.

The word "tolerate" means: "to allow the existence, presence, practice, or act of without prohibition or hindrance; permit; to endure without repugnance"

"...nor does your tolerance obligate you to tolerate his or her misdeed."

This doesn't make any sense. What else is tolerance for someone but tolerating his behavior? If I say, "I can tolerate you" I'm not saying that I just tolerate that person's existence. That almost sounds insulting. No- I'm saying that I tolerate something that the person is doing. I don't necessarily have to approve of the behavior, but I am going to allow it to happen without jumping down the person's throat, telling him how awful and disgusting I believe his behavior to be and contending with him.

So having tolerance DOES obligate one to tolerate something.

draco said...

By the way- here are all they synonyms for "intolerant":

antipathetic, averse, biased, bigoted, chauvinistic, communist, conservative, contemptuous, dictatorial, disdainful, dogmatic, fanatical, fractious, hateful, illiberal, indignant, individualistic, inflexible, irate, irritable, jaundiced, narrow, narrow-minded, obdurate, one-sided, outraged, racialist, racist, red-neck, short fuse, small-minded*, snappy, stuffy, stupid, tilted, uncharitable, unfair, unforbearing, unindulgent, unsympathetic, unwilling, upset, waspish, worked up

Neal said...

Peter and Draco,

Thanks for those thoughts and quotes. I did like your thought, Draco, about the difference between reasoning and contending. I need to look at that more closely.

As far as Matthew 10 goes, here are my thoughts. Have you ever wondered why the Savior came to this particular earth? We learn in the PofGP that God has created "millions of earths like this" - so why did he come here? We know the War in Heaven was a war of wills and ideals. There was basically a coup attempt by Satan and his followers. He wanted all the Glory. He and his lost out of course, and were then banished here, to this planet. But that war really isn't over - it continues today on earth as the battle for men's souls. Because of that, we read in the PofGP that of all those millions of earths, this one is the most wicked. Understandably so - this is Satan's home. Even Christ referred to him as "the Prince of THIS world". So I believe Christ came to this particular earth because he had to defeat Satan on his home turf. And where does that leave us? Well, from what I can gather we're basically living in a war zone on the nastiest planet in the universe!

So, I think that's why Christ said what he said about bringing a sword. The fight for the souls of men is still going on, and can be passionate. It IS a fight! Its for real, and its for keeps. Families or friends may indeed be divided as we choose which side we're on. I do believe there are times we must reason - perhps even contend - for the right. Especailly among our own.

And I believe the peace Christ offers is not an absence of conflict (at least not until the millenium). Is is the assurance and comfort that comes from knowing we have chosen to be on the Lord's side.

John 14 (Christ talking with his disciples)

"26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

"..not as the world giveth". I think that's the key. Its the inner peace made possible by the Holy Ghost.

Best regards,


Neal said...


Could you give the reference for Elder Nelson's quote? It might be helpful to read it in its full context.



draco said...

The talk by Elder Nelson is called "Teach us Tolerance and Love" from the May 1994 Ensign.

He also says:
"The Lord drew boundary lines to define acceptable limits of tolerance. Danger rises when those divine limits are disobeyed. Just as parents teach little children not to run and play in the street, the Savior taught us that we need not tolerate evil. “Jesus went into the temple of God, and … and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers.” Though He loved the sinner, the Lord said that He “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” His Apostle Paul specified some of those sins in a letter to the Galatians. The list included “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

“Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, … wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

“Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.”

To Paul’s list I might add the regrettable attitudes of bigotry, hypocrisy, and prejudice. These were also decried in 1834 by early Church leaders who foresaw the eventual rise of this church “amid the frowns of bigots and the calumny of hypocrites.” The Prophet Joseph Smith prayed that “prejudices may give way before the truth.” Hatred stirs up strife 21 and digs beneath the dignity of mature men and women in our enlightened era."

I agree that there are limits to tolerance- no problems here.

"Unitedly we may respond. Together we may stand, intolerant of transgression but tolerant of neighbors with differences they hold sacred."

So what if our neighbors hold sacred something that we view as a transgression? Do I tolerate that? My Catholic friend wants to baptize his infant- this is an abomination according to the Book of Mormon. So should I respect his beliefs or do I march over and inform him that I do not tolerate his behavior? My other friend's religion teaches that a homosexual relationship can be just as valid and sacred as a heterosexual relationship. Do I tolerate his homosexual relationship, or do I march over and let him know how intolerable his behavior really is?

Neal said...

Thanks Draco,

No time right now, but I'll read the whole article and respond. At first glance, since he quoted Pauls list, it sounds like he's talking about standing against the more serious issues. And I believe the greatest threats in that regard come from within the Church, not without.


Neal said...

Sorry, took me a while to get to that article...

I think this statement, combined with some of his other statements previously mentioned, clarifies Elder Nelson's point of view:

"As members of the Church entrusted with its holy temples, we are commanded that “no unclean thing shall be permitted to come into [His] house to pollute it.” 22

That assignment requires great fortitude as well as love. In former days, disciples of the Lord “were firm, and would suffer even unto death rather than commit sin.” 23 In latter days, devoted disciples of the Lord are just as firm. Real love for the sinner may compel courageous confrontation—not acquiescence! Real love does not support self-destructing behavior."

My summation of the whole article, then, is we need to show tolerance, love and respect to all nationalities, cultures and creeds, but we don't need to be wimps about what OUR standards are. There are also limits to tolerance. And internally, as a Church and as families, there IS such a thing as "tough love".

I think the tolerance/tolerate issue plays out thus - we can tolerate a persons beliefs, but only if their resulting behavior does not infringe on the rights of others. For example, you may believe infant baptism is necessary, and I can tolerate that, even if I don't believe it. But if you try to force me to baptize my infant because you're convinced they will go to hell otherwise, then I don't have to tolerate your behavior.


draco said...

I completely agree with you here Neal :)
It's true, there are limits to tolerance and your idea of drawing the line at infringing on others rights is SO spot-on that I could kiss you (although I won't because that would be infringing on your right to not participate in homosexual behavior :))

The implication that I wanted to make with this post in the first place was that homosexual relationships do not infringe on others rights, so they should therefore be tolerated. It's one of the reasons I support gay rights. ;)

Neal said...


A kiss?! Sounds lovely, but I'll just have to imagine it! :D

I know the Church has taken a stand on the gay marriage thing, and I support them in their position, but I personally think its a losing battle. There may be religious reasons for taking a stand on an issue like that, but the political arguments amount to nothing more than a sand castle. Religion aside, there is no viable argument to deny any couple of any orientation parity under the law. So I think it will eventally happen, being the realist I am.

What concerns me far more than gay rights is the disturbing trend in Europe to lower the age of consent. Some countries are toying with definitions as low as 12 years of age. How long til that becomes the new "right" people are fighting for? As someone who was molested as a child this makes my blood absolutely boil!! Maybe I better just stop here...