A new series of dramatized videos produced by the LDS Church gives members ideas on how to navigate the landmine-laced terrain of the sensitive social and religious issues of the day and at the same time, defend religious freedom.
The video “Respecting Our Differences While Defending Religious Freedom” shows “Samantha,” a Latter-day Saint, learning to engage respectfully and effectively with “Miki,” a college classmate who disagrees vehemently but sincerely with the Church’s view on gay marriage. Although at first both were overly defensive in their views, Samantha and Miki learn to ask questions and come to a deeper understanding of each other’s’ views. Importantly, the video shows that civil dialogue need not mean both sides agree on every point. “Hey, we should talk again,” Miki says to Samantha at the end of the video.
Elder Von G. Keetch of the Seventy introduced this first video on June 14, 2016, during a devotional at Brigham Young University-Idaho.
We can learn 5 lessons from the dialogue between Samantha and Miki:
- Engage others with love, respect and understanding, never abandoning our religious truths.
- Avoid “large group free-for-alls” and engage people one-on-one.
- Respect your interlocutors and seek understanding.
- Stand up for the basic civil rights of others.
- Recognize that mutual understanding will take time.
The Church will release two more videos in this series in the coming months. The videos can be used in classroom settings where instructors can lead in a sharing conversation for youth and young adults.