Quotes by Dieter F. Uchtdorf:
At the October 2017 General Conference, President Uchtdorf mentioned a recent study, investigating the conflict between rival groups, Palestinians and Israelis in the Middle East and Republicans and Democrats in the United States. He said:
As part of the study, researchers interviewed Palestinians and Israelis in the Middle East, and Republicans and Democrats in the United States. They discovered that “each side felt their own group [was] motivated by love more than hate, but when asked why their rival group [was] involved in the conflict, [they] pointed to hate as [the other] group’s motivating factor.” In other words, each group thought of themselves as the “good guys”—fair, kind, and truthful. By contrast, they saw their rivals as the “bad guys”—uninformed, dishonest, even evil. In the year I was born, the world was immersed in a terrible war that brought agonizing grief and consuming sorrow to the world. This war was caused by my own nation—by a group of people who identified certain other groups as evil and encouraged hatred toward them. They silenced those they did not like. They shamed and demonized them. They considered them inferior—even less than human. Once you degrade a group of people, you are more likely to justify words and acts of violence against them. I shudder when I think about what happened in 20th-century Germany. When someone opposes or disagrees with us, it’s tempting to assume that there must be something wrong with them. And from there it’s a small step to attach the worst of motives to their words and actions. Of course, we must always stand for what is right, and there are times when we must raise our voices for that cause. However, when we do so with anger or hate in our hearts—when we lash out at others to hurt, shame, or silence them—chances are we are not doing so in righteousness. What did the Savior teach? “I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:44-45). This is the Savior’s way. It is the first step in breaking down the barriers that create so much anger, hatred, division, and violence in the world. “Yes,” you might say, “I would be willing to love my enemies—if only they were willing to do the same.” But that doesn’t really matter, does it? We are responsible for our own discipleship, and it has little—if anything—to do with the way others treat us. We obviously hope that they will be understanding and charitable in return, but our love for them is independent of their feelings toward us. Perhaps our effort to love our enemies will soften their hearts and influence them for good. Perhaps it will not. But that does not change our commitment to follow Jesus Christ. So, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we will love our enemies. We will overcome anger or hate. We will fill our hearts with love for all of God’s children. We will reach out to bless others and minister to them—even those who might “despitefully use [us] and persecute [us].” (Matt. 5:44).