And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. (1 Kings 18:21)
Sometimes we appear to be enslaved by fads and trends in society. Some are good. Some are silly but harmless. Others can be detrimental to our physical or spiritual health.
Our response to critical views can cause us to compromise our values. In order of ascending concern the critics causing these troubles are (1) nonmembers, (2) former members, and (3) current members.
In the face of such critics, members would be well advised to relax, lighten up, mellow out, and not get so huffy. While the gospel is sacred and serious, sometimes we take ourselves a little too seriously. Many of our critics obviously do. A sense of humor, especially about ourselves, is an attribute worthy of development.
Criticism always hurts most when we deserve it.
We would eliminate the most painful criticism from responsible nonmembers by simply internalizing and living what the Church teaches.
In addition to attacking our sacred beliefs, some former members speak evil of the Brethren. Joseph Smith received his share of this criticism from the dissidents of his day. The Lord’s revelation to him is applicable to us today:
Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, and cry they have sinned when they have not sinned before me, saith the Lord, but have done that which was meet in mine eyes, and which I commanded them.
But those who cry transgression do it because they are the servants of sin, and are the children of disobedience themselves. (D&C 121:16–17)One activity which often leads a member to be critical is engaging in inappropriate intellectualism. While it would seem the search for and discovery of truth should be the goal of all Latter-day Saints, it appears some get more satisfaction from trying to discover new uncertainties. Indeed, airing your doubts has become somewhat of a cause celebre with many.
Elder Faust describes this type of intellectual as “a person who continues to chase after a bus even after he has caught it.” We invite everyone to get on the bus before it’s out of sight and you are left forever trying to figure out the infinite with a finite mind. (Adapted from Glen L. Pace General Conference address, "Follow the Prophet")