“Inclusion, Unity, and Loving Better” – Start the Work to Have Conversations

Sister Tracy Y. Browning, 2nd Counselor in the Primary General Presidency

Latter-day Saint Women Podcast

“I think what’s been disheartening to me during this time is what I’m seeing out in the world is a reaction to a trial and a struggle. The civil unrest that is happening right now is a reality and it’s a sad reality and I’m so grateful for our leaders who will be very forward and very clear and un-equivocating, condemning things that are just not in alignment with what our Savior would have us do in our communities, and in our lives and to each other, and how we treat each other. So I’m grateful for that counsel. You know, the thing that I realize is I think that we are starting to believe that the divisions that come from these challenges are a natural consequence of unrest, and that isn’t correct. We can control our response to a trial. The civil unrest is reality, but division does not have to be the reality. It doesn’t have to be the consequence of that. There is an opportunity for us to be unified, and there is an opportunity for us to really come closer together, rather than drawing further apart. 

In Doctrine and Covenants 38 were taught that the Lord requires us to be one. He’s really clear about that and he repeats it in his parables that he teaches in those scriptures about what is the expectation. It’s a constant message for us to be unified. I want us to consider how we feel when we have felt unified with someone, what does that mean to be one, how you felt if you think about a relationship in your life for a time in your life when you felt unified with someone, things that might come to your mind, or things like you felt safe and you felt supported you felt helped. You felt like there’s a confidence in that relationship. You felt trust. In a recent conference talk from Sister Eubank, where she was laying out three ways to build unity, she told a story about her Relief Society president and how her Relief Society president told her that the thing that I can promise you that I’ll keep your name safe and I so appreciate that. There’s a depth of that relationship that feels unified. 

There is an opportunity for us to get closer together. When we acknowledge the experiences that are happening in the midst of this unrest to people, particularly in this situation we’re talking about Black Americans who are struggling with feelings of injustice in our civil society, we can be unified, and we all agree that these are not things that we want in our society. We can choose to become one in that understanding, and we can create these principles of safety and support and confidence when we’re in the middle of the challenge, which is how we are going to deal with the realities of the unrest. So my recommendation is to consider what unity feels like personally for you. Then start the work to have conversations in your homes, in the pews of your wards, and in your communities about how can I be unified with people in our lives that are having maybe a different experience than I am, and how can I do that in a way that doesn’t negate the experience? How can I expand that love by not negating experience, and seeking to draw closer together around this issue rather than further apart. Division is within our control. It doesn’t have to be a natural consequence of being in a trial.”