11 Now it came to pass that the king commanded them that all the men should leave their wives and their children, and flee before the Lamanites.
12 Now there were many that would not leave them, but had rather stay and perish with them. And the rest left their wives and their children and fled.
It’s not surprising that many of the men defied the king when he gave such a despicable and cowardly command. But I do wonder where those same conscientious objectors were previously, as Noah introduced one immoral practice after another into the kingdom. (See Mosiah 11:1-15
.) Were they afraid to speak up and stand up for what was right? Did they rationalize unrighteousness on the basis that they were merely following orders, and that defying the king would be dangerous?
Last October, Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke about the balance we need to achieve as disciples of Christ in a diverse society. There are times and places where speaking out against error would be foolish and counterproductive. Sometimes civility requires us to accommodate points of view we do not agree with. However:
Even as we seek to be meek and to avoid contention, we must not compromise or dilute our commitment to the truths we understand. We must not surrender our positions or our values. (“Loving Others and Living with Differences,” General Conference, October 2014)
And President Dieter F. Uchtdorf recently reminded us:
We can and must stand and let our voices be heard. We don’t need to be provocative or belittling, but we must not allow our fears to prevent us from lifting our voices in defense of what is right and good and true. (“Fellow Travelers, Brothers and Sisters, Children of God,” talk given April 24, 2015 at the John A. Widtsoe Symposium at the University of Southern California)
Today, I will defend truth and righteousness. I will be kind, and I will avoid contention, but I will stand up for what is right, especially when it is unpopular.