Smooth Things

Isaiah reproved the children of Israel for being unwilling to hear hard things. He said they were the type of people who would “say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things.” In contrast, they would request the easy stuff: “Speak unto us smooth things, prophecy deceits” (Isaiah 30:9-10).

This sounds a lot like Samuel the Lamanite’s characterization of the Nephites in Jerusalem:

If a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil.

But behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth—and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet.

Helaman 13:26-27

No one likes to be told that they are wrong. But some people value truth over their own egos. They are willing to listen to difficult feedback because their commitment to doing what is right supersedes their need to justify themselves.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson reminded us that corrective feedback can be a blessing if we are willing to receive it:

One of the greatest blessings of being part of the body of Christ, though it may not seem like a blessing in the moment, is being reproved of sin and error. We are prone to excuse and rationalize our faults, and sometimes we simply do not know where we should improve or how to do it. Without those who can reprove us “betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost,” we might lack the courage to change and more perfectly follow the Master. Repentance is individual, but fellowship on that sometimes painful path is in the Church.

Why the Church,” General Conference, October 2015

Today, I will accept corrective feedback. I will prioritize truth, and I will seek for accurate information, not easy answers.

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