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Settling Differences

Quotes from L.D.S. Publications


 Joseph Smith:  Joseph Smith gave the following advice to a woman complaining of hurt feelings from malicious gossip about her. First, he gave his method of dealing with persons who accuse him of doing wrong: He would think in his mind of the time and place that the bad story had originated. Then he would seek to remember if any act or deed of his might have given rise to a building block by which the story could have been started. If he found any slight act, he then thanked his enemy for warning him of the weakness and went on his way without resentment. If the report was utterly untrue, he would think no more about it, for it could not harm him. If untrue it could not live, and the truth would survive. Joseph then gave this advice to the offended woman: In your heart you can forgive the person who had risked his own good name and his friendship to give you a clearer view of yourself. (From the journal of Jesse W. Crosby.)
Brigham Young:  I have no fellowship for men who are guilty of . . . contending with each other, and going to law before Gentile or bishop's courts to settle their difficulties. There is a better way of settling difficulties than either of these . . . . When a difference of judgment exists between two parties, let them come together and lay their difficulties at each other's feet, laying themselves down in the cradle of humility, and say 'Brother, (or sister,) I want to do right; yea, I will even wrong myself to make you right . . . .' After taking this course, if you cannot come together, then call in a third person and settle it. (Journal of Discourses 6:319 quoted in Dallin H. Oaks, The Lord's Way, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1991, 176.)
John Taylor:  If there be trouble existing between me and anybody else, I would meet them half way, yes, I would meet them three quarters or even all of the way. I would feel like yielding; I would say, I do not want to quarrel, I want to be a saint. I have set out for purity, virtue, brotherhood, and for obedience to the laws of God on earth, and for thrones and principalities and dominions in the eternal worlds, and I will not allow such paltry affairs to interfere with my prospects. I am for life, eternal lives, and eternal exaltations in the kingdom of God. . . . I wish . . . that we loved one another a little better and studied one another’s interests a little more. (Deseret News: Semi-Weekly, 26 Jan 1875, 1)Joseph F. Smith: Be reconciled with each other. Do not go to the courts of the church nor to the courts of the land for litigation. Settle your own troubles, and difficulties; . . . there is only one way in which a difficulty existing between man and man can be truly settled, and that is when they get together and settle it between them. The courts cannot settle troubles between me and my brother. (Conference Report, October 1916, 7-8; quoted in Dallin H. Oaks, The Lord's Way (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1991), 177-178.)
Boyd K. Packer:  When things go wrong—and they can go wrong even in carefully managed affairs—some look for others to blame. They want some “deep pocket” to make them whole. They want someone else to carry their responsibility like the scapegoat of Old Testament times, which was ceremonially burdened with the sins of others and left to wander in the wilderness. They have little difficulty finding some attorney willing to act as high priest in transferring their responsibility to someone else. They file suit with little or no merit, intending to force others to settle in order to avoid the unconscionable cost of defending themselves in court. There is no dishonor in appealing to a court of law for either justice or protection. I refer to those who do so to justify themselves and shift their own responsibility to someone else. Such efforts are successful often enough to permit self-serving lawyers to convince yet another client that he need not honor his own commitments. The word integrity becomes tarnished by counsel and client alike. And there follows that long trail of acrimony with brother against brother over property or money. Be careful lest you yourself become the goat and carry unseen spiritual burdens into the wilderness. More serious by far than the loss of property or money are the unseen spiritual penalties which accrue like interest on a debt which one day, in the eternal scheme of things, must surely be paid. (“Balm of Gilead,” Ensign, Nov 1987)
Dallin H. Oaks:  We are obliged to “be reconciled to [our] brother” even when he is wrong and we are only the victim of the grievance. For purposes of the commandment of reconciliation, fault is unimportant. (See Matt. 5:23-24 and 3 Ne. 12:23-24.) The object is reconciliation, not adjudication; peace, not justice. Reconciliation seeks the restoration of relationships, not the adjudication of differences. (The Lord’s Way, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1991, p. 142-143.)
Dallin H. Oaks: A good Latter-day Saint can participate in litigation, but will do so only after focusing on his or her personal responsibilities (not just his or her rights): by practicing forgiveness, by pursuing private settlement, by disclaiming revenge, and by considering the effect of the proposed litigation on others. (The Lord’s Way, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1991, p. 186.)
David E. Sorensen:  The Savior said, “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him,” thus commanding us to resolve our differences early on, lest the passions of the moment escalate into physical or emotional cruelty, and we fall captive to our anger. (Forgiveness Will Change Bitterness to Love,” Ensign, May 2003, 10)