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November 28, 2021

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Richard D. HanksSeptember 4, 2021

Thank you. I too love Elder Holland and support him.

DavidAugust 29, 2021

Amen to this article. I know and love Elder Holland and I know no one that is more loving of all people regardless of any circimstances. When I served a mission a few years ago, Elder Holland called to discuss sending a missionary with same sex tendencies to our mission to serve. He told me of his love for this young man and how grateful he was that he wanted to serve and how much faith and confidence he had in him. We cried on the phone together as we discovered that this young man was from my home stake and that I already had a great love and admiration for him. That missionary was one of the best that I served with. I was so impressed and grateful to see the deep and true love that Elder Holland showed for this young missionary. They continue to be very close friends. I pray that we can all take a deep breath and pray for clarity on the goodness and Christlike love of this man and Apostle of Jesus Christ. Let us not be deceived into calling good evil... for he is not.

BeckyAugust 28, 2021

So beautifully said!

EveAugust 28, 2021

Joan - you've been truly blessed!!!

Susan CurtisAugust 28, 2021

Thank you for weighing in on the other side of this. It is interesting to me to note that this was not a talk given to the entire membership of the church, nor to the studentbody of BYU, but an instructional talk to faculty and staff of BYU, communicating to a very specific group on what is appropriate, and perhaps more importantly, what is not appropriate, in carrying out their duties as employees of a church-owned university. In a day when teachers take it upon themselves to teach their own philosophies and put forward many agendas, it is imperative that it is made clear to the faculty and staff that their teachings need to be in compliance with the gospel teachings. I have seen what happens when rogue teachers are allowed to go unchallenged in the things they espouse from their podiums. Thank you for reminding us of the Elder Holland we all know and love.

JulieAugust 28, 2021

I don't need to know Elder Holland personally to know that he is a great servant of God and loves us all. I love him. He is an incredible disciple of Christ and the gospel. His words in his talks and his actions speak volumes about the man of God that he is. His talks have helped through many a hard time. He loves us all, as Christ does.

Harold RustAugust 28, 2021

Thanks for this very uplifting support of a good (actually a very, very good) man. It is sad, but the natural man has an inclination to speak badly of others if he feels surrounded by a fan club of listeners. How many times have we seen someone willing to chime in with a biting negative comment regarding another person when they are with friends who are willing to listen and not refute their unkind remarks? That is what can happen even more easily now when social media encourages someone to blast out with blatantly hateful diatribes just so they can attempt to catch attention and puff their own ego? This article is one that needs to be repeated in the presence of any out there who even think of casting stones at an Apostle who is demonstrating love along with sharing fundamental principles of Gospel living. Surround these purveyors of hateful attacks with reasonable folks ready to discuss this issue calmly but thoughtfully and they will shrink in cowardice as they see that their words were worse than worthless. Thanks again for the uplifting words by this author.

Shauna PloegerAugust 28, 2021

Thank you for sharing your personal experience with Elder Holland and your personal faithfulness! The church being crystal clear on its doctrine on the family is the most compassionate path forward for those struggling with SSA. It's unfortunate that some members misunderstand the difference between a church policy (which can change) and doctrine of the Gospel of Christ (which is eternal and will not change). While it is clear, the brethren have a deep empathy (which I felt from Elder Holland in his talk), they cannot change eternal truths, which stand apart from men and their desires, no matter how good or right they might appear from the outside. God is at the helm of this church and the apostles do His bidding. I sincerely hope those with SSA stay in the church. We need you!! You have so much to give the church body at large. Your sexuality is not your only defining trait and not the only thing you can contribute in the Kingdom of God. We love you and are saddened by the trials that must accompany faithful membership in this church, but we applaud you for staying, for being faithful, for showing others the way forward.

SueAugust 28, 2021

Elder Holland's talk was timely and significant. It helped me feel more love and concern for gay people. I don't know how you could get upset when someone tears up and says how much he and the other apostles have prayed and cried over this topic. How much they love and care for all of us and how we should do the same. It is best to look at ourselves rather than throw darts at others

Matthew GlosengerAugust 28, 2021

Elder Holland, IMO, exemplified exactly what the priesthood of God is. LOVE. Brother Bennion is pretty close to that level himself. We can all learn great lessons from these two Men of God.

AnnetteAugust 27, 2021

Thank you for sharing your experiences with Elder Holland, Jeff. I have never met him personally but have found him to be one of the most endearing of church leaders as I've heard him speak in conferences and read his writings over the years. It is evident to me that he is a true servant of the Lord. I recently graduated from BYU-Idaho and was disappointed to learn during my course of study there that Marxism has infiltrated their English department as it has nearly every institution of higher learning in America, and in the American Foundations course, worldly academia's definition of Conservatism is taught. (I've known many Conservatives in my life, and none of them fit that definition.) So yay for Elder Holland for making it clear that church colleges and universities are not to take the world as their guide. I think the world is "too much with us" at our church campuses, most likely. This cannot be pleasing to the Lord.

Jo Ann OkelberryAugust 27, 2021

I watched this speech and listened to it. I thought it was a great talk. I have been concerned about how so many religious institutions are becoming so secular. I do not want to see the Church universities become secularized in order to gain favor of the few. I am a BYU graduate, and I have always been so proud that gospel principles were taught in so many of my classes. There are so many who would like to attend BYU, and I think that if people do not want to abide by the principles and rules of the university, they should let those who will take their places. I love Elder Holland. He speaks for millions of people.

Minerva MillerAugust 27, 2021

When Elder Holland was sustained as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ in 1994, I was watching the proceedings of that General Conference in a small Church classroom at the Stake Center in Berlin, Germany, through a small TV monitor receiving the transmission in English. But even in such a setting, I had this conviction in my heart then that he was truly called of God. That conviction has stayed with me--even all the more strengthened through the years, as I have studied and listened to his inspired messages and teachings. His most recent clarion call for the BYU to be unique, like President Kimball did decades ago, is nothing short of inspiration and expression of love but also concern. He lived up to the calling of an apostle of our Savior Jesus Christ by declaring the standards of the gospel fearlessly "amidst a tumult of opinions." Yet, he conveyed his message with kindness and compassion, I only felt further motivated to continue to show love, consideration and understanding to my fellow travelers on the road regardless of their gender orientation. I sustain Elder Holland with all my heart. God be thanked for such an exemplary leader in His Kingdom at this point in time!

BeccaAugust 27, 2021

I LOVE Elder Holland! I have had two friends have interactions with him, one where he invited them to his office to visit with them after their sister died by suicide and the other where he sweetly answered the letter from a first grade student. The LOVE he has for all of us is incalculable! Thank you Elder Holland for your service as the Lord’s representative, you truly follow His lead with love and compassion!!

Robert D StarlingAugust 27, 2021

To those critics who would be so foolhardy as to cast virtual stones at the Lord's anointed servant, I would repeat the words of our Savior to the woman who was caught in the act of sexual sin . . . go and sin no more.

CASAugust 27, 2021

Anyone who could find offense with the wonderful counsel of Elder Hollard's timely talk, needs to take a look in the mirror to see the real offender!

Michael SheaAugust 27, 2021

Expressions of outrage seem to have become the new American cultural norm. But outrage attracts an evil spirit like a shark is attracted by blood in turbulent water. Whenever I hear stories of this sort, I am reminded of a passage from Isaiah (29:18-21): “And in that day… the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: that make a man an offender for a word… and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.”. Fault-finding is a very dangerous habit.

ShaunaAugust 27, 2021

I love Elder Holland and am personally very grateful for his recent clarion call for BYU to embrace it's mission and purpose. I LOVED reading the whole talk and welcomed all of his counsel. I am so grateful for his passion for this great institution, that I also love, and where my children are currently attending. BYU must be different than other universities and align with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or it can't justify it's existence. There are too many members of the Church, clamoring for an education there, who are paying tithes and offerings, which support that institution, who will never set foot on campus, for BYU to align with the world. Note this searing quote from a BYUI devotional Elder Bednar delivered on January 26th, 2016 (as a past president of BYU-I and apostle), which is also true for BYU Provo students:“In the authority of the holy Apostleship, I now raise a voice of warning, and I make a solemn promise. If the day ever were to come that intellectual arrogance, a lack of appreciation, and a spirit of demanding entitlement take root on this campus — among the students, the faculty, the employees, the administration or within the community of Rexburg — then in that day the Spirit of Ricks will be well on the way to being extinguished. And the heavenly influence and blessings that have prospered this institution and the people associated with it will be withdrawn,” Bednar warned. “Conversely, as long as intellectual modesty, humility, gratitude, obedience, and frugality continue to characterize those who learn and serve at Brigham Young University-Idaho, then this university will shine forth ever brighter as a beacon of righteousness and of inspired educational innovation.” I have attended 3 private universities and repeat, that BYU must be fully aligned with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and its leaders, or risk discontinuation, or irrelevancy. So sad, but typical, that so many who are attacking him, didn't read his full talk in context. It is a brave, compassionate, piercing and prophetic call for BYU to remain true to it's mission, as outlined by President Kimball and others. I welcome it

Sasha KwapinskiAugust 27, 2021

It is difficult, in today's society, to recognize the difference and strike the balance between love and relativism. For many in today's world, "love" is thought of and equated to little more than the absence of moral standards. James 1:27 states concisely this "twin call" of exercising love and maintaining behavioral standards. "Pure religion and undefiled" consists in practicing both halves of that equation -- "visiting the orphans and widows" (reaching out in love to others), while remaining "unstained from the world" (maintaining standards of behavior and morality. As for me, I am proud to be a member of a denomination which understands that distinction (between love and relativism).

Leslie MadsenAugust 27, 2021

I was so impressed with Elder Holland’s thoughtful and sensitive remarks at BYU. He expressed compassion and understanding for those struggling with issues in life but reiterated the importance of this campus standing as a light to the rest of the academic world by staying true to the standards of the Church of Jesus Christ. Leslie Madsen

Anna DurfeeAugust 27, 2021

Thank you for your perspective and your defense of a true man of God. It's so unsettling what some took away from his BYU address. I took away a much different message. A friend of mine bristled at the musket analogy for some reason. Here was my response to him: The analogy first comes from Neal A. Maxwell. Holland chooses to emphasize it for BYU and its path forward, specifically for those in the classroom. Holland says as he quotes a letter sent to him, "But I would hope that BYU professors would be bridging those gaps between faith and intellect.." Then he goes into Maxwell's musket AND trowel analogy. Early church members did not have the luxury of being left alone as they built the church with their trowels. I would imagine, begrudgingly, they had to keep the muskets close. Maxwell uses that to liken it to the difficult situation many BYU, and other CES school professors can find themselves in. It comes up for a lot of my colleagues in the sciences a bit more often. There are times when it will APPEAR that new discoveries are in direct contrast with church doctrine. What do you do then? Or it will seem that current interpretations of social science studies are in contrast to church doctrine and resulting policies. Each professor has to ask themselves what will happen then. Maxwell's quote says, “In a way[,] [Latter-day Saint] scholars at BYU and elsewhere are a little bit like the builders of the temple in Nauvoo, who worked with a trowel in one hand and a musket in the other. Today scholars building the temple of learning must also pause on occasion to defend the kingdom." Oaks later asks, using the original Maxwell analogy, to hear more musket fire, meaning that perhaps too many professors who can see the link between the secular and the spiritual are instead backing down and not saying anything for fear of whatever may come of that. Back in the early church, the musket may have been just as necessary as the trowel to build up the church. Perhaps the message is that today that same is true. Since engaging in the conversation with you, Brian, which I have really loved doing so thank you for keeping the dialogue open, I've been thinking about peace. How do we get peace? I just listened to the Saturday session of last conference where Elder Holland's talk is on peace. As he spoke, I thought, well, you could get peace through war. That's not fun. No one wants that. But there are times when the enemy won't relent, won't stop trying to harm you and threaten your existence and so you have to fight. Then there is peace you get because everyone has learned to love each other, even when they disagree. That's the ideal right there. Unfortunately, another way to get peace, or pseudo peace, is to back down or to give up. It's like in movies where the enemy promises the other side that they'll stop if the other side joins the enemy. If the other side joins the enemy, the conflict ends and there is a sort of peace, but the peace came with too many concessions and compromises, leaving the other side probably without much of what they wanted. So where you see a problem bringing up the concept of the musket and musket fire as a poor way to illustrate the difficulties and challenges ahead, I see, perhaps, a better way to understand how to gain, gradually, the ideal type of peace. By defending our doctrine, the very gospel of our Lord and Savior, we will, undoubtedly, cause some discord. That's unfortunate. It's unfortunate that someone can bring upon themselves hate and vitriol because they wish to defend the gospel just like it's unfortunate that someone can bring upon themselves hate for defending the rights of LGBTQ people or people of color. But should we or, in the audience's case, scholars at the Lord's universities, choose to gain peace through throwing up the white flag and conceding the entire ground of the gospel, then we gain a frail, weak, mirage of true peace. Just as those fighting for equality could just give up and go home and therefore gain a certain mirage of peace because well, they just stopped fighting. The thing I like about Holland's talk is the call for more understanding and earnest intentionality in how we reconcile our faith with secular knowledge because THAT might eventually lead to the kind of peace where everyone has just learned to love each other despite disagreement. Scholars or church members who have studied the doctrine and have learned to live it with exactness will become the kind that can communicate their genuine love for others despite disagreement. This might help those that disagree with us about our doctrine learn to love us too even though they disagree. Then you get real peace. Christ had to contend with others, sometimes quite frequently, in order for Him to teach the gospel which He knew would eventually lead to the kind of eternal peace we all want. Peace is a process and parts of the process include defending ourselves and the truths we have a testimony of and doing it in a way that might aid understanding."

Joan BennionAugust 27, 2021

In full disclosure, Jeff is my son. I know of no one who tries to live a more Christ-like life and I have been blessed to be on his journey with him. Watching him take some darts along the way has been painful as his mother but I so appreciate his spiritual insight and courage to live his truth. I know his heart and his love & compassion for his fellow travelers. I have also been gratified to know of those souls he has helped & encouraged. We can all do better in replacing hate & misunderstanding with love and understanding for all of God’s children. Our journeys are not all the same but we must anchor ourselves to God’s principles and love for each of us and try always to share it with others no matter where we are in our journey. I love my LGBTQ friends one and all. And thank you Jeff, with whom I share a great love for Elder Holland and for sharing tender thoughts and feelings in this article. They are mine as well, I love you both.

LindaAugust 27, 2021

Apostasy begins with criticizing out church leaders. That's just what Satan wants.

Kerry ClarkAugust 27, 2021

In 1998 on a Sunday, our family was in the Lobby of LDS Hospital waiting for an elevator. We were on our way to see my mother who was a patient in the hospital. While waiting, Elder Holland walked in hurriedly. I quickly said while pointing to my 12 year old son "Elder Holland, meet the newest Deacon in The Church". Elder Holland congratulated my son and gave him a side hug and a little "noogie" - probably because my son is a red head. Sadly this son passed nearly 4 years ago from a drug and alcohol overdose. I have always been grateful for the brief interaction my son had with Elder Holland.

E. L.August 27, 2021

I woke up this morning to see a post on my Facebook feed by my very bitter, hate-filled adult child about Elder Holland and his talk at BYU. Rather than responding to the vitriol he is claiming to be "true", I searched out the actual talk and wasn't surprised to read a loving talk taken incredibly out of context. Almost immediately after, I found this article. Thank you. I've tried to teach my children to go to the source before doing, saying, or even believing anything. Unfortunately I don't think it would have mattered in this case. This child is just so full of hate and contention and it's best to ignore things like this. I love Elder Holland and wish I could have the opportunity to sit with him and discuss the many talks he's given that have felt specifically for me over the years.

Dennis HorneAugust 27, 2021

I have had no personal interactions with Elder Holland but I still know him to be an apostle and special witness of the Lord Jesus Christ and that is good enough for me to sustain him completely and follow his counsel.

Carol RadmallAugust 27, 2021

I personally love Elder Hollands talks, he oozes love, kindness, caring, spiritualness above measure! He pours his heart and soul out in his talks! I don't understand how anyone could be offended by his words! He is truly inspired and a man of God. The prophets throughout history have been stoned whenever they have heard anything that they didn't agree with! Society has been becoming very angry! I feel if the Savior gave the talk he couldn't have said it any better than Elder Holland ~ the fact is that God's laws do not change! They never will! We will never be exempt from keeping the commandments!

Herm OlsenAugust 27, 2021

Great message about an even greater man!

A. BinghamAugust 27, 2021

We are witnessing the virtual stoning of an apostle who speaks the truth by very cruel people using weaponized social media tactics.

MichelleAugust 27, 2021

Thank you for this perspective. Come Follow Me manual suggested Pres Eyring’s April 2019 talk: The Power of Sustaining Faith. Every member needs to review it and give an honest introspective look at him/herself. George Q. Cannon’s warning, that he quoted, was powerful. Criticism of the Lord’s chosen leaders leads us into darkness.

Duane BoyceAugust 27, 2021

A saddening but wonderful article. Personally, I do not feel worthy of Elder Holland. That he is undergoing criticism demonstrates that some can find something to criticize in anyone and anything. Elder Holland's greatness of soul should be obvious, and that alone should exempt him from such treatment. Apparently--sadly--it is not so. That is a pity that nothing can justify.

Jill AndrewsAugust 27, 2021

Thank you for sharing your experiences Jeff as a testament to the words and deeds that should at the very least count as evidence of how we can interpret Elder Holland's remarks. My heart breaks with yours that such an outpouring of love could be so utterly misunderstood. Experience has also taught me the truth you included re: the scriptures speaking of “the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.” Satan enjoys bringing additional misery and woe to those already bearing the burden of same sex attraction by whatever means necessary including "stirring their hearts up to anger" because that's who he is. Let us not be a reflection of that!

Steve SwappAugust 27, 2021

I can only echo and say amen to this Gospel-based perspective offered by Jeff Bennion. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who I have met and corresponded with on a variety of occasions, and the other Apostles of the Lord leading His Restored Church have spent much time in prayer, study, conversations, and apostolic consultation to design loving and encouraging responses to the concerns surrounding the various types of sexual attraction God's children experience during this sometimes troubling mortal existence on Earth as well as toward the sexual orientations and self-labeling that individuals have been adopting to try to understand and describe their sexual attractions and related characteristics. The leaders of the Lord's Church, after carefully considering the many interpretations and viewpoints that people have developed in recent decades, the first thing they did was to create a website and a booklet to reassure those who experience sexual attractions and feelings about their gender that don't seem to align easily with the clear teachings of the Church regarding the proper use of our sexuality, and these materials focused almost exclusively on reassuring affected people and teaching the general Church membership that Christian discipleship requires us to develop understanding, love, and empathy for our brothers and sisters who face these special challenges and any others in this mortal life. Nothing in their words has indicated that it is proper to distance ourselves from same-gender attracted Saints or those facing the doubts and anxieties that come with gender dysphoria. Quite the opposite! We have been called to repentance for our lacking love and support for the people around us facing these challenges, and happily many Latter-day Saints are realizing that these are people we need to love and encourage, just as we need to do for all people on the Earth. To be a consecrated disciple of the Christ while at the same time experiencing such confusing sexual and identity feelings is one of this life's more difficult challenges, perhaps in our age even more than in centuries past because of the philosophies and assumptions that have been built up and popularized and are partially based on truths but contain many mistaken conclusions. Many good people in and out of the Church have adopted certain beliefs that are not really true, and it has led sincere people battling with these challenges as well as many family members and friends away from the truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and even to have doubts about the important teachings the Lord is having His apostles instill in our hearts. So without getting into the many details and questions for which millions of Saints and other Christians and others need better understanding and the unshakable witness from the Holy Spirit, let me just say this to keep this complex issue simple for the moment: Voices of the world (in this case those supporting various tenets of what we can call "gay philosophy") and voices from the anointed leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ often sound like opposing clarion calls. Sometimes it's a matter of seeing things from a different perspective, and sometimes it really is satanic forces spreading easy-to-believe lies about the teachings of the Church and the path to true and lasting happiness. My heartfelt advice is for us who desire to be faithful disciples of the Christ to lean towards the answers and guidance provided to us by the wise, prayerful, and inspired leaders of the Church rather than automatically interpreting everything through worldly lenses, which are partially true and to a great degree misleading. Truly, we need to be able to perceive the full palette of truths on the subject in order to understand what the leaders in the LGBTQIA community have right and what they have erred in. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men... We hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

RebeccaAugust 27, 2021

Amen to this great article!!

ChristineAugust 26, 2021

Thank you so much. As one who has loved Elder Holland and his powerful messages of peace and love and hope and faith in Jesus Christ for all of my adult life, I thank you for your beautiful words. He has been a beacon to me and blessed my life in ways I cannot even begin to articulate. Thank you for your words in defense of a very good man and servant of the Lord. May God bless you and your family.

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