Nicole is my guest pioneer today. She hails from Lance, Nicole, and Jacob.
Nicole is often found with a smile on her face and a kind word on her lips. She seeks for the good in other people and openly recognizes others' accomplishments and feats. She is most proud of her son, Jacob, and rejoices in Jacob's abilities and love. She and her husband, Lance, act as if they are still honeymooners with always a gentle touch or a quick smile.
That's why I think that living the gospel of Jesus Christ is like pioneering a new frontier in today's world. A pioneer has courage. They are among the first in an enterprise, and fearlessly go where others have not gone before. Many of us do that, in the choices we make every day, by standing up for our beliefs, fearlessly telling about our religion, and trying to be true Christians.
The more a person rises in the public eye, the more closely their religious beliefs are scrutinized. As I watch the various presidential candidates begin their campaigns, I can't help but cringe when I read things like this, from members of the LDS faith:
“I can’t say I’m overly religious,” Jon Huntsman told Fortune magazine last year. “I get satisfaction from many different types of religions and philosophies.” In a TIME magazine interview, he said, “I’m a very spiritual person and proud of my Mormon roots." Pressed on whether he is still a member, he said, “That’s tough to define."
On the other hand, when I read the following, I was much more impressed:
There are some who “would prefer it if I would simply distance myself from my religion, say that it is more a tradition than my personal conviction or disavow one or another of its precepts,” Mitt Romney said in a 2007 speech. “That I will not do. I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it."
I don't support Mitt Romney just because he's Mormon. In fact, I don't agree with several of his policies. But I do think it's awesome that he stands up for his beliefs. He's being a pioneer.
Though it's difficult to be a pioneer when everyone's watching, it's even harder to be a pioneer when no one is watching. Like my friend Jenna. We met in college. Our group of friends was having a hard time getting along. A bunch of twenty year old girls, all living together, trying to date, go to school, and work? No stress there...
Well, gradually, everyone started talking behind each others' backs within our group of friends. All kinds of critical, ugly, jealous things. And it got worse and worse. Talking just seems like talking, until it changes the way you act to the person. My friend Jenna got sick of it. She was tired of listening to her friends speaking unkindly about her other friends when they weren't around. So she asked me to join her - we would be the first two of our group to make the pact. Hopefully the rest would follow. We promised to each other that we wouldn't speak unkindly about any of our friends, or let others do it in our presence.
Well I'm still trying to keep that pact! Being critical of others is really easy. It's a path travelled more often than not - a wide road full of people. Jenna is a pioneer. She was taking the road not taken, the path less travelled by. And it has made all the difference to me.