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Question

 

Gramps,

If a priesthood holder (high priest), Temple recommend holder and family man has a long standing dislike for giving Sacrament talks and says no when asked to talk; is that a serious breach of gospel life?

Kim

 

Answer

 

Dear Kim,

I’ve always thought it is wonderful that in the Church we start teaching children the art of public speaking at the age of three in Primary.  What a great way to develop talents.  At the same time, I recognize that fear of public speaking is one of the most common fears, and thus not everyone will welcome this experience.

I can think of different reasons that a person might decline the request to give a talk, ranging from minor discomfort to severe conflict.  At either end of that scale, I don’t see saying “no”, as a serious sin, but more like the loss of an opportunity.  The Savior has asked us to be the light of the world and not hide that light under a bushel.  Considering all that Christ sacrificed for us, I would hate to think I could not overcome minor discomfort to honor this request.

However, there are times when I think a person can honestly be excused from this assignment.  For example, a sister in my ward struggled for a time under tremendous shame about abuse she had suffered as a child.  She did not feel comfortable speaking, or praying publicly.  With time, however, she was able to work through these feelings and begin to accept opportunities to pray and speak once again.  Anxiety and depression are becoming increasingly more common, and people dealing with those issues may have a legitimate need to pass.  For these reasons, it is important not to judge.

If the resistance is only a “dislike”, then I would encourage that person to push through his or her discomfort in order to let their light shine forth  Surely the Lord will be pleased with the effort.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

 

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