[B]eing of the same mind does not mean making the same daily choices. We have to pray and then decide individually what is right for us and our family, what is right based upon our own life circumstances and the answers we receive. Being of the same mind does mean we support and sustain each other in the righteous choices we each make.
As a simple example: In one of the classes I teach at Brigham Young University, I have shown a documentary about a couple of inner-city young men that try to improve their life chances through playing basketball. This documentary is rated PG-13; there is one very vulgar word that is heard in a song one of the young men listens to. In class, I would mute the sound during that part of the documentary so as not to offend anyone.
One semester, after I told the students we were going to watch this documentary for our next class period, I had a young woman come up to me after class with a question. She told me that she had made a personal commitment not to watch PG-13 films. Now, this is not a personal commitment that I have made, nor would be likely to make. I generally choose movies based on reading reviews and other information in addition to the basic ratings. Given her request, I had several options. I could have dismissed her commitment because it was not something I would do. I could have emphasized that I have identified the reason for the rating, and that I self-censor the film so there was no reason she couldn’t watch it. Or I could have sustained her in her commitment, even though it is not a commitment I would make. I chose to sustain her and told her that I respected her decision. I indicated it was fine if she didn’t come to class to see the film and provided an alternative.
I believe it is possible to respect the righteous decisions of others without necessarily making the same decisions ourselves. When we pray and receive personal revelation from the Lord about a decision, that does not mean it is a revelation for others. Personal revelation does not mean everyone else must make the same decision. If my answer from the Lord was for me to follow one life path, and your answer was to follow another, we both can still be making righteous choices. We can both be doing what the Lord wants us to do.
To illustrate this, I share a very personal story. Everyone who interviews for a faculty position at BYU has an interview with a General Authority. In my interview, more than fifteen years ago, I raised a question about being employed at BYU as a mother with children at home. The General Authority who interviewed me said two very important things. First, he reaffirmed the principles laid out in the proclamation on the family. Then he said, “You and your husband need to pray to Father in Heaven and decide what is best for your kingdom—that is, your family.” And then he said, “I am happy to recommend you to teach at BYU.”
I came away from that experience with a testimony that we each must individually keep the commandments. As we are obedient, keep our covenants, pray, and read the scriptures, we will receive personal revelation regarding how we individually should apply the principles of the gospel in our lives. I believe that the Lord has directed my husband and me in the family decisions we have made. And I also believe that the Lord directs—and will direct—each of you in making decisions that are best for your kingdom.
We need to sustain each other in righteous choices even when they are different from our own.