A year or two ago, I stumbled across the Instagram page of Live Action, perhaps the largest and most legitimized prolife organization in the country. They are dedicated to educating society about prenatal science and the reality of abortion. I was shocked as I learned more and more about what was going on around me, all while everyone went on with our lives.
So I did what any respectable semi-millennial/semi-gen-z person would do.
I conducted extensive internet research.
And I began to share and share what I found all over my social media networks.
Then, I began to ask myself what more I could do.
I applied to become a Live Action Ambassador and was accepted. From there, I was sent exclusive emails with training and steps of how to get the word out, as well as other resources for initiating local events.
After just a few weeks in the private Ambassador Facebook group, however, I started to feel uncomfortable.
At first, I loved being in a group who believed in fighting for the life of the unborn and who were so passionate about it. I learned from them, too.
However, I realized I did not like the way some people began to talk about outsiders, and even about prolifers who did not hold the exact same dogma. It was an echo chamber of confirming beliefs, which led to little tolerance for even slight disagreement.
While most people were kind and intelligent, a few people used flippant, inconsiderate language used to debunk prochoice statements or accounts—really, they weren’t debunking, they were just name-calling or teasing.
Many of these people put their adherence to fighting abortion ahead of anything and everything else. Even worse, I worried that I too would or had put evangelizing the prolife worldview over evangelizing the Gospel.
So I took a small step back, and I left the Ambassador group.
What I Learned
Mainly, I learned to be careful when jumping on a bandwagon, especially an emotional one.
I still fully believe the prolife perspective to be the correct and virtuous one, and I still seek out ways to stand up for the unborn. (See “Abortion: God’s Word Cuts Through the Fog”)
I also still generally agree with most claims by Live Action, and perhaps I should have remained in their Ambassadors’ group.
But I now have an increased, prudent wariness of groupthink. Groupthink is a phenomenon that occurs when a likeminded group of individuals depend too much on their group identity and fail to use their individual thought, often leading to poor decision making.
Also, after seeing what an ideological echo chamber can do with your ability to respond calmly, kindly, and logically to another point of view, I’m also doing my best to identify and keep in check any unhealthy, negative emotional response I might have toward others when they propose opposing ideas.
I believe any group, regardless of the correctness of their cause, is prone to both of these issues.
There are many good causes to get on board with, and we should have opinions on important issues that are formed with a scriptural, Godly lens. We should even take action as inspired by the Spirit.
But I recommend caution when considering what ship to get on and how far you will sail with it.
Draw lines between ideologies and entities to which you subscribe.
This doesn’t mean you can’t choose to be a part of a political campaign, protest, or movement!
But know your boundaries. There is a difference between a principle and a person. You can keep your perspectives without getting or staying behind a candidate, group, or organization.
Above all, prioritize your commitment to God over your commitment to any entity—or ideology.
There is only one organization that I deem worthy of my guaranteed, lifelong membership and eternal commitment, and that is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the only church with direct authority from Jesus Christ. The mission of doing His will on this earth in this life is worth any challenges.
Let me be clear: this doesn’t mean I’m not wary of cases of groupthink and hostility within the Church. I think they can and do happen among members, especially online.
However, I have a strong testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel and Church of Jesus Christ, that He leads His Church, and that He moves in and through His Church to bring about His will.
That’s what makes the risk both minimal and worth it, as long as we, members of the Church, are striving to be like Christ in idea, behavior, and treatment of others.
What Is Your Mission?
These words about Alma on his mission have been replaying in my ears in the last several weeks:
I believe we were given callings for your life on Earth, to which you may have even been foreordained. (See “Foreordination,” Gospel Topics) They are causes about which you are passionate, ways for you to bring about good in the world. I call these “little missions.”
It’s wonderful to work in our little missions! I believe standing up for unborn babies is one of my little missions. Yours are probably different. For example, you might be passionate about stopping human trafficking, improving child literacy, promoting racial equality, or even taking care of dementia patients.
It’s okay to only have one or a few good causes as your little mission(s). God has given us unique strengths, but limited time on earth, so take advantage of it, and don’t spread yourself too thin.
Whatever it is, choose a mission, and ask God if it is a worthy cause. Then, consulting God on how to move forward, go and do good in that area.
Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;Doctrine & Covenants 58:27
As you move forward doing good, however, remember that you have only one, most important mission on the Earth. That mission, given to you before this Earth began, is to bring souls unto Christ. Those souls are, in order of your responsibility, yourself, your children, and everyone God places in your life.
There are a lot of ways to bring about good in this world, but none of them is as effective or important as the “preaching of the word,” which has “a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just”. As I always say, Jesus solves all problems. Preaching His word will have “more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else”. (Alma 31:5)
Take a step back. Check yourself often. Are your little missions overshadowing your Mission? Do you talk, write, read, post, or share more about your mission than your Mission?
If so, don’t worry; I’ve been there, too.
Just step back from your little mission for a minute. Refocus on Christ. He will show you the way forward.
What Are Your Little Missions?
What are your little missions? How do you keep your little missions in check with your Mission?