For most of my working career, I have been the only LDS person among my co-workers. Even now, while I live in Utah, I am almost always the only member of the church on all teams I work on. While this has been a great experience, it has led to some rather difficult situations.
On those rare occasions when I travel and meet face to face with members from my team, I quickly realize that we do not all share the same standards. For example, after the work day is over, the vast majority of team members enjoy going to the bar or seeking out entertainment that is not consistent with my standards.
Along with that, there is a tendency for team members to use profane language and to share vulgar and inappropriate stories and jokes with each other. Now, I want to make it clear, these are not bad people; in fact, quite the opposite, these are very good people. This is simply the reality of living in a fallen world.
I bring this up because almost all of you will find yourselves in similar situations in the not do distant future. In fact, some of you are facing such situations today. Let me share with you some advice that has worked well for me.
Stand your ground. Simply because everyone else is participating in conversations or activities inconsistent with LDS standards does not mean you have to. In my own situation, over time I have gained more respect by not participating in any activities that would compromised my standards.
Live the standards at all times. The real measure of your devotion to Christ is how you live your standards when no one is watching or when you are with a group of friends. Don’t let the questionable standards of others cloud your judgment.
If my mother could see me, would I still act this way? Typically, our resistance against the world weakens when we are relaxed and with friends. This is when we must be on our guard against the filth so prevalent in our society. Do your best to act as you would if our mother was in the room with you.
Discipline defines the disciple. In my opinion, the use of profanity and the occasional foray into vulgarity represent a severe lack of discipline. Likewise, it violates the charge we all have to bridle our passions. Think before you speak.
I am convinced that if you can apply these four simple suggestions into your lives that you will never struggle with being in the world and not of it. Also, I promise that those with whom you associate, both in and out of the church, will hold you in higher esteem and respect you for being true to your standards.