Last Friday, we had a zone conference with another zone. Zone conference is when two “zones” or large areas of missionaries come together to be with the mission president and his wife, to learn how to be better missionaries and how to be better people.
One of the themes of this zone conference was “Peculiar/Strange.” Just that. Just those two words. We were asked to study up on those two words in the scriptures or talks from General Conference or the Ensign.
One of the dictionary definitions for the word peculiar is “belonging exclusively to” or “particular, special.” Doesn’t sound too weird now, does it?
Strange: unusual or surprising in a way that is unsettling or hard to understand.
Ok. No beating around the bush with that one. Being ‘strange’ in other words is just plain weird. So what does that mean? In the Bible, we are called a “peculiar people” and in modern revelation Christ has called the work of salvation His “strange work.” So what does that mean for us? We’re peculiar people involved in a strange work…
Basically, it means that we’re just plain weird. If you look at us, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (and especially us missionaries), we’re really weird. Just think about it: we don’t drink coffee, tea, or alcohol or smoke; our ministry isn’t paid; we missionaries have a strict daily schedule and we even pay to be out here in the mission field to talk to strangers all day every day; we build temples and worship in them; we go to church 3 hours every Sunday and attend church activities during the week; we rigorously research our ancestors because we believe that we can be baptised for them; we ordain young men to the priesthood at 12 years old, we have a very high standard of morality; we have prophets and apostles; we believe in modern revelation; we have another book of scripture in addition to the Bible; we have intricate organization… And the list goes on. Yeah. We’re pretty weird.
But if being weird means keeping the commandments and following the direction that God has given us, then let us be weird.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
In other words, it’s ok if we’re weird and if the world hates us. The world hated Christ first and if we’re doing our best to follow Him then the world is going to hate us, too. But be of good cheer. Don’t check your religion at the door. If we endure to the end, we will gain eternal life through our efforts and the Atonement of Christ.
Besides, this world could use a little more weird. If you’re looking for something, don’t keep looking for what seems the easiest or more popular route.
“It is impossible to stand upright when one plants his roots in the shifting sands of popular opinion and approval. Needed is the courage of a Daniel, an Abinadi, a Moroni, or a Joseph Smith in order for us to hold strong and fast to that which we know is right. They had the courage to do not that which was easy but that which was right.” –President Thomas S. Monson
If you want the world to be a different place, you have to dare to be different.