in·clu·siv·i·ty (inklo͞oˈsivədē/): An intention or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized.
Add this word (and it’s variations) to the other three the devil has hijacked over the years: diversity, choice, and tolerance.
Picture: A depiction of Christ helping the woman taken in adultery. He was asking her to change her behavior. Today, people fail to let Christ help them change, and rather, ask everyone to accept their behavior.
There is an interesting word that shows up in the scriptures. It is “wrest.” It means to “twist, distort, or pervert, in the sense of accommodating.” In our day, people have twisted, distorted, and perverted the words of diversity, choice, tolerance, and now inclusiveness. Why? So as to get accommodation for a life that is often contrary to the nature of righteousness. These words are popular among people who support the false idea of moral relativism.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints counseled:
Beware of Moral Relativism. It is well to worry about our moral foundation. We live in a world where more and more persons of influence are teaching and acting out a belief that there is no absolute right and wrong, that all authority and all rules of behavior are man-made choices that can prevail over the commandments of God. Many even question whether there is a God.
The philosophy of moral relativism, which holds that each person is free to choose for himself what is right and wrong, is becoming the unofficial creed for many in America and other Western nations. At the extreme level, evil acts that used to be localized and covered up like a boil are now legalized and paraded like a banner. (“Truth and Tolerance,” BYU Speeches of the Year, September 11, 2011)
Inclusivity, diversity, choice, and tolerance are often used in context to perpetuate no absolute right or wrong. Anything goes with no responsibility or accountability. Greater deception occurs when people try to use the scriptures to claim the Savior thought likewise (the word love has been hijacked as well).
The Savior is very inclusive, on His terms. Everyone is invited into His kingdom, but must meet His standards. He taught this in the parable of the Bridegroom. The Savior said the five foolish virgins in the parable “knew him not” and where shut out from the marriage. Coincidentally the correct translation is “Ye” (meaning the five foolish virgins) “knew me not” (See Matthew 25:1-12).
Think on a secular level for a minute. Colleges are inclusive. Black, white, gay, atheist, etc… can apply. But not all get in. Certain standards and requirements must be met. Not all meet them. Everyone, regardless of orientation, is welcome to be in the Olympics, but not all meet the qualifying terms.
Anyone is welcome when they meet the Savior’s terms. Ironically in this sense, those who shout inclusiveness, tolerance, choice, and diversity are excluding themselves. Perhaps their sandy foundation presses them to ignorantly, and angrily at times, distort these words lest they be embarrassed, lest they be exposed, lest they fall (See 2 Nephi 28:28).
The Son of God had to correct his disciples for being faithless. He also had to confront moneychangers and evil doers in the temple, His father’s house. He drove them from the temple turned their property and practices upside down. The woman taken in adultery was spared a stoning at His intervention, but still was commanded to “go and sin no more.” She needed to meet the terms, which included not to sin anymore, which means the Savior saw adultery as a sin. Let us not forget that he called out the hypocrites for being like “whited sepulchers, full of dead man’s bones.” These are conditional situation and statements. There are many, many more from the Savior in the scriptures.
Theses and plenty of other examples help us see that the Savior is tolerant (long-suffering). He is does allow choice (with accountability and consequences). He also understands diversity (but invites us to be one—with Him and His Father—according to their standards). He is very inclusive (but asks us to repent and change).
President Boyd K. Packer provided a simple response to those who want to twist and distort these words. “Now words can be used as weapons against you. If they throw the word diversity at you, grab hold of it and say, “I am already diverse, and I intend to stay diverse.” If the word is tolerance, grab that one, too, saying, “I expect you to be tolerant of my lifestyle—obedience, integrity, abstinence, repentance.” If the word is choice, tell them you choose good, old-fashioned morality. You choose to be a worthy husband or wife, a worthy parent” (“The Standard of Truth Has Been Erected”).
President Packer has recently passed on. But I am confident he would say that when the word inclusive is used, “grab hold of it” and say, “I will not exclude the scriptures and the commandments, and religion. I will not marginalize the Savior and His followers but allow people to worship how, where, or what they may. I will welcome all those who want to live according to principles that assure law and order rather than chaos. I will be warm and kind to all.”
For me, President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and a renowned heart surgeon provides the right perspective to see and understand our current situation. “Intolerance seeds contention; tolerance supersedes contention. Tolerance is the key that opens the door to mutual understanding and love.” However he then warned of boundless tolerance.
Now may I offer an important note of caution. An erroneous assumption could be made that if a little of something is good, a lot must be better. Not so! Overdoses of needed medication can be toxic. Boundless mercy could oppose justice. So tolerance, without limit, could lead to spineless permissiveness. The Lord drew boundary lines to define acceptable limits of tolerance. Danger rises when those divine limits are disobeyed. Just as parents teach little children not to run and play in the street, the Savior taught us that we need not tolerate evil.
The war of words, the twisting and distorting of the Savior’s teachings will only increase. At what point do we recognize that it’s not in our favor individually or collectively?