Overcoming the Winds of Opinion on Social Media

During his address to the women of the Church this past General Conference, Dieter F. Uchtdorf said the following…

“When we [give others control over how we feel and behave], we are driven about by every wind of opinion—and in this day of ever present social media, those winds blow at hurricane intensity.”

Near our home at the Curiosity Museum at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah, they have a wind simulator. I remember standing in this simulator experiencing 60+ mph winds. It was loud, and I was completely engulfed. These winds were nowhere near hurricane force winds, but it was enough for me to understand just how distracting they can be. It’s hard to think, hard to move. You feel powerless. 

What a great analogy! It doesn’t take more than a minute on social media to understand Elder Uchtdorf’s point. It’s so easy to write and post an opinion. And now more than ever people have what I call “internet courage.” Things are said online that would not be conveyed in such a way if the conversation were happening face to face and in person. I could go on, and I’m sure books can be (and probably have been) written on the topic, but I digress.

Elder Uchtdorf brings home his point with this question, “…why should you surrender your happiness to someone, or a group of someones, who cares very little about you or your happiness?”

It’s not worth getting caught up in the opinions of others, especially when those people are either claiming anonymity, or people you’ve never met. It’s also important to remember that opinions are not facts or truth. I found myself caught up in simply reading these discussions, not even participating, and feeling very low. It’s just not worth it. 

We have to take time to reflect on our beliefs and focus on what we know, so that when storms come and try to distract us, we can hold fast to what we know to be truth. It starts with the little things (attending church, reading the scriptures and words of the prophets, saying our prayers, etc.) that build our testimonial foundations in preparation for times of trial.

“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” -Matthew 7: 25

“O be wise; what can I say more?” -Jacob 6:12

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