9 experiences from those who accepted President Nelson’s invitation to be peacemakers

From having more patience on social media to changing hearts in relationships, readers share their experiences of being a peacemaker

Linda Millar, of the Yosemite Ward, Fresno California West Stake, said that while she can’t control how others feel, she can feel at peace with her efforts. 

“I can feel peace knowing God knows I am doing what I can to be a peacemaker,” she said. 

During the April 2023 general conference, President Russell M. Nelson invited listeners to be peacemakers. “Peacemaking is a choice. You have your agency to choose contention or reconciliation. I urge you to choose to be a peacemaker, now and always,” he said. 

He concluded with an invitation: “Today I invite you to examine your discipleship within the context of the way you treat others. I bless you to make any adjustments that may be needed so that your behavior is ennobling, respectful and representative of a true follower of Jesus Christ.”

In June and July, President Nelson reiterated his invitation to be peacemakers and listed ways to disagree in a Christlike way.

The Church News asked for experiences of those who accepted the Prophet’s invitation. From helping Primary children learn to be peacemakers to finding internal peace, here are several responses. They have been edited for length and clarity.  

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Teaching children

“Our Primary in Beaverton, Oregon, is working hard on following the Prophet’s counsel. We talk often of how we can be peacemakers and ask the children to have ‘peacemaker bodies.’ Our two goals are to be kind to our neighbors (meaning the other children in our Primary) and respect our leaders and teachers. There has been a beautiful change in our meetings on Sunday. The teachers urge their children to be more attentive, and the children are becoming more reverent. The Holy Ghost is felt more often during singing time, and it is a beautiful change to witness.”

— Meg Bristow, Beaverton, Oregon

Children raise their hands and participate in Primary.
Children participate in Primary. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Extending an apology

“In June of 2023, I felt impressed to reach out to a former high school friend who hadn’t treated me well in high school. I had forgiven this person long before June 2023. But I still dealt with some of the aftermath, all these years later. The Spirit prompted me to reach out to her to make amends and, like the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, bury our weapons of war. Doing this has enlarged my understanding of charity, the pure love of Christ. It also helped me recognize mistakes I made in high school (and apologize to her for them). My love of God and others has grown. May we emulate the example of Joseph Smith, who forgave W.W. Phelps: ‘For, friends at first, again are friends at last.’”

— Britton J. Orwin, Saddle Brook Ward, Herriman Utah Mountain Ridge Stake

The decision to not argue

“During the height of pandemic precautions, one of the benefits was people couldn’t get too close to you when food shopping. In England, people love standing very close to each other at the tills and reaching over you to get food. … It was frustrating when the rules were lifted, the same group of people went back to pre-COVID-19 behavior. I’m trying really hard not to get annoyed with them, as it is irritating. Most of the time I succeed. Something I’m getting better at as people can get offended and become very hostile when it’s pointed out to them. I decided to in these situations, for my own blood pressure, not to argue with them. The Prophet’s message helped me to do this.” 

— Theresa McCormick, Chorley 3rd Ward, Chorley England Stake 

Hands hold a smartphone with icons representing social media are above it.
A reader learned an important lesson while trying to be a peacemaker and avoid contention on social media. |

Responding with patience on social media

“After President Russell M. Nelson’s comments in the April 2023 conference, and after reading the instructions to youth about using social media, I decided to reinstate one of my social media accounts, but this time, with a set of different [personal] rules. In November 2020, I deleted all of my social media accounts because of the contention. I thought I would never go back. But, about a month ago, I decided to create a new account.

“This time, I try to post positive things about the Church. If someone decides to contend with me, and it is obvious, I ignore or block them if they are really persistent. If it isn’t obvious, I’ll answer questions respectfully.

“The other day, I was about to stop talking to someone because it looked like their questions about sacrament were heading towards contention. … I thought I’d give him one more chance. … I shared some quotes from conference talks and [other explanations]. 

“His next response made me feel good that I did not choose to contend with him. He told me he was a new convert to the Church. …

“I’m happy I decided to take the higher road and not turn his initial questions into an argument. …  The lesson I learned was, ‘Don’t question someone’s motives for asking, and respond in kindness.’”

— D. Brent Walton, Saratoga Springs, Utah

Jesus hangs on the cross between two thieves.
Remembering how Jesus Christ prayed out loud for those who wronged Him, helped a reader find peace with others. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Changing hearts and healing the hurt

“I was incredibly touched by President Russell M. Nelson’s talk on being a peacemaker, in part because I am a divorced mom of four. He suggested that divorced people do not need your judgment, only your pure love, and I felt very known by the Prophet and God in that comment. I was moved to astonished tears.

“During my divorce, many close to me have hurt me badly. Of course, I related to President Nelson’s joke about thinking that people around me needed his talk. But I nonetheless asked myself what I could do more to forgive. I remembered how Jesus Christ on the cross prayed out loud for those who had wronged Him. He could have done it in His heart, but instead He said the words aloud. I believe there is great power in expressing faith through the spoken word.

“So I started praying aloud for those who had been unkind during my divorce. The result was astonishing. Where I had thought that I had done everything I needed to forgive and in return had neutral feelings for these people, now I wanted better for them in their lives. I thought about what they might need, and I prayed for those specific things. I couldn’t believe that the act of praying aloud could change my heart and remove the pain of hurt.

“I hope this helps someone know that the hurt they feel from others can be miraculously changed by God into peace simply by the verbal expression of faith on their behalf. Just as Christ showed us on the cross.”

— Tiffany Dominguez, Dry Creek Ward, Alpine Utah North Stake

A person prays with clasped hands on scriptures.
Praying aloud for those who had hurt her have helped one reader change her heart and heal some of the pain she has felt. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Find more internal peace

“At first when I heard the challenge to be a peacemaker and to resolve conflicts with others, I felt awful, because for such a long time I’ve prayed and tried to resolve conflicts with siblings. However, as I prayed about President Russell M. Nelson’s challenge, I realized that the peace I needed to feel and the conflict I had to resolve were within myself. I stopped beating myself up about not being able to resolve conflicts, because I cannot change how other people feel. By doing this I have felt more peace inside my soul. … I may not be able to resolve how other people feel about me; however, I can feel peace knowing God knows I am doing what I can to be a peacemaker.”

— Linda Millar, Yosemite Ward, Fresno California West Stake

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Bridging a relationship

“I have accepted President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation to be a peacemaker. I grew up in a family with great divisiveness. … I [recently] received news … that my eldest aunt, my mother’s oldest sister, had passed away. I did not want to go, but after taking the situation to the Lord, I was prompted to go to extend condolences. I don’t know if anything ‘miraculous’ will come from the experience, but I do know that … I was greatly comforted by the Spirit while there, and Heavenly Father and my Savior knew I was trying to bridge a very bad situation.”

— Sharon Miller, Tyler 2nd Ward, Tyler Texas Stake

Closeup of a man hand’s holding a woman’s hands
Choosing peace in her relationships has helped one woman’s marriage be stronger. | fizkes -

Choosing peace in marriage

“I followed the Prophet’s counsel and partook of the invitation to choose peace. I concentrated on my own marriage. l am so grateful, because embarking on this journey helped me and my husband to grow closer together. We have significantly reduced our arguments and have felt the Holy Ghost in our marriage.

“I was doubting how embarking on this counsel alone in my marriage will assist us, but I have since realized that my anger, my constant criticism of my partner, was destroying us.

“But as I stopped and followed his counsel, our relationship has improved. I am now able to apologize when I am wrong. I am so grateful for this counsel.”

— Saziso Ndlovo, Gwabalanda Ward, Bulawayo Zimbabwe Stake

‘Serious about His work’

“I found that me and one of my companions were having quite a bit of contention. Everything I did annoyed him, and everything he did annoyed me. We just didn’t seem to click. ... I figured I would read until I felt the Spirit again. 

“When I got to a scripture that said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.’ That scripture in 3 Nephi reminded me of President Russell M. Nelson’s talk. ... As I studied his talk, I felt an overwhelming power from the Spirit in his invitation. That I truly needed to apply it in my life. 

“The next day, and the following days after, I looked for ways to serve my companion. Every morning that I put my missionary plaque [name tag] on, I would remember to have my behavior be ‘ennobling, respectful and representative of a true follower of Jesus Christ.’ It was hard, very hard. But little by little and week by week, my companion and I had less contentions. We got along more, there was more laughing, the missionary work started to progress, we had unity in our teaching. ...

“Miracles came to pass when we showed the Lord we were serious about His work. Not only did we grow closer to each other, but to the Savior as well. ... We weren’t perfect, but we had been given the desire to become perfect.”

— Elder Zachary Mortensen, Peru Lima Central Mission

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