I am not ashamed to say that I hated junior high with every fiber of my being. There are various reasons for this, but one is the amount of cruelty that can come from such little people. I mean you are putting individuals who are not very well developed, be that emotionally or physically, at a time where discovering their identity becomes something of great value for them. Thus even the smallest differences are targeted and often attacked by people who themselves are simply trying to find a comfortable place for themselves. In my experience diversity was something that was not wanted, and although many of us used this fact to create their own identity by attempting to rebel against the system that did not take away the fact that many of us had accepted the terms of the environment we were a part of.
Now don’t get me wrong. Childish behavior that seeks to attack those who are different continues even in adulthood, even within the church, but something that I absolutely love about the gospel is that the point of it seems to absolutely contradict these types of behaviors. In 2014 the First Presidency said that “The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility—even when we disagree”
Even when we disagree with each other we are to fight those desires to push them away, and instead are encouraged to love one another. I believe it is a powerful fact that we are not able to choose our wards, and instead it is decided by our geographical location. To me this is because we need to learn to love those who are around us, even though in other circumstances we may not have chosen to befriend those people. The gospel pushes us away from this natural desire to attack those who are different, and I hope that we can all continue to improve as well seek to reach out to those who are different from ourselves, and to love them.