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LDS Perspectives: The Delicate Art of Critical Judgment with George Handley

LDS meetinghouse near Panguitch Lake in Utah's Garfield Canyon.
LDS meetinghouse near Panguitch Lake in Utah's Garfield Canyon.
Jason Swensen
Editor's note: The Deseret News is pleased to provide this link to the LDS Perspectives Podcast with George Handley on the topic of critical judgment. This podcast is part of an ongoing Deseret News opinion series exploring ideas and issues at the intersection of faith and thought. Audio link here.

In November 2015, George Handley, associate dean of the College of Humanities at BYU, spoke on his journey of faith in an Education in Zion lecture that was later published in BYU Studies.

Partially because of its timing and mainly because of its powerful message, his speech has been widely circulated since that time. Not only did he offer words of comfort to those who were struggling but also tools to be a more critical consumer.

Handley suggests that the three crucial ingredients of criticism, compassion, and charity must work together to create a quality intellectual and spiritual life. These elements also work together to develop meaningful relationships and build communities.

Exploring the humanities offer an incomparable opportunity to expand the soul, increase creativity, learn from others, and criticize our environment. Critical judgment allows us to step back and analyze a situation and to get out of ourselves emotionally; it is a deliberate and calm process of evaluation. We can’t experience all things so must look to others for deeper understanding of diversity in this complex universe.

Handley has found that the major driver in one’s relationship with the church can be the relationship one has with the people within the church. People who struggle stay because they feel loved and that they belong. A community cannot be realized without coming to terms and accepting difference through compassion and charity and realizing the natural ebbs and flows of any relationship.

Join Laura Harris Hales of LDS Perspectives Podcast as she discusses with George Handley the importance of encouraging criticism, compassion, and charity in order to build community and find belonging.

Check out the resources referenced in the podcast at LDS Perspectives.