Last month, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf delivered a talk during priesthood session titled "On Being Genuine." Explaining the almost comical concept of the Potemkin Village and how many people personally erect false facades to hide their much more realistically mediocre circumstances.
Many of us worry too much about appearances and less about content. Elder Uchtdorf adds "There is nothing wrong with shining our shoes, smelling our best, or even hiding the dirty dishes before the home teachers arrive. However, when taken to extremes, this desire to impress can shift from useful to deceitful."
The essence of this folly is that "we may simply have lost our focus on the essence of the gospel, mistaking the 'form of godliness' for the 'power thereof.'"
The opposite is also true. The absence of any form can be very destructive. We live at a time where it is easier than ever to exist anonymously. To text your mom "Happy Mother's Day." To bombard the comment section of your favorite (or least favorite) website. And to do it all with a cryptic avatar or a couched screen name. Anonymity is just as dangerous as the facade.
Being genuine is more than matching your inside to your outside, it is sometimes simply having an outside. The young women and young men of the church (and the rest of the world) find it too easy to escape accountability, and our parents and grandparents oftentimes don't have a clue how to cope.
Elder Uchtdorf wisely teaches us how to combat both anonymity and the Potemkin Village: Be Genuine. And what is the easiest way to start on the path to living genuinely? We serve!