Mormon Messages

The Civility Experiment


Learn how civility and kindness go much deeper than appearances and quick judgments. Read President Thomas S. Monson’s full address, “Charity Never Faileth.”


    So this me. My name is Arabelle. This is true account of an experience that I had while shooting a video in Central Park. I was part of a group of strangers brought together to discuss civility and kindness.

    We're all--

    People can be so cruel.

    Be themselves and not feel judged. They'll let me have it. I'll tell you what.

    That's what you learn when you go to another place.

    How should people--

    Treat people the way you want to be treated.

    We were split into pairs. And we all began discussing the various subjects.

    See, I see everybody equal, whether they're young, old, black, or white--

    Is it a gift though?

    Whatever religion. I do feel it's a gift. Because I honestly believe everybody's born with the potential that they're a good person.

    I'd been talking with the other people in the group. I remember looking over and I seen this homeless man. I remember thinking I do hope this man doesn't take my bicycle. I actually was quite abusive to him. I wasn't very nice. I told exactly what I thought of him. Just as we were wrapping up the last conversation, the director asked the person I was speaking to to step out and asked the homeless man to step it. I was shocked. I was mortified. I was completely mortified by what he'd just done.



    And what brings you here today.

    The weather.

    The weather?


    If you hang around in the park, are people nice to you?

    Yes, very nice.

    So people say hello?

    Yes. Even get hugs. I even get a few hugs. Really?

    As a group all morning we'd been discussing love thy neighbor. And yet I just turned on this guy and completely verbally abused him. And here I was now face to face, having a discussion with him.

    And how do you feel about civility.

    I think it comes more from our heart. But a lot of people think it comes more out your pocket. It doesn't cost one cent to be polite. The world can be kind of cruel at times. And you get confused. And you don't know what to do. So you just start reacting.

    So what keeps you good?

    I think it's more ways to be good than bad. We just don't exercise the goodness that's instilled in us.

    There I'd been earlier saying all these lovely things and was a complete and utter hypocrite. From the moment laid eyes on him, I just judged. I did. And he ended up being a completely different individual. He showed no ill will towards me. And he was talking to me as though we were the best of friends. Ever since I spent that day with him, I said to myself I am going to be a much kinder person.

    I hope people are inspired by the experience that I had in Central Park that day that you will look at people just a little differently and understand that one homeless man sitting in Central Park can honestly change your whole view on humanity.