Confrontational Compassion: Interview with David Pulsipher

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Confrontational Compassion 

Learning how to have conflict without contention

 Interview with David Pulsipher

The Savior’s counsel to love your enemy and turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:38-44) can easily be misinterpreted as though the Savior is telling us it is better to be a doormat than it is to be a jerk. But as David Pulsipher said, “The potency of our Savior’s counsel is too often dismissed, distorted, or watered down, and many “plain and precious parts” of his original message have been lost.”

In this interview with David Pulsipher, I talk with him about what it means to love your enemy without being a doormat.

Pulsipher, David.jpgDavid Pulsipher

David Pulsipher is a professor at Brigham Young University­–Idaho, where he teaches the theories and history of conflict, peace, and nonviolence. He earned a BA in American Studies from Brigham Young University (1991) and a PhD in the same discipline from the University of Minnesota (1999). In 2007-2008 he was a visiting professor and Fulbright scholar at Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi, India. He is the author of When We Don’t See Eye to Eye: Using the Weapon of Love to Overcome Anger and Aggression (2014). He and his wife, Dawn, are the parents of six children and they live in Rexburg, Idaho, which they love most of the year, except when it is too hot.

David Pulsipher is a History professor at BYU-I, where he teaches courses on citizenship, civil discourse, peace-building, and nonviolence. He earned a BA in American Studies from BYU, and a PhD in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. He joined the faculty of (then) Ricks College in 1997 and during the 2007-2008 academic year was a visiting lecturer and Fulbright scholar at Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi, India.

He is also the author of When We Don’t See Eye to Eye: Using the Weapon of Love to Overcome Anger and Aggression.

Born and raised in the Salt Lake Valley, Brother Pulsipher served a mission in rural Pennsylvania, where he met lots of wonderful people including many Quakers, Mennonites, and Amish. He has served as a primary teacher, young men’s leader, ward mission leader, counselor in a bishopric, stake executive secretary, and high counselor. He currently serves as a gospel doctrine teacher in his ward.

Brother Pulsipher and his wife, Dawn, are the parents of six children and have also been blessed with many foster children over the years. For almost two decades, they’ve lived on the same wonderful street with the same wonderful neighbors. They love hiking in the Tetons and traveling anywhere, especially with their children. But at the end of the day, they love returning to and living in Rexburg, except when it’s too hot.

PDF Confrontational Compassion: Interview with David Pulsipher


 BYU Idaho Devotional, Love Your Enemies, by David Pulsipher,


TEDxRexburg: How Confrontational Compassion Defeats Violence, David Pulsipher