Americans have endured months and even years of political ads, debates, and accusations. Politicians slung mud at each other while their supporters did verbal and sometimes physical battle. The division between Americans became deeper and wider. Now the election is over, and Americans are faced with the problem of moving forward. What is the best way to do so? Here is a helpful message from President Thomas S. Monson.
Under the heading “America Needs You,” President Monson says, “Headlines from America’s leading newspapers, depicting recent events, pass silently in review, that you and I may judge: `Serious Crime Registers 10% Increase in Past Year,” “Violence Rocks South,” “Racial Strife Hits East.” Murder, rape, arson, burglary, assault, narcotics violations are all on the increase in the America of today. These are the headlines of today’s newspapers.
“The revered Abraham Lincoln accurately described our plight: `We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown; but we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.’ (Proclamation for a National Fast Day, March 30, 1863.)
“Can we extricate ourselves from this frightful condition? Is there a way out? If so, what is the way? …
“First, then, I would suggest that each American love the Lord, our God, and with our families serve Him in righteousness.
“The road back to God is not nearly so steep nor is it so difficult as some would have us believe…. Divine favor will attend those who humbly seek it. If we will but realize that we have been created in the image of God, we will not find Him difficult to approach. One cannot sincerely hold this conviction without experiencing a profound new sense of strength….
“Second, I would suggest that each American love his neighbor as himself. Before we can really love our neighbor, we must get the proper perspective of him. One man said, “I looked at my brother with the microscope of criticism, and I said, `How coarse my brother is.’ I looked at my brother with the telescope of scorn, and I said, `How small my brother is.’ Then I looked into the mirror of truth, and I said, `How like me my brother is.’” …
“America truly does need you and me to lead out in a mighty crusade of righteousness. We can help when we love the Lord and with our families serve Him, and when we love our neighbors as ourselves.
“The frightening trend toward crime, lawlessness, and violence will then be arrested. God will continue to `shed his grace on thee,’ America, `and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.’”
President Monson made this statement in his book Be Your Best Self in 1979, and our society has only worsened since then. Our nation is deeply divided between races, sexes, sex orientation, religion/non-religion, politics, age, etc. We are divided in every way.
President Monson is exactly right when he tells us to follow the two great commandments: We must love the Lord and serve Him with all our hearts, and then we must love and serve our neighbors. The only way we can unify our nation is by following this counsel given by the living prophet of God.