For my Come, Follow Me studies this week, I have been studying the book of Mormon. After the great ancient American prophet Mormon compiled the Nephite records as he had been commanded, he proceeded to write his own book. He began by telling us that he was chosen as a boy of ten years old to be the caretaker of all the records. However, he was not to take possession of the plates of Nephi until he was 24 years old.
Meanwhile, Mormon became the leader
of the armies before he was 16 years old, and the Nephites and Lamanites were
warring against each other for decades. As he started to write his book, the
Nephites were fighting a losing war, and the Lamanites were driving them from
place to place. Despite their losses, the Nephites were prideful and would not
Chapter 3 begins with the Lord
commanding Mormon to “Cry unto this people – Repent ye, and come unto me, and
be ye baptized, and build up again my church, and ye shall be spared” (Mormon
3:2). Mormon was obedient in crying repentance, “but it was in vain” (Mormon
Mormon wrote that the Nephites “did
not realize that it was the Lord that had spared them, and granted unto them a chance
for repentance. And behold they did harden their hearts against the Lord their
God” (Mormon 3:3).
Years passed, and the Nephites
became ever more boastful. They became so wicked that Mormon refused to be
their leader. Instead, he stood by as a witness to their destruction.
Nevertheless, Mormon loved his people.
Behold, I had led them, notwithstanding
their wickedness I had led them many times to battle, and had loved them,
according to the love of God which was in me, with all my heart; and my soul
had been poured out in prayer unto my God all the day long for them;
nevertheless, it was without faith, because of the hardness of their hearts
Mormon did not agree with the way
that most of the Nephites were living, but he still loved them. This is a
lesson that Americans need right now because of the loud and angry words of the
presidential election. Mormon showed us that we can love people even though we
disagree with them. This is the same message that the leaders of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been teaching for many years. Then-Elder
Dallin H. Oaks gave the following counsel in the October 2014 General
Conference (“Loving Others and Living with Differences,” Ensign, November
2014, p. 27).
We should all follow the gospel teachings
to love our neighbor and avoid contention. Followers of Christ should be
examples of civility. We should love all people, be good listeners, and show
concern for their sincere beliefs. Though we may disagree, we should not be
disagreeable. Our stands and communications on controversial topics should not
be contentious. We should be wise in explaining and pursuing our positions and
in exercising our influence. In doing so, we ask that others not be offended by
our sincere religious beliefs, and the free exercise of our religion. We
encourage all of us to practice the Savior’s Golden Rule: “Whatsoever ye would
that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).
When our positions do not prevail, we
should accept unfavorable results graciously and practice civility with our adversaries.
The presidential election will be
over in a few days, and only one of the candidates will emerge as the winner.
The supporters of the winner should be humble and gracious in their victory,
and the supporters of the loser should be accepting of the vote by the
majority. The only way that the great divide in our nation will ever be breached
is by individual people extending the hand of kindness and acceptance to each
other. The Savior’s Golden Rule will work as well today as it should have
worked in the day that He taught it.