Sunday, November 23, 2014


In the talk which made up last week’s Thought, President Benson reminded us that “Unity is impossible for a proud people, and unless we are one, we are not the Lord’s.

Before we get too far along in discussing some possible resolutions for what President Benson called the universal sin of mankind, let me remind you of my pre mission relationships with the small group of Mexican Americans who attended Garden Grove Union High School in the latter part of the 1950’s. At best it would be described as indifference, but it would probably more properly be defined as disdain.

I hasten to tell you that prior to entering the mission field in Northern Mexico, I had spent six months at Fort Ord, California. During that long and illustrious active duty career I was taken under the wing of a Master Sargent whose heritage was from Mexico. My prejudices had been softened by this good man, but in no way was I wiped clean of the pride in my Mormon whiteness.

I likewise hasten to inform you that in the empty nest part of our marital life together I have been accused by my dear eternal companion of having a positive prejudice towards my Central and South American brothers and sisters. What can I say; I am still a work in progress.

Once the miracle of being able to stammer in Spanish had occurred, along with a more friendly relationship with the doctrines of the gospel and the scriptures, it became obvious as I was teaching the beloved people of Mexico (as I recall it took about 1 ½ weeks for them to become beloved) it became most apparent who was the student and who was the teacher in our relationships.

One of the important doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is that Heavenly Father, Jesus the Christ and the Holy Spirit are three separate and distinct beings. (John 17: 11, 21, 22) But in the teaching of this doctrine it was also very essential to understand in what way they are one. That being, that they were one in all the attributes, characteristic and perfections which attend the office of Deity.

Over the years I have become aware that it is this oneness which President Benson indicated was the antithesis of pride and the only solution to the calamities which attend the prejudices which result from a people blinded by pride.

I think I have been around long enough to guess what just went through your minds. Here we go with a dreamer of impossible dreams, spouting idealism's which can never be obtained.

Just a quick reminder:

The people of Enoch became one – a people of Zion. (Moses 7:18)

King Benjamin led a people who were wrought upon by the Spirit so powerfully that they had no disposition to do evil. (Mosiah 5)

Fourth Nephi is a short historical record of a large nation or humans who became one and maintained their oneness for three generation.

I suspect when all the books come forth from the dust and are opened to our understanding these groups will be added upon and we will realize that the possibility of becoming one having eschewed the sin of pride, has transformed many of our brothers and sisters into Zion-like societies during the time that the sons of God have resided hereon.

Doctrine and Covenants section 105 verses 4-5 give us a quick primer on how to put off pride and put on the attributes and characteristics necessary for us to overcome our prejudices and become ‘everyone, brothers and sisters all.’ “Ye are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom; and Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom.”

Well, why didn't you just say so – how could anything be easier – all we have to do is live by same laws which God’s live by.

I don't even pretend to know even a few of the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom, but in my elementary stages of learning about that law I have come to understand a few things that I need to be working at rather constantly.

I also hasten to say that I have come to realize that the only person who I have any real chance of changing is I.

A few behaviors I can get started on which I feel I can control if I so desire:

Love my brothers and sisters for what they are and not what I feel they should be

Be aware when others say things about their brothers and sisters that they couldn't possibly know to be true

Be careful not to say anything about my brothers and sisters that I couldn't possibly know to be true

Even when I know something is true – if it is going to be hurtful to a brother or sister – maybe I should hold my tongue

Be more aware of actions and intents – rather than on ethnicity, social status or power rankings

Never forget that it is kindness that turneth away wrath not anger

Be quicker to judge and change my own behavior and less demanding that my brothers and sisters be more diligent in changing theirs

Try to have my actions controlled by love and not by anger

Some advanced behaviors I can be aware of and work on when I am feeling especially spiritually strong:

Live by every word of God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness

Sincerely petition my Father in Heaven for his help in putting some of his attributes and characteristics into my life

Try to be more aware when His counsel comes through the whisperings of the Holy Spirit

Replace my pride with humility

Look for opportunities to be charitable

Live so that once in a while someone will see the light of Christ which I am trying to hold up

Work more consistently on acquiring the attributes of – merciful, publisher of peace, pure in heart, meek, virtuous, temperate, patient and diligent

I am pretty certain that I will not live to see the lamb lay down with the lion, but in the mean time I can try just a little bit harder to make sure I am not about the business of putting rocks and shads in the path of ‘everyone, my brothers and sisters all.’

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