Is it more important to be right or to be one?
John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
The Pharisees, excelling in contention, continually sought to challenge Jesus Christ’s authority.
Matthew 22:34 ¶ But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.
35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Pharisees had no love for “publicans” and “sinners.” They took it upon themselves to exercise authority over the people over whom they presided, teaching for commandments the doctrines of men, or in other words, imposing traditions upon the masses, and meting punishments rather than extending “mercy” and “judgment,” the weightier matters, thus instilling fear upon the people of God. Then came the time when a variety of such “sinners,” outcasts, and undesirables converted unto Christ gathered to become one, apart from the authority of those who presided over and yet threatened them.
Acts 4:29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,
30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
31 ¶ And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold…
These true disciples of Jesus Christ loved one another as they loved God and as themselves. They imparted their substance among themselves equally, having none among them that were poor and none were rich, for all had been equally rich in Christ.
By the time Jesus Christ had visited His “other sheep” (John 10:16), the wicked had been destroyed and all they that had been spared were they who did not stone the prophets and were “more righteous” (3 Nephi 7:7, 3 Nephi 9:13, 3 Nephi 10:12).
And like the people at Jerusalem who had been converted, the people at Bountiful had been converted.
3 Nephi 26:17 And it came to pass that the disciples whom Jesus had chosen began from that time forth to baptize and to teach as many as did come unto them; and as many as were baptized in the name of Jesus were filled with the Holy Ghost.
18 And many of them saw and heard unspeakable things, which are not lawful to be written.
19 And they taught, and did minister one to another; and they had all things common among them, every man dealing justly, one with another.
Such are the true disciples of Jesus Christ. They are filled with the Holy Ghost and they love one another as they love God and themselves. They suffer none to be poor among them, but have all things common among them.
NOTE: It is not the same thing to “have all things common” and to “have all things in common.”
True followers of Jesus Christ have stripped themselves of all worldliness, having no more desire to enrich themselves at the expense of another. They have “all things common” and “deal justly, one with another.” Futhermore, as the title I chose for this entry indicates, they are “peaceable” followers of Christ.
3 Nephi 11:28 And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.
29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
Is it more important to be right or to be one? How simple is it to inquire of the Lord what His will is rather than to engage in disputations over one matter?
3 Nephi 27:1 And it came to pass that as the disciples of Jesus were journeying and were preaching the things which they had both heard and seen, and were baptizing in the name of Jesus, it came to pass that the disciples were gathered together and were united in mighty prayer and fasting.
2 And Jesus again showed himself unto them, for they were praying unto the Father in his name; and Jesus came and stood in the midst of them, and said unto them: What will ye that I shall give unto you?
3 And they said unto him: Lord, we will that thou wouldst tell us the name whereby we shall call this church; for there are disputations among the people concerning this matter.
4 And the Lord said unto them: Verily, verily, I say unto you, why is it that the people should murmur and dispute because of this thing?
The people could not mutually agree on what to name their church. The Lord was not only displeased with their disputations, but also of their murmuring, which is to express discontent, engaging in petty grousing. And so Jesus gently corrected them:
5 Have they not read the scriptures, which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name shall ye be called at the last day;
6 And whoso taketh upon him my name, and endurethto the end, the same shall be saved at the last day.
7 Therefore, whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name; therefore ye shall call the church in my name; and ye shall call upon the Father in my name that he will bless the church for my sake.
8 And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses’ name then it be Moses’ church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel.
If the people had erred in calling the name of their church after a man by mutual agreement, they could just as easily and effortlessly have been corrected by the Lord without having expressed disfavor over their disagreements. A child could have named the church, and that incorrectly, and still have been gently corrected by the Lord without reproving them for their discord.
We then get an account of the progress of the Lord’s people at Bountiful for a period of time:
4 Nephi 1:1 And it came to pass that the thirty and fourth year passed away, and also the thirty and fifth, and behold the disciples of Jesus had formed a church of Christ in all the lands round about. And as many as did come unto them, and did truly repent of their sins, were baptized in the name of Jesus; and they did also receive the Holy Ghost.
2 And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.
3 And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.
4 And it came to pass that the thirty and seventh year passed away also, and there still continued to be peace in the land.
And so on in “all” the land:
13 And it came to pass that there was no contention among all the people, in all the land; but there were mighty miracles wrought among the disciples of Jesus.
14 And it came to pass that the seventy and first year passed away, and also the seventy and second year, yea, and in fine, till the seventy and ninth year had passed away; yea, even an hundred years had passed away, and the disciples of Jesus, whom he had chosen, had all gone to the paradise of God, save it were the three who should tarry; and there were other disciples ordained in their stead; and also many of that generation had passed away.
15 And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.
16 And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.
17 There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.
18 And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings; yea, even they were blessed and prospered until an hundred and ten years had passed away; and the first generation from Christ had passed away, and there was no contention in all the land.
For about seven decades, they were one. They were the “children” of Christ (Matthew 5:9), partakers of the heavenly gift, or in other words, the heirs to the kingdom of God. Such peaceable followers of Christ are they who Mormon addresses in an epistle to his son, Moroni:
Moroni 7:3 Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.
4 And now my brethren, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men.
Peaceable followers of Christ are the “children of Christ.” They do not feel the need to contend or dispute or murmur with the “children of men” to prove a point or just to be right, even if they are right. They allow the children of men to learn by their own experiences just as the children of Christ had to learn by their own experiences to become one. The meek who inherit the earth are the quiet. They are gentle and easily imposed upon. It is their acquiescent nature, which makes smoother transitions from a fallen state to an exalted one. They are flexible, pliant, cooperative, willing, obliging, agreeable, persuadable. It is the peacemakers and the peaceable followers of Christ who endure and become Zion. They become one heart before they become one mind. I believe it is this way on purpose.
Moses 7:18 And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.
Until then, the world will continue with competing theologies, religions, creeds, ideologies, organizations, and so on.