Table of Contents
Preamble: World Conference Resolution #1249
On April 19th, 1996, the delegates of World Conference ratified the following resolution:
“WHEREAS, The call to the church is to pursue peace; and
WHEREAS, The church recognizes the moral right and responsibility of persons to make personal choices relating to how they will pursue peace; and
WHEREAS, As a church we affirm that each person in harmony with his or her understanding of the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ exercises an individual stewardship by choosing to participate or not to participate in military service; and
WHEREAS, A person may wish to have on record with the church a statement explaining his or her choice not to participate; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That a registry for such statements be established and maintained at the headquarters of the church; and be it further
RESOLVED, That a person making a decision of conscience either to participate or not to participate in military service has the respect, the support, and the ministry of the church; and be it further
RESOLVED, That as a church we affirm that each person has the moral right to nonviolently and conscientiously object to, or refuse to participate, or to participate fully in military service in response to his or her understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by this church.”
In accordance with my religious right, I have decided to draft a personal statement regarding peace, non-violence, and pacifism and register it with my church.
1. I Oppose Violence
While I think it’s a bit of a trope to start a work such as this with a definition, I think in this instance it is important to do so since “violence” can come in many different forms, and an incorrect definition could exclude what was intended to be included. Luckily, the First Presidency of Community of Christ realized this as well, and thought it was prudent to come up with a definition so we could all be on the same page while having these discussions. I think their definition is a marvelous one and I’d like to support and recount it:
individually or collectively,
by intention or neglect,
bringing harm physically, emotionally, spiritually, or relationally
to oneself, another person, group, nation or creation.”
Author Lauren Morill once said, “I don’t know how to explain to you why you should care about other people.” I empathize with her struggle, because articulating how I care about other people has been equally difficult.
This past year my congregation has had several different discussions regarding violence and non-violence, and these discussions ultimately are what led to me becoming a pacifist. Many have espoused that violence is justified in many situations. Admittedly, even my church supports this view in its current policy (World Conference Resolution #1177). However, in these discussions, I have felt reluctant to feel as if I would be morally justified in those situations, and two of my church’s “Enduring Principles” always echoed in my mind:
- Unity in Diversity
- Worth of All Persons
I have often said that “Unity in Diversity” includes diversity of thought. Frankly, other people don’t need to have the same relationship with non-violence as I do in order to validate my relationship with it. I have explored my soul in solitude, with my community, and with God and have found that my path is the one of a pacifist. I do not believe that I would be justified in any acts of violence.
Why do I believe this? Well, I believe in the “Worth of All Persons”. I believe that all of life is of great importance to God, and therefore sacred. In Matthew 7: 12, Jesus taught “In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you, for this fulfills the law … ” (NET) I want to be treated well physically, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally. If I want to be treated that way, then I am obligated to treat others that way; I am religiously obligated to be a pacifist.
2. I Promote Peace
Just because I am a pacifist does not mean that I am passive. In fact, Doctrine and Covenants 165: 6A urges me to “… not just speak and sing of Zion. Live, love, and share as Zion …” and 163: 3B instructs me to “… Courageously challenge cultural, political, and religious trends that are contrary to the reconciling and restoring purposes of God. Pursue peace.”
External peace without justice is a counterfeit peace that does not lead to reconciliation and the healing of the spirit. I believe Desmond Tutu, a South African Anglican bishop and theologian, put it best when he said:
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
I believe that the best form of Christian witness strives to promote peace and while at the same time striving to remove the root causes of violence. I intend to do everything within my ability to make peace an incarnate reality.
However, for this we should try to identify what the causes of violence are. D&C 150: 7 suggests “greed and avarice”, which I think is well on the way to defining the origins, but still falls short. 2nd Nephi 12: 36-74 speaks about how the Divine speaks to all of humanity, and that we should learn from as many different religious traditions as we can, because God is speaking to them all. In my religious studies, I believe the Buddhists have best identified what gives rise to violence within human souls.
The Sanskrit word “Taṇhā” encompasses thirst, desire, longing, greed, wishing, wanting, etc, but in english it is most often translated as “craving”. In the 2nd Noble Truth, craving is identified as the cause of suffering in life. The “triviṣa”, or “Three Poisons”, or “Three Unwholesome Roots” then identify what causes this craving. I would like to share the three poisons now:
- Moha (delusion, confusion, bewilderment, ignorance): The inability to see the difference between reality as it truly is and the story that you tell about what reality is.
- Rāga (attachment, desire, sensuality, greed): The craving to possess something that you like, and thus have lasting happiness by possessing it.
- Dveṣa (aversion, anger, hatred, hostility): The craving to avoid something you don’t like, and thus have lasting happiness by not possessing it.
The Buddhist wisdom in the 3rd Noble Truth then tells us that you can eliminate the causes of suffering in life (craving) by accepting reality for what it is. The 4th Noble Truth is referred to as the “8-fold Path”, and is a list of aspects of life in which you should become wise in. This includes understanding, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and meditation.
Buddhism provides many koans and stories to help convey lessons regarding these aspects in life, but this is the part of Buddhism that I always found difficult. However, my own tradition within the Restoration has a rich, full, and ever-evolving scriptural canon which speaks profoundly on all of these topics.
While they are all invaluable, within my statement of pacifism I believe the most important to examine scripturally is “wise action”. The scripture story that has always resonated with me on this topic is that of the Anti-Nephi-Lehis as found in Alma 14: 1-77. They were a war-loving people, who had a mighty change of heart after an encounter with the Divine, and became so committed to peace that they buried their weapons of war. In the face of an approaching army, instead of unburying their weapons, they remained so committed to peace that they welcomed the soldiers with open arms. Thousands were martyred in this massacre. However, the example that these martyrs set was so profound that it likewise compelled those soldiers to bury their weapons of war. This is the example of peace that I feel called to embody in my life.
Community of Christ scriptures speak profoundly, and in an attempt to convey the conviction of pacifism that I hold, I have compiled a list of scripture verses which I believe best convey what I believe to be wise action.
Appendix: Scriptures On Peace
All Bible verses are from the New English Translation (NET) unless otherwise specified.
All Book of Mormon verses are from the Revised Authorized Version.
Exodus 20:13 (King James Version)
You shall not kill
Leviticus 19: 33-34
When a resident foreigner lives with you in your land, you must not oppress him. The resident foreigner who lives with you must be to you as a native citizen among you; so you must love the foreigner as yourself, because you were foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
Psalm 11: 5
The Lord approves of the godly, but he hates the wicked and those who love to do violence.
Psalm 34: 14
Turn away from evil and do what is right. Strive for peace and promote it.
Psalm 37: 37
Take note of the one who has integrity. Observe the upright. For the one who promotes peace has a future.
Psalm 85: 8
I will listen to what God the Lord says. For he will make peace with his people, his faithful followers. Yet they must not return to their foolish ways.
Psalm 120: 6-7
For too long I have had to reside with those who hate peace. I am committed to peace, but when I speak, they want to make war.
Proverbs 12: 20
Deceit is in the heart of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.
Proverbs 13: 2
From the fruit of his speech a person eats good things, but the treacherous desire the fruit of violence.
Proverbs 16: 7
When a person’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, he even reconciles his enemies to himself.
Ecclesiastes 9: 17-18
The words of the wise are heard in quiet, more than the shouting of a ruler is heard among fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good.
Isaiah 2: 4
He will judge disputes between nations; he will settle cases for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations will not take up the sword against other nations, and they will no longer train for war.
Isaiah 11: 6-9
A wolf will reside with a lamb, and a leopard will lie down with a young goat; an ox and a young lion will graze together, as a small child leads them along.
A cow and a bear will graze together, their young will lie down together. A lion, like an ox, will eat straw.
A baby will play over the hole of a snake; over the nest of a serpent an infant will put his hand.
They will no longer injure or destroy on my entire royal mountain. For there will be universal submission to the Lord’s sovereignty, just as the waters completely cover the sea.
Matthew 5: 5, 7-9
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. … Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.
Matthew 5: 38-48
You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist the evildoer. But whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him as well. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your coat also. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to the one who asks you, and do not reject the one who wants to borrow from you.
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they? So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 7: 12
In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you, for this fulfills the law and the prophets.
Matthew 10: 16
I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
Matthew 10: 28
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Matthew 26: 51-52
But one of those with Jesus grabbed his sword, drew it out, and struck the high priest’s slave, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back in its place! For all who take hold of the sword will die by the sword.’
Luke 6: 27-36
But I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other as well, and from the person who takes away your coat, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your possessions back from the person who takes them away. Treat others in the same way that you would want them to treat you.
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to be repaid, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, so that they may be repaid in full. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to ungrateful and evil people. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Luke 9: 51-56
Now when the days drew near for him to be taken up, Jesus set out resolutely to go to Jerusalem. He sent messengers on ahead of him. As they went along, they entered a Samaritan village to make things ready in advance for him, but the villagers refused to welcome him, because he was determined to go to Jerusalem. Now when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do you want us to call fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went on to another village.
Luke 10: 2-3
He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest. Go! I am sending you out like lambs surrounded by wolves.”
Luke 10: 25-37
Now an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you understand it?” The expert answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
But the expert, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him up, and went off, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, but when he saw the injured man he passed by on the other side. So too a Levite, when he came up to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan who was traveling came to where the injured man was, and when he saw him, he felt compassion for him. He went up to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring olive oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever else you spend, I will repay you when I come back this way.’ Which of these three do you think became a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” The expert in religious law said, “The one who showed mercy to him.” So Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”
John 8: 1-11
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came to the temple courts again. All the people came to him, and he sat down and began to teach them. The experts in the law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught committing adultery. They made her stand in front of them 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone to death such women. What then do you say?” (Now they were asking this in an attempt to trap him, so that they could bring charges against him.) Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with his finger. When they persisted in asking him, he stood up straight and replied, “Whoever among you is guiltless may be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then he bent over again and wrote on the ground.
Now when they heard this, they began to drift away one at a time, starting with the older ones, until Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up straight and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She replied, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
John 16: 1-4
I have told you all these things so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue, yet a time is coming when the one who kills you will think he is offering service to God. They will do these things because they have not known the Father or me. But I have told you these things so that when their time comes, you will remember that I told you about them.
John 18: 11
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, pulled it out and struck the high priest’s slave, cutting off his right ear. (Now the slave’s name was Malchus.) But Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword back into its sheath! …
Romans 12: 9-21
Love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another with mutual love, showing eagerness in honoring one another. Do not lag in zeal, be enthusiastic in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, pursue hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil; consider what is good before all people. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people. Do not avenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God’s wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Rather, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing this you will be heaping burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 13: 8-10
Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet,’ (and if there is any other commandment) are summed up in this, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Romans 14: 19
So then, let us pursue what makes for peace and for building up one another.
1st Corinthians 7: 15 (King James Version)
… God hath called us to peace.
1st Corinthians 13: 1-7
Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I give over my body in order to boast, but do not have love, I receive no benefit.
2nd Corinthians 10: 3-5
For though we live as human beings, we do not wage war according to human standards, for the weapons of our warfare are not human weapons, but are made powerful by God for tearing down strongholds. We tear down arguments and every arrogant obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ.
Ephesians 4: 1-6
I, therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live worthily of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, putting up with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you too were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Colossians 3: 12-17
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others. And to all these virtues add love, which is the perfect bond. Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace), and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
1 Thessalonians 5: 15
See that no one pays back evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.
Hebrews 12: 14
Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, for without it no one will see the Lord.
James 3: 13-18
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct he should show his works done in the gentleness that wisdom brings. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfishness in your hearts, do not boast and tell lies against the truth. Such wisdom does not come from above but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical. And the fruit that consists of righteousness is planted in peace among those who make peace.
James 4: 1-2
Where do the conflicts and where do the quarrels among you come from? Is it not from this, from your passions that battle inside you? You desire and you do not have; you murder and envy and you cannot obtain; you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask;
1st Peter 2: 23
When [Jesus] was maligned, he did not answer back; when he suffered, he threatened no retaliation, but committed himself to God who judges justly.
1 Peter 3: 8-17
Finally, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate, and humble. Do not return evil for evil or insult for insult, but instead bless others because you were called to inherit a blessing.
For the one who wants to love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from uttering deceit.
And he must turn away from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer. But the Lord’s face is against those who do evil.
For who is going to harm you if you are devoted to what is good? But in fact, if you happen to suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. But do not be terrified of them or be shaken. But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. Yet do it with courtesy and respect, keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if God wills it, than for doing evil.
1st John 4: 7-21 (New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition)
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us, and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.
Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate a brother or sister are liars, for those who do not love a brother or sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.
The Book of Mormon
1st Nephi 3: 189
And whoso shall publish peace, even tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.
1st Nephi 7: 27
for they shall war among themselves, and the sword of their own hands shall fall upon their own heads, and they shall be drunken with their own blood.
2nd Nephi 1: 44-45
Why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one has place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of my enemy?
Jacob 4: 39-40
Many means were devised to reclaim and restore the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth; but it all was vain; for they delighted in wars and bloodshed; and they had an eternal hatred against us, their brethren, and they sought by the power of their arms to destroy us continually.
Enos 1: 30-31
I bear record that the people of Nephi sought diligently to restore the Lamanites to the true faith in God. But our labors were in vain; their hatred was fixed, and they were led by their evil nature, so that they became wild and ferocious, and a bloodthirsty people…
Mosiah 2: 24-27
And you will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due. And you will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will you suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which has been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness; but you will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; you will teach them to love one another and to serve one another.
Mosiah 5: 39-40
Behold, how great reason have we to mourn! I say to you, great are the reasons which we have to mourn; for, behold, how many of our brethren have been slain, and their blood has been spilt in vain…
Mosiah 6: 1-5
I, Zeniff, having been taught in all the language of the Nephites, and having had a knowledge of the land of Nephi, or of the land of our fathers’ first inheritance, was sent as a spy among the Lamanites that I might spy out their forces, so our army might come upon them and destroy them. But when I saw that which was good among them, I was desirous that they should not be destroyed; therefore, I contended with my brethren in the wilderness; for I would that our ruler should make a treaty with them. But he being an austere and a bloodthirsty man, commanded that I should be slain; but I was rescued by the shedding of much blood; for father fought against father, and brother against brother, until the greater number of our army was destroyed in the wilderness. And we returned, those of us that were spared, to the land of Zarahemla to relate that tale to their wives and their children.
Mosiah 7: 27
Thus they boasted, and delighted in blood and the shedding of the blood of their brethren, and this because of the wickedness of their king and priests.
Mosiah 9: 134-140
Now Limhi told the [Lamanite] king all the things concerning his father and the priests that had fled into the wilderness, and attributed the carrying away of their daughters to them. And it came to pass that the king was pacified toward this people; and he said to them, “Let us go forth to meet my people without arms; and I swear to you with an oath that my people shall not slay your people.” They followed the king and went forth without arms to meet the Lamanites. And they met the Lamanites; and the king of the Lamanites bowed himself down before them and pleaded in behalf of the people of Limhi. When the Lamanites saw the people of Limhi, that they were without arms, they had compassion on them, and were pacified toward them, and returned with their king in peace to their own land. And Limhi and his people returned to the city of Nephi and began to dwell in the land again in peace.
Mosiah 11: 153-158
And there was a strict command throughout all the churches that there should be no persecutions among them, that there should be an equality among all men, that they should let no pride nor haughtiness disturb their peace, that every man should esteem his neighbor as himself, laboring with his own hands for his support, and that all their priests and teachers should labor with their own hands for their support, in all cases save it were in sickness or in much want; and doing these things they abounded in the grace of God.
There began to be much peace again in the land; and the people began to be very numerous and began to scatter abroad upon the face of the earth, on the north and on the south, on the east and on the west, building large cities and villages in all quarters of the land. And the Lord visited them, and prospered them, and they became a large and a wealthy people.
Mosiah 13: 13
Let us be wise … and do that which will make for the peace of this people.
Mosiah 13: 18-19
Even I myself have labored with all the power and faculties which I have possessed to teach you the commandments of God and to establish peace throughout the land, that there should be no wars nor contentions, no stealing, nor plundering, nor murdering, nor any manner of iniquity.
Mosiah 13: 50-52
He also unfolded to them all the disadvantages they labored under by having an unrighteous king to rule over them— all [of King Noah’s] iniquities and abominations, and all the wars, and contentions, and bloodshed, and the stealing, and the plundering, and the committing of whoredoms, and all manner of iniquities, which cannot be enumerated. He told them that these things ought not to be, that they were expressly repugnant to God.
Mosiah 13: 58-61
and they waxed strong in love toward Mosiah; they esteemed him more than any other man; for they did not look upon him as a tyrant, who was seeking for gain, for that lucre which corrupts the soul. He had not exacted riches of them, neither had he delighted in the shedding of blood; but he had established peace in the land, and he had granted his people that they should be delivered from all manner of bondage. Therefore they esteemed him exceedingly, beyond measure.
Alma 14: 1-55
1 Behold, now the king of the Lamanites sent a proclamation among all his people, that they should not lay their hands on Ammon, or Aaron, or Omner, or Himni, nor any of their brethren who should go forth preaching the word of God, in whatever place they should be in any part of their land. 2 He sent a decree among them that they should not lay their hands on them to bind them or to cast them into prison; neither should they spit upon them, nor smite them, nor cast them out of their synagogues, nor scourge them; 3 neither should they cast stones at them, but that they should have free access to their houses, and also their temples and their sanctuaries. 4 Thus they might go forth and preach the word according to their desires, for the king had been converted to the Lord, and all his household. 5 Therefore he sent this proclamation throughout the land to his people, that the word of God might have no obstruction, but that it might go forth throughout all the land, that his people might be convinced concerning the wicked traditions of their fathers, 6 and that they might be convinced that they were all brethren, and that they ought not to murder, nor to plunder, nor to steal, nor to commit adultery, nor to commit any manner of wickedness.
7 When the king had sent forth this proclamation, Aaron and his brethren went forth from city to city and from one house of worship to another, 8 establishing churches, and consecrating priests and teachers throughout the land among the Lamanites to preach and to teach the word of God among them; and thus they began to have great success. 9 And thousands were brought to the knowledge of the Lord; thousands were brought to believe in the traditions of the Nephites; and they were taught the records and the prophecies which were handed down, even to the present time.
10 And as surely as the Lord lives, so surely as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy and the power of God working miracles in them, 11 and were converted to the Lord never did fall away, for they became a righteous people. 12 They laid down the weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God any more, neither against any of their brethren.
13 Now these are they who were converted to the Lord: The people of the Lamanites who were in the land of Ishmael, and also of the people of the Lamanites who were in the land of Middoni, and also of the people of the Lamanites who were in the city of Nephi, and also of the people of the Lamanites who were in the land of Shilom, and who were in the land of Shemlon, and in the city of Lemuel, and in the city of Shimnilom. 14 And these are the names of the cities of the Lamanites which were converted to the Lord; and these are they that laid down the weapons of their rebellion, even all their weapons of war; and they were all Lamanites. 15 And the Amalekites were not converted, save only one; neither were any of the Amulonites; but they hardened their hearts, and also the hearts of the Lamanites in that part of the land where they dwelt, and all their villages and all their cities. 16 Therefore we have named all the cities of the Lamanites in which they repented and came to the knowledge of the truth, and were converted.
17 Now it came to pass that the king and those who were converted were desirous that they might have a name, that thereby they might be distinguished from their brethren. 18 Therefore the king consulted with Aaron and many of their priests concerning the name that they should take upon them that they might be distinguished. 19 And they called their name Anti-Nephi-Lehies; and they were called by this name, and were no more called Lamanites. 20 They began to be a very industrious people, and they were friendly with the Nephites; therefore they opened a correspondence with them, and the curse of God no more followed them.
21 And it came to pass that the Amalekites, and the Amulonites, and the Lamanites who were in the land of Amulon, and also in the land of Helam, and who were in the land of Jerusalem, and in fine, in all the land round about who had not been converted and had not taken upon them the name of Anti-Nephi-Lehi were stirred up by the Amalekites and by the Amulonites to anger against their brethren. 22 And their hatred became exceedingly sore against them, even insomuch that they began to rebel against their king, insomuch that they would not that he should be their king; therefore they took up arms against the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi. 23 Now the king conferred the kingdom upon his son and he called his name Anti-Nephi-Lehi.
24 And the king died in that selfsame year that the Lamanites began to make preparations for war against the people of God. 25 Now when Ammon and his brethren, and all those who had come up with him, saw the preparations of the Lamanites to destroy their brethren, they came forth to the land of Midian, and there Ammon met all his brethren. 26 And from there they came to the land of Ishmael, that they might hold a council with Lamoni, and also with his brother Anti-Nephi-Lehi, on what they should do to defend themselves against the Lamanites.
27 Now there was not one soul among all the people who had been converted to the Lord that would take up arms against his brethren. 28 They would not even make any preparations for war; and also their king commanded them that they should not. 29 Now these are the words which he said to the people concerning the matter: “I thank my God, my beloved people, that our great God has in goodness sent these our brethren, the Nephites, to us to preach to us and to convince us of the wickedness of the traditions of our fathers. 30 “And, behold, I thank my great God that he has given us a portion of his Spirit to soften our hearts, that we have opened a correspondence with these brethren, the Nephites. 31 “And, behold, I also thank my God that by opening this correspondence we have been convinced of our sins and of the many murders which we have committed. 32 “I also thank my God, my great God, that he has granted us that we might repent of these things, and also that he has forgiven us of those our many sins and murders which we have committed, and has taken away the guilt from our hearts through the merits of his Son.
33 “And now, behold, my brethren, it has been all that we could do (as we were the most lost of all mankind) to repent of all our sins and the many murders which we have committed, and to get God to take them away from our hearts, for it was all we could do to repent sufficiently before God that he would take away our stain. 34 “Now, my best beloved brethren, since God has taken away our stains, and our swords have become bright, then let us stain our swords no more with the blood of our brethren. 35 “Behold, I say to you, Let us retain our swords that they be not stained with the blood of our brethren; 36 for perhaps if we should stain our swords again, they could no more be washed bright through the blood of the Son of our great God, which shall be shed for the atonement of our sins. 37 “And the great God has had mercy on us and has made these things known to us, that we might not perish. 38 “And he has made these things known to us beforehand because he loves our souls as well as he loves our children; therefore in his mercy he visits us by his angels, that the plan of salvation might be made known to us as well as to future generations. Oh, how merciful is our God!
39 “And now, behold, since it has been as much as we could do to get our stains taken away from us, and our swords are made bright, 40 let us hide them away that they may be kept bright, as a testimony to our God at the last day, or at the day that we shall be brought to stand before him to be judged, that we have not stained our swords in the blood of our brethren since he imparted his word to us and has made us clean thereby. 41 “Now, my brethren, if our brethren seek to destroy us, behold, we will hide away our swords, even we will bury them deep in the earth that they may be kept bright as a testimony at the last day that we have never used them; and if our brethren destroy us, behold, we shall go to our God and shall be saved.”
42 When the king had made an end of these sayings, and all the people were assembled together, they took their swords and all the weapons which were used for the shedding of man’s blood, and they buried them deep in the earth. 43 This they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood.
44 And this they did, vouching and covenanting with God that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives; 45 and rather than take away from a brother, they would give to him; and rather than spend their days in idleness, they would labor abundantly with their hands. 46 Thus we see that when these Lamanites were brought to believe and to know the truth, they were firm and would suffer even to death rather than commit sin. 47 And thus we see that they buried the weapons of peace, or they buried the weapons of war for peace.
48 And it came to pass that their brethren, the Lamanites, made preparations for war and came up to the land of Nephi, for the purpose of destroying the king, and to place another in his stead, and also of destroying the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi out of the land. 49 Now when the people saw that they were coming against them, they went out to meet them and prostrated themselves before them to the earth and began to call on the name of the Lord. 50 Thus they were in this attitude when the Lamanites began to fall upon them and began to slay them with the sword. And thus without meeting any resistance they slew a thousand and five of them; and we know that they are blessed, for they have gone to dwell with their God.
51 Now when the Lamanites saw that their brethren would not flee from the sword, neither would they turn aside to the right hand nor to the left, but that they would lie down and perish, and praise God even in the very act of perishing under the sword, they forbore from slaying them. 52 And there were many whose hearts had swollen in them for those of their brethren who had fallen under the sword, for they repented of the things which they had done. 53 And they threw down their weapons of war, and they would not take them again, for they were stung for the murders which they had committed; and they came down, even as their brethren, relying upon the mercies of those whose arms were lifted to slay them. 54 And the people of God were joined that day by more than the number who had been slain; and those who had been slain were righteous people, therefore we have no reason to doubt that they are saved. 55 There was not a wicked man slain among them; but there were more than a thousand brought to the knowledge of the truth; thus we see that the Lord works in many ways to the salvation of his people.”
Alma 14: 118-123
For, behold, [the Anti-Nephi-Lehis] had rather sacrifice their lives than even to take the life of their enemy, and they have buried their weapons of war deep in the earth because of their love toward their brethren. Now, behold, I say to you, Has there been so great love in all the land? Behold, I say to you, There has not, even among the Nephites. For, behold, they would take up arms against their brethren; they would not suffer themselves to be slain. But, behold, how many of these have laid down their lives; and we know that they have gone to their God because of their love, and of their hatred to sin. Now have we not reason to rejoice? I say to you, There never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began.
Alma 15: 31-32
And they were also distinguished for their zeal toward God, and also toward men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even to the end. They looked upon shedding the blood of their brethren with the greatest abhorrence; and they never could be prevailed upon to take up arms against their brethren.
Alma 16: 258
Now Alma, being grieved for the iniquity of his people, for the wars, and the bloodsheds, and the contentions which were among them…
Alma 19: 9
And whoever murders against the light and knowledge of God, it is not easy for him to obtain forgiveness; I say to you, my son, that it is not easy for him to obtain a forgiveness.
Alma 20: 62
…we do not desire to be men of blood.
Alma 21: 142-143
Now, behold, Helaman and his brethren were no less serviceable to the people than was Moroni; for they preached the word of God, and they baptized unto repentance all men who would hearken to their words. Thus they went forth, and the people humbled themselves because of their words, insomuch that they were highly favored of the Lord; and thus they were free from wars and contentions among themselves, even for the space of four years.
Alma 23: 63-66
And now, behold, I have somewhat to say concerning the people of Ammon, who in the beginning were Lamanites; but by Ammon and his brethren, or rather by the power and word of God, they had been converted to the Lord. They had been brought down into the land of Zarahemla, and had ever since been protected by the Nephites; and because of their oath, they had been kept from taking up arms against their brethren. For they had taken an oath that they nevermore would shed blood; and according to their oath, they would have perished; they would have suffered themselves to fall into the hands of their brethren had it not been for the pity and the exceeding love which Ammon and his brethren had had for them. And for this cause, they were brought down into the land of Zarahemla, and they ever had been protected by the Nephites.
3rd Nephi 3: 52-54
And in the thirty-first year, they were divided into tribes, every man according to his family, kindred, and friends. Nevertheless they had come to an agreement that they would not go to war one with another; but they were not united as to their laws and their manner of government, for they were established according to the minds of those who were their chiefs and their leaders. But they established very strict laws that one tribe should not trespass against another, insomuch that in some degree they had peace in the land.
3rd Nephi 5: 30-31
For verily, verily I say to 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. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.
4th Nephi 1: 3-5
And in the thirty-sixth year, the people were all converted to 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 dealt justly one with another. And they had all things common among them, therefore they were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free and partakers of the heavenly gift. And the thirty-seventh year passed away also, and there still continued to be peace in the land.
4th Nephi 1: 17-21
And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land because of the love of God which dwelt in the hearts of the people. 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. 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. And how blessed were they, for the Lord blessed them in all their doings; even they were blessed and prospered until a 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.
Mormon 2: 13-14
It is impossible for the tongue to describe or for man to write a perfect description of the horrible scene of the blood and carnage which was among the people, both of the Nephites and of the Lamanites; and every heart was hardened so that they delighted in the shedding of blood continually. And there never had been so great wickedness among all the children of Lehi, nor even among all the house of Israel, according to the words of the Lord, as was among this people.
Mormon 2: 34
Now, behold, I, Mormon, do not desire to harrow up the souls of men in casting before them such an awful scene of blood and carnage as was laid before my eyes.
Mormon 3: 26
Know you that you must lay down your weapons of war and delight no more in the shedding of blood…
Ether 3: 66
And there were no more wars in the days of Shule, and he remembered the great things that the Lord had done for his fathers in bringing them across the great deep into the promised land; wherefore he executed judgment in righteousness all his days.
Ether 3: 93
For the Lord works not in secret combinations, neither does he will that man should shed blood, but in all things has forbidden it from the beginning of man.
Ether 4: 100-101
And Ahah, his son, obtained the kingdom; and he reigned over the people all his days. And he did all manner of iniquity in his days, by which he caused the shedding of much blood; and few were his days.
Moroni 7: 3-18
3 Wherefore I would speak to you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which you can enter into the rest of the Lord from this time henceforth until you 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; for I remember the word of God, which says, ‘By their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.’ 5 For, behold, God has said that a man being evil, cannot do that which is good; for if he offers a gift or prays to God, except he shall do it with real intent, it profits him nothing; 6 for it is not counted to him for righteousness. 7 For, behold, if a man, being evil, gives a gift, he does it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted to him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God. 8 And likewise also is it counted evil to a man if he shall pray without real intent of heart, and it profits him nothing; for God receives none such;
wherefore a man, being evil, cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift. 9 For, behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore a man, being a servant of the devil, cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ, he cannot be a servant of the devil. 10 Wherefore, all things which are good come of God; and that which is evil comes of the devil; for the devil is an enemy to God and fights against him continually, and invites and entices to sin and to do that which is evil continually. 11 But, behold, that which is of God invites and entices to do good continually; wherefore, everything which invites and entices to do good, and to love God, and to serve him is inspired of God.
12 Wherefore take heed, my beloved brethren, that you do not judge that which is evil to be of God or that which is good and of God to be of the devil. 13 For, behold, my brethren, it is given to you to judge, that you may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that you may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night. 14 For the Spirit of Christ is given to every man that he may know good from evil;
wherefore I show to you the way to judge: for everything which invites to do good, and persuades to believe in Christ is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ. 15 Wherefore, you may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God; but whatever persuades men to do evil and believe not in Christ, and to deny him, and serve not God, then you may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil. 16 For after this manner does the devil work, for he persuades no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves to him.17 And now, my brethren, seeing that you know the light by which you may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that you do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which you judge, you shall also be judged. 18 Wherefore I beseech of you, brethren, that you should search diligently in the light of Christ that you may know good from evil; and if you will lay hold upon every good thing and condemn it not, you certainly will be a child of Christ.
Moroni 9: 3-7
And now, behold, my son, I fear lest the Lamanites shall destroy this people, for they do not repent, and Satan stirs them up continually to anger, one with another. Behold, I am laboring with them continually; and when I speak the word of God with sharpness, they tremble and anger against me; and when I use no sharpness, they harden their hearts against it; wherefore I fear lest the Spirit of the Lord has ceased striving with them. For so exceedingly do they anger that it seems to me they have no fear of death; and they have lost their love, one toward another; and they thirst after blood and revenge continually.
Now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform while in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.
Doctrine and Covenants
Doctrine and Covenants 16: 3C
Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God …
Doctrine and Covenants 42: 17A
If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries, and peaceable things; that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.
Doctrine and Covenants 45: 4A-4C
A. And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them, and they shall say that Christ delayeth his coming until the end of the earth.
B. And the love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound; and when the time of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fullness of my gospel;
C. but they receive it not, for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men;
Doctrine and Covenants 45: 13
A. And it shall come to pass, among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor, must needs flee unto Zion for safety.
B. And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another.
C. And it shall be said among the wicked, Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible, wherefore we cannot stand.
Doctrine and Covenants 59: 5C
…learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness, shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.
Doctrine and Covenants 83: 17C
Glory, and honor, and power, and might,
Be ascribed to our God, for he is full of mercy,
Justice, grace and truth, and peace,
For ever and ever, Amen.
Doctrine and Covenants 85: 38C
and above all things, clothe yourselves with the bonds of charity, as with a mantle, which is a bond of perfectness and peace; pray always, that you may not faint until I come; behold, and lo, I will come quickly, and receive you unto myself. Amen.
Doctrine and Covenants 95: 3D
…renounce war and proclaim peace…
Doctrine and Covenants 102: 3F
therefore, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season, for the redemption of Zion; for, behold, I do not require at their hands to fight the battles of Zion; for, as I said in a former commandment, even so will I fulfill, I will fight your battles.
Doctrine and Covenants 102: 11
A. And again, I say unto you, Sue for peace, not only the people that have smitten you, but also to all people;
B. and lift up an ensign of peace, and make a proclamation for peace unto the ends of the earth;
C. and make proposals for peace, unto those who have smitten you, according to the voice of the Spirit which is in you, and all things shall work together for your good;
D. therefore, be faithful, and, behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end. Even so. Amen.
Doctrine and Covenants 112: 8
A. We believe that the commission of crime should be punished according to the nature of the offense:
B. that murder, treason, robbery, theft, and the breach of the general peace, in all respects, should be punished according to their criminality and their tendency to evil among men, by the laws of that government in which the offense is committed:
C. and for the public peace and tranquility, all men should step forward and use their ability in bringing offenders, against good laws, to punishment.
Doctrine and Covenants 117: 13
Let contentions and quarrelings among you cease. Sustain each other in peace, and ye shall be blessed with my Spirit, in comforting and strengthening you for my work.
Doctrine and Covenants 122: 8F
[Let] the differences … be healed, confidence be restored and good will and peace come to the people as a cherishing fountain.
Doctrine and Covenants 134: 7
Let contention cease.
Doctrine and Covenants 137: 6A
Let the church be admonished that the times are portentous and demand faithful adherence to the faith and work of the church, that mankind may be blessed by and find peace in those religiously social reforms and relationships which have been divinely imposed as a great task of achievement.
Doctrine and Covenants 138: 3
A. Let the church again be admonished that the task of establishing Zion presses heavily upon us.
B. Barriers and hindrances to the achievement of this goal should be removed as speedily as possible and practicable.
C. To lay securely the foundations for Zion and her buildings the work should be accomplished in peace and harmony. Unity should prevail.
D. To this end all the Saints should work together in the rich fraternity which can and will prevail among them when they keep faithfully the commandments.
E. Great blessings are in store for the church if it will in faith and saintly devotion go forward in its tasks.
Doctrine and Covenants 146: 3
Let any remaining contention over minutiae cease in order that my purpose, already revealed in my word to the church, may be fulfilled and my work continue to prosper in love. Amen.
Doctrine and Covenants 150: 7
These are portentous times. The lives of many are being sacrificed unnecessarily to the gods of war, greed, and avarice. The land is being desecrated by the thoughtless waste of vital resources. You must obey my commandments and be in the forefront of those who would mediate this needless destruction while there is yet day.
Doctrine and Covenants 156: 5 on the temple, our holiest site
A. The temple shall be dedicated to the pursuit of peace. It shall be for reconciliation and for healing of the spirit.
B. It shall also be for a strengthening of faith and preparation for witness.
C. By its ministries an attitude of wholeness of body, mind, and spirit as a desirable end toward which to strive will be fostered.
D. It shall be the means for providing leadership education for priesthood and member.
E. And it shall be a place in which the essential meaning of the Restoration as healing and redeeming agent is given new life and understanding, inspired by the life and witness of the Redeemer of the world.
Doctrine and Covenants 161: 2-4
A. Become a people of the Temple—those who see violence but proclaim peace, who feel conflict yet extend the hand of reconciliation, who encounter broken spirits and find pathways for healing.
B. Fulfill the purposes of the Temple by making its ministries manifest in your hearts. It was built from your sacrifices and searching over many generations. Let it stand as a towering symbol of a people who knew injustice and strife on the frontier and who now seek the peace of Jesus Christ throughout the world.
A. Open your hearts and feel the yearnings of your brothers and sisters who are lonely, despised, fearful, neglected, unloved. Reach out in understanding, clasp their hands, and invite all to share in the blessings of community created in the name of the One who suffered on behalf of all.
B. Do not be fearful of one another. Respect each life journey, even in its brokenness and uncertainty, for each person has walked alone at times. Be ready to listen and slow to criticize, lest judgments be unrighteous and unredemptive.
C. Be patient with one another, for creating sacred community is arduous and even painful. But it is to loving community such as this that each is called. Be courageous and visionary, believing in the power of just a few vibrant witnesses to transform the world. Be assured that love will overcome the voices of fear, division, and deceit.
D. Understand that the road to transformation travels both inward and outward. The road to transformation is the path of the disciple.
A. Do not neglect the smallest among you, for even the least of these are treasures in God’s sight. Receive the giftedness and energy of children and youth, listening to understand their questions and their wisdom. Respond to their need to be loved and nurtured as they grow.
B. Be mindful of the changing of life’s seasons, of the passage from the springtime of childhood and youth to the winter years of life. Embrace the blessing of your many differences. Be tender and caring. Be reminded once again that the gifts of all are necessary in order that divine purposes may be accomplished.
Doctrine and Covenants 161: 6-7
A. Stand firm in the name of the One you proclaim and create diverse communities of disciples and seekers, rejoicing in the continuing fulfillment of the call to this people to prophetically witness in the name of Jesus Christ.
B. Heed the urgent call to become a global family united in the name of the Christ, committed in love to one another, seeking the kingdom for which you yearn and to which you have always been summoned. That kingdom shall be a peaceable one and it shall be known as Zion.
The Spirit of the One you follow is the spirit of love and peace. That Spirit seeks to abide in the hearts of those who would embrace its call and live its message. The path will not always be easy, the choices will not always be clear, but the cause is sure and the Spirit will bear witness to the truth, and those who live the truth will know the hope and the joy of discipleship in the community of Christ. Amen.
Doctrine and Covenants 162: 8B
… Be fervent in your witness, passionate in your discipleship, and vigorous in your labor on behalf of peace and justice. …
Doctrine and Covenants 163: 3-4
A. You are called to create pathways in the world for peace in Christ to be relationally and culturally incarnate. The hope of Zion is realized when the vision of Christ is embodied in communities of generosity, justice, and peacefulness.
B. Above all else, strive to be faithful to Christ’s vision of the peaceable Kingdom of God on earth. Courageously challenge cultural, political, and religious trends that are contrary to the reconciling and restoring purposes of God. Pursue peace.
C. There are subtle, yet powerful, influences in the world, some even claiming to represent Christ, that seek to divide people and nations to accomplish their destructive aims. That which seeks to harden one human heart against another by constructing walls of fear and prejudice is not of God. Be especially alert to these influences, lest they divide you or divert you from the mission to which you are called.
A. God, the Eternal Creator, weeps for the poor, displaced, mistreated, and diseased of the world because of their unnecessary suffering. Such conditions are not God’s will. Open your ears to hear the pleading of mothers and fathers in all nations who desperately seek a future of hope for their children. Do not turn away from them. For in their welfare resides your welfare.
B. The earth, lovingly created as an environment for life to flourish, shudders in distress because creation’s natural and living systems are becoming exhausted from carrying the burden of human greed and conflict. Humankind must awaken from its illusion of independence and unrestrained consumption without lasting consequences.
C. Let the educational and community development endeavors of the church equip people of all ages to carry the ethics of Christ’s peace into all arenas of life. Prepare new generations of disciples to bring fresh vision to bear on the perplexing problems of poverty, disease, war, and environmental deterioration. Their contributions will be multiplied if their hearts are focused on God’s will for creation.
Doctrine and Covenants 163: 8, reiterating the purpose of the temple, our holiest site
A. The Temple is an instrument of ongoing revelation in the life of the church. Its symbolism and ministries call people to reverence in the presence of the Divine Being. Transformative encounters with the Eternal Creator and Reconciler await those who follow its spiritual pathways of healing, reconciliation, peace, strengthening of faith, and knowledge.
B. There are additional sacred ministries that will spring forth from the Temple as rivers of living water to help people soothe and resolve the brokenness and pain in their lives. Let the Temple continue to come to life as a sacred center of worship, education, community building, and discipleship preparation for all ages.
C. As these ministries come to fuller expression, receptive congregations in the areas around the Temple and throughout the world will be revived and equipped for more effective ministry. Vital to this awakening is the understanding that the Temple calls the entire church to become a sanctuary of Christ’s peace, where people from all nations, ethnicities, and life circumstances can be gathered into a spiritual home without dividing walls, as a fulfillment of the vision for which Jesus Christ sacrificed his life.
Doctrine and Covenants 163: 11A
God is calling for a prophetic community to emerge, drawn from the nations of the world, that is characterized by uncommon devotion to the compassion and peace of God revealed in Jesus Christ. …
Doctrine and Covenants 164: 3 on purpose of baptism
A. All church members are urged to examine the depth of your baptismal commitment. Having been baptized and confirmed, become fully immersed in the servant life of Christ.
B. Live the meaning of your baptism daily as you grow in the skills and qualities of discipleship. Actively and generously support the ministries of the church, which was divinely established to restore Christ’s covenant of peace, even the Zion of your hopes.
C. The Eternal Christ invites those who have yet to experience the blessings of baptism to “Follow me in the way of righteousness and peace.” Be baptized of water and the Spirit and discover your spiritual home as a fully functioning member of the body.
Doctrine and Covenants 164: 4 on the purpose of communion
A. Serve the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper to all committed followers of Christ as a visible witness of loving Christian fellowship and shared remembrance of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. Individuals may choose whether or not to receive the emblems according to their faith and understanding in harmony with guidelines provided by the First Presidency.
B. This pastoral provision does not lessen additional meanings associated with this sacrament in the church’s life. When the church gathers for Communion, highlight the opportunity for members to reaffirm their baptismal covenant, to reconcile strained relationships, and to commit together to the church’s mission of promoting communities of generosity, justice, and peacefulness.
C. Explore all the ways the Lord’s Supper can spiritually form the church community into a true and living expression of the life, sacrifice, resurrection, and continuing presence of Christ. Inherent in this sacrament is the divine call for the church to be a sacramental offering for the blessing, healing, and peace of creation.
Doctrine and Covenants 165: 1
A. Community of Christ, a divine vision is set before you. Presented over the years through various inspired phrases and symbols, it is expressed now through initiatives in harmony with Jesus Christ’s mission.
B. As a spiritual venture, boldly follow the initiatives into the heart of God’s vision for the church and creation. Then, in response to growing insight about God’s nature and will, continue to shape communities that live Christ’s love and mission.
C. Lovingly invite others to experience the good news of new life in community with Christ. Opportunities abound in your daily lives if you choose to see them.
D. Undertake compassionate and just actions to abolish poverty and end needless suffering. Pursue peace on and for the Earth.
E. Let nothing separate you from this mission. It reveals divine intent for personal, societal, and environmental salvation; a fullness of gospel witness for creation’s restoration.
F. Continue to align your priorities with local and worldwide church efforts to move the initiatives forward. Additional innovative approaches to coordinating congregational life and supporting groups of disciples and seekers are needed to address mission opportunities in a changing world.
Doctrine and Covenants 165: 6
A. Beloved Community of Christ, do not just speak and sing of Zion. Live, love, and share as Zion: those who strive to be visibly one in Christ, among whom there are no poor or oppressed.
B. As Christ’s body, lovingly and patiently bear the weight of criticism from those who hesitate to respond to the divine vision of human worth and equality in Christ. This burden and blessing is yours for divine purposes.
C. And, always remember, the way of suffering love that leads to the cross also leads to resurrection and everlasting life in Christ’s eternal community of oneness and peace. Trust in this promise.
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