Wednesday, August 4, 2010

3 Nephi 6:12-13

"And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning; yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches.
Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God."
3 Nephi 6:12-13

Sounds familiar. The unfortunate pride cycle. These verses are right after one of the most cool times in Nephite history... they as a people had joined together and overcome the Gadianton robbers (the ones that agreed to stop fighting were allowed to live and given land to do so) and were finally at peace. I wonder sometimes why we can't just enjoy the peace sometimes... why do we always have to stir things up? :) But they did, and these verses talk about some of the first things that started happening that interfered with that peace, and led to problems. Ranks, wealth, chances for learning. These might not have all caused the pride, they might just be side effects, but it all goes together. When we feel like we are better than other people, for whatever reason--our clothing, our money, our education, our rank at work, school, or church... or anything else--it is much harder for us to take the humble path, even with God. When we get into those mental traps, we're promoting inequality. In the verses that follow this, the inequality breaks up the church... destroys the peace that these people had achieved through a LOT of sacrifice and pain. Today, maybe we can try to salvage our own peace by modifying the way we think about others... and by the way we act towards them as well. Our society tolerates and even promotes inequality in many ways, but there are things that we can do to change that, to ameliorate the effects. If it is rank, we can do a lot to treat people as equals (because they are, even if they are "below" us in rank). If it is wealth, maybe we can learn to share and lift others with our generosity. If it is education, maybe we can find a way to share our knowledge freely in a non-condescending way. We all have talents and advantages, and things that we are better at than someone else. As people trying to build a Zion community, let's go out and share those things with others, and work together to succeed rather than hoarding for our individual profit. :) The people around us are our brothers and sisters... they are an essential part of a perfect society that embraces our differences and has room for everyone.

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