Sunday, November 13, 2016

3 Nephi 26:19-20 -- On Ideal Societies

"And they taught, and did minister one to another; and they had all things common among them, every man dealing justly, one with another.
And it came to pass that they did do all things even as Jesus had commanded them."
3 Nephi 26:19-20

There haven't been very many "ideal" societies in the history of the world, but this one in 3rd Nephi, after Christ comes to visit the people in the Americas, is one example that comes pretty close to perfection for a long time.  One thing that just blows me away, in this example and in others, is the idea of having things "common," meaning shared ownership.  I'm not sure I can imagine the society that was willing to give and share rather than the "mine, mine, mine" idea that we so often have instead... but I want to be able to envision it and be a part of something like that someday.

What kinds of changes do we need to make in our lives in order to be ready for a Zion-like society?
 The verse gives us some hints.  Teaching and ministering to each other was part of their society, and those are things that we can learn to do now.  Teaching and learning should not be one-way relationships, where the teacher gives and the students take.  Doctrine and Covenants 50:22 says "Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together."  Alma 1:26 also makes it clear that teachers and learners aren't any better than each other, but are all equal.  I think these verses help us to understand that the way we see others is part of the package with an ideal society.  We have to see each other as equals... people who can learn from each other, rather than the wise and the stupid or the educated and the uneducated.

Dealing justly is another thing mentioned in these verses.  A just society would be amazing.  One where you never had to worry about anyone cheating you, or taking advantage.  ... To get there though, we have to give up our own advantage, which is hard.  Way easier to advocate for justice and fairness when the system seems to be in our favor, but much less so if we realize that to make things right, we might have to give up some of our own stuff.

Today, let's think about what Christ taught these people, and what he teaches us.  Let's think about what we can do in order to prepare ourselves to live in an ideal society.  Let's be generous, and promote and practice equality and education and service.  Let's learn to love the people around us, since ideal societies can't be accomplished alone, and they still have to start out with imperfect people, learning together how to be more ideal. :)  Let's do the things that Jesus commands us, and work as a community towards a better society and better world.

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