Sermoncitos, a family tradition
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalms 133:1). It is no surprise that unity is a desirable outcome of relationships. In the ancient days before the flood, Enoch’s followers were called Zion, “because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them” (Moses 7:18). In our day the Lord calls us to “go ye forth unto the land of Zion, that the borders of my people may be enlarged, and that her stakes may be strengthened, and that Zion may go forth unto the regions round about” (D&C 133:9). Those who join the church become “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19); “till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). “And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knot together in unity and in love one towards another” (Mosiah 18:21).
Political unity. Covenants of cooperation resulted in restoration of lands, and a time of peace (Alma 50:36). The early saints of our dispensation were organized into towns bound by the law of consecration. These failed when the people were “not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom” (D&C 105:4).
Union across the generations. “Neither can they nor we be made perfect without those who have died in the gospel also; for it is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time” (D&C 128:18).
Become a Zion people. Achieving the unity of a Zion people requires us (1) to become unified in one heart and one mind; (2) to become, individually and collectively, a holy people; and (3) to care for the poor and needy with such effectiveness that we eliminate poverty among us” (Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Ensign, Nov. 2008).
President Henry B. Eyring (Ensign November 2008) gave principles of how we can be prepared as a united people, of one heart, and unified with the Lord. “He cannot grant it to us as individuals. We must seek it and qualify for it with others. God urges us to gather so that He can bless us. We can pray and work for the unity that will bring us joy and multiply our power to serve.” We must follow the principles that lead to unity, including “preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord, who had redeemed his people” (Mosiah 18:20).
(1) Revelation is the only way we can know how to follow the will of the Lord together.
(2) Humility is a principle that guides progress in contrast to pride, the great enemy of unity. Humility helps us overcome contention, be peacemakers, and negotiate differences across cultures.
(3) Learn to speak well of each other. When asked for an opinion of church leaders, family members, or gospel companions, choose “the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgement which ye judge, ye shall also be judged” (Moroni 7:18).
Start with your family. A celestial marriage is a step towards a celestial relationship, which requires overcoming great obstacles, and learning to work together. Meet together often with your branch or ward members to pray and plan and play and work together on common goals. Be active in ward and stake assignments so that service comes natural and so does relying on the Spirit to guide your decisions. Reach out to families through home and visiting teaching, and in church activities. Prepare to be a Zion people by acting like that now.