Contention

May 2, 2006 | 32 comments
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I love the book of Fourth Nephi in the Book of Mormon, especially this verse: “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.” This verse is followed by three others that describe an amazing society:

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 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.

In his Sunday School lesson notes, Jim Faulconer refers to these verses and asks, “We often say ‘nobody’s perfect,’ but isn’t this a record of a perfect people?” However you answer that question, I think you would agree that the people of Fourth Nephi are worthy of emulation.

But after reading these verses today, I am wondering, again, how we can get to Zion. Urban planning? Hmm. Judging by the tone of that thread, discussions of urban planning seem unlikely to lead to “no contention in the land.”

But it’s not just that thread. Take any topic of current interest, and what you see is that we live in a world with all manner of -ites. Even if you narrow your world to members of the Church. Does the concept of Zion have any traction in a world like that?

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32 Responses to Contention

  1. Kimball L. Hunt on May 2, 2006 at 9:19 pm

    Does humans’ psychosociological makeup apparently instill in us to conceptualize a commonality with an extended-kinship “Us” against rival-strangers “Others” and it seems the prophetic enterprise is to effect means to form a larger and larger circle in which to form the former circle, with the ideal of its even being universalized?

  2. Julie M. Smith on May 2, 2006 at 9:57 pm

    I know arguments from silence are dangerous, but note that 4 Nephi doesn’t say this:

    “And they did agree on every matter, yea, whether it was immigration, or church music, or the true cause of rising gas prices, yea, they did agree in every whit.”

    It doesn’t say that at all. It just says that they didn’t kill each other over their disagreements. My husband and I disagree on virtually every political matter. We discuss these things, sometimes at length, never agreeing, but never being rude, sarcastic, etc., with each other. We are not contentious even tho we don’t agree. It can be done. But, probably, not in the bloggernacle.

  3. Kimball L. Hunt on May 2, 2006 at 10:06 pm

    “[ . . . ] Probably not in the bloggernacle.”

    Laughs.

  4. John T. on May 2, 2006 at 10:28 pm

    Perhaps North Korea could be a model for Zion. There could be a Zion for the enlightened and Zion camps for the contention-challenged.

  5. ed on May 2, 2006 at 10:57 pm

    As long as there are “do-gooders (for the children)” and “control freaks” there will be contention.

  6. MikeInWeHo on May 3, 2006 at 12:25 am

    For what it’s worth, I find the bloggernacle remarkably civil given the content of the discussions and level of disagreement that sometimes gets expressed.

    It’s hard to understand how advocates of hard-core, right-wing Republicanism (and its attendant belief in the absolute superiority of unregulated capitalism, no welfare state, et. al.) can square those views with a chapter like this, especially v. 24-26. These people lived in what sounds like a theocentric communal utopia. It’s probably not coincidental that their descent into contention occurred as they moved farther away in time from the visit of Christ.

  7. BrianJ on May 3, 2006 at 12:31 am

    Julie: re, “My husband and I disagree on virtually every political matter. We discuss these things…never agreeing…. We are not contentious even tho we don’t agree.”

    Is this because you don’t deal directly with the things you are dicussing (short of casting your individual votes)? If, for example, you both served on the local school board, would you be able to carry on “never agreeing” and yet never contending? Or, say one of you was strongly pro-immigration and was actively participating in the recent rallies–would that eventually lead to strife?

    I ask, not to dispute your statement, but to understand it better. My marriage works very differently from the way you have described. That, and experience with some close friends who almost always disagree, makes me doubt whether the Nephites had so much disagreement.

  8. annegb on May 3, 2006 at 1:11 am

    I can argue all night without getting mad. My husband can’t argue without getting mad. Then I get mad back.

    Last month the phone guy came to put in another phone line and we got to talking and he mentioned my neighbor, who is the patriarch. My neighbor is such a sweet, humble, quiet guy, an old farmer.

    This phone guy asked my neighbor awhile back what was the thing he’d learned about being a patriarch. And John thought a minute, then replied, “how powerful contention is, how it harms the spirit.” He explained that he doesn’t feel the spirit when he argues with his wife.

    And they seldom argue, they’re not the type of people who contend.

    Anyway, I thought about that a lot. And I’ve been watching my own home and marriage, and sure enough, I get mad, he gets mad, a heavy bad spirit descends on my house and doesn’t go away till the conflicts resolved.

  9. Gordon Smith on May 3, 2006 at 1:18 am

    Julie: “It just says that they didn’t kill each other over their disagreements.”

    No. It says, “there was no contention.” If you equate “contention” with “killing each other,” you trivialize their achievement. Note the next sentence: “there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness.”

    “Contention” is not about agreement or disagreement. It is about the manner in which the people interacted. Though I suspect we would exaggerate by demanding perfect civility, the Nephites of that era set a very high standard.

  10. BrianJ on May 3, 2006 at 1:53 am

    Focus on the phrase “because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.” The questions are:

    Was there no contention because the people loved each other too much to give in to “envyings, strifes, tumults, etc”? (ie. contention rejection)
    OR
    Was there no contention because the people were so busy loving each other that previously contentious situations never arose? (ie. contention prevention)

    (Any interpretation, I think, has to remember that the author of these verses, Mormon, had seen a catastrophic amount of contention, so perhaps had a slightly different definition of “contention” than do we.)

  11. Paul Mortensen on May 3, 2006 at 9:40 am

    I think the disconnected nature of our society today facilitates contention. Look at the problem from the perspective of game theory. Most of our interactions with others are one-time encounters or encounters that will not necessarily lead to addional repeat encounters. The result is that there’s little motivation to avoid contention when the potential for it arises. In relationships, such as marriage, one is keenly aware (or at least one should be) that each encounter is going to lead to another and that one’s reaction to each encounter is going to affect reactions to every subsequent encounter which should motivate both parties to avoid contention. Hence, when Julie says she and her husband disagree on almost everything political but they avoid contention they are acting out of a desire to preserve the relationship. Their actions indicate that they value the relationship more than the stakes involved in the items with which they have disagreement.

    I suspect that there were two factors that lead to the idyllic society of post visitation Nephitedom. The first, of course was the visitation by Christ to the Americas. The second was the size of the population. The devastation that preceeded the Lord’s visit undoubtedly took a heavy human toll and probably isolated the Nephite population from other population centers. This forced those surviving to depend more heavily upon each other leading to more stable relationships that required nurturing for mere survival. As the population grew and the Nephites began reestablishing connections to other populations then the need for the number of stable relationships decreased and the motivation to avoid contention decreased as well. Hence, contention began to creep back into society.

  12. Wacky Hermit on May 3, 2006 at 10:13 am

    I think BrianJ is right, we may be dealing with a different definition of “contention.” Surely Mormon doesn’t mean that every single person, down to the kids and teenagers, always acted in a mature manner and never envied Sariah’s new dress or lied to their parents about who broke the pottery or fooled around with each other and got pregnant out of wedlock. I’d bet what he means is that these personal pecadilloes didn’t get out of hand and take over people’s lives or the entire society.

  13. Gordon Smith on May 3, 2006 at 10:24 am

    Nice comment, Paul. That makes a lot of sense.

  14. roland on May 3, 2006 at 11:29 am

    There will always be contention between Zion and Babylon. And wherever Babylon is winning, it is because Zion is not trying hard enough to contend against it.

  15. manaen on May 3, 2006 at 11:36 am

    But after reading these verses today, I am wondering, again, how we can get to Zion. Urban planning? Hmm. Judging by the tone of that thread, discussions of urban planning seem unlikely to lead to “no contention in the land.�

    This reminded me of a pivotal moment at the beginning of my mission, 1971, coming from sympathy for, if not embrace of, some of the 60s counter-culture idealism. The 8/1971 “Ensign� reprinted chapter 3 of John Taylor’s “The Government of God.� This excerpt changed me:

    It is altogether an infatuation to think that a change in government will mend the circumstances, or increase the resources, when the whole world is groaning under corruption. If there are twenty men who have twenty pieces of bread to divide amongst them, it matters but little whether it is divided by three, ten, or the whole, it will not increase the amount. I grant, however, that there are flagrant abuses, of which we have mentioned some, associated with all kinds of governments, and many things to be complained of justly; but they arise from the wickedness of man, and the corrupt and artificial state of society. Do away with one set of rulers, and you have only the same set of materials to make another of; and if ever so honestly disposed, they are surrounded with such a train of circumstances, over which they have no control, that they cannot mend them.

    There is frequently much excitement on this subject; and many people ignorant of these things, are led to suppose that their resources will be increased, and their circumstances bettered; but when it does not rain bread, cheese, and clothing; that it is only a change of men, papers, and parchment, chagrin and disappointment naturally follow. There is much that is good, and much that is bad in all governments; and I am not seeking here to portray a perfect government, but to show some of the evils associated with them, and the utter incompetency of all the plans of men to restore a perfect government; and as all their plans have failed, so they will fail, for it is the work of God, and not of man. The moral agency of man without God, has had its full development; his weakness, and corruption, have placed the world where it is (“The Government of God,� p. 25)

    This identification of man’s weakness and corruption as the cause of society’s problems, not forms of government, and identification of God as the solution at once made my mission the most politically-active thing that I could do and eliminated my overt radicalism for governmental change. A mighty change of heart, making us Christlike in forebearance (D&C 121:41-46), is what will get us to Zion.

  16. Jed on May 3, 2006 at 11:58 am

    “After reading these verses today, I am wondering, again, how we can get to Zion.”

    It is reasonable to assume that some large upheaval, some huge jolt, will be required? Tragedy is often the prompt for swift and lasting change.

    I do not want to sound pessimistic, but I do not think we should underestimate the influence of the destruction of Nephite society on the later effort to produce a perfect world. Zion came only after the most wicked cities had been destroyed. All the corrupt social institutions had been uprooted through the force of nature. We can imagine the Nephietes who remained (the text is not clear on whether they were the most righteous) feeding off their revulsion of the decadance and decay they had once seen in working hard to create the society they never knew before. They could be forward thinking because no one wanted to think back. It may sound trite to say, but if the Nephite story is the analog, things have to get worse before they can get better.

    None of this, of course, should be construed as an endorsement to sit on our laurels and wait for destruction to happen, a common mistake in premillennialist thinking. The idea is to work and watch at the same time.

  17. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 3, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    I’m so glad someone posted on this. It’s something I have been thinking about a lot.

    It doesn’t say that at all. It just says that they didn’t kill each other over their disagreements. My husband and I disagree on virtually every political matter. We discuss these things, sometimes at length, never agreeing, but never being rude, sarcastic, etc., with each other. We are not contentious even tho we don’t agree. It can be done. But, probably, not in the bloggernacle.

    To me, this misses what was really going on. Look at the definition of Zion in 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.”

    One heart. One MIND. Not lots of different minds that just knew how to get along. They were totally and completely united in thought and in love toward one another. This didn’t come from exchanging casseroles, but from the change of heart that came about because of their righteousness.

    I cannot imagine any other way to be of one mind than to be unified under the prophets doctrinally. The prophets teach the words of Christ…

    3 Nephi 19:7-8
    “And the disciples did pray unto the Father also in the name of Jesus. And it came to pass that they arose and ministered unto the people.
    “And when they had ministered those same words which Jesus had spoken–nothing varying from the words which Jesus had spoken….”

    (look at the pattern in 3 Ne. 19 — first the disciples received the ordinance of baptism and baptism by fire…almost as though that was the necessary thing to begin with so the people could be led aright)

    And then, the Holy Ghost could be a gift to those who believed in their words, and this brought unity in Christ.

    3 Nephi 19:20-23, 28-30
    “Father, I thank thee that thou hast given the Holy Ghost unto these whom I have chosen; and it is because of their belief in me that I have chosen them out of the world.
    “Father, I pray thee that thou wilt give the Holy Ghost unto all them that shall believe in their words.
    “Father, thou hast given them the Holy Ghost because they believe in me; and thou seest that they believe in me because thou hearest them….
    “And now Father, I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one.
    “Father, I thank thee that thou hast purified those whom I have chosen, because of their faith, and I pray for them, and also for them who shall believe on their words, that they may be purified in me, through faith on their words, even as they are purified in me.
    “Father, I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me out of the world, because of their faith, that they may be purified in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one, that I may be glorified in them.”

    Faith on the words of the prophets allowed the people to be purified, which assuredly enabled them to live a Zion-like existence. This, to me, underscores the importance of following the prophets. It is only under “one doctrine” that we can truly be unified, and they, as in BOM times, are those chosen by the Lord to teach His words and establish His doctrine. Following them in faith brings purification and unity of mind.

  18. Gordon Smith on May 3, 2006 at 1:53 pm

    I just read manaen’s and Jed’s comments, one after the other. Is it possible to agree with both? If it is, then I do.

    m&m, Though I criticized Julie’s comment above, I think she would rightly point out that it is possible to be unified in doctrine without agreeing on every public policy issue.

  19. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 3, 2006 at 5:49 pm

    18
    Question is, though, is there such a thing as public policy issues in a full-on Zion society? Seems to me the whole system would just be different.

  20. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 3, 2006 at 6:04 pm

    Let’s assume there was public policy for a minute. If there were no -ites, wouldn’t that preclude different public policy ideas? One mind can spread over into things other than doctrine. Or, looking at it another way, doctrine could become policy. At some point we know Christ will be our government. I wonder how close the Nephites got to that kind of existence, where the lines between “church and state” were not so defined as they are (or try to be) now. I really think that, to approach what Zion means, at least theoretically, we might have to think outside of the box a little (or perhaps more than a little).

  21. manaen on May 3, 2006 at 7:17 pm

    18 GS, thx for the response

    17 & 20 M&M, I agree with you about unity / becoming one with each other and God. Christ’s intercessory prayer, that you quoted and also in John 17, explain that is the purpose of the atonement.

    The Spirit of God never generates contention. It never generates the feelings of distinctions between people which lead to strife. It leads to personal peace and a feeling of union with others. It unifies souls. A unified family, a unified Church, and a world at peace depend on unified souls. –Henry B. Eyring

  22. Jim F. on May 3, 2006 at 8:57 pm

    m&m (#17): One heart. One MIND. Not lots of different minds that just knew how to get along. They were totally and completely united in thought and in love toward one another.

    Why are you so sure that “one mind” meant in the Book of Mormon of 2,000 years ago the same thing that it means today, namely “one thought,” “totally and completely united in thought”?

    The closest we can come to understanding Book of Mormon meanings is by examining biblical meanings, but given the language change that we must assume happened after the Book of Mormon people arrived, we can’t put much confidence in that connection either. However, the biblical usage of the phrase “one mind” doesn’t connote “one thought” or “unity of thought.”

    The word translated “one mind” in Romans 15:6 is “homothymadon.” It means something like “one accord” or even “one heart.” In 2 Corinthians 3:11 and Philippians 2:2, it translates a word that might be translated “one thought,” but could also be translated “one purpose.” 1 Peter 3:8 uses a word related to that used in Corinthians and Philippians, homophron, meaning “in sympathy” or united in spirit.” In Philippians 1:27, it translates a phrase that means literally “one spirit,” “one life,” or “one soul.” In fact, the only New Testament scripture that speaks clearly of having one mind in our sense is Revelation 17:13, which describes those who support the beast as having one mind, “mian gnomen.”

    The Old Testament usage, the usage most likely to be related to the language of the Book of Mormon, isn’t that much different. Though the phrase “one mind” occurs in the KJV only once (Job 23:13) and means something like “is decided,” the other usages of the word “mind” translate also as “will,” “spirit,” “accord,” “heart,” etc. Few of those necessarily mean “thought” in the sense we usually use it to speak of “one thought,” i.e., having the same ideas.

    Those Old Testament and, especially, New Testament usages don’t give us direct evidence of the meaning of “mind” in 3 Nephi, but they do show that there are other ways to think about “mind” than the way we think about it, and we may be able to assume that they are relevant because the Book of Mormon is translated into biblical language. Besides the linguistic problem with understanding “mind” to mean “thought,” there is an historical problem: the way we think about mind is a rather new invention, something that came about in the 16th century and afterward. That makes it even more unlikely that the Book of Mormon means “mind” in our sense.

    Sorry about the harangue. Can you tell you accidentally struck a nerve? But I’m a lot less sure than you are that “one mind” means “totally and completely united in thought.” I think the Lord is a lot less interested in what we think than he is in how we live and love.

  23. BrianJ on May 3, 2006 at 10:02 pm

    Paul, post 11: Very interesting idea! I’m anxious to read through the chapters for any hints that the destruction was as isolating as you say. From my memory: we are told all the cities that were destroyed, but we are not told about the ones that were spared, so I’m not sure that we have a good idea of the percentage of destruction.

    Wacky, post 12: “…ever envied…or lied…or pregnant out of wedlock. I’d bet what he means is that these personal pecadilloes didn’t get out of hand and take over people’s lives or the entire society.

    When I first read your comment, I thought you had totally missed my point. I thought you were saying, “They kept sinning just like before, but now nobody got bent out of shape.” I thought you were arguing that Zion is merely complacent about sin. As I was composing a rebuttal to that idea, I think I read you better. Now I see that you are illustrating my point with good examples: what we might call whoredom (premarital sex) might not be what Mormon called whoredom (rampant prostitution, rape, bestiality, etc); what we might call lying (lying about who broke the pottery) might not be what Mormon called lying (lying “to get gain”). What you and I are saying is that the Nephites definitely saw a reduction in major sins, but that the people were not necessarily perfect. Thanks!

    Jed, post 16: The Nephites are one example and the City of Enoch are another. I don’t remember massive destruction preceding Enoch’s Zion. I would also mention Melchizedek’s Salem, though we have very llittle information about that city. Nevertheless, I am not convinced that Zion can only arise out of destruction.

  24. BrianJ on May 3, 2006 at 10:20 pm

    re post 23–sorry about all that boldface–just a typo in my code.

    JimF, post 22: Thanks for the explanation of those phrases, especially the part about the beast. So, “one mind” is a bad thing?

    M&M: “is there such a thing as public policy issues in a full-on Zion society?” I think there should be policy differences in Zion societies. Bear with me, and I will explain. I used to live in a Zion society–it was when I served in a bishopric. We did everything as “one mind”: we often had disagreements in our meetings, but we sought unity and acted when we were unanimous. We effectively dealt with some challenging issues only because we had debated the pros and cons and rejected some “bad ideas.” Without that debate, we would have made countless bad decisions. If the Lord didn’t want debate, then he wouldn’t have instituted counsels.

    I still live in a Zion society: my marriage. My wife and I have different opinions about how we should act, so we debate, discuss, and eventually reach consensus. We act together and decide together. “Two heads are better than one.”

  25. Sarah on May 3, 2006 at 11:05 pm

    Every time I see that “nor any manner of -ites” I think of all the silliness and anger propogated in the name of faceless causes and groups, the epitome of which is, in my opinion, demonstrated in the hatred my good friends show towards each other every time Macs vs. PCs come up. I kid you not, I know 20-somethings who no longer speak to one another (who used to be the best of friends) over the things said during an argument over something so completely trivial… it boggles the mind that someone could have an argument about it at all, really, and for it they’ve made all their lives poorer.

    I always thought that being of “one mind” meant sharing the same goals, as in: “our friendship and long-term relationship with one another and the attitudes and feelings that God wants us to have towards our fellow human beings are more important than who wins this argument today.” It’s about priorities — and for the record, determining which computer platform is superior is not supposed to be a major priority. So, too, with the majority of the things that cause -itism to develop — the things that make me want to smack everyone on the back of the head and say “HEY. You people love each other! It doesn’t matter who wins! Be nice!”

    (I also think that the example of the Anti-Nephi-Lehis and the way the surrounding Nephite population treated them is a perfect example of what “of one heart and one mind” really means: “we believe that the state of your souls is so important that we’ll risk our lives rather than let your souls stand in jeopardy.”)

  26. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 4, 2006 at 12:21 am

    #22
    OK, Jim, if you are going to pick that phrase apart, you should at least know that it was from Moses, not 3 Nephi (not that that would change the content of what you said). [grin]

    So, out of curiousity, what aspect of this struck a nerve?

  27. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 4, 2006 at 12:32 am

    I think there should be policy differences in Zion societies. Bear with me, and I will explain. I used to live in a Zion society–it was when I served in a bishopric. We did everything as “one mind�: we often had disagreements in our meetings, but we sought unity and acted when we were unanimous. We effectively dealt with some challenging issues only because we had debated the pros and cons and rejected some “bad ideas.� Without that debate, we would have made countless bad decisions. If the Lord didn’t want debate, then he wouldn’t have instituted counsels.
    I still live in a Zion society: my marriage. My wife and I have different opinions about how we should act, so we debate, discuss, and eventually reach consensus. We act together and decide together. “Two heads are better than one.�

    Interesting point, although I would argue that it’s the “consensus” part that really emphasizes the ultimate state of Zion in my mind, not the “debate” part. I would assume there would be councils (that has been part of things since the premortal realm); however, in a terrestrial or celestial state, I would simply imagine a more pure vision of things that helps people make decisions in a more unified way (which doesn’t happen as readily in our current sphere). Such a higher and more unified vision would seem to me to suggest fewer occurrences of extremely differing points of view. After all, the city of Enoch was certainly no normal city. I can’t imagine the normal state of “public policy” dominating such a place. If the Lord was dwelling with them, I could only imagine a different kind of system altogether than what we know in our sphere. That was basically my point. Of course, I wasn’t there so I can’t know for sure. :)

    I just think we shouldn’t be limited by what we know and live when we try to conceive of what Zion could be. I, for one, hope it is beyond a system where “public policy” isn’t even on the map and somehow the Lord’s method of governing comes into play, including His doctrine, His order, etc. Combine that with people knit together in love and unity, and it sounds like a pretty nice place, and one that may not need “public policy” at all.

  28. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 4, 2006 at 1:50 am

    One more thought on this….

    I think the Lord is a lot less interested in what we think than he is in how we live and love.

    I don’t agree with this, first of all. If you don’t like the word “mind,” consider the concept of thought or thoughts in the scriptures. Many times, thoughts (both those tied to the heart and those tied to the mind) are mentioned. Also, there is clearly a possibility for progression (betterment) with regard to thoughts. I believe God cares about our minds and our hearts, our thoughts and our actions.

    Consider, for example:
    Isaiah 55:8-9
    For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
    For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    If God thinks differently than we do, and we are to try to be like God, could it not be possible that those who draw more near to God are going to think more like He does (and, thus, think in more similar ways)?

    The gift of charity, which I would assume is the gift that enabled the Nephites to love each other in the way they did (the gift “bestowed upon…those who are true followers” of Christ, not simply love as a choice), inlcudes “thinking no evil” and rejoicing in truth. If we remove evil and falsehoods from our world, wouldn’t we all see things more similarly? Of course, our experiences might bring different things to the table, but I believe the nearer we get to God, the more clearly we can see and think and know.

    Another scripture to consider is in 1 Cor. 13. Paul tells us that we see through a glass darkly. Is it possible that, with true charity, we would all see things more clearly and thus think more similarly about things? Mormon mentions something similar — that when the Savior comes we can see Him as He is (and, as Paul says, know even as we are known). If the Zion people had the Savior in their midst, could it not be that they were already at that point? Seeing things not so dark-glassly? My own view is that this can only be expected. If the people were not blinded by the veil so much, it would seem to follow that they thought more similarly about things, too. (I’m not trying to make them out to be cookie-cutter folks, but just bringing in the concept of unity in thought as well. After all, the Lord condemned contention over doctrine — which would include their thoughts on things.)

    Sorry for rambling…just like to think out loud as I mull over this…..

  29. RoAnn on May 4, 2006 at 2:52 am

    mullingandmusing, I think I see what you are getting at. Most LDS are probably trying to think more like God does. How that will work out in the next life I don’t know. But I think we can grow in unity as mortals by listening carefully to each other’s thoughts, and seeking points of agreement. We don’t always think alike, but in this stage of our existence it is clearly possible for us to have harmonious thoughts, which when taken together often result in an inspired synergy. That is the part of the Bloggernacle which I really enjoy. I gain new insights, such as Jim F. gave me on the meaning of words (#17), or Sarah did (#25) with her example of ridiculous PC vs. Mac arguments, and the relationship of the Anti-Nephi-Lehis to the Nephites. I probably have more sympathy with your point of view than that of some others on this thread; but while reading many LDS blogs, I often find that thoughts different from mine can definitely be complementary to my own.

  30. Norman on May 4, 2006 at 3:47 am

    Reading this thread makes me wonder just what differences are possible among perfect beings. Thoughts? And, if so, to what extent? Appearance? (I think of the dieties depicted in the temple film.) Leisure activity preferences? Do perfect beings have leisure? Or do they have nothing else?

  31. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 4, 2006 at 3:00 pm

    29
    RoAnn, I agree with what you are saying…there is much to be learned from listening to others (which is part of the reason I like to read here as well).

    But I think we can grow in unity as mortals by listening carefully to each other’s thoughts, and seeking points of agreement.
    What I think I am seeing, however, is that, as people’s natures are changed by the Spirit, there may be more similarity than difference. A more spiritual perspective, I am supposing, brings a more unified perspective. Maybe something like what this scripture portrays….

    1 Corinthians 2:12-16
    Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
    Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
    But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.
    But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
    For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

    30. I have had the same thoughts and questions. I wonder how individuality and personality will come into play in the next life.

  32. manaen on May 6, 2006 at 1:54 pm

    16, 18
    Jed & Gordon,
    I/ve been thinking about your comments since you wrote them. A common pattern, certainly my own experience, is that the mighty change of heart with its loss of contention and bitterness, comes after we reach the end of our rope and ask God for help; it’s springs from the realization that we can *not* make it on our own. This comes from destruction, sometimes catyclismic and physical for a group, always personal in the ending of reliance upon life the way it’s been.

    This realization comes quickly or gradually, but always feels tragic. I believe it’s what the scriptures call “a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” The beautiful irony is that what feels in the moment like tragedy actually is the required doorway to blessings of inestimable joy — the humility it causes leads to repentance, forgiveness, a change of nature, and then a fulness of blessings.

    And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love (Mni 8:26).