“The spirit of contention”

“The spirit of contention” February 9, 2020

 

Truth from "David Cassidy"
I don’t know the provenance of this meme, but I hope that its creator won’t mind my borrowing it.

 

I continue with thoughts that are more or less in the vein of my immediately previous post (“An apostle makes a political move”):

 

I make a pretty serious effort — largely successful, though not invariably so — to avoid politics on my blog during the Sabbath.  I believe that Sundays (or whatever the Sabbath might be where one happens to live) should be reserved for more important things, for a more significant and fundamental loyalty, than partisan earthly politics:

 

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me. . . .  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.”  (Exodus 20:3, 5)

 

I especially hope to avoid politics on the Sabbath nowadays because of the venomous tribal hatred that increasingly accompanies political disagreements, even, to my deep sorrow, among Latter-day Saints.

 

I worry for our society and our nation.  I remember, for example, 3 Nephi 7:2, 5 from the Book of Mormon, a book that modern prophets and the book itself have repeatedly told us was given for our day:

 

And the people were divided one against another; and they did separate one from another into tribes, every man according to his family and his kindred and friends; and thus they did destroy the government of the land. . . .  [A]nd all this iniquity had come upon the people because they did yield themselves unto the power of Satan.

 

I fear that we ourselves may be headed in the same direction.

 

Very shortly after that collapse of Nephite society into warring factions, the Nephites are nearly destroyed by an enormous physical cataclysm, in the wake of which the resurrected Savior appears among them following the close of his Palestinian ministry.  And here is one of the things he teaches them during that brief sojourn in the New World:

 

For verily, verily I say unto 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.  (3 Nephi 11:29-30)

 

It is, perhaps, not mere coincidence that the Restoration began amid a “war of words and tumult of opinions” (Joseph Smith-History 1:10) and that it was plainly intended to end that unpleasant situation.

 

“Only by pride cometh contention,” says Proverbs 13:10.

 

This should give us all pause, and reason for introspection.  Angry contention is not the Lord’s way.  Not for the Sabbath.  And not for any other day of the week.

 

“And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.”  (Doctrine and Covenants 88:125)

 

 

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