Posted by: nmontague | October 29, 2010

Strength through Unity

I’ve been pondering a bit about unity today. I’m still reading the biography on Gandhi (I am very close to being done. There is a lot of information there). I’ve been impressed that much of what Gandhi was able to accomplish came from the fact that he was able to unite so many diverse people. And much of his failure came because the unity that was created was fairly shallow. The people were united in getting rid of the British, but they weren’t united on just about everything else. They weren’t even united on non-violence. Some thought it was a tactic of expedience and others, like Gandhi thought it should be a way of life.

There are many similiarities here in the United States. The United States were able to overthrow Great Britain and establish a Republic through the unity of the people. Not the entire people, but enough to make a significant difference. In today’s politics, it’s our lack of unity that is causing so many of our problems in society. Even worse, the disunity is starting to create contempt and hatred for our fellow countrymen. This is a dangerous path to be on, because it can lead to serious clashes down the line, even violence.

I understand that we have disagreements. But we need to be able to be civil with one another. We need to love people even if they proclaim themselves as our enemies. Because they aren’t our enemies. They are brothers. Either we, or they, or maybe even both of us are misguided about something. Too often we see people squabbling, and over what? Pride rather than truth. People would rather walk over others to prove themselves “right” then seek mutual understanding and discussion to find the truth of a matter or at least be able to look at the other person as our brother even if we reach different conclusions.

Pride is the greatest stumbling block to unity and to Zion. The problem is we often don’t even see our pride. We aren’t honest with ourselves about it. We attack people and degrade them rather than spell out our positions and live the principles we espouse. This isn’t going to restore the Republic. This isn’t going to get us back to a place we want to be in.

One of the themes I’ve been seeing throughout history is that if people are to become and remain free, they have to be able to govern themselves. They need to be able to act for themselves rather than be acted upon. They need to be able to make choices. Even tough ones and carry them out. If people won’t accept responsibility for their actions, they will cease to be free. Others will make their choices, or life will. 

More government and regulation doesn’t fix the problem. It often compounds it by making people complacent and less likely to rely on their individual abilities to provide for themselves and inhibits them from fulfilling the responsibilities they have to love one another, protect their families, provide for them, nurture them. I mentioned this before when I was talking about Outsourcing our Charity in another blog. If we outsource our responsibilities, then we end up having no freedom.

If we want to be a free people, we have to start acting like a free people. We need to take responsibility for our lives, our actions, and do what we can to lift our fellow man. We need to do this in our personal lives and not pass these responsibilities onto others.

Regulation cannot save that. Law cannot save us. That much is clear from the scriptures. Law is designed for a people who cannot govern themselves. Those who can, can live free of the law. They won’t violate it because of their own actions.

We need to be united as a people. Not as liberals or conservatives. Not as Christians, Jews, Muslims. Not as rich or poor or any other group. But as Children of God.  If we believe differently, that doesn’t mean you are any less my brother or sister or that I am any less your brother. If we believe differently that doesn’t mean we can’t come to understand one another. Or we can’t serve and uplift one another. If I can’t convince you my way is right, then I should be willing to lift you in your own way. If you esteem me to be your enemy, I should strive to be your friend and your brother.

There is a passage in the Book of Mormon that I believe articulates this concept well:

“15 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.

“16 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.

“17 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.

“18 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.” (4 Nephi 1:15-18).

There were no more groups because everyone was one. Children of God united with the love of God in their hearts.

But how does any people accomplish this?

Faith, Hope, and Charity is key.

We need to eliminate pride. I think a good way to do is to remember Socrates “True wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing”. Don’t presume you know everything. When you are wrong, admit it. It’s alright. Everyone is wrong at times. (In my case I’m wrong a lot of times).

We need to eliminate dishonesty in our lives. We need to stop lying to ourselves. We need to stop lying to others. Even if it’s easier to lie than to face the truth, until we face the truth, we cannot be free. Only the Truth can set us free. We also have to admit that there is truth. We have to tell the truth even if it hurts us politically. We have to have pure intentions and a pure heart and we can’t have that if we lie and have dishonesty.

We need to love our fellow man. Even if we disagree with them. In fact, the more we disagree with them, the more we need to love them. We need to eliminate all thoughts of violence toward others. If we are angry at someone, we need to figure out why. Anger is usually an emotion that covers up other emotions. Find the deeper ones. Try to connect with that person as a person. Especially if they are family.

If we are debating ideas, we should debate ideas and not start attacking the character of the other person. No matter how wrong or annoying or rude they might be. In fact, we should pray for them. Ask the Lord to give us love for them. And then show that love somehow. Find a way to serve them.

These are just the beginning of the ideas I’ve been realizing. If we do these things now, in the present and likewise teach our children these principles, we can build a glorious future. For our Republic, for our people, for the world. I think we have an opportunity to start living better, happier lives, and helping others do the same. I think we have the obligation to begin living the principles that will raise the level our culture, our society, our government. Not because we are forced to do it, but because we voluntarily choose to do it. I invite you to make that choice now. I am.

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Responses

  1. Bravo!!!

  2. […] I think that’s changed tonight. I wrote a blog on Strength Through Unity a while back that I was really impressed to write at the time. I’ve been thinking more about […]


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