Monday, March 16, 2009

Living with Others in Peace and Harmony

Teaching of the Presidents, Joseph Smith, Chapter 29.
Taught by Devon Linn

Wherever the early Latter-day Saints moved, peace eluded them. Mobs forced them to leave Jackson County, Kirtland Saints sold or abandoned their homes, tensions in Far West grew and mobs once again began to harrass and attack the Saints.

One day the Prophet was visiting his parents home when armed militiamen came in and announced that they had come to kill him. He smiled at them, gave each his hand, then sat down and explained the views and feelings of the Momons. When he arose to leave, two of men sprang to their feet and offered to go with him to guard him. Of the remaining men, one said," Did you not feel strangely when Smith took you by the hand?" Another said, "I would not harm a hair of that man's head for the whole world."

Joseph Smith overcame prejudice and hostility and made peace with many of his enemies.

Is peace on earth really possible in our day? Because it is the Last Days we know that there will be wars and rumor of wars. Is peace still our goal? Yes it is. We can have peace within ourselves and our families and with those we influence.

What are some qualities of peacemakers?

We listed these on the board: Submissive, humble, patient, calm, full of love, persistent, merciful, understanding, long-suffering, discerning.

This is the way the Church has responded to the airing of sacred temple ceremonies on a recent TV show. We too can respond calmly to questions to come to us because of this. [The church website has a video on temples and what we do there, if you'd like to be better prepared.]

Sometimes we need to withdraw from worldly influences and be choosy about what media, entertainment and books we allow into our lives. Sometimes we need to step up and influence others in peaceful ways.

We need to discern when to do this.

Devon told of her college experiences where she often defended her beliefs in the classroom. She soon realized that her influence could be felt more powerfully if she let some comments go and focused her attention on strengthening her classmates in Institute.

"Be aware of those prejudices which sometimes so strangely present themselves, and are so congenial to human nature, against our friends, neighbors, and [sisters] of the world who choose to differ from us in opinion and matters of faith. Our religion is between us and our God. Their religion is between them and their God," Joseph said.

Differences don't have be battles. We can agree to disagree. This applies to ourselves, our marriages and families, our communities, ideologies and churches.

The sisters discussed some ways we can diffuse contention and distill peace in our homes: Find humor, distract little ones, keep the big-picture perspective and let little things go, step back for a time-out, use words like "nevertheless" with children and teens, or Phil Tiller's line "and yet I remain unmoved."

Being a peacemaker is being like Christ.

Thanks Devon, for your wit and humor, insight and testimony.

By the way, at the first of the lesson Devon told us that she loved studying the lesson, "It's like General Conference! And to think, I could have been reading these lessons all along!" Thanks for reminding us, Devon.

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