A Joyful Society (4 Nephi 1:15-17)

After Christ’s Visit to the Americas, the people were changed. They covenanted with Him. They kept their covenants and the commandments. And what followed is nothing short of amazing.

” 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.

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.” – 4 Nephi 1:15-18

This society – it was heaven on earth. It was Zion.

How was it possible? The love of God which dwelled in the hearts of the people.

So, I know that I could write at least 10 pages on this subject – the love of God that dwells in the hearts of people. For now, though, just understand that this isn’t some kind of amalgam concept of “love” that we seem to have now. They had the very specific love of God – the pure love of Christ – the love what doesn’t fail. This love comes as a result of discipline and covenant keeping.

Through covenant keeping and discipline, we develop God-like love, or charity, and then we can experience the following:

  • joy in the success of others – (lack of envy)
  • Peace – (no strife)
  • Virtue – (no whoredoms)
  • Sanctity of Life and safety – (no murder)
  • Healthy Family life – (no manner of lasciviousness)
  • Happiness
  • Safe Property – (No robbers)
  • Safe Life – (No murderers)
  • A United Class – (No Racism or class)
  • Blessings
  • Heir to the Kingdom of God
  • Prosperity
  • The Abundant Life

Often, I think that we have a backward approach on this. We think that if we will just work at joy, peace, safety then we’ll have it. Or we think we make laws to prevent murder, robbery, and rape, and then experience the kind of society described in 4 Nephi. We think that we can “eradicate” class through governmental control.

We often try to approach this ideal society backwards – looking at the corollaries, rather than the cause.

The way to be the kind of society like these Nephites after Christ’s visit is through humbly covenanting with God. It is through Righteousness and devotion to the commandments that will enable us to become the kind of people who have hearts filled with the love of God.

I find this message to be especially hopeful. It’s possible! Christ will make us perfect. He will complete us and enable us to live joy – even while in this mortal state. If we will just turn to Him. He will teach us how it is possible, and empower us by filling our hearts with His love.

A Chilling Warning (Alma 45:8-10)

It’s time for more commentary from Mormon (who abridged this historical record of his people).

“Thus we see how quick the children of men do forget the Lord their God, yea, how quick to do iniquity, and to be led away by the evil one.

Yea, and we also see the great wickedness one very wicked man can cause to take place among the children of men.

Yea, we see that Amalickiah, because he was a man of cunning device and a man of many flattering words, that he led away the hearts of many people to do wickedly; yea, and to seek to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for the righteous’ sake. – Alma 46:8-10

This is a chilling warning for our own day. It’s crazy to see how the people who were subjected to war – who fought and rejoiced for their liberty when they won the war – would quickly forget this blessing of liberty.

It is indicative of a very ignorant and naive people. However, this attitude is more than mere naïveté. It is also insidious at its most extreme. Okay. and depending on the person who rejoices in his/her liberty but then wants to limit it – this attitude is also hypocritical.

I feel pretty safe in saying that we all want liberty. We all want to be free. But then there are people who feel like liberty shouldn’t be extended to all. (Not that they want their liberty limited. They want the liberty of others to bear the limitation).

This is the same hypocrisy of the war in heaven. Satan wanted to have agency while simultaneously crushing ours. You can’t have it both ways, though.

Trusting those who have the desire to have liberty while limiting others’ liberty is pride, ignorance, and maybe even complete stupidity. We ought to fight for liberty the way that we fight for life. The loss of liberties and privileges always has a terrible, miserable, and painful outcome. Often, we can’t regain this loss without a serious and bloody revolution.

We are at a political crossroads right now – it is election year, and this year seems to be particularly depressing. I would never tell you how to vote, but I do think that we need pay attention to our liberties and how each candidate respects the liberty of every person in this country. Once we give up our liberties, the cost to get them back may seem too high.