Peaceable Followers of Christ
Peaceable is a very interesting word. There are several synonyms for the word: serene, harmonious, calm, quiet, compliant. Each one of those synonyms represents what it means to follow Christ’s teachings. It seems that these saints to whom Mormon was talking demonstrated that they were really Christians by they way they treated other people.
In my mind, a true Christian does not cause discord. He serves quietly and anonymously. He does not speak loudly, but lives a reverent life. He complies with the commandments and willingly follows Christ’s teachings. He prays fervently and studies the scriptures diligently. I often think of my parents as peaceable followers of Christ. My Sunbeam teacher, Grace Nelson, was a true peaceable follower of Christ. There are many peaceable followers of Christ among us, but you must watch carefully for them, because they will not stand out in the world’s sense.
Pray With Real Intent
If we are praying aimlessly and giving no thought for what we are thankful for and what we stand in need of, then our prayers will not reach heaven. It will profit us nothing. When we pray, we must mean it. We must have a purpose to our words. They must be thoughtful. We ought to meditate when we pray and we ought to really search our souls for the things we are thankful for and the things we desire of our Father. If we do not pray with real intent, we are not really praying. We are just saying words.
The Devil Fights God Continually
The word that stands out in Moroni 7:12 is continually. The devil will never stop fighting that which is good. But opposite of the devil is God who also invites and entices us to do good continually. Galatians 6:9 counsels us to “not be weary in well doing.” 2 Thessalonians 3:13 gives similar counsel. We must endure to the end and never tire in striving to do good. As we strive to do good, our Father in Heaven will help us.
Judgment and Spirit of Christ
Each of us knows the difference between right and wrong. This is called the Spirit of Christ. Since we know wrong from right, we are given the change to judge between good and evil. The task is simple yet hard to complete. Anything that invites and entices to do good comes from Christ. Anything that persuades and entices us to do evil and to deny the Christ is of the devil. Therefore, we must choose the good and shun the evil. As we continually choose the good, our ability to choose the good becomes stronger and we become a child of Christ. (Moroni 7:19)
How Faith in Christ Began
Men began to have faith in Christ when God sent angels who in turn ministered to men. Just within the pages of the Book of Mormon we read of Nephi’s vision and how an angel ministered to him. (see 1 Nephi 11) King Benjamin was taught by an angel before he taught the Nephites. (see Mosiah 3:2) We also are very familiar with the story of Alma and the angel that visited him more than once. (see Mosiah 27; Alma 8:14)
Not only have angels ministered to men, but our Heavenly Father and Christ have taught men. We have just read about the brother of Jared and how Christ showed Himself to him hundreds of years before Christ was mortal. Thus these seeds are planted among men and we begin to have faith in Christ.
But what about those of us today … Christ has already appeared. How are we to exercise faith in Christ? My favorite part of an Apostle’s talk is his testimony. If you are tuned into the Spirit and listen closely, the Holy Ghost will testify in your heart the truthfulness of the words of the Apostles’.
I’ve mentioned this before and I’ll mention it again. One of the most powerful testimonies I’ve heard came from Elder Henry B. Eyring shortly after he was called to be an Apostle. He gave a talk at the MTC while I was training there. I do not remember the subject of his talk. But what has remained with me all these years is the spirit I felt when he bore his testimony. I know that he really knows that Christ lives. And as such, I know that Christ lives.
Angels Minister Today
Mormon taught that angels have not ceased to minister to men. (Moroni 7:29) He teaches that angels are subject to God and according to His command they show “themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.” (Moroni 7:30) Those who are taught by angels are taught the gospel of repentance. Those who are taught are then commanded to preach to men. They are to preach repentance and to teach men to fulfill the work of God. They are to bear testimony of Christ. Thus “the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ.” (Moroni 7:32)
Pre-requisites of Faith and Hope
Mormon teaches that in order for a man to have faith and hope, he must be meek and lowly of heart. In other words, he must be a peaceable follower of Christ.
He must also confess that Jesus is the Christ and he must have charity.
Suffereth long – to me, this means that when placed under a trail or persecution, we do not retaliate. We suffer or endure through the trail or persecution asking God what He wants us to learn from it. We are quick to praise God and slow to complain.
Kind – If we are kind to others, then we have charity. Are we kind to disobedient children? Are we kind to drivers who cut us off? Are we kind to those who offend us? Can we at least treat others with decent respect?
Envieth not – If we have envy, then we are jealous or spiteful or malicious. To have charity means we should not covet other’s possessions or status in life. If we are “keeping up with the Jones” then we do not have charity. If we are constantly comparing our lot in life to others’ then we do not have charity. If we experience scheudenfraude (happy about another’s demise or ill luck), then we probably don’t have charity.
Is not puffed up – being “puffed up” means that we’re flaunting ourselves. When we are pompous, it tends to put others down and that is not charity. Puffing yourself up implies that you are putting others down.
Seeketh not her own – this is similar to being puffed up. If we are constantly looking out for ourselves without regard for others, then we are seeking after our own.
Is not easily provoked – this one is similar to suffereth long. At times, others may try to make us angry … they are trying to aggravate and goad us into fighting back. But if we do not fall for this tactic, then we are beginning to have charity.
Thinketh no evil – a person who does not think evil is pure in heart. A child does not think evil.
Rejoiceth not in iniquity – There are those who glory in their sinful life. They take delight in exercising their agency to the full extent.
Rejoiceth in the truth – On the other hand, there are those who love the truth and who want to be happy and seek true happiness for others. These rejoice in the truth.
Beareth all things – I think in this definition, we are to bear the trials and tribulations the Lord places on us. I don’t think the Lord expects us to tolerate all kinds of sin and iniquity. We are to allow others the use of their agency, but we can use our agency to exhort others to repentance. I am reminded of the Prophet Joseph Smith when he was in jail; he had to endure all kinds of taunting and vile talk. One night in the Richmond Jail, as guards in “dreadful blasphemies and filthy language” boasted of their participation in the Saints’ persecution, Joseph rebuked them in the name of Jesus Christ in a “voice of thunder”: “SILENCE, ye fiends of the infernal pit. … Cease such talk, or you or I die THIS INSTANT!” The “quailing guards … begged his pardon.” Parley wrote, “Dignity and majesty have I seen but once, as it stood in chains, at midnight, in a dungeon in an obscure village of Missouri.” (Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt (1985), 179–80 see also Matthew J. Grow, “The Extraordinary Life of Parley P. Pratt,” Ensign, Apr 2007, 56–61)
Believeth all things – Along the same lines of bearing all things, we are to believe all things the Lord teaches us. Obviously we are not to believe the lies Satan and his angels would have us believe. Rather, we ought to believe that Christ lives and we are to believe all that Christ has taught and we are to believe in his prophets and apostles. We are to be as a little child and be “submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” (Mosiah 3:19)
Hopeth all things – We must always have hope. We hope for a better world. We hope our children will choose the right when they are on their own. We hope they will marry in the temple. We hope they will serve and be faithful all their lives. We hope we will be a family forever. We hope that all the gospel offers us and our family will be realized. We must always hope. Without hope, we’d be in constant despair.
Endureth all things – Not only are we to endure what this life throws at us, but we are to endure it well. There are so many people who are bitter about their lot in life. We may not be able to choose what will happen to us, but we can always choose how we will react to it.
Pray for Charity
Charity is a gift from God. We can do our best to practice charity, but ultimately we must diligently pray for it. And we must pray with all our heart that God bestows this gift on us.