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Our Political Climate: 'Railing for Railing'

from MakeAWebsiteHub.com
In my scripture study today I came across something that I feel, in a slightly glib way, was included in the Book of Mormon because Moroni saw the Social Media craziness in our day. President Ezra Taft Benson, as a precursor to the scripture I came across, comments on how we should read the Book of Mormon:
"Moroni, the last of the inspired writers, actually saw our day and time. “Behold,” he said, “the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.
“Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing” (Morm. 8:34–35).
If they saw our day and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, “Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?”"(1)

 In that spirit, let's consider 3 Nephi 6:13. As for context, this verse is speaking of divisions and inequalities that arose in the land and within the Church:
"Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God." (bold added for emphasis)
Admittedly, I went through a period of a few years in which I justified my 'railing' because I was defending 'truth' and 'righteousness'. I would view the people that would 'rail' against gospel principles as those who choose to 'take offense' and who had the truth 'cut them to the very center'. While some of these thoughts probably had some truth to them, they also conveniently left out other gospel principles. 
"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." (3 Nephi 11:29)
"... There can be dignity even in silence, as was the case when Jesus meekly stood, unjustly accused, before Pilate. Silence can be an expression of strength. Holding back can be the sign of great personal discipline, especially when everyone else is letting go.
Furthermore, not only are the meek less easily offended, but they are less likely to give offense to others." - Neal A. Maxwell (2)
"In contrast, brothers and sisters, we often see in our unnecessary multiplication of words not only a lack of clarity, but much vanity. Our verbosity is sometimes a cover for insincerity or uncertainty, whereas the subtraction of self reduces the unnecessary multiplication of words.
Meekness, however, is more than self-restraint; it is the presentation of self in a posture of kindness and gentleness, reflecting certitude, strength, serenity, and a healthy self-esteem and self-control.
Without meekness, the conversational points we insist on making often take the form of “I”—that spearlike, vertical pronoun." - Neal A. Maxwell (3)

How should we, therefore, approach our sharing of 'truth' and gospel messages on our various social media platforms?

David A. Bednar, in a presentation on this very issue of Social Media, gave various suggestions:
“We should not exaggerate, embellish, or pretend to be someone, or something we are not. Our content should be trustworthy and constructive...”
“Our messages should seek to edify and uplift, rather than to argue, debate, condemn, or belittle...”
“Be courageous and bold, but not overbearing, in sustaining and defending our beliefs, and avoid contention. As disciples, our purpose should be to use social media channels as a means of projecting the light and truth of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ...”
“Too much time can be wasted, too many relationships can be harmed or destroyed, and precious patterns of righteousness can be disrupted when technology is used improperly. We should not allow even good applications of social media to overrule the better and best uses of our time, energy, and resources...”
“We need not become social media experts or fanatics. And we do not need to spend inordinate amounts of time creating and disseminating elaborate messages...”(4)
Admittedly, not too long ago I was guilty of the last point he makes. This is partly why I decided to create a blog, which is a much more appropriate and productive space for such.

In addition to this, I would point out the trap we can fall into for those of us who have 'excessive zeal'. If we are not meek enough, we lose the ability to receive more light and knowledge on those things 'we never have considered'. Moses is an example we should follow. He is described as 'very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth' (see Numbers 12:3). It was this same meek Moses that stood boldly in the courts of Pharoh AFTER being specifically commission by Jehovah to do so (and after centuries of oppression done unto Israel). Most of our railings on social media do not fall into that category. This same Moses is the one who was so meek he was able to comprehend visions, revelations, and visitations. He was shown things that caused him to "greatly marvel and wonder". He learned things "he never had supposed" (see Moses 1:8-9). His meekness allowed him to learn things that probably turned his paradigms inside out. The closer we approach God, this becomes clear to us.

To 'not turn and revile again' is a sign of spiritual strength. It is a sign of one who is willing to learn things '[they] never had supposed'. It is a beautiful paradox of the gospel. We must cling to truth, but truth is revealed. This ought to give all of us pause to be meek enough to learn things '[we] have never considered' (see D&C 101:94).


  1. We'll written and the pertinent quotes are appreciated. This is something I need to constantly remind myself of. One of my great weaknesses.


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