Cause of Zion: A Cause For Peace

Cause Of Zion: A Cause For Peace

 

 We recognize…”The designs of God…to establish peace and good will among men; to promote the principle of eternal truth; to bring about a state of things shall unite man to his fellow man: cause the world to “beat their swords into plow shares, and their spears into pruning hooks,” make the nations of the earth dwell in peace…” (Teaching of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg.24)

It is our divine calling to …”Sue for peace, not only to the people that have smitten you, but to all people; And lift up an ensign of peace, and make a proclamation of peace unto the ends of the earth ” (D&C 105:38-39).

 

Responses

  1. Thoughts on Peace by Apostle Dallin H. Oaks
    Dallin H. Oaks, World Peace Ensign, May 1990, 71 (Some excerpts)

    For over fifty years, I have heard the leaders of this Church preach that peace can only come through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am coming to understand why.

    The peace the gospel brings is not just the absence of war. It is the opposite of war. Gospel peace is the opposite of any conflict, armed or unarmed. It is the opposite of national or ethnic hostilities, of civil or family strife.

    In the midst of World War I, President Joseph F. Smith declared:

    “For years it has been held that peace comes only by preparation for war; the present conflict should prove that peace comes only by preparing for peace, through training the people in righteousness and justice, and selecting rulers who respect the righteous will of the people. There is only one thing that can bring peace into the world. It is the adoption of the gospel of Jesus Christ, rightly understood, obeyed and practiced by rulers and people like.” (Improvement Era, Sept. 1914)

    A generation later, during the savage hostilities of World War II, President David O. McKay declared:

    “Peace will come and be maintained only through the triumph of the principles of peace, and by the consequent subjection of the enemies of peace, which are hatred, envy, ill-gotten gain, the exercise of unrighteous dominion of men. Yielding to these evils brings misery to the individual, unhappiness to the home, war among nations.” (Gospel Ideals, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1953, p. 280.)

    As we seek to understand the causes of wars, persecutions, and civil strife, we can see that they are almost always rooted in wickedness. The mass-murders of the twentieth century are among the bloodiest crimes ever committed against humanity. We can hardly comprehend the magnitude of the Nazi holocaust murders of over five million Jews in Europe, Stalin purges and labor camps that killed five to ten million in the Soviet Union, and the two to three million noncombatants who were killed or who died of hunger in the Biafran War. (See Isidor Walliman and Michael N. Dobkowski, eds., Genocide and the Modern Age, New York: Greenwood Press, 1987, p. 46; The Nation, 6 Mar. 1989, p. 294, 7/14 Aug. 1989, p. 154.)

    All of these slaughters, and others like them, were rooted in the ancient wickedness Satan taught that a man could murder to get gain. (See Moses 5:31.) The mass-murderers of this century killed to acquire property and to secure power over others. We still live in a time of turmoil. There are wars between some nations, armed conflicts within others, and violent controversies in most. People are killed every day in some places, and hatred is practiced in many more. Peace is a victim everywhere.

    If only we could heed the call of the Lord God of Israel. Come unto me all ye ends of the earth. (2 Ne. 26:25.) As the Book of Mormon teaches, he has created all flesh. And the one being is as precious in his sight as the other. (Jacob 2:21.) He has given salvation free for all men. (2 Ne. 26:27) and call men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden. (2 Ne. 26:28.) And he inviteth [all men] to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God. (2 Ne. 26:33.)

    The blessings of the gospel are universal, and so is the formula for peace: keep the commandments of God. War and conflict are the result of wickedness; peace is the product of righteousness.

    During the past year we have seen revolutionary changes in the governments of many nations. We are gratified that in most nations these changes have been accomplished without war or bloodshed. Nevertheless, we are far from securing peace in these nations or in any others throughout the world.

    Many take comfort from the Old Testament prophecy that nations will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks. (Micah 4:3.) But this prophecy only applies to that time of peace which follows the time when the God of Jacob will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths. (Micah 4:2.)

    For now, we have wars and conflicts, and everywhere they are rooted in violations of the commandments of God. The leaders of some nations have systematically murdered their opposition. Persons in power in some nations have stolen public and private property so they could live in luxury. At the same time, they have neglected the most basic needs of the hungry and homeless among their people. Some private citizens have promoted poverty by stealing, by corrupting public officials, and by oppressing the poor and defenseless.

    Just across the borders of some nations are the wretched camps of refugees whose suffering circumstances are also traceable to man inability to keep the commandments of God.
    The moral climate in some nations is reminiscent of the prophet Ezekiel description of the bloody city of Jerusalem: Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain. The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy. (Ezek. 22:27, 29.)

    Democracy does not ensure peace. When a nation is governed according to the voice of its people, its actions will mirror the righteousness or wickedness of its people. We cannot have peace among nations without achieving general righteousness among the people who comprise them. Elder John A. Widtsoe said:

    “The only way to build a peaceful community is to build men and women who are lovers and makers of peace. Each individual, by that doctrine of Christ and His Church, holds in his own hands the peace of the world. That makes me responsible for the peace of the world, and makes you individually responsible for the peace of the world. The responsibility cannot be shifted to someone else. It cannot be placed upon the shoulders of Congress or Parliament, or any other organization of men with governing authority.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1943, p. 113.)

    If citizens do not have a basic goodness to govern their actions toward one another, we can never achieve peace in the world. One nationâl greed, hatred, or desire for power over another is simply a reflection of the greeds, hatreds, and selfish desires of individuals within that nation.
    Conversely, each citizen furthers the cause of world peace when he or she keeps the commandments of God and lives at peace with family and neighbors. Such citizens are living the prayer expressed in the words of a popular song,”Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” (Sy Miller and Jill Jackson, Let There Be Peace on Earth.)

    The Savior and his Apostles had no program for world peace other than individual righteousness. They mounted no opposition to the rule of Rome or to the regime of its local tyrants. They preached individual righteousness and taught that the children of God should love their enemies (see Matt. 5:44) and live peaceably with all men. (Rom. 12:18).

    Recent history reminds us that people who continue to hate one another after a war will have another war, whereas the victor and vanquished who forgive one another will share peace and prosperity.

    What can one person do to promote world peace? The answer is simple: keep God commandments and serve his children. Persons who seek to reduce human suffering and persons who work to promote understanding among different peoples are also important workers for peace.

    In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we follow the formula prescribed by the prophet-king Benjamin. He taught that those who receive a remission of their sins through the atonement of Christ are filled with the love of God and the knowledge of that which is just and true. That kind of person “will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably with all people. (Mosiah 4:13.) That is our method, and salvation and peace for all mankind is our goal.

    Jesus Christ is our Savior. He has taught us the way to live. If we follow him and have goodwill toward all men, we can have peace on earth. May God bless all of us in that great effort, I pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


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