Journey through the Book of Mormon: 3 Nephi 2 (Unite with Their Brethren)

12 Therefore, all the Lamanites who had become converted unto the Lord did unite with their brethren, the Nephites, and were compelled, for the safety of their lives and their women and their children, to take up arms against those Gadianton robbers, yea, and also to maintain their rights, and the privileges of their church and of their worship, and their freedom and their liberty.

I’ve been struck in recent weeks by the continual invocations of religious freedom being issued from the mouths of those we sustain as Prophets and Apostles. Dozens of sermons on this theme have been given in recent years. It has been called the defining issue of our time – with good reason.

This verse reminded me of the unexpected benefits of such threats. At times, extrinsic and fundamental challenges can cause us to find newfound unity and strength. We might end up in common cause with those who were once our foes. It seems to me that as members of various denominations have unified in the fight to protect religious freedom, that there has been an incredible boon in our relations with other people of faith. We come to find that those things which unify us are simply more important than those things which divide us.

In our day, we may continue to find need to find common cause with those that have disdained us in the past. In this, I find the Church to set a phenomenal example. It is reached out to Catholic and evangelical groups to find common cause. And it has worked hand in hand with gay rights groups to find accommodations that are fair for all. In this way, the threat of a militant secularism which seeks to banish religious voices from the public sphere has, Gadianton like, brought people of disparate backgrounds together in unity. It is a marvelous and encouraging sign.


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