110. We Loved Them Once
[For our former allies, still our brothers.]
A recent Sunday lesson on the Beatitudes coincided with my ongoing review of Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The following are three of many excerpts whereby Brother Joseph sought to encourage the Saints to be more forgiving, patient, and charitable to all around them--both fellow Saints and those "former allies" in the War in Heaven who have not yet relearned either our Father's plan or their own prior collaboration in the same. Combining the Sermon on the Mount with Brother Joseph's poignant declaration, "we loved them once", I felt impressed to record the poem set out below.
Excerpts: Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith
"Said he had been instrumental in bringing iniquity to light [sic]--it was a melancholy thought and awful that so many should place themselves under the condemnation of the devil, and going to perdition. With deep feeling he said that they are fellow mortals, we loved them once, shall we not encourage them to reformation? We have not yet forgiven them seventy times seven, as our Savior directed; perhaps we have not forgiven them once." p. 238
“Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand, and watch over them with tenderness. When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what power it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind.” p. 240
“The nearer we get to our heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind out backs. p.241
B20. We Loved Them Once
We loved them once in realms of wonder
With Father’s strength, we fought a common foe.
The rebels’ plans of hate were torn asunder,
The beauties of this Earth they’ll never know.
There is a veil between our former station
And our shared trials on this troubled earth.
So many brothers from each clime and nation
Believe in neither God nor their own worth.
How sad our former love and sharing
Of all the good that Father bid us taste
Has vanished, so that we, uncaring,
Too quickly deem our brothers out of place.
We point the finger, finding faults unceasing
With trifles without merit, cause, or right.
So quickly do we see ourselves releasing,
Discord and anger that kills Heaven’s light.
And thus the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
Bid us recall that former place and time
When truth was taught to all who’d hear it,
And we, together, sought our Father’s mind.
So let us treat all whom we meet with kindness,
And show them patience, tolerance, and love.
If we forgive our brothers of their weakness,
We’ll find forgiveness in God’s court above.
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I hope that the inquiring reader has found a pattern in this Blog which mimics the rather far more divine metaphor [or "type" or "shadow" in Book of Mormon parlance]. The theme repeats throughout, but is seen dramatically in 1 Nephi: Lehi or Nephi study the gospel, they engage in Church service, typically family history or testimony/teaching, and then...they are given knowledge from on High--often prophecy or revelation.
I have found a powerful link between my own studies and gospel oriented labors and the poetry (or prose) found here and elsewhere. I testify that anyone who humbly and earnestly studies God's word, and then applies the same in service to others, will receive choice and uncommon blessings. My own gifts are modest, and are totally due to Heaven's infinite condescension, yet the link, or lesson, is available to all. I know this to be true. I fully expect many readers with greater devotion to demonstrate absolutely remarkable exhibitions of spiritual gifts.