And again I say unto you, let every man esteem his brother as himself. For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just? Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine. D&C 38:25-27
Is it possible to truly be one, to have equality among a group of individuals? In our corporate, climb the ladder, mind frame we seem to always want someone “in charge” of a project, we want to lay claim or ownership to an “assignment”. If a body is of equals, with no president, no one in charge, will they be able to “keep order”? Can we govern ourselves? Must we always require someone to govern us? Can we submit to the Lord alone and regard each other as entirely of one body, one people, acting with respect and without compulsion?
I was present at a gathering of individuals last Sunday. The purpose of the gathering was to continue editing and working on a document that had been written as an assignment from a committee to an individual. Some of those in attendance were there because they had been “called of God” while others were there because they had been called by the author of the document. What struck me as significant was how often throughout the day people referred to this project as “John Doe’s assignment”. I kept thinking, “that’s a corporate America way of thinking, this is all of our assignment since God called all of us to work on it.”
At one point in the day we broke into smaller groups of 8 to 10 people. The group I was in also contained the man who was considered by some as The Assignment Guy. For the first couple of hours our group just went in circles, another man, who also believes in equality, had ‘taken charge’ of the group and was facilitating the discussion. After two plus hours of going in circles and not getting anywhere we took a break to individually pray and re-center ourselves.
When we came back together, it was suggested that we stand in a circle, holding hands to connect physically, while we connected spiritually. We poured our hearts out to the Lord, begging Him for guidance and direction. No one was in charge. Everyone prayed when moved upon by the spirit and when thoughts or impressions would come into a person’s mind they would leave the prayer circle and write it down on the white board or a window until a couple of hours had gone by and the white board was filled as well as two large windows.
No one critiqued or edited or criticized anyone else’s writings. Some were full sentences, some a few words. Once we all felt that we’d “received” all that God had for us at the time one of our group, who had thought to bring a laptop, sat down and began typing up all the disjointed writings. We then, as a group of equals, were able to put all the bits and pieces of personal revelation together to form a whole revelation. It was an amazing and beautiful experience. This only happened once we all accepted the ‘assignment’ from the Lord and acted as equals, respecting each other’s bits and pieces of revelation; when we became of one heart and one mind with each other and with the Lord.
Zion is not just an idea that will happen sometime later and someplace else. It is a fact that it will happen when (and if) there are ever people who will give heed and obedience to the abundant teachings and commandments we already have before us. Voluntary cooperation is harder than obedience to control and dictate. But control will not bring Zion. Since the only thing worth our effort is Zion, we must choose voluntary cooperation.
A Standard for All Fellowships
The first great commandment is to love God. Worship God. I am the Truth, the Way, and the Life. No man cometh to the Father but by me, and all things testify of me. If you love me keep my commandments. All who keep my commandments and obey my voice shall see my face and know that I am. My sheep hear my voice and hearken to the voice of my servants.
The second commandment is like unto the first, love your neighbor as yourself. Every member of a fellowship has equal value. Who can measure the worth of a soul? Who can place a value on a child of God? Are not all my children? Did I not come to save every man and woman? Treat others my way. I am no respecter of persons. Let all things be done in charity.
Unity and love within a fellowship will create a connection with God. We are all broken parts of a greater whole—God’s family—the purpose of gathering together is to repair the family of God. Fellowships are where God can put the pieces back together. When we come together to worship with an eye single to the glory of God, then it is God who unites. Progression is rapid when labor is performed by mortals who work together.
Should the Lord send an angel to govern the affairs of men? Why should I send an angel when a group of broken individuals can come to the same understanding by joining together in love and meekness? Fear stops the flow of communication with God and destroys all relationships. Abuse is rampant and fosters fear. All are broken; only love, true forgiveness, and the atonement can break the chain. Implementing the Atonement of Jesus Christ in ourselves, our families, and our fellowships overcomes fear and heals all wounds.
The glory of God is intelligence, or in other words light and truth. Light, like a candle, can pass God’s glory to others. Just as the sun rises to warm all the earth, light shared through love proceeds from within our hearts to draw in and unite all people. Light is given to all fellowships liberally that they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom. Otherwise there remains a scourge and judgment poured out upon the children of Zion.
When we lean on our own understanding we fail to connect with God and fail to fulfill the measure of our creation. Christ animates us as individuals and fellowships if we allow Him to do so. The words of Truth flow when the Spirit of God is animated in believers who speak and act according to the power of godliness. Faith is a principle of action and power. Unified actions, like prayer, ordinances, worship, song, coordinated dance, and physical labor can help a group achieve the flow of the Spirit. Revelation is God’s experience given to animate action in us— giving mere mortals the power to progress in their ascension to godhood.
Be of good cheer! The Lord will provide; do not fear. Have joy. Fellowships exist for the purpose of restoring the family of God and to prepare us for Zion. Our oneness testifies to the world that God is REAL. If you are not one, you are not mine.