Diana and I have been traveling for the past month, largely visiting family. Since we moved up to North Idaho, and don’t really have money for plane tickets like we used to, we drove. A lot. Salt Lake City, LA, Phoenix, Salt Lake City. I’ve stayed abreast of most of the goings on with the Statement of Principles. I’ve had thoughts and opinions, but have largely been pleased that most of the things I might have to say had already been said before I even got around to adding my voice. This is a good thing – a very good thing. There are so many good, talented, well-spoken, well-meaning people among us. It’s great to see.
However, there is one thought that I think is very important, and which I don’t think has been expressed among us – at least not in the way I have constructed it in my mind. I would like to share that thought today.
Zion will be like a marriage – although one without benefits except among monogamous couples joined by God. I think herein lies the secret of achieving mutual agreement. I think herein lies the secret to becoming one even while we are clearly individuals with individual personalities, talents, dreams, hopes, fears, etc.
I consider it to be the greatest blessing of my life to have the kind of marriage I have with Diana. One of the defining characteristics of this marriage is the way in which we are united – the way in which we are one. We do not always agree on matters, but we always achieve mutual agreement. Then, when we do, there is rarely any “I told you so” between us.
You see, once we have agreed (after honest and open discussion) on a course of action, even if we initially disagreed, we move forward together, in unity, trying to insure together that the agreed upon course of action results in the desired outcome. We don’t seek to prove that one or the other of us were right, subtly seeking to sabotage the decision that we initially disagreed on. Actually, we tend to rejoice when one of us is proven to have been correct. Every such experience makes us stronger and more confident in our combined wisdom and ability. And if the chosen course of action eventually is proven to not have been ideal, the other is quick to admit their error, and bow to the gained wisdom of the experience, seeking together a new course.
In our marriage, there is no fear of the others’ success, only rejoicing. There is no jealousy, only love and sacrifice. Pride – usually exhibited by me – is quickly recognized and extinguished by honoring the wisdom of, and the need for, humility between us. Anger can no longer flourish, because we so quickly recognize the pain it causes, and how quickly it can destroy our oneness – which oneness we have learned to cherish greatly.
I pray that many of you will recognize this type of relationship in your own marriage. I describe this, though, because I think this is what the Lord is leading us toward in preparation for Zion. This is the ultimate goal of all marriage covenants, whether it be between two earthly individuals (and Christ, of course); or between an individual and Christ; or between a covenant people and Christ. This type of sociality is the goal of the scripture project and its capstone, the statement of principles. If we can learn to come to an agreement, even if we initially disagree, and sincerely and energetically work together to bring about the best possible outcome of that course of action, without harboring any anticipation of an “I told you so” moment, should things not work out as desired; this is the oneness that the Lord seeks. It’s all in our hearts. It’s the difference between a faithful bride and a prideful, adulterous one. Do we seek individually to be right, or do we seek for the best possible outcome of our mutual agreement, no matter how imperfect we might initially and individually think it is?
Even a majority decision can become mutuality if we can work and live this way together. If one is participating in a council or committee meeting, and all voices have been spoken and heard, and a decision is made by majority vote – mutuality is still attained when each member of the council says to themselves, “Well, we came together to decide on a course of action. We did so. Even though I don’t think this is the optimal course of action; even though I’m in the minority; I will still do my best to bring about its success, and if we experience failure, then we will have experienced failure together, and we will all come together again, having mutually gained the wisdom of the experience, and seek a wiser course of action – and we will seek it together!”
This kind of mutuality, this kind of cooperation, this kind of love, is the key to Zion. This is what the Lord is trying to teach us. It is a simple lesson, and it is one of the lessons that I am most grateful for in my life. The opportunity to learn this lesson with such a meek and wonderful person as my wife is just an added blessing. I must grudgingly admit that she has made it infinitely easier for me just by her nature. “Yes, sweetie, I know. You told me so.”
Can we each commit ourselves to making it easy for our neighbors to learn this lesson though our humility, our honesty, our selflessness, and our charity? Can we each be an example of this type of selfless love? Can we do this so that we might become one with each other; achieving unity and mutuality; while still extolling the differences that make us each a unique and, hopefully, complementary entity in the Lord’s universe? If we can do this, I truly believe we can become the covenant people the Lord has sought since the beginning. I truly believe we can achieve the mutuality that He requires of us. I truly believe we will be able to learn and apply the lessons that will bring about the oneness, the unity, the social and spiritual perfection, that must eventually define His Zion.