Articles by/for Allies
World Comm-Unity: Come Unto Me
By Adonna Schow
Salt Lake City, Utah, August 24, 1997
It has been a joy to be with you in this conference, to be journeying through the gathering, through the voyage of personal reconciliation, through the pioneering of local communities, experiencing beautiful devotionals and music—it's always a joy to sing with this group and to listen to others sing—and now today to the explorations concerning world community. All lubricated along the path with a little perspiration—and a lot of Saliva!
This wonderful trip these past few days together has typified, celebrated, almost sacredly ritualized the journey that you and I have taken together for several years. Our convening here in the valley in affirmation together has brought back to me many memories of sharing our lives, in individual conversations I've had with many of you, in discussion groups, in firesides, in workshops, and conventions, in fund-raising dinners, in retreats, in book-signings, in music concerts, in the homes of some of you, at plays and a Boylesque Vegas show, even in dancing at the Sun. Truly an incredible journey we've been on together.
This invitation to speak to you not only brought back memories of you to me, but it brought me back to you. For I have been on the most difficult and painful two-year trek of my life, assaulting the final summit, so to speak, after rocky terrains and uphill climbs for many years. Although, in a sense, I was separated from you for a time, yet in highly significant reality, I was trudging along parallel to you. I now know more personally than ever, the trail of tears many of you have been on. I now know, first-hand, all people in all places and all times who have suffered, forged new unpopular trails, and become strong, even to the point of resurrection from crucifixion. Now I have reached the valley. The ordeal is ended. And it is wonderful, as well as affirming to me, to be back in association with you—a family reunion.
We are, similarly, nearing the end of our convention trip. But I want to focus our minds for a minute on that word "end." Yes, it means "it's over and done." That can bring sadness and a longing for the good times to continue. Yet I also know from my own recent experience the value of closure to rugged voyages, for certain phases of our lives to be culminated. Some endings are crucial and absolutely necessary.
At the same time, there is another meaning to "end" that is important as we look to the future and to world-wide community. End here means the result. It is not the cessation, but the goal and the ultimate state. The end of a process is its objective. End shares common connotation with intent, aim, and design. The oft-repeated admonition to "endure to the end" now takes on the meaning of enduring to the purpose, to the fulfillment, to the desired result. So, "the end of the world" is the fulfillment of its purpose—which could be exactly the opposite of one typical interpretation that the "end of the world" means its destruction. In the context of end as fulfilling its purpose, we see that the end as the finish really means the end as the beginning—the beginning of the ultimate state, or "the essence."
We could say then that the end of our journey is the beginning of the end result. The end is the beginning and the beginning is the end. So, like Joseph Smith's ring, life is circular as well as chronological. In another sense, it has no beginning and no end. The Savior expressed a new dimension of meaning. He said, "I am Alpha and Omega," the beginning and the end. As you know, alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and omega the last. Jesus was expressing that he embodies many beginnings and endings, and they are united in one in him.
So, in that light, don't you think a second beginning to this talk would be appropriate. After all, a theme of world-wide unity can stand a nod to the traditions of the fathers and concomitant trite cliches.
So I offer another beginning. My Dear Brothers and Sisters. I have been asked to speak on the subject of World-Wide Unity and Becoming a Zion People. As I was thinking this morning about what I could say.... That's a joke. I can't use that trite cliche, because I have a lot to say. But it may be an unconventional approach, and you may feel an uncomfortable duality as I share some ideas. But I invite you to come on a journey with me—we're used to that by now!—an exploration of thoughts, a safari into perhaps some tangled ideas. But I believe if we penetrate the thick underbrush, this expedition can give us passage to a world community and a cosmic Zion.
Consider the marvelous technical miracles at this time in the history of the world, which we are privileged to witness and experience, which unify us world-wide. Perhaps you, as I, have stepped into a metal box with wings that don't flap, and have stepped out in lands on the other side of the planet. Or we have stayed at home and communicated with people in foreign places. I'm still intrigued by an experience I had several years ago. Good friends of ours called us on the phone from Saudi Arabia to announce the birth of a daughter. I communicated with them as easily as I had chatted over the phone with them when they lived three blocks away. And, we learned that she was born on the day before she was born! Amazing.
The magic of television brings us news of foreign people and lands and governments. And others hear of us. We witness live and hear reports on events that change the course of human history—in the Soviet Union, in China, in South Africa. Governments change—and we hear about it. We hear of wars and rumors of wars. We know world leaders; we know scoundrels; we know mass-murderers and bombers and their victims; we know great humanitarians. We observe the course of trials in courts of law we cannot attend. Indeed, we experience one fulfillment of the prophecy of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith, "And the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed."1 There are surely satellite dishes and TV antennas on the housetops. And the secret acts of just about everyone in politics are revealed!
We watch space odysseys—both scientific and the Star Trek kind. We see comets—and mass suicides in their wake. All reminiscent of the Biblical description, "And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke."2
We are entertained by comedians and performers who are hundreds of miles away from us. What unites us more than sporting events? What a sense of world family to realize we are watching figure skaters and gymnasts simultaneously with millions of others of earth's inhabitants. And certainly the computer ties us all together with an incomprehensible web.
Surely now the earth and its people have matured to the point where world-wide Zion is just around the corner. We are bound together through communication. All we need now is for everyone to be tolerant and loving and we'll all live in a utopia of peace and harmony.
Here's where the tangle starts, I believe, because this kind of unity, as exhilarating as it is, exists on the sandy foundation of the technical advances. And, it depends on attitudes and actions of everyone, which ultimately cannot be controlled nor ensured. Suppose, with me, that all travel and communication were taken off this planet—city-of-Enoch-like, if you will. If our unity is built on the premise of mechanical and electronic means of communication, when those are gone, the unity is gone. We would be thrown back into the way we were B.C.—before communications.
I submit that real unity cannot be contingent to anything which could be removed or destroyed, for that would be antithetical to unity. If the bond which links us must be imposed— or controlled—from the outside, it is fake. If the tie which binds must be tied in a knot, it is susceptible to being untied, and the pieces fall apart. Any coherent whole which is dependent on artificial or external agents is then fleeting and ephemeral, and we have not yet reached the end of our journey toward world-wide community.
Indeed, this discussion is leading us to an interesting correlation with a well-known plan for the salvation of all persons. Satan would gladly head-up the project to impose a Zion condition on the entire world. All persons would simply be compelled to live harmoniously under his domination and control.
It's not hard to extrapolate a condition described by the author Madeleine L'Engle in her book, A Wrinkle in Time. The children in her story are on a journey to find their father who was caught and stuck in a time warp. They came upon a town which was unsettlingly perfect. All the houses and gardens, even to the number of flowers, were the same. Though the children playing in the streets could have been like any children playing around housing developments at home, yet something was drastically wrong. These children were all bouncing balls and skipping ropes—in perfect synchrony. Then on a cue, all the mothers came out of the houses like a row of paper dolls, and the children closed up their play in unison. "How can they do it?" Meg asked wonderingly. "We couldn't do it that way if we tried. What does it mean?" Then all at once Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace saw one lone boy bouncing his ball rather badly and with no particular rhythm. The door of his house suddenly opened and the mother, putting her hand to her mouth as though to stifle a scream, grabbed the little boy and rushed indoors with him. The ball dropped from his fingers and rolled out into the street. Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace decided to return the ball to the little boy. They rang the door bell.
After a moment the mother figure opened the door. "What do you want?" she asked fearfully. "It isn't paper time yet; we've had milk time; we've had this month's Puller Prush Person; and I've given my Decency Donations regularly. All my papers are in order." "I think your little boy dropped his ball," Charles Wallace said. The woman pushed the ball away. "Oh, no! The children in our section never drop balls! They're all perfectly trained. We haven't had an Aberration for three years." Charles Wallace held the ball out beyond the woman so that the little boy could see it. Quick as a flash the boy leaped forward and grabbed the ball from Charles Wallace's hand, then darted back into the shadows. The woman went very white, opened her mouth as though to say something, then slammed the door in their faces instead. "What are they afraid of?" Charles Wallace asked. "What's the matter with them?"
The matter with them, I suggest, is that they have succumbed to the erroneous hope that Zion is built by controlled righteousness, by dominations and dominions. Satan and his compatriots are certain "there is no other way." It is clear to me that that way of a forced unity insistently demands more force to enforce. Such a false Zion requires for its maintenance and protection, buttresses, fortifications, weapons, war heads, gas ovens, and electric shocks. For the "privilege and honor" of administering these guarantees of utopia, one satan bumps off another at all levels of perditional chains of command from dictators and their henchmen, down through a dedicated and loyal service corps of hatchet men, guards, spies, gestapo, and even self-appointed vigilantes. And hidden at the very top, sometimes lurking in the shadows, sometimes perfectly disguised in the dress of righteousness, is Satan himself.
I believe that whatever unity is achieved thereby is temporary at best, being subject to disruption by the next rebel. Satan, as the great usurper, is himself evidence that his very own plan will fail. He is the manifestation that a smooth, suave, subtle deceiver, appearing to be full of light, can and does wreak havoc even in heaven.
So we come to the fork in the road in our exploration where we need to ask, "What is it really that could meld us together in world unity?" Is there any glue that cannot be dissolved? What unifier is there that cannot be removed by trickery or stealth or bombs or lack of communication or miscommunication?
We must get down to the central core issue here, for any thing external to persons can be removed. Zion must emerge from within persons themselves. This gives us a clue in our thought safari. Let's investigate the question, "Is there anything that already binds us together, not something externally imposed, but that which already exists?" Answers may be embodied in the question. For example, how about the fact that we all have bodies. That is a common unifier. I have been impressed anew with the fact that my body does things to me without my willing them. Likewise, virtually every female human round the globe and through all generations of people has menstrual periods for years, and then is insulted with hot flashes. What a commonality. None of us, regardless of gender, escapes the realities of our mortal bodies. After all, isn't testosterone the great world regulator?!
Another facet of our universal experience is one we have observed together before: we are all sexual beings. This recognition moves us from the merely physical aspect of being people, because sexuality is not essentially a bodily urge or function. It has to do with the very nature of being persons.
Indeed, we here arrive at what I propose is the essence of world comm-unity. That's comm-hyphen-unity. That which unites us is precisely that we are all persons. That is the reality that just is. That is what can never be removed and what we ourselves can never escape. We are all always persons.
Being a person is a particular kind of being. We exist in a different way of existing than objects or things present-at-hand exist. We exist in a way different from the existence of ideas and ideals. Our existence as persons is unique and supernal in the universe. The visionaries among us see that the being of a person is of infinite worth, worthy of the fondest attention of the gods. Ah, but the reality is even more mysterious and wonderful: the gods themselves are persons. The highest way of existing, the Supreme Being, is the being of a person. God is a personal being.
That's heady stuff. But as we arrive at that destination, we only begin the journey. For we now need to explore the whole question, what, or better, who is a person? What is the nature of being a person? What is the meaning of personal existence? These questions can provide delightful and enlightening study for years. So for our purposes here, allow me to postulate some answers which can lead us further in our journey toward world community.
Let me suggest three simple realities concerning the being of persons. Number 1. We are all unique individuals. We here are especially conscious of that. Number 2. Persons come in groups. We all have parents; we exist in some sort or another of family or groupings appropriate to the individual. The existence of persons is not in isolation apart from some other personal being. We are gregarious by nature. But these groups we are in are distinctly apart from other groups we are not in. At the same time, of course, we must get to Number 3, which is that we are all in one large group, in that we have aspects of existence in common with all other persons. To summarize, as persons we have some facets of ourselves that are like no other persons (individuality); we have aspects like some persons and not like some others (groupings); and we have some things that are like every other person (oneness). In other words, as a body of persons, we are many, we are two, and we are one.
We can say then that unity already exists. What we have in common is precisely that we are persons. Since this means we are unique individuals and that we exist in various groups, we could say that our unity is our individuality and diversity.
Are we saying then, in this seeming paradox, that separation is part of unity?
I believe so. And it is not to be feared, but will lead us to the Zion unity that cannot be broken or upset. Here let us turn to the master Jesus Christ for insights.
He introduced the outrageous suggestion that we "love one another." "Love, not just your neighbor," he said. "Love even your enemy." He admonished, "Be one. If ye are not one ye are not mine." Indeed, "the Lord called his people ZION, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness."3
That seems clear enough. But this humble genius, who could see forever, had other words to say, words that seem at odds with his own concept of one human family. Although he himself was and is the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ said, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."4 There's no sugary or ideal unity there. Christ's coming and presence brings division.
Or how about the time when Jesus was heavily involved in a discussion group. His family came to fetch him. Perhaps they were worried about the stir he was causing, because they said, "He is beside himself."5 "Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? And who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."6
Now that's not a very Christ-like thing to do, now is it?! It's especially paradoxical coming from the man who also said, "Honour thy father and thy mother."7 Yet, on the other hand again, he also advocated leaving father and mother and cleaving to him, as the metaphorical bridegroom.
Other aspects of Jesus's life and teachings demonstrate separation. Consider this that Jesus spoke: "And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed..., inherit the kingdom.... Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me...."8
And after hearing yesterday about scapegoats, we are aware of the paradox that although Jesus is the Lamb, he was, and is often still, made the scapegoat.
Indeed, the reaction to Jesus's life and presence was such dissension that at his crucifixion, "the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent."9 Earth and heaven were responding to the profound ruptures going on.
Our thought journey is opening up for us the circularity and duality of Jesus and of the reality of existence. For, besides separations, he also spoke of unions which his apostles and we can only begin to comprehend. He said, "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not (only) of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me:..."10
To his disciples, yearning for understanding and experience, and fearing his death, he continued, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."11
His friends still struggled with his meaning. He went on, "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him."12 Talk about powerful union! He continued, "Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father:..."13 Then he said, "Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and (he) hath nothing in me."14 The prince of this world here refers to Satan. Jesus is declaring that he does not allow Satan as the destroyer to exist in him. But he invites his associates, "Abide in me, and I in you."15
Mysterious doctrine. He's talking about a union so deep, so permanent, that it is a kind of fusion. Not that the individual identities of the specific persons are destroyed or obliterated. We are still ourselves. "I Am," he says. But he is speaking of a comm-unity which is not contingent on anything external to our beings, and which thus exists only by the will, the deep desires, and the purity of the persons who are in each other.
In the language of personal ontology, every person is his own way of being himself in himself and in others. We could call this being-in-each-other-personally. I am in you and you are in me and I simply am. Jesus spoke of himself as the Great I Am. "What is thy name?" Moses asked. "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: ...."16
Putting this all together, we come to one end of our journey this way: World unity exists in Christ. He holds the whole universe within himself. As the song goes, "He's Got the Whole World In His hands." But it's not present-at-hand. We all exist in him. How does he do this? By loving us. Why? Because his heart is pure.
It gets down to this: Zion is essentially a matter of the heart. After all explorations of geographical Zions and mortal Zion cities, Zion is in persons. Various racial and religious families of the earth have been scattered and victimized. The prophecy is that "they shall wander in the flesh, and perish, and become a hiss and a by-word, and be hated among all nations."17 We are aware of some such groups. The history of the Jews is replete with fulfillment of this prophecy, and their constant longing and battle to return to their homeland continues unabated in our day.
Our own Mormon pioneer heritage which we celebrate this year is, of course, a people seeking reprieve from oppression to establish a Zion.
I leave the parallels with us here to explore in our individual lives. But I make this observation: Peculiar people are treasured by the Savior, who desires to "purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.18 It is written of the Lord Jesus Christ, "Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth him shall not be confounded."19
He calls us "out of darkness unto his marvellous light"20 to be a peculiar people in Zion with him.
After all scatterings, persecutions, Zionist movements and pilgrimages and pioneer treks, and Zion cities, Zion is not essentially geographical nor is it essentially a mortal grouping or family. The only sure Zion exists in the heart of each person. "...for this is Zion---THE PURE IN HEART;..."21
Further evidence of this comes from Enoch's Zion, which "was called the City of Holiness, ..."22 Enoch believed his city was invulnerable, that he had established the ultimate society. In fact, "...Enoch...said unto the Lord: Surely Zion shall dwell in safety forever...."23 But the Lord warned Enoch of the reality, which subsequently occurred, that an earthly Zion cannot be maintained by fiat or force. Zion exists in heavenly hearts, and in God's "own bosom."24 "And the Lord said unto Enoch: Behold mine abode forever."25
As we have explored today, all externally imposed zions are susceptible to the intrusion of control-mongers. All world communities based on links and ties of force or coercion will fail. Zion is taken into heaven. The sure, inviolate Zion is in a person.
At this point in our thought travels, I'm going to use this talk itself as a visual aid, so to speak, to help us get a feel for what I am trying to express. We'll use me as an example of the self, the person that exists. Others exist in me. I have close associates who dwell in me. I know their personalities, their idiosyncrasies, the foods they dislike. I see their physical shapes and skin colors in my mind. I know their joys and sorrows and fears. I hear the sound of their voices in my mind. I hear their words speaking in my heart. They are alive in me. They and I form a community in me. They are safe in me. I preserve them in me because I love them.
I want you to share in this particular community today by my calling on some of them to help me explain the vision I'm seeing. So I'll tell you a little about some of them and let you hear their words.
First, I call on Ron Drake, who has been a wonderful counselor and friend to me. He is a mental health specialist and a profound thinker. He wrote the following, which describes the way in which the Savior holds all of us sacredly in him: "Love is the miraculous power—true priesthood power—of the Lord, which He freely shares with all who will receive Him. The law of love, Christ's higher law, exalts the individual and each one's relationship to Him over any principle, precept, doctrine or task. It fulfills and supersedes all lesser laws of performances and ordinances and their devotion to conformity, orthodoxy, sameness and co-dependence. When we affirm love as our priority in every situation, we are actualizing the power of the Lord, literally joining with Him in using our minds to co-create with Him."
I have another friend who is the unlikely combination of a cowboy—and a prophetic philosopher. Christian Green is his appropriate name. I can hear him saying to me, in his cowboy drawl that I won't even try to imitate, "The millennium starts when we stop crucifying people—ourselves or others—for their sins or perceived sins. One aspect of the millennium is that different world views can be exchanged and expressed and people don't get mad at each other because you don't think exactly the same." Chris advocates wisdom concerning divisive issues. He says, "Ask the Savior what his opinion is. Ask him what he thinks about homosexuality." Chris is moving into the millenium himself. His allowance and tolerance for all persons and his love of the Savior are creating a world community within himself.
My friend Peter Levi is a Jew who converted to the Mormon church after partying through his teen years. Like Paul the Apostle, who was a Jew, a Grecian, and a free-born Roman citizen, my friend is a bridge of diversity, being himself a blend of cultures. Pete is a fantastic elder's quorum president, celebrates all the Jewish holidays, and sets world records in ocean fishing while he reads philosophy or Isaiah on his boat. He is a world community. And he is short—there is a lot packed into him! And, in exuberance he can scarcely contain, he says, "I am emerging as myself! It's me!!"
I have a Hispanic friend, Joe Ramirez. He's a social worker, and so knows the ways of abusers, physical and emotional. He is deeply spiritual and loving, and he says to me, "Even though others are persecuting and abusing you, it is not wise to be persecuted or abused. Don't be a victim. For when you are a victim, you lose your personal power to be yourself. Just be you, your non-contingent and self-subsistent self."
My friend Ches Gottfredson is alive in me. He is the first man to see and express the realities of personal ontology, that is, the study of the nature of being persons. He is a Mormon Ph.D. philosopher—an unusual combination—and a former Institute teacher. On the question, why do we need the Savior, since we are all co-eternal with God, or, as Joseph Smith actually said, co-equal with God, Ches explains that we are indeed always self-subsistent entities. But we need faith in God because we get lost and fallen—separated from our real selves. Divine light makes possible the emergence of ourselves into our own light, into our own essential ways of being ourselves, non-contingently. You're not exactly the same as anyone else, including the Savior or God himself. You're exactly like yourself. And I add, the Savior holds within himself the unity of diversity.
My gay friend, Blayne Wiley, who is also a friend of some of you, exists in me. He brings to me life experiences vastly different from my own. Yet we share overlaps of thought and feeling. We love each other for our diversity and our commonalities. I talked Blayne into writing a poem, especially for this occasion. He has entitled his poem, "causa sui". And if Latin wasn't a dead language before, I just murdered it! That phrase means something that causes itself, or as you will see in the last line of his poem, flowing of its own cause. As he handed this to me he said, this poem is our death and resurrection over the past two years. He and I have been on astonishingly parallel, although independent, journeys. Here's his poem:
And I have a category of persons existing in me I was not so aware of a couple of years ago. I now have experienced those at enmity against me. I now know what it is to be rejected, hated, disowned, and falsely accused. It still feels strange to acknowledge that some persons want to be enemies to me, for I feel no animosity toward them. Sometimes, I must confess, I have had to work diligently to overcome resentment, which I realized really kills me. I have had to practice turning my focus from my enemies and how they should repent, to myself and going on about my creative activities. I have mapped out my path to overcome or come over condemnation of the other persons and the backlash of negativity in myself. I have logged my progress to that end. Through my mapping and logging, I have seen patterns, both in the others and in myself, which have helped me see my way. Thus I practice letting the other persons be who they choose to be, forgiving them of wrongs and violations of me, and focusing on creating my own life. As the Savior said to his friends and his enemies, "Go thy way, and sin no more." I find in this way that I can keep my enemies in me—in the periphery of me—but in peace and love.
Our trails begin where we are.
Glorious residuum bestride the earth
in monstrous and frightening masks
somehow inscribing ourselves in the hearts of humanity.
We, whose task is wakefulness itself.
Pioneers of peculiar origin.
Born of the will to concern ourselves with dangerous maybes.
Facing retrograde byways with courage of conscience.
Nevertheless, my heart knows authentic fear.
Even after putting end to superstition,
which has so far flourished with tropical exuberance.
Living-on-again discharges my strength.
So, from a defiant wilderness I exile myself to a new desert.
Where, consumed by the arid, barren, landscape
I struggle for desolation.
And out of the debris find genesis.
My peace, emerging trail weary but whole. Intact.
More whole now as the sum of my own parts.
The sum, and both growing and being too.
Drinking from an undiscovered spring,
Flowing of its own cause.
—by Blayne Wiley
Others who are at enmity with me are more like naive children whom I can carry while they grow, like being pregnant with them. One such person has taken it upon herself to be my special support during my recent ordeal. She brought me lasagnes, wrote me cheery notes of encouragement, and kept my name in the temple. Then I told her I was going to talk at a gay-Mormon convention. She became deeply troubled, and, for the last few days has been in a frenzy to gather information on homosexuality to validate her unexamined biases and to save me from deviating from the sanctioned course, as she supposes. But I know she simply does not see me, nor the realities and visions I do. She does not know what I know. She "knows not what she does." I am aware that she has run "smack-dab" into facing herself and her preconceived attitudes. It is not really trouble with me. It is a confrontation of herself with herself. Knowing this, I can allow her to go through her processes in her own times and ways. So she exists where she is, in my love. But I now acknowledge a separation between us. In my own world community, I will interact with her as I can, inviting her to expand her mind and to open her heart, but not imposing what I know on her against her will.
I have shared with you persons in me who are currently sojourning in mortality with us. However, my world community can extend to person of other ages as well. I've already quoted some persons who, though dead, are alive in me—Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ, for example.
I call on one last person, whose presence in me I love. That is the apostle Paul. He is appropriately called on now, because he is a great witness for the Savior, and for world community, devoting his life to carrying the Savior Jesus Christ in him to people in foreign lands, even to the "unclean" Gentiles. (Grandma Dustin mistakes the word gentiles. She calls them "genitals".) Here I ask Paul to help me extrapolate from our meager examples to the infinity of the Savior. Perhaps now we can begin to conceive of the truth that he holds every single person in himself in his love, to believe that he knows each of us personally, and to trust his loving kindness toward us.
Paul's testimony is this, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ,...To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."26 Paul further witnessed that we cannot be separated from the love of Christ.27
But since Christ reconciles the whole world unto himself, holding all things in unity, and loving all, what about the separations Jesus prophesied, and which we discussed earlier. The answer is that he exists as a person, albeit an infinitely advanced person. The whole cosmos exists in him. But, he is his own person. "I Am that I Am," he said. "I Am Who I Am. I Am Myself." And he exists in his appropriate groupings and families and separations. His families flow unto him without compulsory means.28 He explains simply, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I...know my sheep, and am known of mine."29 These are his families in which he exists. Sometimes he calls his families churches. He says, "Yea, if they will come, they may, and partake of the waters of life freely. Behold, this is my doctrine--whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church."30 He invites all persons everywhere, everywhen, in all families of the earth, "Come Unto Me." "Dwell in my world community with me."
His admonition to come to him is not in the least egotistical. Indeed, he is inviting us to be ourselves as he is himself. He is proposing we dwell in Zion, in our own world community, in the same way he does. He invites us and shows us the way to be in:
Zion in the midst of Babylon
purity in the midst of deceit and falsity
harmony in the midst of discord
love in the midst of enmity
unity in the midst of disunity
Now we have a glimpse of the reality that, as being persons, we are headed for not just some world-wide Zion but a cosmic whole. Our destiny as persons is a grand destination.
As we more and more let all people exist in us in harmony and peace and love, then our comm-unity is sure. It is not dependent on anything external which could be removed. It is not held together by force. It is not contingent to what anyone else does or doesn't do. Others can decide in their agency how they will be themselves. They can live in Zion or not as they desire. They can even choose to be usurpers, enemies, or violent persecutors of us. And our world community, our Zion, is not shaken. For we can hold them in love in us, while dwelling in our appropriate families.
Today, I sense a great awareness that all of you are in me as family. I cherish all of you being in me. As our personal acquaintance with each other deepens, as we personally communicate with each other, our unity will become even more enlivening.
We have come to the end of our thought explorations for today. We have come to the end of this conference of much affirmation. We have journeyed to an important end that Jesus Christ is the unity of the entire cosmos and that he represents for us the same possibility of dwelling in world comm-unity. Thus he says to us, "Come Unto Me." In so doing, he invites us likewise to say to all persons, "Come Unto Me." His ending words to us are, "...lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."31 My ending words to you are, "I love you." In His name and mine, Amen.
- Doctrine and Covenants 1:3
- Acts 2:19
- Moses 7:18
- Matthew 10:34-37
- Mark 3:21
- Matthew 12:47-50
- Matthew 19:19
- Matthew 25:32-33, 34, 41
- Matthew 27:51
- John 14:10-11
- John 14:18-20
- John 14:23
- John 14:27-28
- John 14:30
- John 15:4, 5
- Exodus 3:14
- I Nephi 19:14
- Titus 2:14
- I Peter 2:6
- I Peter 2:9
- Doctrine and Covenants 97:21
- Moses 7:19
- Moses 7:20
- Moses 7:69
- Moses 7:21
- II Corinthians 5:17-19
- Romans 8:35
- Doctrine and Covenants 121:46
- John 10:27, 14
- Doctrine and Covenants 10:66-67
- Matthew 28:20