Why is Unity Important?
When President Russell M. Nelson called on everyone for a second fast during our 2020 April General Conference, no one knew the impact of just how the world would be strengthened. It was beautiful to see so many people of different faiths come together in one purpose. A Facebook group was started to share the invitation to fast across the world. With great love for God, people of all beliefs joined with us. Afterwards, the name of the group was changed to Worldwide Unified where people continue to show love and support and where children of God can come for encouragement and prayers. Perhaps only Heavenly Father knew of the healing among people that would happen as President Nelson issued such a timely call.
As I think about this experience, I realize that we can all become a little more like Zion in our own hearts, homes, wards, stakes, and nations. I do not recall anywhere in the scriptures where the Lord asks us to condemn others for their beliefs. I can think of many places where our Perfect Exemplar asks us to love our neighbors, to do good to those who wish us harm and to reach out to those whose hands hang down, strengthening those with feeble knees.
We still have differences, we still may disagree on certain principles, but we are called to serve and love all others while preaching repentance and faith on the Lord’s name. Our duty lies in teaching, not judging, which creates contention. The challenge that comes with teaching right from wrong is that we often start putting people into those two categories instead of the actions. The only actions we can truly judge are our own. When we stop judging and start loving and lifting as we saw through the call to fast, we are creating a united people who love Christ and a people with whom the Lord can work to accomplish His purposes.
I watched an interview by the press with President Eyring about when he was first called to work among the First Presidency and other leaders in a Board of Education meeting. Having just been called as the President of Ricks College, it was his first experience watching how the brethren worked together. In what was against everything he had learned at Harvard about making decisions as a group, the leaders were disagreeing with an openness and a directness which he never expected, and which was not done in the business world. President Eyring thought revelation would simply come to each one of them. After quite a long time, the conversation circled around, and their opinions started to line up. He said, “I thought I’ve seen a miracle, I’ve seen unity come out of this wonderful, open kind of exchange which I’ve never seen in any of my studies of business or government or anywhere else.” The chair of the meeting, President Harold B. Lee stood up at which point President Eyring expected him to give the final decision, but he did not. President Lee said, in essence, that they needed to table the discussion for the day because he sensed someone was unsettled still. The new President of Ricks College was floored as he later watched one of the brethren approach the prophet and thank him because he had not been able to say something he needed to say. That day, President Eyring learned that the Lord’s chosen leaders talk openly and directly like in no other setting, because they are looking for the truth, not trying to win, or dominate or make their argument. 1
If we all look at our conversations and relationships with the same lesson that President Eyring learned, not trying to win but earnestly seeking for truth and confirmation from the Holy Ghost, we will help create unity in our homes, wards and throughout the world. The Lord said, “If ye are not one, ye are not mine.” (D&C 38:27) Let us strive to be His people in all things.
1 http://newrsoom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/church-pesident-names-new-leaders October 7, 2007 Salt Lake, City, Utah, News Story