Scot, I love that language of Nephi as he adds so much of Isaiah into his small plates. He says that he delights in the covenants of the Lord. (pause) That’s certainly a theme throughout the Book of Mormon. He delights in the Lord’s grace, justice, power and mercy. This is all code language for rejoicing in the atonement of Jesus Christ. And Nephi delights in the great and eternal plan of deliverance from death. These expressions of joy are in relation to the words and writings of Isaiah. That should get us excited about the materials we are studying this week!


Welcome to Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me Podcast. We are Scot and Maurine Proctor and we are so happy to be with you again today. In fact, we could borrow Nephi’s language and say, We delight in being with you! Truly, isn’t this so much fun to study the scriptures together?

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Now, this week, in chapters 20-25 of 2nd Nephi, we see multiple references not only to the world Nephi knew, but the types and shadows of our world, in our day and in the near future. These are critical chapters for us to understand as we face a most complex and challenging world that seems to be careening towards destruction.

I can’t tell you the number of times a week we are reading in the news and we say to each other, “Wow, this is right out of Isaiah,” or “Isn’t that right out of the Book of Mormon?” We see it all the time.


It is significant in 2nd Nephi chapter 20, according to scholars, Donald and Jay Parry and Tina Peterson, that:

“The ancient nation of Assyria, with its cruel and bloody leaders and well-disciplined, fierce armies, destroyed other equally evil nations. This scenario of Assyria and war anticipates the warring nations of our own day and of the future, contending for land, power, and riches. Those same evils will be present in our own day, and the thirst for blood will also exist.” (end of quote) (Peterson, Tina M., Parry, Jay A., and Parry, Donald W., Understanding Isaiah, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, 1998, p. 103, hereafter referred to as Understanding Isaiah).

We live in those days of war and bloodshed. Yes, many of us live in peaceful circumstances, but we all have access to the 24/7 news cycle and we mourn together as we see the wars across the world terrorizing, disrupting and displacing untold millions of innocent lives.


Yes, we certainly live in a time where there are wars and rumors of wars and there is turmoil and strife in many nations. In the early days of this dispensation the prophet Joseph received a revelation that now is recorded as section 87 of the Doctrine and Covenants that stated that after the prophesied Civil War, “the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations.” (See Doctrine and Covenants 87:2) That prophecy is fulfilled over and over again. In World War I over 30 nations gave an official declaration of war. World War II had catastrophic consequences that led to the deaths of between 50 and 85 million people.

If even a part of these horrible conflicts had been shown to Nephi in vision, is it any wonder that he would have included the prophetic chapters of Isaiah to be a comfort and a guide to the people of the last days?


Exactly. And thinking about the Prophet Joseph’s prophecy on war, given on Christmas Day in 1832, reminds me of the last verse of that prophecy:

Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord.

It makes us want to live our lives in a way that our homes are holy places where the Spirit of the Lord can dwell in abundance. And it certainly makes us so grateful that we live in a time when hundreds of temples are being made available to us so that we can stand in holy places in a time when the world has become such a place of darkness and evil.

Please note the language of Isaiah all through chapter 20 with words like burning of a fire, flame, devour and consume—those words of destruction and annihilation refer not only to the times of the Assyrian in the days of Isaiah, but also to our time and the future nations who turn against Christ.


And I find it fascinating that in verse 6 of 2 Nephi 20, the Lord, referring to the wicked nation of Assyria, says:

I will send him against a hypocritical nation and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.” (2 Nephi 20:6)

So, the Lord uses the wicked to punish the wicked. He uses a powerful wicked nation to awaken his own people to turn back to him or to be destroyed. We see that pattern all through the Book of Mormon with the Nephites and the Lamanites. And then, when that wicked nation, in this case the Assyrians or anyone who fits that pattern, he warns the wicked:

15 Shall the ax boast itself against him that heweth therewith? Shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? As if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself as if it were no wood!


This chastisement upon the Assyrians or upon any wicked nation is humbling. Assyria and her king are so proud, they believe they are even greater than God, who is the one who holds the tools in his hands and uses them for His divine purposes. But Isaiah makes it clear that the rod or the staff are as fragile as pieces of wood when compared to the might and power of God. (See Understanding Isaiah, pp. 107-08)

And to assure faithful, covenant Israel both in ancient times and in our time, the Lord says in verse 24 of 2 Nephi 20 (or Isaiah 10):

24 Therefore, thus saith the Lord God of Hosts: O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian; he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt.

25 For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction.


26 And the Lord of Hosts shall stir up a scourge … and as his rod was upon the sea so shall he lift it up after the manner of Egypt.

27 And it shall come to pass in that day that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing. (See 2 Nephi 20:24-27)

So, to make this clear, the yoke is the yoke of the bondage of sin and or ignorance of the covenants of God and that will only be broken by the Holy One of Israel, Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. Remember Nephi delighted in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and in these verses from Isaiah he sees the path of deliverance through the Holy One.

But how can Jesus Christ deliver us? How can He deal with the wickedness of whole nations and peoples? How will He deliver us?


To deal with wicked and unholy nations, He begins to give the answer in the last two verses of 2 Nephi 20:

33 Behold, the Lord, the Lord of Hosts shall lop the bough with terror; and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down; and the haughty shall be humbled.

34 And he shall cut down the thickets of the forests with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one. (2 Nephi 20:33-34)

These forests are symbols of the high and mighty in their own minds and the prideful and haughty ones who have turned away from God. Listen to those lumbering terms for bringing the boastful ones down:

Lop the bough; hewn down; haughty shall be humbled; cut down with iron.


All this needs to be read and studied just before starting Isaiah 11 or, in our studies this week, 2 Nephi chapter 21. Now, we have a special aid in helping to understand Isaiah, chapter 11 and that is Section 113 of the Doctrine and Covenants, verses 1-6, wherein the Prophet Joseph received very specific revelation on the first few verses of this beautiful Messianic prophecy. And of the 84 or 85 verses the Angel Moroni gave to young Joseph Smith on the night of September 21, 1823, the entire 16 verses of Isaiah chapter 11 were shared. Why is this chapter so important? Why so significant?

From Understanding Isaiah, we read:

The discussion of the tree (stump, shoot, branch, and roots) in Isa. 11:1 is a continuation of the prophecy regarding the cutting down of the forest (“lop the bough,” “high ones . . . shall be hewn down,” “cut down the thickets of the forest”) from the previous two verses (10:33-34). The Lord, or forester, carefully trims the boughs and cuts down the trees (the power and glory of the foreign leaders and their nations) and in this manner cleans out the forest’s evil trees to prepare the way for the new shoot, the stump of Jesse, to flourish…


“The Book of Mormon (2 Ne. 30:9 especially) and the Doctrine and Covenants (113) reinforce the fact that Jesus Christ is the main character in Isa. 11. He is the Messiah who will have the “spirit of the Lord,” the “spirit of wisdom and understanding,” “counsel and might,” “knowledge,” and “fear of the Lord” (11:2); he is the Messiah who will serve as the righteous judge (11:3); and he will be the advocate of the poor and the meek and will settle their case (11:4). In the end, the Messiah will smite the wicked of the earth with his great power at the Second Coming, resulting in the glorious conditions of the Millennium (11:6-10).” (Understanding Isaiah, pp. 115-16)

Let’s look at verse 1 of 2 Nephi 21:

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

This is family history and tribal language. This is clearly referring to Jesse who is the father of King David, the King who united the southern kingdom of Judah and northern kingdom of Israel. His reign was always considered the golden age of Israel’s history.


That’s right. And the prophecies were in place and carried in the traditions of the Jews that there would someday be a Davidic King, a king coming through the line of David, who would unite broken Israel and reign as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. The Branch that would grow out of this line would be the Promised Messiah, even Jesus Christ, the Holy One of Israel, the Anointed Life Giver and King. These verses are about as Messianic as you can get. Verses 2 and 3 are part of a double prophecy of Jesus Christ. Verse 2:

And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;

Does this sound at all familiar? This is the same language used later in Isaiah chapter 61 and also when Jesus Himself returned to Nazareth and taught in His boyhood synagogue: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” (See Luke 4:18; Isaiah 61:1,2)


What a view of the Savior’s earthly ministry and mission! I am especially moved by the part of His mission where He is sent to this earth to “heal the brokenhearted.” That is so very tender to me. How many of us, at one time or another, or even now, are brokenhearted? I know the Savior is here for each of us here and now. I know that He was there for people in ancient times.

We are reminded of Miguel de Cervantes as he wrote Don Quixote in 1605. His character gives his famous soliloquy of how life was not fair and all of us in life, at one time or another are brokenhearted:

“Life as it is. I’ve lived for over 40 years and I’ve seen life as it is. Pain. Misery. Cruelty beyond belief. I’ve heard all the voices of God’s noblest creature. Moans from bundles of filth in the street. I’ve been a soldier and a slave. I’ve seen my comrades fall in battle or die more slowly under the lash in Africa. I’ve held them in my arms at the final moment. These were men who saw life as it is, yet they died despairing. No glory, no brave last words, only their eyes, filled with confusion, questioning “Why?” I do not think they were asking why they were dying, but why they had ever lived. When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness To surrender dreams – -this may be madness; to seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness! And maddest of all – to see life as it is and not as it should be!” (Quoted from The Man of La Mancha, screenplay by Dale Wasserman, 1972, as given by actor Peter O’Toole)

The scene where Peter O’Toole gives that soliloquy is my favorite part of the movie The Man of La Mancha.


And that scene and those words truly are a type of so many in life. We have done humanitarian projects in many countries and although the people seem so happy, I think mainly we see them happy because 30 or 40 people have come from America to help them and to be with them for a week or two.

We witnessed such a tender scene many years ago in India when we were building a school in a little village called Vudumudi. We had been with the people all week. We had been working hard to build the long-desired school in their village. We had played with the children, associated with and had meetings with the adults and the teachers who would be working at this school. They all were so kind and happy. Near the end of our time there, one of the teachers that we especially had loved and grown close to, whose name was Venkatesh, came to Scot and me and our humanitarian leader, Dr. James Mayfield to talk to us. I have never forgotten that overwhelming scene.

He just broke down and started crying and he pled with us to help him out of the prison of poverty. He had a wife and two children. He was barely surviving and he saw no hope for the future except for continued extreme poverty. Then he not only cried some more, he started sobbing and weeping and wailing uncontrollably, pleading even more fervently for our help to release him from this hopeless situation. His heart was broken. He felt like he could not go on one more day. The Savior’s mission included Venkatesh—to heal his broken heart. Whether in this life or in the next, His mission and ministry continues.


That’s right. I think about Venkatesh a lot. And I think about this beautiful and majestic Savior we have that John the Beloved wrote about:

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

And to confirm that He can and will do that, He reminds us in Revelation:

16 … I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. (Revelation 22:16)

He is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah. “And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.” (2 Nephi 21:5)

“The Lord is clothed in righteousness and faithfulness; these two qualities represent his very existence. Righteous individuals should imitate Christ: “every man should take righteousness in his hands and faithfulness upon his loins, and lift a warning voice unto the inhabitants of the earth; and declare both by word and by flight that desolation shall come upon the wicked” (D&C 63:37; emphasis added; Eph. 6:14). The Lord girds his loins with righteousness as he prepares to do his important work. The loins symbolize the creative powers (Gen. 35:111 Kgs. 8:19Acts 2:30). These items of clothing, the girdle of the loins and the sash around the waist, are also suggestive of temple ordinances.” (Understanding Isaiah, p. 118)


Aren’t there so many hidden gems in these chapters?

Isaiah gives us the judgments and destructions as the wicked are swept off at the Lord’s Second Coming, but he also gives us this dazzling picture of peace that follows. This is a description of the Millennial conditions.

From 2 Nephi 24:3, “And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall give thee rest, from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve.”

Then again in 2 Nephi 24:7. The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet; they break forth into singing.”


Can you even imagine such a condition? The only sound that breaks that quiet is singing.

“Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things; this is known in all the earth” (2 Nephi 22:5

It is rejoicing, for the whole earth, including our whole hearts are, at long last, at rest. Do we comprehend the unrest that haunts us now? The dis-ease that marks our days? Living in a fallen world has stressed and fatigued and frightened us, but in the millennial day we are at rest from all our sorrow, fear and hard bondage.

What’s more the animals have lost their enmity. This is where we get that stunning image of the lion and the lamb lying down together. As things stand now, that lion would be gorging on that lamb, not sitting down peacefully together.


From 2 Nephi 21:

And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den (2 Nephi 21:7,8).

Isaiah here is comparing wild, carnivorous animals, like the bear and the lion, with tame ones like the cow and the ox. In Understanding Isaiah, the authors note that Isaiah’s prophecy that the lion will pasture like the ox suggests that there will be no shedding of blood during the Millennium by man or beast. During the Millennium, “the enmity of man, and the enmity of beasts, yea, the enmity of all flesh, shall cease from before my face” (D&C 101:26).

They note that the reference to “their young ones” “refers to the offspring of the cow and the bear and indicates that the subsequent generations of beasts will have no hostilities toward one another. This peaceful state of affairs, wherein no blood is shed, will endure.”


Then, however, this idea of peace is extended beyond the animals, and enmity is removed from all people, too.

“They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (2 Nephi 21:9).

This is a world where love, compassion, peace and service are our entire world. No one is left out, forgotten, hated, envied or persecuted, and why? Because in that day the earth is full of the knowledge of the Lord.

In Understanding Isaiah, the authors note: “Joseph Smith quoted this statement, but he added that it will be ‘sacred knowledge’ that will fill the earth. 13 Nephi, after quoting Isaiah’s statement that “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord,’ explained that ‘the things of all nations shall be made known; yea, all things shall be made known unto the children of men. There is nothing which is secret save it shall be revealed; there is no work of darkness save it shall be made manifest in the light; and there is nothing which is sealed upon the earth save it shall be loosed. Wherefore, all things which have been revealed unto the children of men shall at that day be revealed” (2 Ne. 30:15-18).

Since this knowledge is as extensive as the waters that cover the sea, we sense that sacred knowledge is full, overflowing, and joyful.


We can start to live in that peaceful condition in our own lives, homes and families now. President Russell M. Nelson said that peacemakers are needed. We know peacemakers are needed now, not some other time when the world is calmer. Now is the time to be the peacemaker you are called to be. President Nelson said, “Before His death, the Savior commanded His Twelve Apostles to love one another as He had loved them.4 And then He added, ‘By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.’

“The Savior’s message is clear: His true disciples build, lift, encourage, persuade, and inspire—no matter how difficult the situation. True disciples of Jesus Christ are peacemakers.” (Russell M. Nelson “Peacemakers Needed” )


It’s easy to think that the reason we don’t live in peace and love is because all those other guys refuse to.

We are sure we are not part of the problem. We can’t find in ourselves judgment, or dismissal, or quick disdain for others. Certainly, anger isn’t part of our nature.

Yet, considering we have grown up in a fallen world, it would be hard not to be part of the disunity problem.


The Book of Mormon could not be more pointed in its call for unity. This is taught to us through a repeated story. The Nephites are living in peace and prosperity, but then contention and division erupt among them. When that happens, they become weak, angry and ready for defeat at the hordes of the Lamanites as they come against the Nephites in war.

Of course, in these cases, the Nephites lose. The Lord does not support a covenant people who refuse to live their covenants of charity and, then turn against each other. Such divisions always leave the Nephites vulnerable for attack.

Alma 50, for example, tells about the problems of the Nephites. The Lord could not support them in their wickedness in the wars they faced, and in listing their wickedness the scripture starts like this: “it has been their quarrelings and their contentions…which brought upon them their wars and their destructions.” Of course, quarrelings and contentions are among an entire list of other evils the Nephites embrace, but these two come first.


When the world is so divided and finally turns into the worst wars this planet has known, the Saints of God will be caught up in unity to meet Him at the Second Coming.

The Lord has a reason to stress that we must live in unity and love and that we are peacemakers. Those are the qualities that mark His people. If we are full of love, instead of saying, “I never knew you,” He will count you as His own.

Unity and peace must start with a human soul yearning for these qualities who understands that is what heaven requires.

God gives charity and love to us as a gift. He gives it to people who search for it with real intent.


When we meet those who are filled with charity and peace, we are stunned, even a little awestruck, because everything in this world teaches otherwise.

When we were in the MTC, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf came to speak to us, a huge assembly of missionaries. He was a bit late starting because he went to every over flow room to personally greet the young missionaries who had these lesser seats. After his speech, he wanted to make sure that every service person who worked at the MTC, those who can so easily be overlooked, were in the foyer as he left so he could personally stop and talk with each one of them. His handshake was a thank you note for all they had done.

As he got out of his car to go in and greet the last individuals, Scot was standing just outside the door a little way off and said, “Hello, Elder Ucthdorf. Thank you for your talk.” He and his wife Harriett greeted him warmly then asked where I was and Scot told him I was in the car already. It was pouring rain outside on this chilly November night, but he insisted on coming out into the rain to the car to say hello.  He said to Scot, “This isn’t rain, this is liquid gold.” To say I was surprised, even shocked to see Elder Uchtdorf at my car window in the pouring rain, while his security team were desperately trying to get an umbrella over his head, is an understatement. I was shocked, then immediately filled with this over powering sense of love. I felt seen and attended to.

Our sister Rosemary has spent the last several years caring for her husband Kent, as he sunk from scientific brilliance to the dark world of dementia. To add to this, she herself is on double crutches with searing back pain. Yet, we’ve learned if we ever want to feel better about ourselves and about life, there was one number to call—and it was hers. We came away from any talk with her feeling better, smarter, stronger, wiser. She cheers us on and sends positive love so much, we tell her she should have pom poms. Everybody needs a cheerleader in life, somebody who can make them feel like they can make it happily through another day, and we’ve found ours. She is quick to see the goodness in everyone.


When we think of a peacemaker, one filled with love and unity, we also think of the woman from whom we bought our home. She loved this home and with a flair for design, she had beautiful furniture that perfectly fit the spot. We bought this home from the bank based on a small misjudgment on their part, and giving it up was her sorrow. Yet, after that, when we saw her she’d ask, “How is that sweet house?” and then went on to add, with considerable grace and charity, “I know you were supposed to have that house and move into our ward.” No enmity. No envy. No burning regret. Just charity.

To have this kind of love and charity, one can begin to be more intentional. Working at being right in our minds with others is good, but clearly not enough. Teach us how to love, we plead. Teach us how to be at-one with thee and with my brothers and sisters. I have to add real spiritual power to my best intentions.

It is the Lord who teaches us to love. We turn to Him with all our hearts in the quest for the love that creates unity, because what is required is more than I can manage alone, with good intentions. This scripture rings in our ears. “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him.” (Moroni 7:48)


It would be challenging to develop this charity and peace in our hearts toward others in good times, but we live in hard ones when the level of public discourse has become divisive and angry.

Names are called. Labels given to those who don’t see the world as you do. People are quick to call each other haters or bigots or evil.

Social media can be a hateful place where only certain viewpoints are tolerated. And since readers can send in anonymous comments to websites periodicals, they can really let it rip. They write things they would never say to another human being they actually met.

This creates an incredible irony for a covenant people who are seeking to learn to love and live in some unity with others.  We seek to learn love and unity in a world that teaches us war, bitterness, acrimony and outrage. A new spirit of malevolence animates discussion in the public square as the adversary rages to sow hatred among us.

How do we negotiate this?


Does my desire for unity and love mean I stand passively silent while truth is cast aside or freedom is dashed? If not, how can I love others, while I take a stand and say what I sometimes must? In fact, wouldn’t I be a little better off and little more loving just to bow out of the current debates? Can that be an option for me or any of us?

Surprisingly, no, but it matters deeply how we stand for the truth in this current fray as the gospel teaches. The world is in chaos, but if we fight in the same manner we see others do, we become part of the chaos. We heap chaos upon chaos, cast aside love and unity for war.

As covenant children we can’t go there, but neither can we be silent. How do I have the power to navigate this minefield, to see in others the love that God has for them and treat them with respect, all the while worrying that the world is reeling and we are losing something of deep import?


Elder Neal A. Maxwell warned prophetically, “Irreligion as the state religion would be the worst of all combinations. Its orthodoxy would be insistent and its inquisitors inevitable. Its paid ministry would be numerous beyond belief…

“Your discipleship may see the time when religious convictions are heavily discounted…This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain of people’s opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. Resistance to abortion will soon be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened.

In its mildest form, irreligion will merely be condescending toward those who hold to traditional Judeo-Christian values. In its more harsh forms, as is always the case with those whose dogmatism is blinding, the secular church will do what it can to reduce the influence of those who still worry over standards such as those in the Ten Commandments. It is always such an easy step from dogmatism to unfair play—especially so when the dogmatists believe themselves to be dealing with primitive people who do not know what is best for them. It is the secular bureaucrat’s burden, you see.”


We want to love one another, but does this mean we are to be passive and quiet in the public square lest we offend each other? That’s a hard question, because, of course, we have to stand up for what is good and true or watch our world change dramatically.

Our friend came directly upon one of those moments a few days ago. He was speaking with an Evangelical minister who said to him, “While your church has many fine people, of course, we know you are a cult. Does that offend you?”

What does he say at that moment as a peaceful follower of Christ? Can we “surrender up our principles, our souls, all the labors of our ancestors, all the prospects of our descendants” by being silent.


It seems that the call from prophets and wise ones who live in a tumbling world is to speak the truth or be silently complicit in what happens. As Covenant people, we do this while first and foremost seeking to live in the unity God has asked of us. Is this impossible? On our own it would be.

Only He can show us how to see the hearts of those who deeply disagree with us and start there in our discussions. The Spirit can teach us where and how to talk, how to live not by lies, but still by love.

Here are some ideas about what to do.

First, abandon anger towards those who disagree with you. This means truly do it, not pretend you are, by putting on a good show. All of us can sense when someone is angry with us. Sure, you may be passionate about what you believe, but present your point of view soundly, not laden with pointed acrimony that belittles or disdains others. You will notice in the public square, some commentary is demeaning to a person or group of people, while other commentary more objectively seeks to discuss an idea, relies on facts and good articulation. We should be more persuaded by ideas than by the demeaning of others.


Let us also not assume that anger is a useful tool. You don’t treat someone with anger and contempt because you think it will motivate them—and that includes your children. It may motivate them for a minute, but long term you shrink another person with your anger and demands.

Don’t use anger to get your own way. You may get your own way, but destroy or diminish a person as a consequence.

Don’t use anger to rev yourself up to accomplish something. Love is a much stronger motivation to get yourself moving forward in life.

Ask yourself these questions to sort out the anger from your relationships when you discuss something.

Will it make them think I am coming from a superior position?

Will it criticize their actions, ideas, looks, or thoughts?

Will it express contempt for them?

Will they read it as putting them down?


We learn from Revelation that Satan is called the Accuser. In Revelation 12:10 we read, ”For the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” What does Satan do? He accuses us day and night, hoping we will be crushed under his blaming and belittling. It sounds terrible—and yet, how often we do that to each other. Too often we are angry and accusing—and we can know that when we are, we are using a tool right out of Satan’s arsenal. We have copied him. He is not someone we hope to emulate.

Second, don’t demonize someone who sees things differently. This means, of course, don’t call them names or assume the worst of them. Don’t ally them with someone you hate, hoping they will take on the stain. Don’t cancel or punish them or abandon your relationship. Don’t reduce them to their politics or to their contrary viewpoint. They are more than that.

Social science researcher John Gottman, has filmed hours and hours of husbands and wives interacting and drawn the conclusion that if a couple exhibits these four qualities in their talk, they will be divorced within five years. Criticism, contempt, defensive behavior and stone walling—the latter meaning withdrawing, refusing to communicate, going quiet. All these have to do with anger, hidden or otherwise—and what a sad predictive tool. He tells the couples that he counsels that they cannot live in any of these four places if they want their marriage to survive.


Third, start with the heart. See this person wholly as someone who has needs and hopes and fears, just as you do. Seek to listen to others and their viewpoints with love and respect. Ask questions. If things go really well, they will also want to listen to your viewpoint, but that may not happen.  We need to allow room in our social space to see things differently without dismissing a person.

Fourth, relationships matter more than your dignity and ability to win an argument. Though we all need to learn to talk together better about important issues in politics and religion, there are times to leave those discussions behind and talk about something else. You may not convince your son or brother-in-law about what you believe, but you can drive them away quickly. Again, we want to create an environment of mutual respect. This does not mean you have to cave or compromise on the truth as you understand it.

Fifth, be brave and bear with patience the rejection of others.

I can stand for truth, and at the same time, I can grow in unity, and though this sounds extremely tricky, the Lord will show me how. The peace of Christ abolishes enmity. The atonement of Christ was meant to bring us at-one not only with God, but with those who will be in His presence. If I am rejected or punished by others for my beliefs, I am not alone if I stand with the Lord.


Sixth, know that those who are bound in unity are not carbon copies of each other. The Lord’s children reflect a wide variety, an abundance of types and circumstances and individual consciences. He works with us all to bring us to Him.

Like the Nephites, we are called upon to not let Gadianton robbers or evil designs or those who would steal our liberty, overcome us. Like Moroni, we do raise the title of liberty and to do less is to forsake our covenants. But, here’s the hard part, the Lord asks us to be Saints in the fights we take on. If we do so, we will have His power to be with us.


Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave us this beautiful story of unity and reconciliation at the family level:

“Grant Morrell Bowen was a hardworking, devoted husband and father who, like many who made their living on the land, had an economic downturn when the local potato crop was poor. He and his wife, Norma, took other employment, eventually moved to another city, and started their climb back to economic stability. However, in a terribly unfortunate incident, Brother Bowen was deeply hurt when, in a temple recommend interview, the bishop was a little skeptical regarding Morrell’s declaration that he was a full-tithe payer.

“I don’t know which of these men had the more accurate facts that day, but I do know Sister Bowen walked out of that interview with her temple recommend renewed, while Brother Bowen walked out with an anger that would take him away from the Church for 15 years.


“Regardless of who was right about the tithing,” Elder Holland continues, “evidently both Morrell and the bishop forgot the Savior’s injunction to “agree with thine adversary quickly” and Paul’s counsel to “let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” The fact is they didn’t agree and the sun did go down on Brother Bowen’s wrath for days, then weeks, then years, proving the point made by one of the wisest of the ancient Romans, who said, “Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more [destructive] than the injury that provokes it.” But the miracle of reconciliation is always available to us, and out of love for his family and the Church he knew to be true, Morrell Bowen came back into full Church activity. Let me tell you briefly how that happened.

“Brother Bowen’s son Brad is a good friend of ours and a devoted Area Seventy serving in southern Idaho. Brad was 11 years old at the time of this incident, and for 15 years he watched his father’s religious devotion decline, a witness to the terrible harvest being reaped where anger and misunderstanding had been sown. Something needed to be done. So as the Thanksgiving holiday approached in 1977, Brad, a 26-year-old student at Brigham Young University; his wife, Valerie; and new baby son, Mic, loaded into their student version of an automobile and, bad weather notwithstanding, drove to Billings, Montana. Not even a crash into a snowbank near West Yellowstone could keep this threesome from making their ministering contact with Brother Bowen Sr.


“Upon arrival, Brad and his sister Pam asked for a private moment with their father. “You have been a wonderful dad,” Brad began with some emotion, “and we have always known how much you loved us. But something is wrong, and it has been for a long time. Because you were hurt once, this whole family has been hurting for years. We are broken, and you are the only one who can fix us. Please, please, after all this time, can you find it in your heart to lay aside that unfortunate incident with that bishop and again lead this family in the gospel as you once did?”

“There was dead silence. Then Brother Bowen looked up at these two, his children, bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, and said very quietly, “Yes. Yes, I will.”

“Thrilled but stunned by the unexpected answer, Brad Bowen and his family watched their husband and father go to his current bishop in a spirit of reconciliation to set things right in his life. In a perfect response to this courageous but totally unexpected visit, the bishop, who had extended repeated invitations to Brother Bowen to come back, threw his arms around Morrell and just held him—held him in a long, long, long embrace.


“In a matter of only a few weeks—doesn’t take long—Brother Bowen was fully engaged in Church activity and had made himself worthy to return to the temple. Soon enough he accepted the call to preside over a struggling little branch of 25 and grew it into a thriving congregation of well over 100. All of this took place nearly half a century ago, but the consequence of a son and a daughter’s ministering plea to their own father and that father’s willingness to forgive and move forward in spite of the imperfections of others has brought blessings that are still coming—and will come forever—to the Bowen family.” (Holland, Jeffrey R. The Ministry of Reconciliation, General Conference, October 2018)


That is such a beautiful story for us to talk about in our homes with those we love.

Now, Though Nephi and his family left Jerusalem in 600 BC, they came to know the doctrine of Christ. He wrote:

“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ,
and we write according to our prophecies that our children may know to what source
they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26).

Every heartache, every depression, every moment of loneliness, every anger or division
can be swallowed up in Christ. We rejoice because He brings peace to all His holy
mountain and sacred knowledge covers the whole earth in the Millennial day.

No wonder Nephi wrote how “we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and
also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is
by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25: 23).


That’s all for today. We have loved being with you. Thank you for joining with others who have become paid subscribers of Meridian Magazine. That helps us not only publish the magazine, but to do this podcast. Go to that’s

Our thanks to Paul Cardall for the music that begins and ends this podcast and to Michaela Proctor Hutchins who produces this show. Next week we will

be studying 2 Nephi 26-30 in a lesson called “A Marvelous Work and a Wonder.”

We have loved being with you today and we’ll see you next time.