the Resurrected Lord made His dramatic visit to Book of Mormon
peoples, as recorded in Third Nephi, He introduced Himself, called
his disciples, and gave them authority to baptize.
having taught the principle of baptism, He links it to the unity of
God and then calls for an end to disunity in the Church.
the special emphasis given to the issue of contention and
disputations within the Church. As recorded in 3 Nephi 11: 28-35,
Christ warned against disputations and contention, identified the
author of contention, exposed the Adversary's strategy, and again
reminded the people of the oneness of God.
And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And
there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto
been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the
points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.
For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of
contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of
contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with
anger, one with another.
Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with
anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things
should be done away.
Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my
And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath
given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father
beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father
and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men,
everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved;
and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear
record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in
the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for
he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will
bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and
the Holy Ghost are one.
is linked to our baptismal covenant and the ability to receive the
Holy Ghost. The unity of the Godhead is held out to us as the example
to ponder and follow. In contrast, Satan seeks for men and women to
be divided with anger. This is Satan's doctrine and core business
model, in direct contrast to Christ's doctrine.
opportunity for contention in the Church is enormous, especially in
an increasingly diverse, international Church. Any two randomly
selected people in the Church may find large differences in their
views and cultural perspectives.
in race, gender, age, ethnicity, political views, economic status,
and a dozen other variables may contribute to misunderstanding. Each
of us can find things that are troubling or annoying in the
attitudes, behaviors, assumptions, and tastes of any other person,
especially when backgrounds are widely different.
the challenge before us is to look past those differences, as well as
the frequent errors that humans make, and see one another as brothers
and sisters in the Gospel with a common divine heritage and common
is so easy to find fault with mortal Church leaders. It is so easy to
share critical attitudes. With the power of social media, some find
great sustenance from others in being offended and experience delight
in showing their biting wit. But this is not the doctrine of Christ.
oneness of the Godhead was emphasized in Christ's great intercessory
prayer in John 17, where He explained the nature of the unity of God.
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I
come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom
thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. . . .
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe
on me through their word;
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee,
that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou
hast sent me.
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may
be one, even as we are one:
I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and
that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them,
as thou hast loved me.
of course, believe in the Bible and accept the teaching of Christ
that He and the Father are One. They are one God. But the question is
in what way are they one? Is it a metaphysical oneness of
incorporeal substance, with three persons but one Being? Or is it
more like a perfect unity of will and purpose?
my opinion, the writings of early Christianity provide evidence that
the modern Latter-day Saint view is surprisingly close to what early
Christians and Jews believed, in fact something of a restoration. For
related information on this topic, see my LDSFAQ
page on the oneness of God.
point, though, is that the type unity shown of the Godhead is one
that we are commanded to seek. We are to become one as God and Christ
the Church, we are to become one in heart, unified, knit together in
love, in spite of the many differences we have with each other, and
especially our differences with those who have the burden of serving
as our leaders.
we resist the temptation to find fault, to sneer, to ridicule, or to
even feel anger when they disagree with our views or say things that
offend us. They are mortal, and sometimes they may be wrong, just as
we may very well be wrong on the issues where we disagree.
to love, support, and sustain fallible mortal leaders is a demanding
challenge, one of the great challenges for those seeking to become a
Zion people, but one that we can approach that goal if we regularly
turn to the Lord for guidance.
differences on hold can be a start, along with not putting them on
Facebook or Twitter. Discussing problems with our leaders privately
and patiently can be helpful when the matter is urgent and serious.
May we learn to forgive when wronged or hurt, and always act with the
desire to bless others rather than stirring them up to anger or
disputations, finger pointing, name calling, bitterness, anger —
these are not the fruits of the Spirit, and not the tools of Christ
in helping us to become one. It is His doctrine that such things be
Jeff Lindsay has been defending the Church on the Internet since 1994, when he launched his
LDSFAQ website under JeffLindsay.com. He has also long been blogging about LDS matters on
the blog Mormanity (mormanity.blogspot.com). Jeff is a longtime resident of Appleton,
Wisconsin, who recently moved to Shanghai, China, with his wife, Kendra.
He works for an Asian corporation as head of intellectual property. Jeff and Kendra are the parents of 4 boys, 3 married and the the youngest on a mission.
He is a former innovation and IP consultant, a former professor, and former Corporate Patent
Strategist and Senior Research Fellow for a multinational corporation.
Jeff Lindsay, Cheryl Perkins and Mukund Karanjikar are authors of the book Conquering
Innovation Fatigue (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).
Jeff has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Brigham Young University and is a registered US
patent agent. He has more than 100 granted US patents and is author of numerous publications.
Jeff's hobbies include photography, amateur magic, writing, and Mandarin Chinese.