Latter-day Satyagraha

It will not be by sword or gun that this kingdom will roll on.          
                                                                                                                                                    – Joseph Smith Jr. 
 

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THE PATH (by Mahatma Gandhi)

I know the path: it is strait and narrow.
It is like the edge of a sword.
I rejoice to walk on it.
I weep when I slip.
God’s word is:
“He who strives never perishes.”
I have implicit faith in that promise.
Though, therefore, from my weakness I fail a thousand times,
I shall not lose faith.

 

In one of my posts, I speak of the Community of Christ as a peace church alternative to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As a former member of the LDS Church, the Community of Christ represents a refreshing and thoughtful outlook on the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ as a Gospel centered on Peace. Latter-day Satyagraha takes on the task to formulate a peace theology from an LDS perspective. This site proposes ideas and ways in which LDS members may learn and in turn explain to others their LDS theology and beliefs as they seek to “be the change that they want to see in the world” – just like Gandhi.

.In the LDS Church, establishing Zion (or the Beloved Community) is related to the building of latter-day temples. Building and attending Temples may arguably be understood as Mormon Peacebuilding. Also the Community of Christ has introduced “Temple worship” in its liberal theology. Their Temple, dedicated to the pursuit of peace and justice, is to be seen as a center for leadership education and spiritual formation. In a way, temple-goers in the Restoration movement become “Saviors on Mount Zion”: peacemakers, peacebuilders and peaceworkers.

In the reorganization of this site, I was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s Principles and Steps of Nonviolence, as well as Hugh Nibley’s article A House of Glory on the significance of Temples in Restoration theology: “We seem to forget that for over 150 years the church has published, proclaimed, and circulated the most enlightening treatment of the subject [of temples]”, he writes, “and to this no one seems to pay any attention. That is the dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple. Let us analyze Section 109 of the Doctrine and Covenants”:

… “(verse 5) First of all, the temple is a place in which God manifests himself, a place of appointment, a meeting place… The temple is where the people come together at a particular prescribed time and place… What people? (verse 6) The answer is all the Saints in “solemn assembly.” This makes them a special society which is to initiate the work of bringing all things together — a sort of grand unifying theory toward which all the sciences seem to be looking today, bringing everything together in one. (verse 7) They are to bring their brains with them, that is the first qualification, that your brain and intellect may be clear and active. We are to “teach one another learning even by study and also by faith.” Out of the best books? Where is the list? Why no syllabus? Because we are to do the seeking. It is we who must decide which are the best books and to do that we must “prove all things [and] hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). We must make our own syllabus as part of organizing ourselves and preparing “every needful thing.” This is what this site has done and will continue to do. It seeks truths out of the best books and attempts to bring these together and encompass them within a single whole – in Christ.

I invite you to discover the different attributes of a house of God, dedicated to peace and justice as it were, and explore together with me how they relate to Gandhian and Kingian Philosophy by clicking on the “a house of…” images on your right side bar.

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STUDY PEACE WITH THE BOOK OF MORMON

Joshua Madson, in his article entitled “A Non-Violent Reading of the Book of Mormon”, writes that, “the real tragedy of the Book of Mormon, is that, despite the Lehite culture of violence, there was always another way. The failure of Nephi and his brothers to find at-one-ment gave rise to political narratives based in myth, and trapped two cultures into a multi-generational cycle of violence spanning nearly a thousand years. Because they thought in sacrificial terms that it was better that one person should die than that all should perish, they may have had great difficulty recognizing the truth of their own violence and its foundational role in their culture.”

Madson continues, “if we want to emulate Book of Mormon peoples, let us emulate those who were able to escape their cultures´narratives and find another way: Nephite missionaries who repented and changed paths by not letting those stories influence their future; Lamanite converts who rejected not only their culture´s traditions of hate but also the myth of redemptive violence – laying down their weapons and like Christ offering themselves instead; and ultimately those who lived in a truly Christian manner for nearly two hundred years. These voices run through the Book of Mormon offering us a second path, another choice. We can choose that better path or continue in the same path that led to the end of the Nephite civilization. If we cannot learn from their mistakes, then for all intents and purposes the Book of Mormon remains a sealed book”.

The website “latter day satyagraha” is undertaking to study peace – and not war – with the Book of Mormon through the relatively new field of Peace Studies, asking the fundamental question: will humanity ever find a way to settle its differences without resorting to the violence of war? For peace articles on the Book of Mormon, please follow this link.

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