Updated: Feb 16
In 4th Nephi Chapter 1 verses 13 through 18 it says:
"13 And it came to pass that there was no contention among all the people, in all the land; but there were mighty miracles wrought among the disciples of Jesus.
15 And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the b love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.
16 And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor c tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of d lasciviousness, and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.
17 There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.
18 And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings; yea, even they were blessed and prospered until a hundred and ten years had passed away; and the first generation from Christ had passed away, and there was no contention in all the land."
Just imagine living in a world with no contention. No yelling at your siblings for stealing your clothes, or arguing about who’s cleaning what. Just perfect peace and happiness.
1 In 3 Nephi 11:29-30 it says “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.”
In order to know how we can put off contention, we need to know two things: what contention is, and what the love of God is. According to the topical guide, Contention is related to Spiritual Darkness; Disputations; False Doctrine; False Prophets; Hardheartedness; Loss of the Holy Ghost; or Strife. Yet the Love of God is related to Compassion; Mercy; and Love. Now that we know what the love of God means, how can we use it to put off contention in our everyday lives? Well, in verse 17 of 4 Nephi 1 it says, “There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.” Now we know that we need to be in one. But the question is what does it mean to be in one? Does it mean to all have one opinion, one mindset, to all live in one household? The short answer is no. In Moses 7:18 it states “And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.” 2
A simple example of being of one heart and one mind from my life is when me and my siblings are forced to clean our bedrooms every Saturday. Me and my sister, Julia, tend to say “you’ll clean your stuff up, and I’ll clean my stuff up” but, every Saturday, one of us realizes that we have much more cleaning to do than we had thought. At some point in the cleaning process, one of us decides that we don’t want to clean our stuff up, the other starts yelling that the other isn’t cleaning, and the whole situation winds up into a contentious mess. The point of the scenario is to show that if we had both had the same mindset, and goal, to finish cleaning our own mess, we would never have started to bicker, and in the end, we would have been able to clean the room much faster. This same principle can be applied to life, if we all keep the same mindset and goal, to return to the presence of God, contention will be reduced, and it will be much easier to feel at peace in this life.
In Elder Dale G. Renlund’s talk, The Peace of Christ Abolishes Enmity, in the October 2021 General Conference he said “We are united by our common, primary identity as children of God.” Though we all need to strive and do our best to eliminate any contentious and spiritually unhealthy activities in our lives, we are all imperfect, we all have challenges, and imperfections in our lives that help to define, and beautify us into who our Heavenly Father truly wants us to be. If we continue to keep an eye single to God, and Jesus’s divine plan we will find peace and happiness in this life and the life to come. I would like to bear my testimony that I know this church is true, and that if we all stand as Heavenly Fathers disciples, and focus primarily on our similarities as sons and daughters of heavenly parents, we will live a happy heavenly life just like those who came before us. I’m a lover of the gospel, I’m a lover of the Book of Mormon, and I love this ward. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.