Monday, March 3, 2014

Being "willing to bear one another’s burdens" -Mosiah 18:8

One of the most well known passages of Scripture from The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ is the baptismal covenant found in Mosiah 18:8-10. "And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?" 

I'd like to focus on bearing one another's burdens, that they might be light. Normally when we hear that phrase, we think of all the wonderful service we do in the Church. (Don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting that the service is bad). We often think of mowing the lawns of older members or helping someone get packed so they can move or chopping down blackberry bushes (a favorite service members asked me to do on my mission in Washington). While that is important, it is missing the mark for what this phrase fully means.

L Whitney Clayton of the Seventy taught, "our sins...are among the heaviest of all the burdens we bear" (Talk). The covenant is less about physical burdens, though that is important, but rather, it is about spiritual burdens carried all the children of Almighty God. Jesus Christ is the perfect example of this. He bore sin's tremendous load. He felt the sin and heart ache of every single person who had walked the face of the Earths. 

In the covenant to take upon ourselves the Name of Jesus Christ, we are to be doing what He would do if He were in our place. If someone flips you off, what would Jesus do? If someone told you of a struggle they had, what would Jesus do? If someone was having a hard night and was being tempted to commit an old sin they hadn't done in years, what would Jesus do? He would act in love, for that is His character. 

When we covenant to bear one another's burdens, in essence, we are covenanting to have Charity: The Pure Love of Christ. We are promising that when someone opens their hearts to us, we won't judge the person, and we will do all in our power to lift the person higher. We are covenanting to act in godly ways when struggles are placed before us.

That is not to say that we excuse the sin. That is not to say we don't invite them to seek help from priesthood leaders. It is, however, to say, when their sin hurts you, "Father, forgive them: they know not what they do." It is to, in word and deed, seek to act like the Savior of the World in every situation. When one person acts like the Savior, they have established Zion in their life.

We talk of Zion, we teach of Zion, we read and prophesy of Zion through all of scriptures. Unfortunately, we do not become Zion. God gave each of us covenants, to give us the strength and the determination to become a Zion person. Then when Zion has been established in two people, it becomes a dwelling-place of Zion in a family setting or an assembly of Zion in a friendship setting. Now, think of the power of one person with Zion in them to change the lives of people. Now, think of if there were two? Ten? One hundred? A Thousand? A Ward? A Stake? A Church?

Truly, if we each held fast to our covenants to establish Zion by bearing one another's burdens, the world would change. The Saints of God would be "armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory" (1 Nephi 14:14). The day will come that "every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety" (Doctrine & Covenants 45:68). Zion, as a place, cannot and will not be established until Zion has been established in our hearts. 

For "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" (Moses 7:18). For Zion to be established, we must be "united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom" (Doctrine & Covenants 105:4). The only way we'll EVER be able to get to that level of unity is if we help one another bear the spiritual burdens each one of us have that they may be light.

I am not saying to flaunt your sins before the ward so everyone will help everyone else. What I am saying is when someone says something that's offensive, and they meant it, bear it with dignity: you will then be bearing another's sin. When you have good friends, let them know about your worries, your struggles, and your pain: they are more than willing to help bear your burdens, and if you help one another, you are loving one another as He has loved you.

I promise, in the name of the Lord, that bearing one another's burdens will bring the feelings that the Redeemer had in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Cross of Golgotha. By the Spirit, you will come to see men and women as He saw them in the Garden on that night. And when you see someone the way the Savior sees them, you find that it is impossible not to love them.

I testify that bearing one another's burdens will make us more like the Savior each time we do it, until that perfect day, "when he shall appear, we shall be like him" (1 John 3:2).