25 And they did fortify themselves against their enemies; and they did dwell in one land, and in one body, and they did fear the words which had been spoken by Lachoneus, insomuch that they did repent of all their sins; and they did put up their prayers unto the Lord their God, that he would deliver them in the time that their enemies should come down against them to battle.
(3 Nephi 3:25)
When Lachoneus, the governor of the land, received a threatening letter from Giddianhi, the leader of the band of robbers, he began immediately preparing his people for the coming attack. He had his people take the following actions to prepare:
- Gather in one place, including “their flocks and their herds, and all their substance” (3 Nephi 3:13)
- Build strong fortifications around themselves and assign guards to watch for the enemy (3 Nephi 3:14)
- Pray to God and repent of their sins (3 Nephi 3:15)
In the passage above, we read about the people responding to his guidance. I’m particularly impressed with Mormon’s statement that the people “did dwell in one land, and in one body.” It sounds like a truly unified group of people. Their willingness to live in close proximity with one another represented their commitment to protect one another and their unity of purpose.
In the most recent general conference, Sister Reyna I Aburto spoke about monarch butterflies, which migrate vast distances, from Canada to Mexico and back again. “During their journey,” she explained, “they cluster together at night on trees to protect themselves from the cold and from predators.” She explained that a group of butterflies is called a kaleidoscope.
She explained that unity is important for our spiritual well-being:
Girls and boys, young women and young men, sisters and brothers, we are on this journey together. In order to reach our sublime destiny, we need each other, and we need to be unified. The Lord has commanded us, “Be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine” (“With One Accord,” General Conference, April 2018).
Today, I will strive for unity with the people around me, particularly my family, my neighbors, and my fellow church members. I will remember that there is power and safety in unity. Like the Nephites under Lachoneus, and like a kaleidoscope of monarch butterflies, we can protect each other and strengthen each other more effectively by staying close to each other.