7 And behold, there was peace in all the land, insomuch that the Nephites did go into whatsoever part of the land they would, whether among the Nephites or the Lamanites.
8 And it came to pass that the Lamanites did also go whithersoever they would, whether it were among the Lamanites or among the Nephites; and thus they did have free intercourse one with another, to buy and to sell, and to get gain, according to their desire.
9 And it came to pass that they became exceedingly rich, both the Lamanites and the Nephites; and they did have an exceeding plenty of gold, and of silver, and of all manner of precious metals, both in the land south and in the land north.
Yesterday, I wrote about the dissolution of the Nephite government and the dividing of the people into tribes, in about the year 30 A.D. Today, I’d like to rewind about 60 years to a much better time, a time in which not only the Nephites but also the Lamanites enjoyed peace. In the preceding verses, Mormon tells us that many of the Lamanites came into the land of the Nephites to preach the gospel among them. As a result of their preaching, many Nephites were converted to the gospel and the Nephites and the Lamanites were united.
Mormon describes an open border between these two groups of people: “the Nephites did go into whatsoever part of the land they would, whether among the Nephites or the Lamanites,” and in turn, “the Lamanites did also go whithersoever they would, whether it were among the Lamanites or among the Nephites.” No passport required, no visa, no tariffs imposed on transported goods, and no concerns about safety or security. Sounds like an optimal set of conditions for business, and, in fact, Mormon tells us that “they became exceedingly rich.”
Why did this fantastic relationship between these two nations result in greater prosperity? I think there’s an underlying principle, and I think it is found in the following scripture:
For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby (Doctrine and Covenants 46:11-12)
We all have different gifts. We all have different blessings. Whom do those gifts and blessings benefit? All of us, to the extent that we are willing to share them with one another. But to the degree that we hoard our possessions, our time, our energy, and our talents, we lose out on the enhanced blessings that might have come from collaborating with other people—people whose strengths can complement our own and with whom we can be far more productive and successful than we would have been alone.
Today, I will appreciate what the people around me have to offer, particularly those skills and personality traits which I lack. In my efforts at work, in my community service, in my church calling, and in my family, I will strive to leverage the strengths of others while contributing my own, recognizing that we are all better off when we share the best of what we have with one another.