When King Benjamin called his people together at the end of his life, he had a receptive audience. They loved and respected him because of the way he had served them for many years. That collective love and respect led to unity. After he reminded them of their need to have their sins forgiven, “they all cried aloud with one voice,” pleading for a remission of their sins (Mosiah 4:2). And after they received an assurance that their sins had been forgiven, they responded to Benjamin’s invitation to enter a covenant with God by again “[crying] with one voice” (Mosiah 5:2). Shortly after, Benjamin appointed priests to help the people remember the covenants they had made (Mosiah 6:3).
After Alma baptized many people at the waters of Mormon, he appointed priests and teachers, gave them guidance about what they should teach, and then emphasized that “there should be no contention…but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another” (Mosiah 18:21).
When the Savior visited the American continent following His death and resurrection, He invited each individual in that gathering to touch His wounds in order to know for themselves that He was the Christ. After that experience, “they did cry out with one accord,” as they worshipped Him (3 Nephi 11:13-17). Immediately afterward, the Savior selected twelve men to serve as the leaders of His church and urged the people to “give heed unto [their] words” (3 Nephi 11:18-22, 12:1).
When the Lord instructed Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to organize His church, they were delighted. They were to ordain one another as elders in the church, but not until church members had the opportunity to express their approval:
We were…commanded to defer this our ordination until such times as it should be practicable to have our brethren, who had been and who should be baptized, assembled together, when we must have their sanction to our thus proceeding to ordain each other, and have them decide by vote whether they were willing to accept us as spiritual teachers or not.History of the Church, Volume A-1, page 27
Those who gathered at the Peter Whitmer farm on April 6, 1830 to organize the church voted unanimously in favor of these ordinations. (See History of the Church, Volume A-1, page 37.)
Shortly thereafter, the Lord reiterated to Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and John Whitmer the importance of unity. “All things shall be done by common consent in the church,” He said (Doctrine and Covenants 26:2).
As I’ve pondered these events today, I’ve been reminded of the following principles:
- The Lord expects members of His church to strive for unity.
- Shared spiritual experiences help us become more unified.
- The act of voting to sustain church leaders can be an expression of that unity, particularly when the vote represents a commitment to help that leader be successful.
Today, I will support my church leaders as they help me progress along the covenant path. I will strive to live in harmony with other members of the church, so that we can speak “with one voice” and move forward in unity.