Alhough the church are one in Christ by virtue of their baptism
(Gal. 3:27-28), making that unity a visible reality is an ongoing
challenge. The baptized are called to do away with contention (3
Ne. 11:28-30), to be agreed in the things they pray for (D&C
27:18), and to do all things by common consent (D&C
26:2). However, this unity must be achieved by the knitting together
of hearts in love, not by compulsory means (Mosiah
18:21; D&C 121:41-46). Historically, Latter-day Saints
have sought unity by advocating faithful acceptance of church leaders'
authority. But so much emphasis on leaders' authority leaves the church
vulnerable to unrighteous dominion, even idolatry. How to achieve unity
while honoring individual freedom of conscience is a difficult dilemma
requiring the church to seek continuing guidance from the Spirit.
Being one not only means being united; it also means being equal (D&C
38:25-27). The church today confront inherited inequalities of
gender, race, nationality, language, and culture. Economic equality is
an additional challenge. In the 19th century, Latter-day Saints emulated
early Christian communites whose members held their possessions in common
4 Ne. 1:1-3). We still accept
this demanding ideal today as one of our temple covenants. How can we
move closer to the ideal, especially in light of LDS growth in the Third
Finally, there is the challenge of cultivating unity with brothers and
sisters outside our faith community. In what sense can Latter-day Saints
be one with other Christians? With people of other faiths? These, too,
are questions for continuing discernment.
| Awake, Ye Saints of
God, Awake! (Hymns 17, verse
|If we are the body of Christ, we are one,
and as he has loved us, so let us love one another.
of Letters from the Elders Abroad," Evening and Morning Star,
February 1833, 70
|B. H. Roberts: We Latter-day
Saints do not want to contract our feelings, our sympathies, our opinions
of the truth to the narrow limits of our own church fellowship; but
we must recognize that God does things on a broad scale, and that
He is directing, and that He is influencing, by His Spirit, His children;
and they will become more and more susceptible to the influence of
the Gospel. I hope that . . . the Church of Christ shall be enlarged
in her sympathies until we will stand locked fast in fellowship for
righteousness with all the righteous men in all the world.
Report, April 1908, 112
|James E. Talmage: Honesty
of purpose, integrity of soul, individual purity, freedom of conscience,
willingness to do good to all men even enemies, pure benevolence—these
are some of the fruits by which the religion of Christ may be known,
far exceeding in importance and value the promulgation of dogmas and
the enunciation of theories.
of Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1981), 389
|Theodore M. Burton: In
our generation the Savior gave us a statement so often used by the
late President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.: ". . . I say unto you, be
one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine." (D&C 38:27.)
This doctrine is built upon true love, even the love of Christ, and
is a most important principle of the gospel. Without the love of one
man for another, how can justice and real freedom ever be achieved?
Report, October 1969, 33
Chieko N. Okazaki:
Remember that the gospel is pointing us toward a time when we can
see others—all others—truly as God sees us, as one blood, one
flesh, brothers and sisters. God is literally the father of us all.
In Christ the divisions and the divisiveness—between men and women,
between different national groups, between different economic circumstances—are
done away with, and all are alike unto him. Even those who don't
know him are known and loved by him.
(Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1998), 154-55