Will you who have accepted the covenant, worthily, accept my unworthy assistance? If so, I offer this to you.
It has come to my attention that some who have agreed to the covenant have begun deriding or scorning or mocking those whom they once fellowshipped with who did not enter into the covenant. Some of these being mocked did not agree to the covenant, having abstained solely because they could not answer question 1 in the affirmative, and decided to maintain their integrity rather than compromise themselves before God, angels, and men. Unlike me, I might add, who said “yes” that I knew the covenant was from God when, in retrospect, I only believed - strongly enough to drive to Boise, but only believed nonetheless. If anyone deserves mockery and scorn and derision, it is me.
These others who maintained their integrity, not answering “yes” for the sole reason that they could not answer question 1 in the affirmative, yet believe that the covenant is of God, deserve neither scorn nor mockery nor derision for their righteousness in this thing. Question 1 was, for these, a test of integrity which they have passed.
This division doesn’t have to be this way.
21 Now there was a strict law among the people of the church, that there should not any man, belonging to the church, arise and persecute those that did not belong to the church, and that there should be no persecution among themselves.
22 Nevertheless, there were many among them who began to be proud, and began to contend warmly with their adversaries, even unto blows; yea, they would smite one another with their fists.
23 Now this was in the second year of the reign of Alma, and it was a cause of much affliction to the church; yea, it was the cause of much trial with the church.
24 For the hearts of many were hardened, and their names were blotted out, that they were remembered no more among the people of God. And also many withdrew themselves from among them.
Those were the proud who professed to have covenanted with God. What of the rest?
25 Now this was a great trial to those that did stand fast in the faith; nevertheless, they were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them.
26 And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God they all returned again diligently unto their labors; and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers, for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength.
27 And they did impart of their substance, every man according to that which he had, to the poor, and the needy, and the sick, and the afflicted; and they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely.
28 And thus they did establish the affairs of the church; and thus they began to have continual peace again, notwithstanding all their persecutions.
Between these two groups, which one was in spirit and in truth the people of God?
And we see, again, in Helaman:
33 And in the fifty and first year of the reign of the judges there was peace also, save it were the pride which began to enter into the church—not into the church of God, but into the hearts of the people who professed to belong to the church of God—
34 And they were lifted up in pride, even to the persecution of many of their brethren. Now this was a great evil, which did cause the more humble part of the people to suffer great persecutions, and to wade through much affliction.
35 Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.
36 And it came to pass that the fifty and second year ended in peace also, save it were the exceedingly great pride which had gotten into the hearts of the people; and it was because of their exceedingly great riches and their prosperity in the land; and it did grow upon them from day to day.
How did this end?
11 Now this great loss of the Nephites, and the great slaughter which was among them, would not have happened had it not been for their wickedness and their abomination which was among them; yea, and it was among those also who professed to belong to the church of God.
12 And it was because of the pride of their hearts, because of their exceeding riches, yea, it was because of their oppression to the poor, withholding their food from the hungry, withholding their clothing from the naked, and smiting their humble brethren upon the cheek, making a mock of that which was sacred, denying the spirit of prophecy and of revelation, murdering, plundering, lying, stealing, committing adultery, rising up in great contentions, and deserting away into the land of Nephi, among the Lamanites—
13 And because of this their great wickedness, and their boastings in their own strength, they were left in their own strength; therefore they did not prosper, but were afflicted and smitten, and driven before the Lamanites, until they had lost possession of almost all their lands.
They lost almost all their lands for their lying, smiting their humble brethren, contention, boasting in their own strength, oppressing the poor, and withholding their food and clothing from the needy - they personally passed up the poor, despite the commandments of God to the contrary.
We are supposed to be forming a society which replicates heaven on Earth, being ultimately of one heart and one mind, but how can we have that society when we are so insecure in our position before God that we mock, scorn, and deride those who have declined to compromise their integrity before God?
Is not mockery, scorn, and derision of outsiders the behavior of the denizens of the great and spacious building recounted in the Book of Mormon?
1 Nephi 8
26 And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth.
27 And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.
28 And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.
29 And now I, Nephi, do not speak all the words of my father.
30 But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.
31 And he also saw other multitudes feeling their way towards that great and spacious building.
32 And it came to pass that many were drowned in the depths of the fountain; and many were lost from his view, wandering in strange roads.
33 And great was the multitude that did enter into that strange building. And after they did enter into that building they did point the finger of scorn at me and those that were partaking of the fruit also; but we heeded them not.
34 These are the words of my father: For as many as heeded them, had fallen away.
We don’t read that the humble returned mockery for mockery, nor scorn for scorn, but simply that they “heeded [the mockers and the scorners] not.”
If we are the Lord’s people, and have that perfect surety of knowledge of the foundation upon which we stand, then had we not ought to seek to bring others to this same knowledge, rather than divide those who have not compromised their integrity from our company and ostracize them? And how else can one bring them to the same surety of knowledge which one has except by being an example of believers, as we see in the Book of Mormon?