Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; (D&C 98:10)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Public Virtue

It seems that most of my political discussions at work end on "people are selfish and there is no solution".  That there will always be those leeching off those who produce.  There will always be those who hoard the results of good fortune and hard work.  

There is a solution.  It is to revive public virtue.  In the early days of our country there was debate whether a representative government could survive.  Whether the people we good enough collectively to run themselves responsibly.  In Mormon terms I would call this, "try the virtue of the word of God".

And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God. Alma 31:5

In general conference, Lynn Robbins explained this principle in contrasting the difference between being or becoming and merely doing.

Alma discovered this same principle, that “the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword” (Alma 31:5; emphasis added). Why? Because the sword focused only on punishing behavior—or do—while preaching the word changed people’s very nature—who they were or could become.

One group in the Book of Mormon hunted the most evil part of their community.  They also preached the word of God to them.  They were successful. The pilgrims came to the New World.  Pioneers went west.  They left to build a virtuous society.  We have no immediate land to escape to.  We are all we've got.   

I believe that there still is virtue in the public generally.  We are children of God.  As we teach and encourage that spark of light in each of us, hearts will change.  

Public virtue is the collection of every private virtue.  Build up where I have influence.  Start where I have the most effect, myself.  Then to my family and friends and then community and country.  As we inspire the godly in each other, solutions will grow.


Phillip said...

It is so n ice to have a solution that is so personal. I get overwhelmed with feeling like our country is so sick and I don't know what big grand solution I could really inspire or create. This is the biggest difference any of us can make and it starts in our hearts, homes, neighbors, and communities... and it will make a bigger difference than any law, policy, or president.
Thank you for your insight!

Phillip said...

sorry, that was me...jessi. i guess i'm signed in as "phillip" for todd's e.q. presidency google account....

Dandi said...

Ditto. I also feel like Ithere needs to be some amazing huge effect, but I see the truth in what you've written. It's still seems so far away though, a country of integrity and virtue. Something I wrote in my journal a while ago...
"Nephi saw in vision the destruction of his people in the promised land. Did he give up and not try to help bring people unto Christ? No. He did everything he could to help "save" everyone." He knew how it would end but gave everything he could. We should try our hardest to encourage, inspire, and be our own bests in hope that it will lead all to a greater good.

Stephanie said...

I agree. I think you have all nailed it on the head. We need to do all we can be an influence for good and virtue and then pray for the ripple effect, to spread it abroad.