I feel so full of the Holy Spirit today since reading my scriptures this morning. Specifically I studied Alma Chapter 26 which is in the Book of Mormon. (For those of you unfamiliar with the Book of Mormon, it is not an addition to the Bible. It is the record of a portion of some Native American tribes who were looking forward to the coming of the Great Spirit. From the ancient oral and written traditions of their ancestors, they knew that one day a Savior, the son of God, would come to our world to tell all people about forgiveness, repentance and love.)
The words in Alma Chapter 26 are truly inspired for our day! Whenever I came across the word “Lamanite,” I mentally inserted the words “ISIS” or “Al-Qaida”. Lamanites were a bloodthirsty, violent group in the Book of Mormon. Just as ISIS beheads Christian men, kidnaps innocent girls and crucifies Christian children in the streets, some of the Lamanites tossed families of the believers into smoldering pits to their deaths. Then, as now, it was the traditions and incorrect teachings of their leaders that made them feel justified in doing these acts. They did not have a written record as did their brothers. As recently as a few hundred years ago, some Native Americans (such as the Cherokee) had a written record. Other tribes only had oral traditions. The written word does not change, but oral histories, like a phrase in the telephone game, can change.
Because not everyone has the motivation to love their brothers, we must spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ! It is as important overseas at it is here! It is difficult, I know, just as it was in the days of Ammon in the Book of Mormon. We may face scorn just as he did, or even ridicule, by merely just suggesting that we pray for these perpetrators, let alone offer them the fruits of the Gospel of Jesus. Deep down, this is what missionary work is all about. It is not to teach those that are already faithful, but to bring about change; to turn the hearts of all people to do good. Jesus said that if we love Him we must feed His sheep. (John 21:15-17) Jesus also said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34) The Gospel is good news! It will change the hearts of all people, because all lives matter.
Alma Chapter 26: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/26?lang=eng (Specifically verses 23 – 35.)
To teach your young Sunday School students, diversity and love on the most basic level, please consider purchasing a copy of Liesa Swejkoski’s book “As I Have Loved You,” from Schuler books http://www.schulerbooks.com/chapbook-press/i-have-loved-you-liesa-swejkoski
or via Kindle https://www.amazon.com/As-I-Have-Loved-You-ebook/dp/B00KMKZQGG .