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By: Alexander Hicken, Moroni Channel
Rexburg Idaho, USA
If I could speak in General Conference, this is what I would talk about. My speech would be the often first response of division to adversity. The second concept of this article that I will explain is the what causes the often first response, which is the natural man. The purpose of this article is to recognize the fundamental reaction of division; then, stop it. This is a theme in my life because my patriarchal blessing tells me to study the "Beware of Pride" talk by Erza Taft Benson. One thing that I have observed is that if one dabble in the ways of pride, natural man, and division; the more that one knows their ways. I have forgotten a lot of the ways of pride, natural man, and division, since I recognize the ways and stop them from being acted out in my personal life.
Division is a theme in life that I would like to explain. I believe that the root cause of division is pride. It is hard to talk about Pride without mentioning the natural man because whenever we fall into the ways of pride, the natural man is unleashed. Pride likes to separate and organize people according superiority and inferiority. Pride divides people from the atonement of Christ, seeking to define people, which limits and damns their actions.
I have developed my own definition of the natural man, which is more applicable to man, yet it is "an enemy to God." The natural man is a way of life, which is not a person, but it can take over a life of a person. People are children of God, and whenever they are not acting like one; they are giving into pride and the Natural Man. This is my definition of natural man. It is the giving way of Satan to control your actions (This is the main part of my definition that I have come up with, which I usually think of.) and to manipulate life to accomplish one's carnal desires with the least amount of effort.
I am talking very abstractly somewhat. I will write an example that you may understand. One example that I think of often is a situation from my home life. My mother was miserable working alone on a chicken meal, and she was frustrated with us children, since we were playing and not listening to her requests to help her. Guess what the natural man action of my mother was. It was to throw a slimy chicken drumstick and yell at us. I don't remember if we begin helping her, but it was the most effective way to make a point. I will never forget it. Most effective doesn't always mean the best. What might be the best option? Working chicken, my mother might have to wash her hands to come talk to us respectfully, asking our help perhaps teaching us a principle of life. The natural man tries to control people with overbearance. It can be direct and indirect. I hope that illustrates my definition of the natural man.
Now I will explain how division is a theme of life and pride. People say that we are either coming closer or moving further away from God. Division is found in many methods. There are physical and spiritual separation. Satan wanted to spiritually divide all humanity to be beneath him in order to save everyone from spiritual death by obtaining the glory of God and dominion. Cain killed Abel, separating him from mortality, in order to obtain his property. The prideful people of Ammonihah threw Alma out of their city. Your wife may give you the silent treatment in order to make a point. One may withdraw spiritually and physically from people because they have been offended by untrustworthy actions. Division may also be crossing the line of a loved one's weaknesses in order to get them to do what you want.
What can restore unity in a divided family? What is the antidote of division? The antidote of division is the same for pride. "The antidote for pride is humility—meekness, submissiveness. (See Alma 7:23.) It is the broken heart and contrite spirit." (Beware of Pride, Ezra Taft Benson) Humility requires patience, and recognizing people for who they are. People are children of God, and they may not act like a child of God because their upbringing has led them to develop a type of pride, natural man, and division from the light of Christ and submission to the way of the Gospel. The gospel of Christ is another method toward unity.
I believe that the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is the true way to accessing all the blessings of God. The gospel is the way to establishing Zion, the pure in heart. It is written in Moses 7:18. "And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them." Unity unto the establishment of Zion is my goal as we all should be one heart and mind in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the son of God, and he was perfect, having power over death. This enabled him to perform the atonement, which is the means to all healing both physically and spiritually. Christ's mortal ministry was an essential part of Heavenly Father's Plan of Redemption, allowing us to become whole again and return to live in God’s presence and his kingdom. Please do not divide from him, thinking that there is no truth and way back to feel his love.
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