In my personal Book of Mormon study I recently read the account of the sons of Mosiah teaching and converting the Lamanite kings Lamoni and his father, and a good number of their subjects. Chapters 23 and 24 in the book of Alma talk about these Lamanite converts choosing to put aside and bury their weapons of war – weapons that had harmed and killed Nephites who believed in Jesus Christ.
Alma 23:7 “For they became a righteous people; they did lay down the weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God any more, neither against any of their brethren.”
15 Oh, how merciful is our God! And now behold, since it has been as much as we could do to get our stains taken away from us, and our swords are made bright, let us hide them away that they may be kept bright, as a testimony to our God at the last day, or at the day that we shall be brought to stand before him to be judged, that we have not stained our swords in the blood of our brethren since he imparted his word unto us and has made us clean thereby.
16 And now, my brethren, if our brethren seek to destroy us, behold, we will hide away our swords, yea, even we will bury them deep in the earth, that they may be kept bright, as a testimony that we have never used them, at the last day; and if our brethren destroy us, behold, we shall go to our God and shall be saved.
17 And now it came to pass that when the king had made an end of these sayings, and all the people were assembled together, they took their swords, and all the weapons which were used for the shedding of man’s blood, and they did bury them up deep in the earth.
18 And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood; and this they did, vouching and covenanting with God, that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives; and rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him; and rather than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands.
19 And thus we see that, when these Lamanites were brought to believe and to know the truth, they were firm, and would suffer even unto death rather than commit sin; and thus we see that they buried their weapons of peace, or they buried the weapons of war, for peace.
As I read these verses, I thought, “I don’t own any weapons like that, and I’m not physically hurting anyone. But is there a ‘weapon’ that I need to bury to help me better follow Jesus Christ?” Immediately the answer came to me: unkind words.
I go through phases where I get into arguments in the comment sections of articles on social media. I have been so passionate about my opinion, that I have moments where I am very unkind towards those who think differently. Often times, I’m not the original provocation; someone insults me, and I want to defend myself. But two wrongs do not make a right, and Christ has commanded us to turn the other cheek. (Matthew 5:39. 3 Nephi 12:39) Many times, when I stop responding, so does the person I was arguing with! If I don’t give them any fuel, they can’t continue to try to burn me.
Since my social media fast back in October, I have lessened the time I spend on social media, so the above hasn’t happened recently. I try to avoid verbal confrontations, so that hasn’t replaced social media confrontations. However, I am still tempted to gossip, and I think unkind thoughts when someone upsets me.
Since making the decision to bury unkind words, I have felt the Spirit helping me when I am tempted to dig them up. I feel guilty when I say something unkind about another person, even if said privately. I can still express when I am feeling upset, but I am learning those feelings need to be about the situation, not the person. I have also had some great experiences where I have started to think unkind thoughts about someone, and before those thoughts can become verbal, the Spirit whispers, “They are a child of God too.” That important reminder really makes me pause and contemplate how I view those around me. I have felt a very positive change in these short weeks since I buried unkind words. I’m glad I received this inspiration and acted on it. I’m not perfect at it, but the Holy Spirit has been at my side helping me.
What are your thoughts on those chapters in Alma? What other weapons can we bury to better help us come unto Christ and follow Him?
Here is a story about a family who had the same idea and turned it into a Family Home Evening lesson: https://www.lds.org/ensign/1999/09/random-sampler/cutting-out-cutting-remarks?lang=eng