God wants His children to love each other. He expects them to share the Earth’s resources so no one goes hungry or homeless. God’s servant, Enoch, who lived more than 5000 years ago, demonstrated this truth. Enoch lived in a time of war but his people were unified. The Book of Moses, considered modern-day scripture, gives more insight into the way Enoch’s people lived: “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.”1 Enoch proved that utopia can exist, even during war, if individuals are willing to love each other and help the poor and needy.
It’s obvious that most civilizations haven’t followed Enoch’s example. Slavery and discrimination have been around as long as any history book can remember. Power struggles are alive and well. Why is that? It’s for a few reasons, but one thing history proves is that some people don’t like sharing power. Power gives a sense of security and when people sense a threat, they can act in strange ways.
The Ghost Riders
After the Civil War ended, life was grim for many southerners. With the outlawing of slavery, it was unclear what the new social pecking order would be or even how to survive. Then in 1866, in Pulaski, Tennessee, a group of six former confederate soldiers banded together. For amusement, they covered themselves in white sheets, appearing as ghosts, playing pranks on black residents. More people joined this vigilante group, called the Ku Klux Klan, and the pranks turned into cruelty. The Klan then partnered with political institutions that were interested in preserving white supremacy. These institutions made laws that erased much of the progress achieved during the Civil War. But, to many people, it was merely a means of preserving their way of life. Nearly 100 years would pass before the signing of the Civil Rights Act which barred racial discrimination.
Driven out of Jackson County
The City of Independence in Jackson County, Missouri, was one of the first major settlements for Mormons. Because this christian denomination was considered so different than other Christ-focused religions, early members gathered together to support each other. Eventually, their numbers became large enough that local county residents worried they would lose political control. A Jackson County citizens’ committee stated, “It required no gift of prophecy to tell that the day is not far distant when the civil government of the county will be in their hands; when the sheriff, the justices, and the county judges will be Mormons.”2 Not long after the committee’s statement, local residents gathered at the Courthouse and demanded that the Mormons leave. When the Mormons refused to leave lands they legally owned, they were attacked. Mobs destroyed property and terrorized victims. Eventually, the Mormons were forced out of the County with no place to go. For the same reasons, they would be kicked out of other places until finally migrating 1200 miles west to the Rocky Mountains.
Enough and to spare
Some people view life as a rat-race. The mentality goes something like, “If I don’t grab it first then someone else will and I’ll miss out.” The world has limited time and resources so you should take as much as possible even if that means hurting others. The prophet, Isaiah, had a way of describing these folks: “Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are sheperds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.”3
During the Earth’s creation, God knew how many of His children would populate the planet and made proper plans. The Earth was custom-made so that people could have more than enough resources to live fulfilling lives if they didn’t fight each other. God revealed this to the Prophet, Joseph Smith. He stated: “I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork;. . . . and it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine. . . . for the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare.”4 I love this passage not only because it teaches that the Earth has plenty of resources, but that God can provide for his children. He can even do the impossible. Look at the Wedding at Cana or the Feeding of 5000.5 God has a way of making something out of nothing. No legitimate reason exists to hoard resources because God is in control.
In whom do you trust?
If one of the reasons discrimination exists is to hoard power and resources then prejudice is a sign of trusting in temporal things for happiness. This is dangerous because the scriptures teach that all worldly appetites lead to a dead end – square underneath the Lord’s feet. The Bible teaches, “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.”6 The irony of it all is that seeking after worldly pleasures ultimately leads to the very bottom.
Putting trust in God, on the other hand, opens up a different, refreshing perspective. As you start giving more of yourself to God, you start caring more about the things He cares about. Slowly, you might not get the urge to have certain things you once thought were so important. You have a new sense of fulfillment and it can’t be bought anywhere or taken by any person. Paul taught the Philippians, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”7 I’m no Paul, but I can vouch for him. I’ve experienced some of this in my own life. It’s a slow process but a very real one.
I believe that discrimination will only be solved when people begin to trust God more than themselves. When the people of Enoch were taken up to heaven, it wasn’t because God was feeling particularly generous that day. It was because they had trusted in God for long enough that they finally rose above the world, including discrimination. It’s a story we can look up to.8