RS Lesson Ch. 29 Living with Others in Peace and Harmony
by Zenaida and Jessawhy
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We both loved this lesson. It focuses on the basics of the gospel: loving our neighbors and respecting agency. Regardless of how this message is presented, we hope it will be inspiring to the women in your Relief Society.
Here are our ideas on how to present this crucial reminder to live in peace and harmony with each other.
From the Life of Joseph Smith
Ask the class to skim the story on pages 339-40, or ask someone ahead of time to summarize it for the class.
What do you notice about the way Joseph interacts with the men who intend to harm him?
Other than a skill at peacemaking, what could have contributed to Joseph’s ability to calm the men who threatened him?
This story illustrates Joseph’s ability to bringing good out of evil. Sometimes we think of good and evil as simple choices, the kind we learned in our Primary lessons. In this experience and throughout his life, Joseph had evil thrust upon him, and through humility, turned many situations into good both for himself and others.
Some people believe that this is a divine ability, and that it was exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ. (For more on Bringing Good out of Evil, skim this chapter from Strangers in Paradox).
How have you turned evil into good?
Teachings of Joseph Smith
By striving to be peacemakers, we can live in greater harmony and love with others.
Read: “Peace, lovely child of heaven! — Peace like light from the same great parent, gratifies, animates, and happifies the just and the unjust, and is the very essence of happiness below, and bliss above.”
“But the peacemaker, O give ear to him! for the words of his mouth and his doctrine drop like the rain, and distill like the dew.”
This section seems very much written to an audience of men. (For example Paragraph 3, “…nor should he be entitled to the friendship of woman…”)
How does this section on becoming peacemakers apply differently to women? Or does it?
What are some methods you use to remember to act as a peacemaker?
We can cultivate peace by honoring one another and refusing to find fault.
Read “We hope that our brethren will be careful of one another’s feelings, and walk in love, honoring one another more than themselves, as is required by the Lord.”
How does this concept of refusing to find fault reconcile with the verse in D&C 121:42 about reproving betimes with sharpness?
Also, does refusing to find fault deny the importance of personal accountability and responsibility? How do these concepts interrelate?
We can cultivate harmony in our communities by respecting the freedom of all people to believe according to their own conscience.
Article of Faith 1:11
How does agency allow us to live in harmony with people we don’t agree with?
“I have the most liberal sentiments, and feelings of charity towards all sects, parties, and denominations; and the rights and liberties of conscience, I hold most sacred and dear, and despise no man for differing with me in matters of opinion.”
How do you discuss differences of opinion with others?
Joseph Smith also tells us that he is willing to die defending the rights of anyone, no matter what their belief is, because the same trampling of rights would affect the Saints. How do we defend the rights of others today?
“If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way.”
If lifting people up “in their own way” is the appropriate way to correct error in humankind, how can we do this with those around us?
How can we present our beliefs in ways that respect the beliefs of others?
“All persons are entitled to their agency . . . to seek after that which is good, by pursuing the pathway of holiness in this life, which brings peace of mind, and joy . . . ”
Is it sometimes hard to believe that people of other faiths are pursuing the pathway of holiness in this life? Why or why not?
What does this section teach us about respecting and honoring people who worship according to their own conscience?
The ideas in this lesson are a strong companion to missionary work. We should all respect others for their earnest desires to worship God in their own way. Our interactions with others of different faiths should be based on mutual respect and peace. Only with this foundation is it possible to find true friendship and the Spirit of Christ.
Bear testimony and close.