I've come to wonder how, in recent years, such a concept as hope has managed to become a polarizing buzzword in the modern political landscape. How a basic human and Christian virtue has become the subject of mockery.
In Ether 12:4, Moroni wrote that those who believe in God may with surety hope for a better world. Sure and hope are not words that are often thrown together, but is there any greater promise that we can hope for in this life than a better world?
I am sure that there are plenty of ideas of what a better world might look like. We live in a fallen world. A world afflicted with wars and rumors of wars, famine, disease, systematic exploitation of our fellow humans as well as other species and natural resources. One needn't look far to find areas in need of improvement, problems to solve and wrongs to be righted.
But with so many ills to rectify, we might be inclined to believe that there is nothing we can do. We may justify, leaving it up to God to make right. We may underestimate our ability to effect change. We may have given up hope for anything better. These lines of reasoning lead us to inaction and self preservation, in direct violation of our baptismal covenants. As members of Christ's church, we are obligated to act, to seek out those who mourn and mourn with them, to find those who need of comfort and offer comfort. (Mosiah 18:9)
The scriptures offer examples of perfect societies, where all the people's needs are met and all are equal. In Moses 7:18, we read about the people of Enoch, “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.”
But what does it mean to be of one heart and one mind? Does it mean that we are all to think and act alike? I believe that President Uchtdorf addresses these questions.
“With the Atonement, life is an ennobling, inspiring journey of growth and development that leads to eternal life in the presence of our Heavenly Father. But while the Atonement is meant to help us all become more like Christ, it is not meant to make us all the same. Sometimes we confuse differences in personality with sin. We can even make the mistake of thinking that because someone is different from us, it must mean they are not pleasing to God. This line of thinking leads some to believe that the Church wants to create every member from a single mold—that each one should look, feel, think, and behave like every other. This would contradict the genius of God, who created every man different from his brother, every son different from his father. Even identical twins are not identical in their personalities and spiritual identities.”
Again, after Christ visited the Nephites, they achieved a Zion-like community. “[T]hey had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.” (4 Nephi 1:3) In this Zion, all would contribute their own gifts, skills and talents to enrichment of the human family. To achieve this kind of Zion, the people gave up their wealth, power, prejudice and status. And the result was that all needs were met and all were equal within their society and before God.
Zion might always an ever elusive dream, but I have seen glimpses of it and it is glorious. That is the better world that I will continue to hope for and work toward.