Zarahemla: The City of Brotherly Love

Zarahemla: The City of Brotherly Love

LOVE statue in Philadelphia
(purple color in fountain for Lupus awareness)

If you were to ask anyone what the city of brotherly love is, they’d quickly tell you it’s Philadelphia. That being said, it sometimes doesn’t always live up to the hype. We were treated great in Philadelphia and I enjoyed the visit, but that that couldn’t be said of an immigrant family with little kids on the plane out of there.  One guy’s racial epithets and excursion over the line of decency tarnished the image in a big way (kudos to Southwest Airlines for bringing the pilot and about 3 other employees out to shame this guy).

I was impressed with another city’s example of brotherly love today. I had just finished reading the miraculous account of how the Lord liberated his people from bondage in Mosiah.  I found it curious that Gideon referred to the Lamanites as ‘our brethren’ (Mosiah 22:3).  These are hardly the words I expected from a man that was then enslaved by the Lamanites. It wouldn’t have been terribly surprising to see him react more like the Philadelphian on the plane given that he’d spent his life on the battlefield fighting ‘his brothers’. To my further surprise, Gideon’s sentients were also expressed by the people of Zarahemla as they were joined by the peoples of Limhi and Alma.

“And again, when they thought upon the Lamanites, who were their brethren, of the sinful and polluted state, they were filled with pain and anguish for the welfare of their souls.”  (Mosiah 25:11)

If the people of Zarahemla can feel this kind of concern for their former masters and arch-enemies, then Philadelphia is obliged to step aside. It begs the question: What were they doing right? and What are we doing wrong? We profess to be members of the same church as the one established in Zarahemla, yet so often can’t talk civilly with someone with different political views, or ethnic background or religious traditions. So often it’s us and them, and we certainly aren’t prone to see them as our brothers. After all, they are different. Most of us aren’t even close to being able to live by the Savior’s charge to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’ (Matthew 22:39). Fortunately, there’s a lot of us that are trying to be better.  If we could simply get this down, so many of the world’s problems would sort themselves out. 

I don’t know exactly how the City of Zarahemla got there, but think part of it may lie in a detail towards the end of the same chapter.
“And they were called the people of God. And the Lord did pour out his Spirit upon them, and they were blessed and prospered in the land.” (Mosiah 25: 24)
The Spirit of the Lord brings with it the spirit of brotherly love. To have the latter is good; to have them both is better. 

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