When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred. Jefferson
Hatred, Enmity, Vengeance, Retaliation, Revenge, Animosity, Alienation, Antagonism, Antipathy, Contempt, Hostility, Malice, Contention
“Everyone is familiar with anger. We’ve all been there. You feel it building. It is slow at first, like a locomotive, then faster, then stronger. Now at full speed, it seems like it cannot be stopped. Like a destructive force, controlled by an out of this world energy, we act, speak, and think in a way that just doesn’t make sense or seems out of character. What was that? Why were we angry? What can we do about it?” (https://perspectivesoftroy.com/whats-hiding-behind-anger/)
Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy described anger as the “thought-sin that leads to hostile feelings or behavior. It is the detonator of road rage on the freeway, flare-ups in the sports arena, and domestic violence in homes.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1998, 106; or Ensign, May 1998, 80–81)
Solomon declared: “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city” (Prov. 16:32)
As I read (present tense) the Book of Mormon this year, I am struck by the ramifications of anger. In Helaman 1 alone we view its dire consequences.
3 “Now these are their names who did contend for the judgment-seat, who did also cause the people to contend: Pahoran, Paanchi, and Pacumeni.”
Contention breeds contention. Anger breeds anger.
7 “But behold, Paanchi, and that part of the people that were desirous that he should be their governor, was exceedingly wroth; therefore, he was about to flatter away those people to rise up in rebellion against their brethren. 8 And it came to pass…[he] was tried according to the voice of the people, and condemned unto death... 9 Now when those people who were desirous that he should be their governor saw that he was condemned unto death, therefore they were angry,”
Political and personal disagreement may give rise to division, rebellion, secret combinations (where some rob, murder, gain power in secret), family destruction, personal destruction. I know we all wonder what will occur after this years’ Presidential election. As members of the Church, preparation of our minds and hearts is crucial so that we may avoid knee-jerk reaction. We are free to choose.
16 “Therefore, the king of the Lamanites, whose name was Tubaloth, who was the son of Ammoron, supposing that Coriantumr, being a mighty man, could stand against the Nephites...insomuch that by sending him forth he should gain power over the Nephites—17 Therefore he did stir them up to anger, and he did gather together his armies...did cause that they should march down to the land of Zarahemla to battle against the Nephites. 20 Therefore Coriantumr did cut down the watch by the entrance of the city, and did march forth with his whole army into the city, and they did slay every one who did oppose them, insomuch that they did take possession of the whole city….27...slaying the people with a great slaughter, both men, women, and children, taking possession of many cities and of many strongholds.”
These verses describe an extremity of anger emanating from the hatred the Lamanites felt for the Nephites generationally. Characterized here is the worst of the worst of anger’s repercussions.
Jesus Christ calls us to choose to act with love towards those with whom we disagree. 3 Ne 12:21 “Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, and it is also written before you, that thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment of God; 22 But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment…39 But I say unto you, that ye shall not resist evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also; 43 And behold it is written also, that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy; 44 But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do bgood to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you.” Love, Do Good, Bless, Pray.
I desire to avoid any partisan political views in my thoughts here. Although I see some broad comparisons we can make between the angry climate we are experiencing right now and what Helaman describes, a different way is required of us personally and collectively as children of God. I can almost taste the anger coursing through our nation, moving into states, counties, towns, neighborhoods, and ultimately resting upon my family and me. I believe there is an authentic basis for it. There are also segments of this expression that I don’t grasp. I constantly pray for knowledge of the truth so that I am enabled to discern two things. 1) What is the cause of this anger, and 2) What would God have me do to help. I pray for compassion and to see all people through God’s eyes.
To see all mortals as real people with stories--as opposed to narrow identities--diffuses my anger.
How are we enabled to see people as God sees them? “Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with [charity], which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God...” (Moroni 7:48).”
It would be oh-so-easy to retreat into fear and anger in a reactive response to fear and anger. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I feel duty bound to do better than that.
Strengthening the Family, Session Six, churchofjesuschrist.org contributes wonderful information designed to assist Christ’s Church in avoiding the damage of reactive anger. This injury may include:
Loss of the Spirit.
Loss of respect (for self and from family members).
Loss of friendship and cooperation.
Loss of self-confidence.
Guilt and loneliness.
Damage to self and others.
Increased risk for problems such as depression, poor health, addictive behavior, and job-related concerns…”
Since the fruits of the Spirit are “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance...” (Galatians 5:22–23) keeping the Spirit as a constant companion is imperative to emotional proactivity.
Where do we start? “As individuals change spiritually, they start to feel less anger and gain confidence that they can control angry feelings better. To help this change begin and to help it continue, they can:
Read the scriptures each day and incorporate the teachings in their lives.
Pray daily for help in all aspects of life, including anger problems.
Repent and seek access to the healing power of the Atonement.
Pray that they will see those around them as the Lord sees them.
Renew covenants and worship in the temple and in Church meetings.” (Strengthening the Family, Session Six, churchofjesuschrist.org)
President and Sister Nelson sent a message to us on Aug 5, 2020. “Dear friends, the road ahead may be bumpy, but our destination is serene and secure,” he wrote. “So, fasten your seatbelt, hang on through the bumps, and do what’s right. Your reward will be eternal.”
He went on, “The Lord made a promise to the Saints in 1831 that still applies today, “Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come’.” (Doctrine and Covenants 68:6)
My prayer is that we don’t let anger overwhelm our hearts and minds. Trust that we are in God’s hands. Trust in His mighty power to save--and Carry On!