Yesterday we talked about the first thing the Savior wanted the Nephites to know when He appeared to them after His resurrection. After establishing who He is and that He is real, He went on to teach them the importance of covenants and gave Nephi authority to baptize. Then He tells them that there are to be no disputations among them and that people who have “the spirit of contention” are not of Him but are of the devil “who is the father of contention” (3 Nephi 11:29). Later in the book of Ether, Mormon explains how the people lived for two-hundred years in happiness and repeats four times (vs. 2, 13, 15, 18) that they had no contention among them.
I’ve read those accounts many times and have read the word contention as war or fighting. But recently I stopped to look up the word contention in the dictionary and discovered that it means, “to strive against difficulties.” As I read that bells, whistles, and fireworks went off in my mind. “Striving against difficulties” is what sinks us in the Pit of Illusion, and it relates to what Elder Wirthlin taught when he said that we should accept what comes and love it.
When we strive against the difficulties of life we are contending, and when we contend we leave the Realm of Truth and fall into the Pit of Illusion. So the third thing the Savior wanted the Nephites to understand is that they should not contend Truth, meaning the Truths of the gospel and with the Truth of life. Instead we acknowledge what is, determine whether we can fix it or should live with it, and then move on in joy and happiness.