Know this, that ev’ry soul is free
To choose his life and what he’ll be;
For this eternal truth is giv’n:
That God will force no man to heav’n
He’ll call, persuade, direct aright,
And bless with wisdom, love, and light,
In endless ways be good and kind,
But never force the human mind.
Freedom and reason make us men;
take that away what are we then?
Mere animals, and just as well
The beasts may think of heav’n or hell.
May we no more our pow’rs abuse,
But ways of truth and goodness choose;
Our God is pleased when we improve
His grace and seek his perfect love.
Anonymous, ca. 1805, Boston. Included in the first LDS hymnbook
No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by longsuffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile– reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou has reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; that he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand, and watch over them with tenderness. When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what power it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind.
Calling for civility in politics is wishful thinking. Godly persuasion is unnatural. “But what is government itself,” said James Madison, “but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?”
Those striving to live as saints should not participate nor condone lashing out in vitriolic envy towards others. It is not a noble demonstration of patriotism. Rather it leads to despotism.