Careful What you Say

tideCaptain Moroni and his army were close to defeating the Lamanites. Helaman was also closing in on the enemy towards their improbable defeat . Yet on the verge of a great victory, the tide seem to turn against both of them.

The Lamanites were getting an endless stream of supplies. The Nephites, on the other hand, only got a trickle. Soon, even that paltry trickle dried up. Now their soldiers were starving.

Pahoran, the Chief Judge, was solely responsible for supplying the troops. Moroni and Helaman both knew this. In fact, they both knew Pahoran. That is what baffled them. Pahoran had always been one of the good guys. Sure Pahoran was a politician. But he was one they thought they could trust. Why was Pahoran not sending them supplies?

spectrumMoroni lost his patience. To him, after years on the battlefield, the world was black and white. You were either for him or against him. If you were against him, there was a high price to pay. Just ask the Kingmen. But the world rarely stands up to the black and white filter. Reality comes in a spectrum of colors.

In a fit of righteous rage, Moroni sent Pahoran stinging letter of rebuke. He questioned Pahoran’s patriotism and threatened to come to Zarahemla to pull down Pahoran’s pride. Unfortunately, Moroni sent this letter without the advantage of the facts. He only saw the facts he wanted to see failing to leave room for opposing ideas.

Luckily, Pahoran was a true leader. Rather than let an emotional outburst tarnish the amazing career of his friend, Pahoran patiently helped Moroni see that there were problem outside his own control. In fact, so confident was Pahoran in the better angels of Moroni’s nature, that he humbly requested his misinformed captain to come to his aid so they could together defeat the evil forces that were to blame.

facebookNow, suppose Moroni’s fiery exchange with Pahoran was found on Face Book. How would that have changed the dynamic.

I am the first to admit that social media has many great advantages. This blog is a product of social media. But the greatest deterrence to social media becoming a powerful tool for progress is the vitriol that so easily tarnishes this tool.

commongroundTrue dialog, where parties share ideas and look for common ground, has been replaced with digital demagoguery. Like Moroni in his unjustified rage, social media becomes a weapon of those who see the world as black and white. Too many of us post our views not to have them discussed but to show the world that we are right and they are wrong. As Elder Holland said, we are too easily ready to leave our religion at the door when we enter the forum of social media.

I think Mormon saw our days. He saw the venom that has become so much our media. This may be why he added Captain Moroni’s ill-advised letter and Pahoran’s courageous response.

We can all do better.

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