Thursday, July 2, 2015

Don't be a sore loser

The Book of Helaman (in the Book of Mormon) opens with an election for a new chief judge. In this election there are three candidates: Pahoran, Pacumeni, and Paanchi.  These three are brothers, and sons of the former chief judge.  The people are divided about which son should inherit the judgement seat at the time of their father’s death.  It doesn’t give much insight into the discussion or campaigning of this election but it is safe to deduce that there were debates, warm disputes, and many strong opinions, much like a presidential election in the United States today.  The votes were cast and tallied, and the majority vote fell to Pahoran.  He was placed in the judgement seat and began his rule.  I want to reflect just a bit on the reaction of each of his brothers. First was his brother Pacumeni.  In Helaman 1:6 we read the following:
“And it came to pass that Pacumeni, when he saw that he could not obtain the judgement-seat, he did unite with the voice of the people.” 
In stark contrast to this we have Paanchi.  Helaman 1:7 says the following of his reaction:
“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.”
So here we have someone who is such a sore loser that he wants to start a rebellion against HIS OWN BROTHER!
What exactly did this little act of pride bring about? I’ll tell you.  *spoiler alert if you haven’t finished the Book of Mormon yet.
Because Paanchi was a sore loser, he caused his people to be sore losers and upset about Pahoran’s power.  This led them to form a secret organization to take away his power, they end up killing Pahoran, but they still don’t get power because Pacumeni ends up with the throne. So a guy named Gadianton steps up among the secret organization, says he’ll help them get rule over all the Nephites, they start civil wars, and eventually bring the extinction of an entire civilization.
This example may be extravagant, but the principles are applicable to us.  How do we react when we lose? What consequences can we have on people around us? Maybe we aren’t in enough power to persuade the nation to a civil war, but do we ever cause fighting within our families? In church? At school? 
Christ has commanded us to be peacemakers.  We need to support our leaders whether they be religious, political, or in our family--The fifth commandment is to honor thy father and thy mother; how are we doing with that?
I want to note here that we can only assume that Pahoran was a good man.  We know that the people at this time were righteous and the majority vote would have been for a good man, my intent is not to say that we have to mindlessly submit ourselves to every dictator or tyrant that comes along.  My intent is that we need to beware of hurt pride.  If you don’t win a talent competition, it doesn’t give you the right to criticize everyone else’s talent.  If you a girl/guy you like dates someone else, how do you react? Do you speak poorly of the other person? Even if it’s not vocal, are your thoughts hateful and critical?
There are thousands of examples where this lesson can be applied and each person will have a different scenario whether it’s striving to be valdectorian and falling short, or trying to get a job and not getting it.  Let us accept what falls before us and with bravery and humility explore the path’s we are given.

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