Five years ago, my friend Felice wrote a blogpost called “Publish Peace.” I think about it often, and over the past couple of months I have thought about it even more than usual. The global COVID-19 pandemic has magnified so many of the best and worst traits in humanity. One of my favorite excerpts from Felice’s post:
I have always said we are living in prophetic times and some of those prophecies are quite dire, but I would like to emphasize that we also have more light and knowledge and peace and faster healing than ever before available to us now. However, we need to be tuned into the right frequency to access it. Doomsday is not that frequency. It is okay to talk about what is coming, but let’s remember to focus on the positive side of it and “publish” peace.
The phrase “publish peace” comes from a lovely passage in the scriptures: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace” (Isaiah 52:7). The Book of Mormon also includes the phrase multiple times. For example, in 1 Nephi 13:37:
And whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.
Ever since reading Felice’s post about this subject, I have tried (imperfectly) to be a publisher of peace. Often, before I share something on my blogs or social media, I pause and think about my motive, what kinds of emotions the post might elicit in others, whether it would be considered “publishing peace.” Sometimes, I realize after I have shared something that it was actually doing the opposite of publishing peace, and I’ll delete it in retrospect.
That’s not to say we should shy away from sharing the real, raw, difficult, hard parts of our lives. I do that quite often, actually. It’s OK to say, “Hey, I’m struggling and need help.” I think that being vulnerable and showing our weakness is, actually, a way to publish peace because it can comfort others and show those who are struggling that they’re not alone.
It helps, I think to look at our social media shares as though we are preparing a platter of food for our friends. Is what we are feeding them going to really nourish them in some way? (Humor is absolutely nourishing, by the way.) What is the primary energy contained within that “food” we’re sharing? Sometimes, myself included, we are so quick to share some new discovery with friends that we don’t stop to even recognize the energy that might be emanating from the words we share. Viral posts can, and do, infect other people with whatever energy the original poster was infused with when they wrote/spoke it. Are we sharing viral peace and love? Or viral paranoia and animosity? Which virus would you rather be infected with?
I love these words (Felice quoted in her original blogpost) from Richard G. Scott:
Peace won’t come from the outside wold. It will come from within your home, from within your family, from within your own heart. It will be a gift of the Spirit. It will radiate out from you to influence others in the world around you. You will be doing something very significant to add to the cumulative peace in the world.
One of my favorite books of all time, Light in the Wilderness, by M. Catherine Thomas shares a similar sentiment:
The world-mind has its energy, and the Spirit has its own particular type of energy. If we are feeding too much, through whatever medium, on the world-mind and its thought-world, which is characterized by enmity and self-seeking, the Natural Man will be our reality and will run us. . . . We must do an energy exchange by chasing darkness with Light and consciously choosing the energy that will hum throughout our soul.
I have been trying to be very conscious of the energy I am allowing into my heart and and mind over the past couple of months. And I am also trying to be careful about what I publish for others to consume. Sharing truth is important, but I try to be conscious of the energy the truth is packaged in. Truth can become poison when it’s delivered in an anger-sandwich or a revenge-roll.
Yes, there is corruption in the world. Yes, we are enduring difficult times. Yes, we have a million reasons to despair and be afraid, and it’s OK to be afraid. But we don’t have to add big logs to the fire of fear, blame, and frustration. We can choose to feel and acknowledge our fears and frustrations without magnifying, multiplying, and dispersing them. We can choose to serve even hard truths to others in a peace-filled casserole. I’m not sure what that recipe looks like exactly, but I have faith we can figure it out and perfect it.
I don’t know if anyone perfected that recipe better than Gordon B. Hinckley. I love these words:
What I am suggesting is that each of us turn from the negativism that so permeates our society and look for the remarkable good among those with whom we associate, that we speak of one another’s virtues more than we speak of one another’s faults, that optimism replace pessimism, that our faith exceed our fears.
I am far from perfect in my quest to publish peace, but I’m going to keep trying. I hope you will too.