Five months after the organization of the Church in 1830, Peter Whitmer was called by divine revelation to accompany Oliver Cowdery on a journey to preach the newly restored gospel to the Indian tribes in the frontier on the western border of Missouri.
Part of the Lord's directive to him was this: "Be you afflicted in all his afflictions, ever lifting up your heart unto me in prayer and faith, for his and your deliverance" (Doctrine and Covenants 30:6).
The phrase "afflicted in all his afflictions" is instructive. A profound unity is implied there. It goes beyond merely solicitous concern for another's welfare, although that is certainly included.
The Lord seems to be telling Peter Whitmer that he is to forge a bond with Oliver Cowdery so profound that one would feel the other's pain in affliction, to the point where both would be motivated to pour out their hearts to a merciful Heavenly Father for deliverance.
One might surmise that the converse would be true as well: that the joy of one or the other would be mutually felt by both.
Scientists, sound engineers and musicians are familiar with a phenomenon called sympathetic resonance or sympathetic vibration, whereby one vibratory body responds to the vibrations of another to which it has a harmonic likeness. This can be illustrated with piano strings. If, say, the key of middle C is struck, the undampered strings of C notes in higher and lower octaves along the soundboard will vibrate in response.
Similarly, strings for notes E and G will respond as well, though with less intensity, because they are harmonically related to C.
The phenomenon can also be observed when objects and surfaces in a room, such as window panes, will vibrate to the sound of a particular pitch or will amplify the sound. This happens because those objects are "tuned," or harmonically related, to that pitch.
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ are inclined to feel a sort of spiritual resonance with one another. Ideally, such an attribute would constantly characterize the covenant people of God.
At the waters of Mormon, Alma observed that those presenting themselves for baptism were "willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light" and to "mourn with those that mourn" and "comfort those that stand in need of comfort" (Mosiah 18:8-9).
As applied to those of us living in the latter-day dispensation, that desire is a strong motivator for paying a generous fast offering and for freely giving service, both under the auspices of the Church organization and individually to those whom we may know or encounter on a personal level. We pray fervently for the well-being, success, deliverance and eternal salvation of one another, and we work to bring about those objectives.
We feel this mutual affinity, this resonance, because we are "in tune" with one another in many ways.
We have felt the divine communication through the Holy Spirit of the verity of the restored gospel of Christ. We desire to see His kingdom strengthened and enlarged in preparation for His Second Coming. We have tasted of the Lord's mercy, have gained an appreciation for His atoning sacrifice and, as Alma described it, "have felt to sing the song of redeeming love" (Alma 5:26).
This, of course, is in accordance with the will of Christ who commanded the covenant people in this dispensation to be one, and then warned, "If ye are not one ye are not mine" (Doctrine and Covenants 38:27).
With the imperfection that characterizes mortal beings, we may fall short of the ideal, especially as the Church continues to grow in numbers as well as global reach.
But we can approach it and improve, bearing in mind the things that do and should unite us.
We can pray "with all the energy of heart" (see Moroni 7:48) to be endowed with the spiritual gift of charity, the "pure love of Christ," especially for our brothers and sisters in the gospel.
Ultimately, our desire should be to bring ourselves "in tune" with the divine, realizing that our Heavenly Father understands our needs better than we ourselves understand them, that He can make us happier than we realize with our temporal understanding.
Our prayers thus become an effort to unite our will with that of our Father in heaven, and we will not "ask amiss" (see 2 Nephi 4:35; Helaman 10:5).
We thereby become "one" with the Father and the Son, as Christ Himself petitioned in His intercessory prayer (see John 17:11).
And being thus unified with Deity, we cannot fail to be unified with one another.