To Live Together in Happiness and Harmony: Chiasmus in Dallin H. Oaks’s Facebook Post

dallin h oaks_facebook_pic
President Dallin H. Oaks (

On 9 August 2018, Dallin H. Oaks posted on his Facebook page additional thoughts about “the important relationship between God’s love for us and His laws that implement the plan of salvation”. President Oaks has previously addressed this topic in his General Conference addresses. For example, “Loving Others and Living with Differences” (October 2014) and “Love and Law” (October 2009).

This Facebook post is built of four chiasms and one parallelism that provide a more nuanced understanding of this relationship. This article presents diagrams and analyses of each of these rhetorical figures.


1. This parallelism explains that to “show love and seek peace” is to “live together in happiness and harmony, with goodwill toward all”. Although doing so is a “command” from Jesus Christ, most of His followers sincerely “want” to follow it.

A: The Lord Jesus Christ commands His followers to
B: show love and seek peace.
A: Whatever our differences, most of us want to
B: live together in happiness and harmony, with goodwill toward all.

2. This chiasm introduces a metaphorical “two-sided coin” and identifies each side. One side is “love of others and tolerance for their opinions and behavior”. The other side is “what is true or right”.

It is important to remember that
A: love of others and tolerance for their opinions and behavior
B: is
C: only one side
D: of a two-sided coin.
C: The other side
B: is
A: always what is true or right.

3. Continuing this metaphor, this chiasm explains how these sides “govern” as companions.

A: One of these sides
B: should not govern  
B: without companion understanding and practice
A: of the other.


4. This chiasm illustrates how God keeps these two sides in perfect balance and explains the relationship between “commandments” and “obedience” in our eternal development. Commandments are an expression of God’s perfect love. As we obey them, we eventually become perfect like He is.

A: God’s love is so perfect
B: that He lovingly requires us to obey His commandments
B: because He knows that only through obedience to His laws
A: can we become perfect to realize our eternal destiny.

5. As a concluding statement, this chiasm expresses the perfect balance between the “love of God” and His “laws and commandments”.

A: The love of God
B: does not supersede
C: His laws and His commandments,
C: and the effect of God’s laws and commandments
B: does not diminish
A: the purpose and effect of His love.


An awareness of President Oaks’s use of rhetorical figures aids our understanding of his teachings and helps us better appreciate and apply the eternal balance between love and law.

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