Sunday, August 30, 2015

Howard W. Hunter on loving our neighbor

President Howard W. Hunter (1907-1995) was called to the Quorum of Twelve in 1959.  He served as Church President from June 5, 1994 to his death on March 3, 1995.
"The Lord has prepared a touchstone for you and me, an outward measurement of inward discipleship that marks our faithfulness and will survive the fires yet to come....
"Eternal life, God's life, the life we are seeking, is rooted in two commandments. The scriptures say that 'on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets' (Matt. 22:40). Love God and love your neighbor. The two work together; they are inseparable. In the highest sense they may be considered as synonymous. And they are commandments that each of us can live....
"An old axiom states that a man 'all wrapped up in himself makes a small bundle.' Love has a certain way of making a small bundle large. The key is to love our neighbor, including the neighbor that is difficult to love. We need to remember that though we make our friends, God has made our neighbors—everywhere. Love should have no boundary; we should have no narrow loyalties. Christ said, 'For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?' (Matt. 5:46)....
"These two virtues, love and service, are required of us if we are to be good neighbors and find peace in our lives."
- Howard W. Hunter, "The Lord's Touchstone," Ensign, November 1986, pp. 34-35
Click here to read the full talk

The concept of a touchstone is mostly lost to modern culture. In times past, a piece of smooth fine-grained stone such as slate, jasper, or schist was used to test alloys of gold. When the metals were rubbed on the stone, they would leave marks; a skilled observer could tell the type of metal based on the color of the mark, compared to known samples. So in more general terms, the term "touchstone" came to represent any specific standard or criterion by which something is recognized or judged.

President Hunter says there is a spiritual touchstone to help identify our true inward discipleship. It is defined in the first and second of the Lord's great commandments—loving God and our neighbor. In particular, how we treat those around us, our neighbors, is a great identifier of how truly we are converted.

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