Monday, November 6, 2017

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf on loving God and our fellowman

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (born November 6, 1940) served as a Seventy from 1994-2004, when he was called as a member of the Quorum of Twelve.  He has served as second counselor in the First Presidency since 2008.
"There is one virtue—one quality—that could solve all the world’s ills, cure all the hatred, and mend every wound.
"If we only learned to love God as our Father in Heaven, this would give us purpose in life.
"If we only learned to love our fellowman as our brothers and sisters, this would give us compassion.
"After all, these are God’s great commandments—to love God and to love our fellowman (see Matthew 22:36–40). If we distill religion down to its essence, we nearly always recognize that love is not merely the goal of religion, it is also the path of true discipleship. It is both the journey and the destination.
"If we love as Christ loved, if we truly follow the path He practiced and preached, there is a chance for us to avoid the echoing tragedies of history and the seemingly unavoidable fatal flaws of man.
"Will compassion for others bring light into the darkness? Will it allow us to part the clouds and see clearly?
"Yes. For though we are all born blind, through the Light of Christ we can see past darkness and illusion and understand things as they really are."
- Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Fellow Travelers, Brothers and Sisters, Children of God," John A. Widtsoe Symposium at USC, April 24, 2015
Click here to read the full address

The context of this address makes it interesting and different from many of the talks we have from our leaders. The message was shared at a university symposium with a group that was predominantly not LDS, and President Uchtdorf helps to give them an understanding of our faith's history and foundation. Then he builds on the common ground that exists between all Christians in describing the essence of the message of the Savior—love God, and love one another:

President Uchtdorf teaches that this is truly the essence of religion: "love is not merely the goal of religion, it is also the path of true discipleship. It is both the journey and the destination." And learning to truly express these virtues in our lives would change the world. The challenge is for us to change our world, the world immediately around us; and then the broader world will be changed gradually but inevitably.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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