Monday, January 8, 2018

President Thomas S. Monson on loving God and our fellowmen

President Thomas S. Monson (August 21, 1927–January 2, 2018) was sustained to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1963. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency with Presidents Benson, Hunter, and Hinckley until becoming Church president in 2008. He led the Church for almost a decade.
"We cannot truly love God if we do not love our fellow travelers on this mortal journey. Likewise, we cannot fully love our fellowmen if we do not love God, the Father of us all. The Apostle John tells us, 'This commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also' (1 John 4:21). We are all spirit children of our Heavenly Father and, as such, are brothers and sisters. As we keep this truth in mind, loving all of God's children will become easier.
"Actually, love is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our Exemplar. His life was a legacy of love. The sick He healed; the downtrodden He lifted; the sinner He saved. At the end the angry mob took His life. And yet there rings from Golgotha's hill the words: 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34)—a crowning expression in mortality of compassion and love.
"There are many attributes which are manifestations of love, such as kindness, patience, selflessness, understanding, and forgiveness. In all our associations, these and other such attributes will help make evident the love in our hearts.
"Usually our love will be shown in our day-to-day interactions one with another. All important will be our ability to recognize someone's need and then to respond."
- Thomas S. Monson, "Love—the Essence of the Gospel," General Conference May 2014
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

President Monson teaches a significant truth: love of God and love of fellowmen are inseparably linked. When our understanding is complete, you can't truly have one without the other; increasing either one adds to the strength of the other.

The life of the Savior provides a model for us; He demonstrated love by his constant commitment to others. President Monson teaches the great truth (that his own life so well exemplified): love is not just a theory or emotion, but is "shown in our day-to-day interactions one with another." Learning to observe the needs of those around us, often with inspired insight and prompting, and then to respond to them, is the great key.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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