Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Love of a Friend

Friendship is one of the grand fundamental principles of "Mormonism; [it is designed] to revolutionize and civilize the world, and cause wars and contentions to cease and men to become friends and brothers.
Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Collector's Ed. (Joseph Fielding Smith, ed.) p. 249, from DHC 5:516-518

When I was about 15 years old, I heard somebody mocking expensive dates between adolescents. They said, "Why would you spend so much money on someone who's probably just going to marry someone else anyway?" I thought about that for a while. I mean, I agreed that most dates should be inexpensive, but what about special occasions?

I finally decided how I would respond, if someone accused me of spending too much money on a date: "I'm not spending all that money on someone else's wife. I'm spending it on my friend."

We celebrate romantic love in our music and movies, but that isn't the only kind of love that can change your life. Moroni treasured his father's teachings about love:

And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—

But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
Moroni 7:45-47

In fact, without what the world calls true friendship and what the Lord calls the pure love of Christ, how can any marriage possibly succeed?

When we love someone freely and purely, something changes, both in the relationship and in the heart. Perfect love is endless!

Perfect love casteth out all fear.

No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile.
D&C 121:41-42

Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.
D&C 121:45-46

Such love also changes the recipient:

And lastly, but not less important to the exercise of faith in God, is the idea that he is love; for with all the other excellencies in his character, without this one to influence them, they could not have such powerful dominion over the minds of men; but when the idea is planted in the mind that he is love, who cannot see the just ground that men of every nation, kindred and tongue, have to exercise faith in God so as to obtain eternal life?
Lectures on Faith 3:24

But how does the Atonement motivate, invite, and draw all men unto the Savior? [see 3 Ne. 27:15 and James 4:10] What causes this gravitational pull--this spiritual tug? There is a certain compelling power that flows from righteous suffering--not indiscriminate suffering, not needless suffering, but righteous, voluntary suffering for another. Such suffering for another is the highest and purest form of motivation we can offer to those we love.
Tad R. Callister, The Infinite Atonement, pg. 213

The more someone loves you, the more it motivates and changes you. And infinite love is eternally powerful. For me, nothing else compares to the experience of your eternal companion loving you freely and deeply, empowered by the Savior to do so.

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