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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mormon Theology no. 47 - Love

As it is Valentine's Day on Tuesday, The Mormon Eagle will expound on the true meaning of love.

Meaning of Love
Let us firstly define the word "love".  Dictionary.com's first definition for "love" reads as "a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person".  This is true.  Passionate in this case doesn't necessarily mean romantic or sexual love.  For our purposes, the "passionate affection" we're talking about can be termed in another word - friendship - true, genuine, heartfelt friendship.  Now, this love speaking of friendship is defined by the Prophet Joseph Smith in a letter he wrote to James A. Bennett on 13 November 1843.  The Prophet wrote, "That friendship which intelligent beings would accept as sincere must arise from love, and that love grow out of virtue, which is as much a part of religion as light is a part of Jehovah.  Hence the saying of Jesus, 'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends'" (History of the Church 6:73).

Perfect Representative of Love
Owing to the above words of President Smith, it follows that the best example of love is Jesus Christ Himself.  It is written, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:34-35).  The question must now be asked, how did the Savior love us?  How did He show that love?  The answer is found in the words of the Master through His Prophet Joseph Smith.  Said the Redeemer, "But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men" (D&C 19:17-19).  Christ the Lord showed His love to all mankind - both the wicked and the righteous - by suffering for their sins on conditions of repentance.  In other words, He did for others what they could not do for themselves.  We must also, as He did, do for others what they cannot do for themselves, whatever that may be, as led by the Holy Ghost.

How to obtain love
The Prophet Joseph Smith was once asked, "'Why is it this babbler gains so many followers, and retains them?'  I answer, It is because I possess the principle of love" (HC 5:498).  How can we gain the "principle of love"?  The scriptures teach of the Love of God, even Jesus Christ Himself.  As Jesus Christ is the Exemplar of all good things, it is through Him - and Him only - that love is obtained.  As we read the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, we are taught what Christ personally did in His ministry to His sheep in Israel, and also taught His doctrine as taught by Prophets and Apostles as well. 

I know the scriptures are true, and through a study of them, we can gain the Love of God, even Jesus, and learn through the Spirit to treat others a He would.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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