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.” 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.”
These words, spoken by President Thomas S. Monson this spring are reflective of the theme of this lesson built from quotes from another president of the Church. In chapter 20 of Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith, President Smith teaches us to love and serve all of God’s children. In the “From the life of Joseph Fielding Smith” section, three examples of loving service are given by Joseph himself. Section 1 focuses on the idea that we are all children of God, and should love each other because we’re spiritual siblings. Section 2 focuses on working together and caring for each other, with a special focus on Church contexts. Section 3 encourages us to serve and help each other.
Perhaps the most obvious choice for a supplementary talk to this lesson is the general conference address by President Thomas S. Monson cited above, and available in full here. Beyond that, however, there are a plethora of quotes and comments available on the subject of love, service, and charity. Another great talk from a few years ago on friendship and love is Marlin K. Jensen, “Friendship: A Gospel Principle,” General Conference, April 1999. Another useful resource related to the story of President Smith’s horse is a clip taken from a short documentary that relates the story of going out with his mother in the middle of the night. It could be used to introduce the section and break up the lesson just a little, and is available here.
I also have several quotes from sisters, most of which, though directed to the Relief Society, are applicable to men. For example, Lucy Mack Smith taught the Relief Society in 1842 that: “We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another and gain instruction that we may all sit down in heaven together.” Sister Clarissa Smith Williams, Relief Society President, taught in 1922 that: “The greatest thing in the world is love. And if we keep that always in our hearts, and give it as a message to those about us, we will be blessed and will be instruments in blessing those with whom we associate.” Mary Ellen Smoot, Relief Society President, taught in 2000 that: “When we unitedly serve each other and all of our Father’s children, we can be instruments in the hands of God, not only to relieve physical suffering but, more importantly, to succor those who are in need spiritually.”