Skip to main content

KNOWING THE BRETHREN LOVE YOU

In the Church, we stress the importance of testimony. Specifically, we stress how important it is to have a testimony of God, of Jesus Christ, and of the scriptures, often with an emphasis on the Book of Mormon. We stress the importance of having a testimony that Joseph Smith was divinely called as a prophet to restore the Church of Jesus Christ, and that the prophets and apostles that followed him are also called and chosen by God, and act as divine instruments in fulfilling His will. These are all important – and perhaps even vital – aspects of a testimony of the Restored Gospel.

Sometimes, however, such a testimony may not be enough. When anti-Mormons dredged up the dark aspects of LDS history – such as the short comings and imperfections of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, or some other past or present LDS leader; or when an apostle’s message is not exactly “politically correct,” or perhaps even downright “offensive” in the eyes of some; or when we are exposed to the (quite often) bizarre anti-Mormon conspiracy concoctions built up on a few superficial facts (like the “hoards” of money the Church has and spends) presented with a heavy dose of negative (and sometimes even “demonic”) spin, our testimony of such things (listed above) may experience moments of peril.   

I have found in such moments, that another testimony is helpful: a testimony of love. Of the love that God has for us, certainly and most importantly, but also a testimony of the love that His chosen servants have for us as well. When we understand that the brethren love us and desire to sincerely serve us – their fellow man (and woman) – just as much as the sincerely strive to love and serve the Lord, then many of the things above are no longer such serious obstacles. Their human shortcomings seem less significant, their lack of tact at times can be overlooked, and such anti-Mormon conspiracies won’t appear even close to reasonable. Knowing that the brethren are sincere, devout, and loving men makes claims that they controlling, power-hungry con men seem absurd.

By no means am I saying that these issues should be non-factors, or become irrelevant in light of the “love of the brethren”; nor am suggesting that when one has a testimony of such love they are entirely unaffected by reasonable (or even more sensational) anti-Mormon presentations. Lastly, I am not suggesting that one ought not seek an intellectually satisfying solution to troubling issues – I have made it perfectly clear that I strongly believe in having a strong “intellectual testimony,” and that, while it is not the most important part of testimony, is it an important part nonetheless.

What I am saying is that by developing a strong testimony in the love the brethren have for you, it is easier to seek – and find – the intellectually satisfying answers with faith and confidence.  
To help build a testimony of that love, I recommend everyone read Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk from the October 2010 General Conference, “Because of You.” In reading this talk, I could not help but feel that sense of love of sincerity that Elder Holland – an apostle of the Lord – has for each member of the Church.

As one last additional note, sometimes people criticize the Church because “it” requires so much sacrifice – sacrifice of time, talents, income, wants, needs, etc. Indeed, to live and love and serve God and others always demands sacrifice. One thing I think that is helpful to remember – and Elder Holland’s talk hits home on this point as well – is that the leaders of the Church, from the Apostles and Prophets down to our local Bishops and Branch Presidents; from the men and woman asking us to make those sacrifices every six weeks in General Conference to the brothers and sisters asking us to make such sacrifices every week in Sacrament Meeting, have all spent their own lifetimes in dedicated service. They and their families have made the same – and greater – sacrifices that they lovingly ask of us. Joseph Smith knew, more than any of us, what it means to sacrifice everything for the Lord. Most importantly, I think it is important to remember that it is not “the Church” and it is not the brethren who as us to sacrifice and serve – but it the Lord (see Luke 14:26-27, 33).     

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Nephite History in Context 4: The Iron Dagger of King Tutankhamun

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth contribution to my new series Nephite History in Context: Artifacts, Inscriptions, and Texts Relevant to the Book of Mormon. Check out the really cool (and official, citable) PDF version here. To learn more about this series, read the introduction here. To find other posts in the series, see here.
The Iron Dagger of King Tutankhamun
Background
The discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 was a worldwide sensation, and to this day is widely regarded as one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all-time due to the veritable treasure trove of artifacts found inside. The treasure was so great that to this day many of the items have yet to be studied. Likewise, Tutankhamun (ca. 1336–1327 bc) remains the best-known Pharaoh of Egypt in popular culture today, but details about his actual reign and accomplishments are still generally unknown among the public. Some are aware that he ascended to the throne as a mere child, about 8 years old, but few r…

Nephite History in Context 2a: Apocryphon of Jeremiah

Editor’s Note: This is the first part of the second contribution to my new series Nephite History in Context: Artifacts, Inscriptions, and Texts Relevant to the Book of Mormon. Check out the really cool (and official, citable) PDF version here. To learn more about this series, read the introduction here. To find other posts in the series, see here
Apocryphon of Jeremiah (4Q385a)
Background
Between 1947 and 1956, a few well preserved scrolls and tens of thousands of broken fragments were found scattered across eleven different caves along the northwest shores of the Dead Sea near Qumran. Now known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, they are arguably the most significant discovery ever made for the study of the Bible and the origins of Judaism and Christianity. Among the writings found are the earliest copies of nearly every Old Testament book, many of the known apocryphal and pseudepigraphic works, and several other texts discovered for the first time at Qumran. Altogether, more than 900 differe…

Nephite History in Context 2b: Letters of ʿAbdu-Ḫeba of Jerusalem (EA 285–290)

Editor’s Note: This is the second part of the second contribution to my new series Nephite History in Context: Artifacts, Inscriptions, and Texts Relevant to the Book of Mormon. Check out the really cool (and official, citable) PDF version here. To learn more about this series, read the introduction here. To find other posts in the series, see here.
Letters of ʿAbdu-Ḫeba of Jerusalem (EA 285–290)
Background
The Amarna Letters make up the bulk of the 382 cuneiform tablets found at Amarna, Egypt in 1887. The letters date to the mid-fourteenth century BC (ca. 1365–1335 bc), with most of them coming from the reign of Akhenaten (ca. 1352–1336 bc), though some date to the reigns of Amenhotep III (ca. 1390–1352 bc) and perhaps Smenkhkara (ca. 1338–1336 bc) and Tutankhamun (ca. 1336–1327 bc). The collection includes international correspondence between Egypt and other nations, such as Assyria and Babylonia, but most of the letters are to and from vassal kings in the Syria-Palestine region, whic…