Sunday, February 12, 2017


During the years of my youth, while we were living in Long Beach, California, I had my first working experience as a paperboy for the Long Beach Press Telegram. (I suspect paperboy is no longer a politically correct term and today we would probably use paper deliverer in order to avoid showing sexual bias.) Anyway, when I was delivering papers, my route took me by the See’s candy store. In those days they made the chocolates in the front window of the store and it was always a treat to stop and watch on days when I was ahead of schedule on my deliveries.

One of my favorite times of year to go by the store was around Valentine’s Day. The boxes were fun to look at, even though this was before the heart shaped boxes for Valentine’s Day started to rival the women’s hats at the Kentucky Derby. It was especially exciting to know I had earned sufficient money to be able to buy a small box or two for those who were most significant in my life in those days.
I made a terrible blunder the first Valentine’s Day after I met the love of my life, Kathleen Wootton, when I wrote a very unnecessary poem, which shall remain unrepeated. Other than that one really bad gesture, I have always cherished the idea of having a day dedicated to expressing and feeling the importance of having love for someone else.

When Kathleen and I were serving in Colombia on our mission we were delightfully surprised to discover that in that country they have a whole month dedicated to Amor y Amistad (love and friendship). It was like having a whole month to cherish the wonderful sights in the See’s candy store window. I never got weary of hearing people express their feelings of love and friendship to us and each other. It was wonderful. Can you just for a minute close your eyes and imagine what it would be like trying to be extra nice to others for a whole month and delighting in the feeling as they reciprocated.

The Savior had tried to help us understand that this is the gospel in its simplest sense when he told the inquiring lawyers that the sum of the gospel could be expressed by the words of loving the Lord and our neighbors. Then, just in case the message hadn't been received, he gave us His last commandment that we were to love one another as He had loved us.

It doesn't take a lot of pondering to come to the understanding that He did not mean for us to love each other on one day set apart each year. A short moment of quiet time will also leave us with the understanding that He did not mean for us to love each other 1/12th of each year. The conclusion will shortly come as we think upon His words that it was meant for us to express, feel and demonstrate love 24/7/365.

Somewhere back in the recesses of my mind I recall learning about the law of the boomerang. It applies to things both negative and positive. Such as, the quickest way to get punched in the nose is to punch someone in the nose, or the quickest way to receive a Christmas card is send one. (Obviously that example was taught to me before people were nose punching for no reason at all and email and Face Book had replaced Christmas cards.) However, I believe the boomerang principle is still very applicable to receiving love from others. If this be our desire we should be about the Lord’s work of loving them.

Also along the way, I was introduced to the principle of unconditional love which can be expressed most simply by saying; it has nothing to do with what anyone else does to or for me, but everything about what I do to or for another. I must become a loving being, who loves others regardless of their philosophies of life, country of origin or DNA makeup. In order to gain the attribute of unconditional love, I must be striving to love unconditionally every moment of every day. As I move along the path of obtaining this Christ like characteristic I will begin to understand what the Savior meant when he taught that charity (the Pure Love of Christ) was the greatest of all the attributes.

Wherefore, there must be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope; and if there must be hope there must also be charity. And except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God; neither can ye be saved in the kingdom of God if ye have not faith; neither can ye if ye have no hope. (Moroni 10: 20-21)

And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the Atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.

Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope. And again, behold I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart. If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.

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.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.
(Moroni 7:41-46)

I have found the challenge of binding to my soul the Pure Love of Christ to be long and difficult, but on those days when it becomes especially challenging, I go in my mind’s eye and look through that window in the front of the See’s candy store or walk the streets of Bogota, Colombia in vision, and find myself making course correction towards loving others as He loves them.


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