Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Kindness and Love
On Sunday, January 19, 2014, Sister Rosemary Wixom, General Primary President of the Church, was the speaker for the Sisters in Relief Society at the Missionary Training Center.
During her talk, Sister Wixom told the story of an Elder in the Washington DC South Mission who was attacked by a dog. In a self-defensive reaction, the Elder thrust his Book of Mormon toward the dog. The dog chomped down on the book; its teeth marks penetrated all the way to 2 Nephi 22 [page 93]. Sister Wixom inspired laughter when she quipped, “Even the dog stopped at Isaiah!”
She then went on to use 2 Nephi 22:2 as the theme of her talk.
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song . . . .
As part of her talk, Sister Wixom included the video of the Savior appearing in the Americas at the temple in the land Bountiful, healing the blind and the lame, and blessing the children. The video, titled “My Joy Is Full,” has only background music and no dialogue as it focuses first on the Savior’s hands gently and lovingly touching and embracing the people, then on his tender expression as he looked into their faces, and his smile of love and joy as the children surrounded him.
Words cannot do justice to the emotional and spiritual impact of this video. It has been shown in the MTC Relief Society meetings during the past year on no fewer than three occasions. It unfailingly engenders deep feelings of reverence, gratitude, and love.
When the film ended, Sister Wixom admonished the Sister Missionaries to “keep this feeling with you as you enter the mission field; minister in kindness and love, as the Savior did.”~PLH
Needless to say, my wife was quite ebullient when she related the experience that she had had at Relief Society on the 19th of January. We spoke about the video in particular which had deeply moved her. On a sudden it came into my mind that the Lord Jesus Christ had given his disciples among the Nephites at Bountiful, a striking and sobering challenge.
And know ye that ye shall be judges of this people, according to the judgment which I shall give unto you, which shall be just. Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am. (3 Nephi 27:27)
Those who preside in the Kingdom of God are frequently called upon to judge their fellow mortals. Jesus taught his servants during the Sermon on the Mount that they were to “judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged; but judge righteous judgment” (JST, Matthew 7:2).
I thought about men whom I had known during my career in the Church and in the Church Educational System. Many of them were attempting to live their lives in such a fashion that they might interact with their fellow men in the same way that the Lord Jesus Christ did. From my perspective, I knew that these were brethren who loved me, not for who I was at the time, but for what they saw in my potential as a son of God. How could I not love them in return?
On that same day that my wife was attending Relief Society, perhaps at the very moment that she was watching that inspiring video, I was preparing myself to be taught in a Branch Presidency Training Meeting conducted by the Mission Presidency. There are a goodly number who attend these meetings, usually in excess of 300 priesthood leaders. I have long forsaken my practice of sitting in the front row of a congregation, so I was sitting in room B-145 in back of the first partition where I could easily see the stand and watch a nearby monitor if necessary. President Wilkins was out of town and Brother Marcov was away on assignment, so I was sitting by myself, waiting for the meeting to begin, writing in my journal. I was painfully aware that I had to take copious notes on the meeting so that I might bring the other two up to speed when we next met.
Suddenly, President Roach, the Second Counselor in the MTC Presidency, was standing before me with his infectious smile, his hand extended to me in greeting. I smiled in return and said, “My Bishop says ‘Hello’”. He asked, “Well, who is your Bishop?” I replied, “David Harmon. I believe that you and he served together in the Philippines as young Elders.” “Oh yes,” he said, “and he was a magnificent missionary.” We chatted amiably for a minute or two and then he passed on to another of those in the audience.
A few minutes later, another person stopped in front of me with hand extended. It was Lonn Nally, the President of the Provo Missionary Training Center. He greeted me cheerfully, “How are you doing?” I replied that I was fine, when in fact I had been feeling just a little blue because I was by myself, and responsible for all that would be taught during the next hour. As he took my hand in his affable way, however, any clouds that may have been hanging over me were completely dispelled. They had been thinned a bit by President Roach’s good cheer and then torn completely asunder by President Nally’s wholesomeness and kindness. I knew that he loved me, although I cannot say what convinced me that that was the case. My whole soul was filled with light and joy.
I have given some thought to the experience and I am confident that John the Beloved clearly describes the effect that both my wife and I felt that Sunday.
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:17-19)
I came away from that meeting wanting to be a better man, not so much because of the material presented, but because of the manner in which I had been treated. I love those two men, President Nally and President Roach, together with the many others who have helped me to realize who I am and what I am capable of. I want to be as they are; I want to be like Him whom they represent. ~PNH