Introduction Zoram, we are told, was a "true friend" to Nephi (see 2 Nephi 1:30), as was Amulek to Alma. Hyrum was a true friend and brother to Joseph. Likewise, the friendship of David and Jonathan has become a standard. Rarely have two individuals been as devoted to one another as these two.
As we study what they did for each other, we can learn principles that will assist us as we evaluate our own friendships and the influences they have on us.
We need to measure very carefully who our true friends are. The measure of a true friend is one who will not have us choose between his way and the Lord's way. A true friend makes it easier for us to live the commandments of the Lord. A true friend will not let us do anything we want. True friends will correct us when we do something wrong and bring us back on the straight and narrow path that leads to exaltation.
Every one of us needs to know when to walk or run away from those who would call themselves friends but in reality are not. Joseph of old recognized the evil in Potiphar's wife and ran from it (see Gen. 39:7-12). We too must recognize evil and shun it. If we allow machoism to overtake our personal lives and influence choices and decisions we make, we can severely limit our progression in this life and in the eternities (Robert D. Hales, "Return with Honor," Ensign, June 1999, 12).
There are those kinds of friends from whom we we should run. Judah's friend Hirah, the Abdullamite, was willing to pay Judah's debt to a harlot (Genesis 38:20). Jonadab, the friend of Amnon, counseled Amnon on how to put himself in a position to take advantage of his half-sister, Tamar (see 2 Sam. 13). Job's three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, came to comfort Job in his misery, and then added to his misery by telling him he was suffering because he was so wicked.