Relationship advice is everywhere, from TikToks to self-help books. With all the opinions out there, it can be confusing to know which tips to apply to your relationships—from family, ward, and co-worker dynamics to your romantic relationship.
The scriptures provide sound principles that we can rely on to learn more about divine relationship skills and principles. Speaking about the Book of Mormon, the Prophet Joseph Smith said that “a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” As we draw closer to God through living these principles, we can also improve our ability to relate to one another and form lasting bonds.
Here are nine passages from the Book of Mormon that shine additional light on key pillars of healthy relationships.
“And I spake unto [Zoram], even with an oath, that he need not fear; that he should be a free man like unto us if he would go down in the wilderness with us.
“And I also spake unto him, saying: … , if thou wilt go down into the wilderness to my father thou shalt have place with us.
“And it came to pass that Zoram did take courage at the words which I spake. … And he promised that he would go down into the wilderness unto our father. Yea, and he also made an oath unto us that he would tarry with us from that time forth. …
“And it came to pass that when Zoram had made an oath unto us, our fears did cease concerning him” (1 Nephi 4:33–35, 37).
Commitment creates safety in relationships. Just as Nephi and Zoram were able to let go of their fears after making specific promises to each other, we can feel more secure as we understand the expectations and nature of a relationship.
The strongest form of commitment involves God in the form of a covenant. Jared Halverson, an associate professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, shared in a recent video that this passage about Nephi and Zoram helped calm his fears as he was preparing to commit to a covenant marriage:
“What I [learned] from Nephi and Zoram is [how to respond to] this concern about two strangers starting to come together on a journey that would lead them eventually toward the promised land, not really knowing each other, being worried about what this new relationship was going to look like.
“What changed it for them? Nephi made a covenant with Zoram that he would be a free man within that family, and Zoram made a covenant with Nephi in return that he would follow them to that promised land. …
“I was nervous about going into marriage, but [I appreciated] that gentle reminder from Nephi and Zoram that because of covenants my wife and I would make with each other, ‘our fears [would] cease concerning [those things].’ Our hearts could ‘take courage’ beginning this journey together.”
Naturally, commitment will look different in a marriage relationship than in a ministering assignment or friendship at work. Still, this scripture helps us understand the importance of defining our roles in relationships and taking full responsibility for our part of the dynamic.
This committed approach is essential to fully loving or connecting with someone in ways that form a strong foundation. As G. K. Chesterton wrote, “Love is not blind; that is the last thing that it is. Love is bound; and the more it is bound the less it is blind.”
Nephi and Zoram’s oath led to a lasting bond, and Lehi later told Zoram, “I know that thou art a true friend unto my son, Nephi, forever” (2 Nephi 1:30).
We can build trust in relationships through patterns of consistent words and actions over time. While the Book of Mormon doesn’t provide details about Sam and Nephi’s early relationship, we can assume that Nephi’s past behavior helped Sam to believe his words.
Later, Sam trusted Nephi enough to follow him into the wilderness when the Lord warned Nephi to separate from Laman and Lemuel (see 2 Nephi 5:5–6). Sam’s willingness to follow his brother and have faith in his divine calling was not simply a blind belief or trust—it also affected Sam’s personal behavior and relationship with the Lord, as he is later described as a “just and holy [man]” in Alma 3:6.
I believe that this brotherly trust was mutual. Since Nephi knew that Sam believed his testimony, he trusted that his younger brother would support him in fulfilling the Lord’s direction. They were both strengthened and uplifted by this reciprocal confidence in one another.
“And it had come to pass that my father spake unto her, saying: I know that I am a visionary man; for if I had not seen the things of God in a vision I should not have known the goodness of God, but had tarried at Jerusalem, and had perished with my brethren.
“But behold, I have obtained a land of promise, in the which things I do rejoice; yea, and I know that the Lord will deliver my sons out of the hands of Laban, and bring them down again unto us in the wilderness.
“And after this manner of language did my father, Lehi, comfort my mother, Sariah, concerning us, while we journeyed in the wilderness up to the land of Jerusalem, to obtain the record of the Jews” (1 Nephi 5:4–6).
This conversation between Lehi and Sariah shows the importance of loving and honest communication. It’s important to know how to speak the other person’s “language” in a relationship, looking past the surface meaning of spoken words to understand what someone is truly saying or needing.
Although Lehi could have become defensive after Sariah called him a “visionary man” (1 Nephi 5:2), he lovingly validates her concerns, realizing that she’s speaking from a place of fear for her family’s well-being.
After addressing her fears, he provides reassurance by reminding her how the Lord has guided them in the past. He also reaffirms his faith in the Lord’s power to protect and bless their sons. This “manner of language” soothes Sariah’s fears and helps them comfort one another in the face of uncertainty.
“[If] he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and I will forgive him also. Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me. And ye shall also forgive one another your trespasses” (Mosiah 26:29–31).
We can learn the Lord’s pattern for resolving conflicts from His direction to Alma and the people of the Church in Mosiah 26—confession, repentance, and forgiveness.
Repentance requires acknowledging wrongdoing to the Lord and anyone who has been hurt and confessing serious transgressions to a Church leader when necessary. This scripture reminds us that conflict resolution shouldn’t include lots of people who aren’t involved in the relationship, even though it can be tempting to vent or gossip about relationship issues with friends.
It also emphasizes repentance must be sincere, which often means making changes to make things right.
The Lord asks us to forgive freely as He forgives us, which allows us to receive and give grace as we navigate relationships with imperfect people. While letting go may be a long process and require divine help beyond ourselves, we can feel peace and joy as we find healing through Christ.
It’s important to note that this scripture doesn’t say we need to trust someone who has hurt us. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has taught:
“[The Lord] did not say, ‘You are not allowed to feel true pain or real sorrow from the shattering experiences you have had at the hand of another.’ Nor did He say, ‘In order to forgive fully, you have to reenter a toxic relationship or return to an abusive, destructive circumstance.’ But notwithstanding even the most terrible offenses that might come to us, we can rise above our pain only when we put our feet onto the path of true healing. That path is the forgiving one walked by Jesus of Nazareth, who calls out to each of us, ‘Come, follow me’ [Luke 18:22].”
“Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.
“But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God” (Alma 17:2–3).
A key pattern in healthy relationships is encouraging someone in their personal development and celebrating their growth.
I love this example in the Book of Mormon of Alma rejoicing when he learned that his friends, the sons of Mosiah, were still living faithful to their testimonies. They had already come a long way in their spiritual growth since their time “seeking to destroy the church” (Mosiah 27:10).
But “this is not all,” as we learn in the scripture above. The sons of Mosiah continued to grow in their conversion, developing their testimonies through “[searching] the scriptures diligently” and “[giving] themselves to much prayer, and fasting.” This dedication strengthened their ability to teach and serve others, and they made a powerful impact preaching the gospel to the Lamanites for 14 years (see Alma 17:4).
Alma and the sons of Mosiah supported each other in their spiritual growth, and this encouragement magnified their joy in the relationship.
Our sins and weaknesses can limit our ability to truly connect in a relationship. King Lamoni demonstrates humility and willingness to sacrifice his current behaviors to nurture his relationship with God. This means letting go of “I,” or personal concerns in a relationship, in favor of “we,” a collective vision that supports both parties.
Sometimes, we need to “give away” our limiting beliefs in relationships, letting go of fears surrounding trust, love, or commitment based on negative experiences. We can choose to form new patterns and habits based on divine truths, new positive experiences, and the far-reaching impact of the Savior’s atoning power.
Relationship mindsets can be complex and deep-rooted, so this process of letting go can sometimes benefit from the support of a trusted mentor, therapist, or Church leader.
Since conflict is a natural and healthy part of relationships, it’s fitting that we can find relationship advice tucked into the war chapters of the Book of Mormon.
Captain Moroni’s letter to Pahoran in Alma 60 demonstrates his frustration with the lack of support his army has received. He doesn’t mince words, even threatening to kill Pahoran if he doesn’t send assistance (see Alma 60:30).
This intensity might make their relationship “seem like an odd choice for ‘friend goals,’” as a writer for the Gospel Living app put it, “[but] it’s Pahoran’s response that makes this a valuable lesson.”
Pahoran helps Moroni understand that he hadn’t sent aid because an insurrection forced him out of Zarahemla. Even though Pahoran could have gotten upset with Moroni for assuming the worst of him, he sees Moroni’s deep concern for his men and chooses not to take it personally.
When things get tense in relationships, we can look for someone’s true intentions or heart behind their actions. This will help us be slow to take offense and look for ways to maintain a peaceful dynamic.
“And it came to pass that I, Mormon, did utterly refuse from this time forth to be a commander and a leader of this people, because of their wickedness and abomination.
“Behold, I had led them, notwithstanding their wickedness I had led them many times to battle, and had loved them, according to the love of God which was in me, with all my heart; and my soul had been poured out in prayer unto my God all the day long for them” (Mormon 3:11–12).
Love doesn’t mean allowing disrespect or poor treatment. While Mormon deeply loved his people, he decided to withdraw his leadership “because of their wickedness and abomination.” Sometimes, to protect ourselves and let others learn from the consequences of their actions, we need to set boundaries around the relationship or even leave.
Boundaries should honor another person’s agency, focusing on our responses to specific behavior rather than trying to control someone’s actions. We should also be flexible, keeping in mind that we can change or adapt to new situations.
We later learn that Mormon returned to lead the people around 13 years later, even though he acknowledged feeling “without hope” since he “knew the judgments of the Lord which should come upon [his people]” (see Mormon 5:1–2).
“While this sounds a little despondent, I actually see a leader who has now set realistic expectations for how he will interact with his troops,” Cali Black wrote about Mormon in a Come, Follow Me study blog. “He knows that destruction is imminent. And yet, his love has now brought him to want to lead again, to at least give them a fighting chance, and to fulfill his duty. … We can set boundaries in love, and we can change boundaries later, still out of love.”
These are only nine examples of healthy relationship principles from the Book of Mormon, but the record is filled with truths we can apply to our connections with God and others. As we come closer to Christ through learning about Him and His gospel, we can become more like Him and love others the way He would.
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