Teachings of George Albert Smith Lesson 2: Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself

Note: As the Church has said, the manual has been prepared as the primary source of lesson material. This supplement, from a general conference address, is only meant as a complement to your study on this lesson's topic.

Excerpt from "'The First and Great Commandment'" by Elder Robert F. Orton, October 2001 General Conference:

The attention of people around the world has been drawn, during the past four weeks, to the willful, intentional, and destructive acts of terrorism and hatred.

Hatred is the antithesis of love. Lucifer is its chief proponent and perpetrator and has been since his approach to the plan of salvation was rejected by the Father. It was he who influenced Judas to deliver Jesus to the chief priests for 30 pieces of silver. It is he, the enemy of all righteousness and the father of contention, who, “as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).

On the other hand, it was that same Jesus whom Judas delivered to the chief priests who said, “Love your enemies, … and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you” (3 Ne. 12:44; see also Matt. 5:44). And it was He who pleaded for the soldiers who crucified Him, saying, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

I thought for many years that love was an attribute. But it is more. It is a commandment. In His dialogue with the lawyer, a Pharisee, Jesus said:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

“This is the first and great commandment.

“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matt. 22:37–40; see also Gal. 5:14).

President Hinckley has said that “love is like the Polar Star. In a changing world, it is a constant. It is the very essence of the gospel.”

To read the full talk, click here.

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