Steve Young: An Introduction to the Law of Love
A football field is not usually considered a place of love. But it was during his time playing for the NFL that Steve Young began to explore what he now calls the law of love. He realized that relationships based on the expectation of receiving something in return eventually rot, but when we bring long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, and love unfeigned to our relationships—that’s when the magic happens.
In the doing, we lose track of the being.
The Law of Love
Joe Montana-Steve Young Commercial:
3:02- What Is the Law of Love?
5:18- Steve Young: The Sunday School Teacher
8:50- An Undefeated Love on the Football Field
19:21- A Spirit of Abundance
26:33- Neal A. Maxwell and Stephen R. Covey
38:45- Transfigured Eyesight
44:39- When Feedback Isn’t Given
51:54- Marriage—“A Covenant Without Transaction”
57:02- Serving the LGBTQ Community
1:00:30- What Does It Mean To Be All In the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Morgan Jones Pearson 0:00
I am a really big fan of experiential gift giving. There's something about giving a gift that allows someone to make a memory with me or without me that makes a gift so much better in my opinion. So if you're still trying to find the perfect gift for the women in your life this Mother's Day, might I suggest giving them a day out at timeout for women. Right now you can get the best price of the season, which expires May 23 by visiting TOFW.com. Again, that's TOFW.com. The episode you're about to hear was filmed in front of a small studio audience. It may seem unusual to hear a Hall of Fame quarterback, one of the greatest to ever play the game of football, talk at length about what he calls the law of love. But Steve Young believes this law of love is undefeated because of the power he has witnessed in it in his own life. In his new book The law of love. He writes, "I didn't come across the law of love because of a pleasant walk in the park. I dug deep into the law of love out of desperation trying to find a way forward during some dark times. Focusing on the law of love helped me zero in on what really matters the perpetual, unchanging principles of love at the core of Jesus's gospel." You may also find yourself currently in dark times. As Steve writes, "You may feel like Moses at the edge of the Red Sea. You've got water in front of you the Egyptians behind you in hot pursuit and you're stuck. But what if the law of love could open a path for you? It is our hope that as you listen to this episode, you can start to see that path before you." Steve Young is a 2-time NFL MVP, a Super Bowl MVP and a first ballot Hall of Famer, a key member of ESPN's weekly coverage, Young holds undergraduate and law degrees from Brigham Young University. He is president and co founder of HGGC, a private equity firm, and founder of the Forever Young Foundation, a global charity for children, which he co-chairs with his wife, Barb. This is All In, an LDS Living podcast where we ask the question, what does it really mean to be all in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm Morgan Pearson. And I am honored to have had the recent opportunity to sit down with Steve Young. Steve just to start us off, and set the stage before we get any of the principles that you discuss in the book. I wondered if you would explain to our audience here tonight, what is the law of love? And how do you feel that it is rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Steve Young 2:46
It's easy answer: Loving as God loves, seeking another's healing, expecting nothing in return is my definition of the law of love. But your question brings about so much. I've been thinking, drawing on its principles for so long, that it's funny to be introducing them and how it feels. And I want to articulate in a way that people can take it in a really productive way. And so if you think about loving as God loves, that's a heck of a statement. But I work off of Scripture. You think about Moses 1:39, and you think about my work and my glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of men. That's essentially God's mission statement. And in that mission statement, if you kind of think about it in, 'Is there a transaction in there? What does God get?' In his mission statement, usually, if there's a mission, there's something to be achieved, there's something to receive. And, if you think about the scripture, God only receives anything of any glory, through our glory, and through our eternal life and immortality. And so if God loves without transaction without seeking anything, I want to love as God loves— seeking others healing, and expecting nothing in return are the key elements of it, because expecting nothing in return really is difficult. Because so much of our lives are transactional.
Morgan Jones Pearson 4:26
Well, I'll tell you right off the bat, I think a lot of us think of you as Steve Young, the quarterback. And the thing that blew my mind as I read this book is just how much thought you've put into it, and and how this is clearly something that you've studied and thought about for a very long time. A lot of people may not know that you've been a Sunday school teacher for how long?
Steve Young 4:49
Well, I was a gospel doctrine teacher for 15 years. The bishop was kind enough to let me keep going. They finally fired me the couple of years ago, but it really was the place where I got to practice some of the concepts or doctrines and principles over a period of time. It actually, Morgan, was a reflection of my life at the time, too, as I tried to figure out, how do I describe it, I would describe it as you're putting in situations sometimes in life where we have to clean out, you have to clean everything out, and we're going to put everything in the parking lot, or out in the yard, everything out in the yard, okay? But we're just going to start from scratch, and we're not going to bring anything back in. That's not essential. And I was in that place in my life because of the relationships and my family, because of kids, because of church. Because of all the things that were going on in my life, I had to go through this process of what comes back in, what is it that I can take to everyone in my life. And it is prosperous, and productive, and resonant. And perpetual, it won't be something that will rot. We live in a world where we're all we're all aging, I'll call it, not rotting. But it's the tropic world we live in and I was looking for the things that would last because that's my spiritual journey has been, I want heaven, I want Zion, I want perpetuity, I seek it. That's what Christ has promised. And I want it and what are those things that as you put everything out in the yard that are essential back in, and that was a reflection of what I could take back in and boldly hold. It was all powerful. And it encompassed all of my sense of testimony and all my sense of place, it was a personal journey. When I write, it was hard for me to put my name on it. When I wrote it, I wanted it just to be the law of love, and then just hand it out. I really did. But you can't really do that nowadays. And I was just speaking a minute ago with someone in the audience and and we got talking about how I guarantee if I could just magically take your experiences from you like some Harry Potter thing, you know, and I could just grab them all. I know that my book would pale in [comparison to] the relationships and the experiences that you've had, that you might not have known reflect the pure love of Christ. And in that pure love is the effort that this book starts, hopefully to open the doors for people to engage in and to chew on?
Morgan Jones Pearson 8:05
Well, Steve, I know that you did not want tonight to be about you. And I think it's for the reason that you just described, but if it's okay, I would like to talk about a few experiences that you share in the book, you repeatedly say that this law, the law of love is undefeated. You talk about how it's undefeated on the football field, it's undefeated in the workplace. So to start us off, you give a few examples of early on in your career as a quarterback, and I wondered if you'd be willing to share a couple of those just to give people an idea of what we're talking about?
Steve Young 8:37
I'm sure people are like, okay, Steve, what the? I think simple examples that I noticed. One was Ronnie Lott. When I joined the 40, Niners 1987, he was the king, Joe Montana was the king king. But Ronnie was the king of the locker room, he ran the place. And he was a Hall of Fame defensive player. And when I joined the team, it was very awkward because Joe Montana was the King and I had come to kind of challenge the king. And it was just, we did a commercial on TV recently, it was basically about the awkwardness of our relationship. But the awkwardness never really ended. But there was a time when I was just getting started there when I was trying to challenge and trying to make a place for myself. But yet everybody kind of supported, of course, the guy that was there and doing well. And here's this goofball trying to create a space for himself. And at one point, during practice, somebody did something wrong and someone said something like, what an idiot, you know, what a fool or, you know, what a joke or something like that. And Ronnie heard it, and kind of stopped things and gathered around. He said, Look, he told the story about how, you know, one of the fundamental principles of his life was that when I play on a team, I have my teammates back and it's not conditional. He didn't describe it that way. But that's how he was talking about. It's just, I have your back. And so as he talked to the guys who had kind of catcalled me, he said, look on this team. And he had me come out in front, everybody. And I'm like, oh, no, Ronnie don't. This is disaster. And he kind of put his arm around me said, Look, I have his back. And I want you guys to have his back. Because no matter what the situation and the challenges we have internally, we have to have each other's back. And what happened in that moment, two things happened. One, my teammates saw me differently. I wasn't the enemy. But I was kind of a interloper. And suddenly, I was part of the family. I was invited in, he invited me in. And the other thing is that He healed my sense of disbelonging. And he did it with nothing that he wanted. He saw me, right? He saw me, he sensed who I was. And by his reaction, and by what was internal to him. He did what was natural to him. But what he didn't realize is what he did for me. I don't think he intended to heal me. But he did. And I always remembered it. I saw him this week, I hugged him and thank them again, after almost 25-30 years, and it never goes away. When somebody sees you, without seeking anything but your healing, your goodness, your well being. You're seen in a most unique, glorious way. And I think what about the law of love is it doesn't matter where you are, you can be on the football field, you can be in the ultimate business setting, you can be at home, it's relationships. And another one that comes to mind, Morgan is I had a guy on the team, Charles Haley, who just tortured me, especially early this time period. And it makes, you know, just football, the locker rooms a tough place to live. I mean, it's not for the faint of heart. And I avoided him because he was torture, like I would like you say things about I just didn't, like I was hard. Like I didn't, I didn't want to be there because it was something would go wrong, someone go. And so I just avoided them. And I would avoid them like, everywhere. If he was in the training room, I was in the equipment room. If he was in the locker room, I was out on the field, like, I did not want to cross paths with them. And it was one time we were in a bus getting going up to Seattle to play the Seahawks. And we got off the plane to get on the buses. And I was late, I got distracted on the plane talking to coach or someone I was the last guy jumped on the bus and going up and down the bus. There's one seat next to Charles, right. It was like right there. I just thought myself, you know, I wanted to get off the bus, like just get me off the bus there it was. And he said, sit here, it's fine. And I said, Oh, thanks. And then we started a conversation which we'd never had. We'd never had a conversation. And then I asked him about his wife I know that was struggling a little bit with with the illness. And then he asked me if I was married. I'm like, No, I'm not married. And like things about you...we'd played together for a few years. Like you'd think you'd know? Right? But it's just like all this stuff. I had no idea about him. He had no about me. And by the seventh or eighth 10-minute ride to the Radisson Hotel where we were going to stay for the night before the game. We connected. That was shared common experience. Our relationship changed. And because we had this ability, this is a small thing, but because we had a moment to see each other, he was never as tough on me ever again. It wasn't easy. I didn't look forward to running into him. But our relationship now, some many years later, is phenomenal. The friendships and the rigor of what our relationship is and where it came from. You're always talking about Christ alkamizing everything, he could optimize anything to our profit to our eternal profit. And there's a relationship that was alchemized and now we look back at the rigor of it and because it found its space to heal. It's turned it into a profitable relationship. The bad thing that happened there that was going on, actually was I always say you know I say the saying death by 1000 cuts. The law of love is life by 1000 cuts Because no matter what the experience is, it can be made for our kind of eternal profit and for each other, and but it doesn't mean that it it doesn't steal from any countability, doesn't steal from any other of the laws of God, it doesn't. But it is supreme, and it is undefeated.
Morgan Jones Pearson 15:30
Well, and I love these examples. And hopefully, everyone listening is getting a taste for the fact that this is very doable. I feel like these are little things that make a really big difference. And my favorite, I hope you don't mind me bringing this up. My favorite example in the book you mentioned Joe Montana was when he invited you over for Thanksgiving dinner. And his daughter said, Is this the guy we hate?
Unknown Speaker 15:58
It's funny, kids are funny, right? Kids are funny. Oh, no, no, he's somebody else.
Morgan Jones Pearson 16:06
Well, I love that, because I think none of us are going to be perfect at this all the time. But clearly in inviting you over Joe was trying to extend that love.
Unknown Speaker 16:16
I think the way you have to think about it is how do I leave each day. I mean, what it's like I think of two ships. And as the ship leaves the port, I leave my ship moves towards healing my ship towards love. And it doesn't mean that every relationship is perfect. But there's terrible, abusive relationships. There's relationships that are toxic, and you need to stay away from but which direction do I head in? Which direction am I headed? And I think that's the way that I want to describe starting to enact the law of love in your life is every relationship that you have the most intimate relationship you have in your family, all the way out to someone you run into. On the street, we have a relationship right now. That relationship should feel healing, the law of love invites, it doesn't require, it doesn't demand because it's not transactional. It invites. And that invitation is never ending. And if you think about Christ, the crystal statue that's just across the street, when Christ is standing with his palms out as an eternal invitation. That's the invitation t hat is in every relationship. It doesn't mean it's again, it can be a terrible relationship. It can be toxic, and it doesn't mean that you go jumping into them and try Oh, Steve Young said I need to get into the middle this relatively this relationship. No, that means what direction do I tend towards and where I can enjoy. Engage, I engage with that spirit with that sense of, I'm here to bring what thing about what is healing to people, you see someone you smile, you've tip your cap, you give him a thumbs up. If you did that every day, the same person you walk by, let's say you it's just you go to work everyday, see the same person every day. And every day, you do the same thing, hey, how you doing? You do that every day, the person will remember you even though they don't know you, they'll say I have a relationship and it's feels comfortable, it feels profitable. And I think that's the idea is that the hardest relationships to be selfless in many times are the most intimate, because of the most challenging. But that's where the law of love is truly undefeated.
Morgan Jones Pearson 18:49
Steve, you also talk about you have a chapter where he talks about this in the workplace and in your job within private equity. I feel like finance, the world of finance, is not a place that people often think of the law of love being acted out. But you've talked about how the response to this, as you've talked with your colleagues has been really interesting. Talk to me a little bit about that.
Unknown Speaker 19:16
What is wonderful about engaging in the conversation is that it can go to the depths of any kind of theological conversation we want to have tonight we can we can do it. It's fine. The law of love takes it all in, it's fine. Or it can be in another setting. That's not necessarily religious setting or theological setting. It's just but where you have two humans. That's the place right? So in business, what is happening most of the time is transactional. Private equity is the ultimate transactional place. I think of my brother who's an ER doc down in Lehi Valley. And he's a wonderful human, but he's very transactional about medicine, you come in my arms hanging off my body, I'm yours for about the next 10 hours, right? Like we're going to work this out, but then I'm going to pass you off, right? And private equity is very transactional. But that does not preclude the ability for you to be headed every day in this place, and find the profitability or the space for what I call the spirit of abundance, because the law of love carries with it charity from Moroni 7, carries with it abundance, it carries forth, anything that reflects what would be in perpetuity, what is life giving, life affirming, is perpetual. And in that way, that's what it gathers. And so for me in business, across the table, is not somebody to extract as much value as I can, or to get everything that I could get. There's so much zero sum game, where you know, there's a pie that's so big, and I just got to get my part. And when I get my part, you don't get it, you don't get that. And so it's becomes very zero sum, right? It's like we don't, and what happens when you enact that kind of a relationship, inevitably, there's a winner and a loser. And in business, and in sports, there's all kinds of winners and losers. And so the loser never feels like satisfaction. It's like I lost and now I'm going to come back and try to win again. And so you have this constant competition and conflict that's never resolved. Whereas across the table can be an abundant partner that you're negotiating with, as you seek that common ground. There's 1000 books written about common ground and, and get to yes, or whatever. But there should be all kinds of tentacles to this fundamental principle. And so I seek that common ground. I'll describe it to you, as in a football analogy, it's actually a practical example. My coach at the time that I joined the 49ers 30 years ago was Bill Walsh, I could go on and on. But I want to quickly tell you about my first day as a 49er. Team meeting first day, the 1987 season, we came together as a team in a setting like this, he was up front. And I noticed a guy over on the side with a big huge camcorder thing....filming him. And then when he walked out was filming him and he took them out on the field and filmed them. And then took them in the locker room and everywhere. And I thought it must have been a documentary, you know, he's already won two Super Bowls, the most famous coach in the world. I'm curious about that. Well, what he was doing was that he was creating a repository, a toolkit, a physical toolkit of tapes of all of his speeches, everything that was happening in practice, all of his installations, playbooks, videos, audios, all put in one place, literally a crate that he could hand to his assistant coaches, most of them African American who wanted to [coach]. He wanted to get them a hand up to get a head coaching job. And so at the peak of his career at the height of his proprietary knowledge, and I could go into great detail about that, he was collecting all of that, to hand it out. And there's a part of a crazy story where he said to one of his assistant coaches when he left, 'I'll see in the championship game,' because he knows that no one knew as he took this head coaching job, that they were going to come back and compete with us, because this is three generations ahead of everything that's happening in football, and I'm giving it to you. And I don't mean that everyone needs to give away their proprietary secrets. I just tell you that as an example. That's what Bill did.
Steve Young 24:09
And because he did that, the abundance, the legacy, when I go around Monday Night Football, and I watch teams warm up and meet their coaches. Almost every one of them talks about being from that toolkit. And so if you think the NFL is very popular today, a lot of that popularity and a lot of the spirit of abundance is coming from a single act of selflessly giving what was most valuable to him. And again, I don't expect you to give what's most valuable to you, but there's a spirit to it. And in that spirit, I can find abundance. If I seek it if I really seek it in every relationship, even in a business sense, and people sense it. We as a firm, talk a lot about these values, but they're hard to take in. But if you really work at it, love is in business, love is in football, love is in every place. And with this mindset you can, you can start to engage with it in a really profitable way. And to me as an LDS, active LDS faithful guy, it becomes the why. It's kind of my is my why right now as what I would describe it.
Morgan Jones Pearson 25:36
Well, I love that example that you gave. And one reason that I love it is because, you know, if we view things as transactional, then it's like, well, what am I receiving? I think your coach, the most beautiful legacy you can leave behind are the many people who are carrying on whatever you've given them. And I think that's a great example of that. In the book, you talk about how we do not worship a transactional God. And you say this working out my salvation sounds like a transactional individual thing. But remember, Elder Uchtdorf said "salvation cannot be bought with the currency of obedience." I can't actually work it out myself, finding my salvation, I find it in losing myself. And that's exactly what Christ said, lose yourself, and you'll find yourself. So working out your salvation is not a singular act. Steve, many people here may have read your autobiography. So they're familiar with the fact that you struggle with some anxiety. And you give this example in this book of how you were feeling really anxious, beginning your professional football career, and you had an idea for how you could make it all better, in your mind, that would have been pretty transactional. Tell me a little bit about how that went down.
Steve Young 27:00
Well, first of all, if you go back to the quote, by Elder Uchtdorf, I think it's important to how would I start this, and I get to the Elder Maxwell story in just a second. But if you think about what I describe as Boy Scout theology, Boy Scout theology is essentially what I call Merit Badge theology. In other words, the most wonderful things in our life, we can go get a merit badge for, and so we do it, whether it's faith, or any of the great things that we're asked to do. But we're seeking a merit badge, we're seeking that idea that there's something to get, somewhere to go, I'm on my way, I have somewhere to get. And I get there by having these different badges that I need to have the backing. And by doing so, I get closer to my ultimate goal Eagle Scout, and I wear my sash, because I want everyone to know, I I'm legit, right? And so we want this theology and so in the doing, we lose track of the beam. And in that way, we got to be super careful that we're not thinking about our relationship with heaven in a transactional way. Going back to Elder Maxwell, every relationship is fraught with the uniqueness of the relationship, I had genetic anxiety that I didn't understand. At the time I learned when I was 33. I didn't know that it was severe. All I knew is I didn't sleep over at other kids houses. And when I play football, I got sick to my stomach. So you know, that's how I thought about it. And so I signed this contract that was overinflated for public consumption. And now I was the richest athlete in the world. And I remember getting a note from someone in Japan saying, Steve, you're super famous now. And I remember the sick feeling like I can't earn this money. I don't want this money. In fact, my anxiety tells me just get rid of it. Like I can go play the game, and I can do the job. But I can't do it for money, because then I have this expectation. And this money that they're paying me is so much money, I can't even fathom it. And I can't take the pressure. I can't take what it makes me feel like this is all happening in days, not weeks. I don't have a long time to think about it, it's happening right in front of me. I don't want to do this and so on the way home the owner of the team, who has just signed me gave me his private jet to fly me back to Salt Lake to collect my clothes from my sacred home in Provo that was now my second home from my home in Connecticut. So I had two homes. And now I had to go to some unknown, dangerous place in Los Angeles. I needed to collect my stuff and had a day to do it... I could leave my home for another new dangerous scary home, but I couldn't do it with this This money, because I know I can't do it. So I am a flight home, I got this crazy idea of finding someone in the church to go give it to, I'll just give it to him. And I had two checks in my hand that were like millions of dollars, like just give it to him. And then I'm good. I'm free. Because what I wanted is I wanted to feel not sick to my stomach, I felt anxiety, anxiety my whole life. I didn't know what it was called. ... It was like, white hot. So I told you, if the pilot called down and find somebody, I need to talk to someone who's in charge of the church, I need to see this. And he came back and said, We found a man named Elder Neal Maxwell. And here's his address, and go see him. He's ready to see you when you land. So I landed, got in my car and drove right to his house. And he met me the front door. And as we get going, I'm going to start crying a lot. But I remember thinking, you know, I didn't even have him really say hello, I said, Elder Maxwell, I have the situation and I need to...And he said, Steve, peace come in. Let's just sit down for a minute. Let's chat. I have watched you for many years and love that you've come up. So the next hour or so I started to get more calmed down. And I told him in a very calm voice, I said, It would really mean the world to me if you could take these checks, because I go on Good Morning, America tomorrow morning to talk about this situation. And I really can't do it with with this. And it would really be wonderful if you just take them. And he said, Steve, I'd love to take them. But I cannot take them because this is your journey. And I think God has a plan for you to go through this and see what you can learn on the other side. And we know that the Church will be a profit, we don't need to worry about whether we take this money or not. This money is not about me or the Church, this money is about you. And I was like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, you don't understand. This is happening. And not going too deep into it. But he gave me a blessing. And then I ended up going home and finding a way through it. To live through it. People are saying, well, sure, Steve, you found out how to spend a lot of money. Like that's not hard. But you have to understand that when you're in the moment of the of the anxiety. You just want peace, you want healing. And sometimes healing is not easy. And I think that's an example of a healing that took place over a long period of time. That was not easy. And I needed somebody to push me through it. You know, I mean, lovingly, get me going through it because I wanted to go around it. And if you spend your life going around it is, by definition never go through it. And I look back at that as a wonderful example of love for me, seeing me, and knowing what would be most profitable for my soul at the time was to go through it. That's not what I wanted to hear. It didn't make it easier. It didn't like all sudden go, oh, great, but it gave me the confidence that I could go through it.
So shortly thereafter, you happen to be on a plane with Stephen R. Covey, another name that people will recognize and he shared some counsel with you. What was that counsel? And how would you say that it changed you.
You know, he's an interesting man. I known of him, but I never really had a chance to chat with him much. I got on a plane with him and one of the lowest parts of my life. And I had dug myself into a hole of depression, anxiety, anger, frustration. The challenge was just too much at the time. And I described it to him. And you sit down and he goes, he says, How are you doing? We were over Elko by the time I got done with telling him how it was going. And he said, Well, that's Wow, Steve. Wow. First thing I want to tell you because I told them how horrible it was to play football because there's too many people. Like, I wish I played golf or tennis because then if I lost, I lost and if I won,I don't have to drag these other 10 people with me all the time, and how hard it is and how it's too challenging, it's just too much. And he had a great story about how science had proven that seven is the most human beings that can work efficiently together. And then you add an eighth person into a group, it devolves and then ninth geometrically devolves. And by the time you get to 11, it's just chaos. And I remember thinking how perfect that that is, because that's exactly what it reflects how I feel, he says, "But what I want you to know, Steve, is I spent my whole life traveling around, trying to elevate the stories of the magic of accomplishing things, by definition with too many people. The magic is in the fact that there are too many people, the magic happens, when by definition, science says more than seven, you can actually come to some fruitful place. And that's why football in my mind is actually a beautiful thing. And here, I was hating what he saw as beautiful, because he saw the ability to come together. And he talked about, "I suspect, Steve, that the teams that are better than others, are teams that are more integrated." And at the time, integration to me was, you know, African American guys and White guys and my Samoan brothers and like, how do we integrate, but in many ways, he was describing what was actually a reflection of what my experience was on my team, is that because of how we were coached, and how we were taught, we sought shared common experiences amongst each other. And the coach talked about "We want to get to a place where we have a shared love for each other. And if we do that, we'll be more prosperous. We'll be at that place in the game. You know, Lambeau Field, when it's in Green Bay, when it's freezing rain and windy, and 80,000 People are screaming against you, you'll get in a huddle, and you'll be able to see each other and actually share an element of love for each other." And that's what Stephen Covey was talking about is football is beautiful because it gives you the opportunity with too many people to find and see each other. He described other situations where people can be teammates for years, you know their name, because it's on the back of their jersey, but you actually don't know anything about them. And that in the interaction and in the effort to find this element of love for each other is this seeing of each other. And if you can get 50 people to do that and cross fertilize he says that the power in that is magical. And that's why love is miraculous. Love heals in miraculous ways because it's a fruitful place to be. And that's why the book is really about focusing on the fact that it needs to be an element of every relationship that we have.
Morgan Jones Pearson 38:01
I love that story so much. And I love how you kind of illustrate in the book the way that from then on, it became exciting to you to go and figure out how to make that work on the football field. The law of love is rooted in the way that we care for those around us. And you share a couple of really great quotes. I wanted to quote one of them from a Catholic monk named Thomas Merton. He said "Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they're worthy. That is not our business. And in fact, it is nobody's business. What we are asked to do is to love and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy." I love that idea of us making ourselves and our neighbors worthy through our love. This is something that I think is a lot easier said than done. But how have you seen this changed the relationships in your own life as we're not maybe so focused on our own worthiness, but on love?
Steve Young 39:01
I was talking to some missionaries recently, by Zoom, there are terrible things about COVID. But there's some silver linings, one is Zoom, and they were in England, and we were talking about these concepts and these principles, and I said just you know we're talking about the law of love and how Moroni 7 is one of the stakes in the ground, and how I want to describe why this is so vital. The idea of being seen, and recognizing people comes from this principle that Moroni—think about where he was at the time and what he was seeing and what he was feeling, and one of the last things that he wants to write down is this concept of charity or this ability to have transfigured eyesight. You can on Earth in this entropic place, have transfigured eyesight. And what that is really saying is that I can see others, not just who they are right now. I can see them kind of through time and space, like I can see them as eternal beings. So to me, the fundamental principle that carries me forward is that loving heavenly parents were with them before each person takes a body in a faithful act. And so in that way, I see every human being as fellow journeyers in faith, and if you can see every human being that way, and then how would God see them in their eternal potential, their eternal form, it wouldn't be at all defined by, as we see each other right here, we would see each other in a much more, complete way. And in that way, Moroni is describing this pure love of Christ, this transfigured eyesight that you can have, and as I taught it through in gospel doctrine, and through the years, people would raise their hand and say "Brother Young, it happened. And it was in a situation was a very acrimonious conversation, in a very intimate relationship. And suddenly, out of nowhere, I saw this person in the most beautiful, amazing light, I don't know how to describe it. It was like a Thunderstruck of the potential that like the literal human potential is inside this person that I'm so mad at, and so frustrated with and in some ways hate, and suddenly the love just overwhelmed me. And in that love, I felt what you're describing." That's what Moroni must have been talking about. And that is something that I've sought ever since it was a flash, it came and it left, and I've spent my life seeking to feel that way about others, to see them in that way. And it was like, suddenly, I had transfigured eyesight, and I think that is heaven. Heaven to see people in a perpetual state. That's Heaven, and Heaven can be here. We've been promised that heaven can be in our homes, heaven can be in our relationships. And this is how you can get into a state of perpetuity. And I've always said transactional relationships, by definition, will rot. They have to think of Christ that time with the Pharisees and Sadducees. They were the ultimate law abiders. They were perfect in the law. But they were abusive. In the spirit, they had lost in transaction, lost the very nature of what they were trying to achieve. And Christ's message, once you understand the law of love, and then you go back and read the New Testament, it just, honestly, there's times I'm like, "This is Christ's mission, to create an environment where we can, through our spiritual eyes, see others. In an eternal perspective." It's an amazing thing.
Morgan Jones Pearson 43:30
I love that you mentioned Moroni 7. My husband and I just finished reading the Book of Mormon last night. And earlier in the week when we were reading Moroni 7 and the chapters right before it, we were talking about how it's so interesting that Moroni almost wraps up the Book of Mormon prior to those chapters. And then it's like, Oh, I've still got more time. These are the things that I need to make sure you get. And one of those things is that message in Moroni 7 about charity along with ordinances of the gospel. And so I think that tells us how important charity is. You quote in the book, our stake president—Steve and I are in the same stake now—who said and I'm just going to paraphrase this, but he talked about how, if we're not careful, a desire for measurable success, the kind that we often receive in the workplace, in the form of reviews or whatever, will lead us to spend too little time on relationships in which we may not see as many immediate results. You are a busy guy. And so I'm wondering for somebody who has had success in the workplace, how do you make sure that your focus is on relationships? And are there people that you feel have taught you how to do that really well know it?
Steve Young 44:47
We've talked about transaction a lot. We've talked about how to find a place where we can start to engage. I've said many times in my life, there's a lot of achievement. And there have been a lot of achievements, there's been a lot of failures. And I've learned a lot from all of them. They're valuable. My relationship with all of my sacrifices throughout my life, both spiritual and emotional, for heaven's sake, are all valuable. And every one of them is sacred to me. But I think that what will be most valuable is the relationships and how much healing I've brought. No trophy, no money. I know, it won't define me in heaven. What will define me is the healing in those relationships that I have, and the healing that I brought into the world. And as I think about the law of love, it really is, that's my legacy. I remember I was talking to humanitarian XP, they used to be HEFY, but it's about taking kids out and doing service. And when we talked with the trip leaders, and I was describing these kinds of things. And one of them, it became very evident that they were engaged in the journey and how to create relationships that, and one of them said, "Well, Steve, you've achieved all these things. And so you have it all, like, the world sees you and says, 'Oh, you're good, you're set.' I haven't achieved anything. And I'm worried that my life is not going to be valuable. And it's a real concern I have, like, I'm super worried that my life won't be valuable." And my response is, our lives are equally valuable already. And what we do with them in healing other human beings will define our value. And so I already know that my legacy to others might be something else, but to me, is really about where have I found that healing spirit and where have I been able to bring it? If you think about Christ's mission, we know these come to save and to heal, because we're an eternal round to grow and learn. And so in the growing and learning, we're going to have woundedness and in the woundedness, we're gonna need healing and Christ can heal, but most effectively heal when we become little s saviors on Mount Zion when we take the opportunity to create a space for healing in every relationship, and actually extend the Atonement into the relationship. And in doing so, there's magic, Stephen Covey magic, there's miracles. When people say, I've never seen a miracle, well, then you haven't seen love. Because love is a miracle. And when love is given selflessly, it is exalted, and it's exalted in a way that never stops giving. And the very things that I struggled with, the challenges of my life that I wanted to find answers for, that I was struggling, praying for and trying to figure out, I kept hearing this voice is said Live your religion. Live your religion. I'm like, I'm living on my religion, like, what do you do a lot. And one day, we were talking in class about holding the priesthood, and how do you hold it with four principles? Four ways of being long-suffering, gentle persuasion, meekness, and love unfeigned. And I said to my class, "That's living your religion live those qualities." And many, they said, Well, that's my answer.
And so all the problems that I was facing, some of them were existential in my mind. I started to lay on top of all the problems, the elements of my personality to be more long suffering, more gentle persuasion, more meek and more loving, selflessly loving, and in the doing of those things, on the issues, most of the issues you have are relationships, in the doing, all of a sudden, I got flooded back with the answers to all the challenges, and it was as if there was this place where I had to lose yourself into the issues and be these qualities, these power. We talked about powerful words. You know, I always chuckled in football. Power in football would not be long suffering, gentle persuasion, love, unfeigned and meekness, like in the huddle, that's not gonna get much done right, but deep down and getting human beings to come along with you? Absolutely 100%. And so for me, I've found most spiritual engagement and ennobling thoughts in the doing and the being of these four qualities that I think, describe the law of love. If you think about the priesthood is and should be and only be a worldwide healing force. And it should be all selfless. It's all service, every element. So if you can't hold it without these four qualities, and if you do exude those qualities, all of a sudden, in exuding qualities, you get the answers that you didn't really know that you you were looking for, but you now by selflessly laying it out there for someone else, you actually get as the greatest irony in life, but that's the power of the being, I guess, not the doing, because the doing is transactional, the being is non-transactional.
Morgan Jones Pearson 51:15
So glad you touched on that. That was one of my favorite parts of the book was where you talked about that scripture. I loved reading about your love and admiration for your wife, Barb, and in the book, you talk about how marriage is not a transaction, either. You talk about how a lot of different relationships and we may have to skip some in the interest of time, but you quote elder Richard G. Scott, who said "Your marriage is a covenant without transaction. It will ask all of you all the time, if you ever tried to make a deal, it will inevitably falter." Were you ever tempted to make deals in your marriage? And how would you say that you've found that your marriage is better when expectation of anything in return is is removed?
Steve Young 51:58
The reason why I say that transactional relationships have to rot is because they're self interested at their root, even for good. Whatever the elevated thing that you're seeking is still self interested at its core. And so it has to over time it it has to it will rot because what happens as you as you come more like I want to list for example, I want to be as good as I can be. In fact, I want to be perfect. And so in the in the seeking the perfection in the seeking of the things that I needed to be perfect. What happens without much time going by, suddenly I'm looking at all the imperfect people around me. And I see them and say, Oh, well, I've suddenly in a weird way elevated myself. And now all of a sudden, I'm othering people around me, and how did that happen? Well, because even in the most righteous desires of a transaction, it's root is selfishness, it has to rot, it will over time, it just doesn't have a choice. And so if your marriage is built off a transactional relationship, it sooner or later is going to be trouble. And it goes with what right now we're 5050 It's perfect. I saw her give 40 I think I'm gonna give 45 How long is it before people are giving zero? But if I'm giving 100 every day, no matter what 100. In fact, I don't even think about it as 100, I don't even think about it in a transactional way. I'm just in and whatever I need to do to bring healing, to bring goodness, to bring service, whatever I needed to say I'm sorry, be vulnerable enough to recognize my ills and my mistakes. And recognize that I'm in, all in you told me this is what this is called, I'm in and I'm in regardless. ...Transactional relationships ask transactional questions, and you get transactional answers, non-transaction, truly selfless thoughts and behaviors, they don't come up. That's a different conversation. Your boats headed in a completely different direction. And in that direction, I think is the greatest most ennobling, wonderous spiritual experiences allowed by mortals. And I'm all in for that. And so despite all of the unique and different challenges that we all face in intimate relationships, like I've seen the law of love in my marriage. And I've seen the four power words of long sufferings. And look, I am not perfect. This book is not about how I've got it all figured out, I'm with you. All I'm doing in the book is like, come along, good luck to all of us. But we're in this together. And I mean, theologically, emotionally, spiritually, my theology, we are in it together, and we can, in a weird way, ironically, heal each other in a miraculous way. And I've seen that in my marriage. And I love my marriage right now. And I love the hard things. I remember I said, life by 1000 cuts. Like, I really think that what's true about this as Christ really can, in the spirit of this selfless love, turn—and I'm not saying that 1000 cuts in my marriage because I haven't but I'm just saying that can take whatever the challenges are, and alchemize them to beauty and wonder and grace and forgiveness and cool stuff.
Morgan Jones Pearson 56:30
Speaking of Barb though, you two have devoted a great deal of time to the LGBTQ community, you share in the book several of your experiences with this community that I personally thought were really beautiful. What do you wish that Latter Day Saints better understood about this group of our brothers and sisters?
Steve Young 56:52
In the book, I tell a quick story maybe if you haven't, because you haven't read it. I'll just quickly tell you I spoke at affirmation which is a LDS LGBTQ organization and my wife who has been reflexively, you talked about selflessly, reflexively loving for LGBTQ brothers and sisters, is reflexive and it's wonderful. And I watched it, and I was a partner with it and she gave me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful gay people and get to know them. And when we spoke there, I spoke and she spoke after. And after she spoke, everyone rushed off to give her a hug, you know, cuz she's was so wonderful. And I got the chance to kind of be on the outside looking in. Usually, it's like, "So Steve, you know," and then one by one, these 20, mid 20, early 20s men would walk up to me, young men would walk up to me and asked essentially the same question. Do you mind if I had a picture with you? I don't know much about football. But my relationship with my dad is not great. And I think if he saw me with a picture with you, that it really might make a difference that he might see me in a in a better way. And so I hold them close and hug them and took the picture, of course, and but I remember thinking to myself, these are warriors in our myths. I played in really a really tough game, where warriorship was exalted. I saw warriors on the field. I mean, in every aspect of what you're thinking about a warrior being I saw, and I honored it. But I want to tell you that I have seen Morgan, I've seen warriorship in other parts of my life, and I saw it there. And it changed me. And I've seen the goodness, and I want to bring it forward, and have people taking the full measure of all the people in our midst. It's not just LGBTQ, but all the people in our midst that we are missing, the full measure of and with a spirit of seeing each other, sitting down and spending the time and getting, like just a simple interaction with Charles Haley on the bus. Can we change our lives and the world? I don't want to be like, "Oh, you know, Steve Young says we can do..." but we can do simple things. And we can see the warriorship in the lives of others, this transfigured eyesight that I described. And it's been a lot of the propulsion, the energy to get this on paper for me, has come from those sacred experiences.
Morgan Jones Pearson 59:51
Before we wrap up, I love something that you say at the end of the book, you mentioned that there are a number of things that can kind of rock us that can destabilize our relationships with the church, whether it's polygamy, racism, difficult aspects of church history, sexism, queerphobia, etc. But then you write something that I think epitomizes what it means to be all in the gospel of Jesus Christ, I wanted to make sure that I read this, you said, "I can stare at it, chew on it and own it, I can go back to the fundamental message of the restoration, which is this, every single person on earth has a divine heritage from loving heavenly parents who knew us before. They have a plan for our growth on this earth. And Christ came to heal us and save us. All those pieces were present in various religions in different ways before Joseph Smith's time, but the Lord brought them all together through Joseph in the restoration, every aspect of Christ's message to propel us outward to bring healing and to extend the atoning power of Christ to everyone. Every soul is rooted in faith from their very first step into mortality. And we are called to provide more space for that trajectory of faith. It's the call for each of us to rise up to Christ's message of inclusion and love." So, having read that, Steve, what does it mean to you to be all in the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Steve Young 1:01:24
I told Barb, my wife, I said, you know, so much of this is your fault, right? Because I Please don't misstate it. To me, it's a joke, right? Like, so much of rubbing up against her every day, and seeing how she sees the world has allowed me to see the world in a way that gives the place that I don't have to have people be perfect. In fact, I can engage them in their imperfection. And in that engagement, I can have the grace to give the space for the learning and growing that I'm going through, and that every human being is going through because my theology said so. And so my energy for, my relationship with the Church comes from those fundamentals that I thought, that I believe Joseph brought forward, and they're there, they're beautiful. And all the other things that came along that are the human foibles, I can give everyone the grace to have those foibles as they are looking through the same glass that I'm looking through—the intersection of agency and opposition. And we're all looking through the same glass. And to give people that space, so that if somebody made a critical mistake, it doesn't take away from the glory that their lives are about. To me, it's true for every human being, so I'm sorry. And I truly believe that Christ can take all of the foibles and all the shortcomings and create a space for us to engage in something glorious. And so to me, when you say all in in the Gospel, like I've never been more energized, and more excited for the potential of these fundamentals to get to move forward. And then to leave behind the things that can be left behind. It's okay, like the law of love says, I see you, and I see you in the flaws. And I love you, not because I want you to be or go or do anything. Because I don't have that in my mind, I just, I want you to see the full measure of who you can be. And I can make that space for prophets, I can make that space for saints, I can make the space for my atheist friends, I can make the space and let us journey together and what can I do for you, individually to help you in your healing? That's my religion. And that's why I go to church. And that's why I take the Sacrament. That's why I do the things I do because it's energizing to that mission. I'm super excited. Recently, I was on to other missionaries and I was talking to they were home from COVID. And they were all disappointed because their home. And they're all stuck in their homes during the COVID period, during that spring and fall. And we had a zoom of course and I was teaching these principles and then they said Well, I feel like I'm worthless. I'm sitting here at home, I can't do anything. I'm supposed to be out teaching the gospel and I'm sitting at home and I said no, you do not understand. Do you have do you have any other? Is there anyone at home? Is there another human being in your home? Yes, you are a missionary right now in the healing effort to extend the Atonement into every place that you can. And if you do that, that is what you're doing, whether you're in Santiago, Chile or in Provo, like be about the work. And the fact is you have a tag on your chest. It never goes away. I've lost my mind. I'm yelling, I don't mean to yell. Oh, my gosh, I just caught myself. I apologize for that, it never goes away. And I think those missionaries took that as a relief. That I'm not sitting here failing. I'm missing opportunities to do the very work. Why did I do it? Why the sacrifice if I can't bring healing to the people in my own home? And if that's not enough, then we're not we don't understand the law of love. I guess. I apologize. I got crazy for a minute.
Morgan Jones Pearson 1:06:10
I loved it. I thought it was awesome. I think that this message that you've shared with us tonight, Steve, is a message—like you just said those missionaries felt relieved. I think all of us can feel a sense of relief and a sense of peace, that this is what it's all about. And it feels like something that we can do and something that we want to do and feel energized by. So thank you so much for the work that you've put into this book and the thought and the prayer. I appreciate you being with me tonight.
Steve Young 1:06:41
Morgan, my pleasure. Nice to be on All In.
Morgan Jones Pearson 1:06:47
We are so grateful to Steve Young for joining us on this week's episode, you can find Steve's new book The Law of Love in Deseret Bookstores now. A big thanks to Derek Campbell for his work on this episode. And thank you so much for listening. We'll look forward to being with you again next week.