Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: ‘Behold Thy Mother’

Credit: IRI
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Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles paid tribute to mothers — and their eternal, pure love for their children.

"No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child."

Mothers demonstrate their long-suffering, resolute love, he added, by first bearing their children — and then "they continue bearing with us."

"It is not only the prenatal carrying but the lifelong carrying that makes mothering such a staggering feat," he said. "Of course there are heartbreaking exceptions, but most mothers know intuitively, instinctively that this is a sacred trust of the highest order. The weight of that realization, especially on young maternal shoulders, can be daunting."

Elder Holland then shared three experiences that he said reflects the "majestic influence of mothers" witnessed during his ministry in recent weeks.

First, he spoke of a recent conversation with a beloved friend who was dying away from the Church. The friend said that however painful it was going to be to stand before God, he could not bear the thought of standing before his mother. "I know I have broken her heart," he told Elder Holland.

Elder Holland said, "I am absolutely certain that upon his passing his mother received my friend with open, loving arms; that is what parents do. But the cautionary portion of this story is that children can break their mothers' heart.

"Here, too, we see another comparison with the Divine. I need to remind us that Jesus died of a broken heart, one weary and worn out from bearing the sins of the world. So in any moment of temptation, may we 'Behold [our]mother' as well as our Savior and spare them both the sorrow of our sinning."

Elder Holland then spoke of a worthy young man who returned home early from the mission field due to same-sex attraction and some trauma experienced in that regard. The young man's faith "was at crisis level." He was hurt, confused, angry and desolate. He received support from many relatives and ecclesiastical leaders. But he often faced the darkest moments alone with his mother, who fasted and wept, and listened as her son repeatedly told her of how his heart was breaking. Thus she carried him — again — only this time it was not for nine months. She has since seen her son "come home to the promised land," Elder Holland said. Challenges remain, but his heart has changed and he has returned to the mission field.

He spoke of witnessing Sister Lisa Tuttle Pieper at the recent rededication of the Mexico City Mexico Temple who stood with some difficulty because she was holding up her beloved but severely challenged daughter, Dora. She lovingly manipulated Dora's dysfunctional hand so she could wave a white handkerchief and cry out, "Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb."

He concluded by thanking mothers in every circumstance as they fulfill the purposes of eternity: "Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are."

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