Elder Gary E. Stevenson: ‘Hearts Knit Together’

Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Notable quotes:

To young women and young men of the Church: “Clearly, the adversary is using [cyberbullying] to hurt your generation. There is no place for this in your cyberspace, neighborhoods, schools, quorums or classes. Please do all you can to make these places kinder and safer.”
“The Lord expects [Latter-day Saints] to teach that inclusion is a positive means towards unity, and that exclusion leads to division.”
“On this Holy Easter weekend, I find abiding peace in knowing that ‘the Lord is my shepherd’ (Psalms 23:1) and that each of us is known by Him and under His kind watch care. When we confront life’s wind and rainstorms, sickness and injuries, the Lord — our Shepherd, our caregiver — will nourish us with love and kindness. He will heal our hearts and restore our souls.”

Summary points:

  • Kindness is a fundamental, healing gospel principle. Having “hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another” (Mosiah 18:21) has universal application to all Latter-day Saints: adults, youth and children.
  • For youth who participate in or passively observe any form of bullying: “Stop it!” “As you extend yourself with kindness, care and compassion, even digitally, I promise that you will lift up arms that hang down and will heal hearts.”
  • Adults in the Church have the responsibility to be role models of kindness, inclusion and civility — “to teach Christlike behavior to the rising generation in what we say and how we act. It is especially important as we observe a marked societal shift towards division in politics, social class and nearly every other man-made distinction.”

Talk summary:

Kindness is a fundamental, healing gospel principle that can heal hearts emotionally, spiritually and even physically.

Members of the Church are commanded to have “hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another” (Mosiah 18:21) and that “power or influence ought to be maintained … by gentleness and meekness … by kindness … without guile” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:41-42).

“I believe this precept has a universal application to all Latter-day Saints: adults, youth and children.”

Primary children should remember the words of the Primary song, “I’m Trying To Be Like Jesus” — “Love one another as Jesus loves you. Try to show kindness in all that you do.”

For youth who participate in or passively observe any form of bullying, “I know of no better advice than that previously given by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf: … ‘Stop it!’ Did you hear that? Stop it! As you extend yourself with kindness, care and compassion, even digitally, I promise that you will lift up arms that hang down and will heal hearts.”

Adults have the responsibility of being role models of kindness, inclusion and civility and to teach Christlike behavior.

Even as individuals extend themselves in love, respect and kindness, they can be negatively affected by the bad choices of others. “What do we do then? We follow the Lord’s admonition to ‘love your enemies … and pray for them which despitefully use you’” (Luke 6:27-28).

In the news:

About the speaker:

  • Elder Gary E. Stevenson was sustained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on Oct. 3, 2015.
  • As a young man, Elder Stevenson served in the Japan Fukuoka Mission. He later served as president of the Japan Nagoya Mission from 2004 to 2007. 
  • He married Lesa Jean Higley in 1979, and they have four sons.

Recently on social:

  • Elder Stevenson shared a picture of one of his own ministering brothers during a virtual “visit,” and encouraged others to find ways to minister during this time when “so many of us desperately need to feel His love” on Feb. 8.
  • After the First Presidency announced the reopening of selected temples for proxy work, Elder Stevenson shared a video on social media on Dec. 7, 2020, explaining the precautions and adjustments made to attending the temple in conjunction with the reopening.