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5 times Church leaders have recently spoken on the 2 great commandments

The two great commandments — loving God and loving others — have been the topic for leaders, missionaries, young adults and children

Jesus Christ speaks with a Pharisee about which commandment is the greatest in this scene from the Bible Videos

Jesus Christ speaks with a Pharisee about which commandment is the greatest in this scene from the Bible Videos.

Screenshot from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


5 times Church leaders have recently spoken on the 2 great commandments

The two great commandments — loving God and loving others — have been the topic for leaders, missionaries, young adults and children

Jesus Christ speaks with a Pharisee about which commandment is the greatest in this scene from the Bible Videos

Jesus Christ speaks with a Pharisee about which commandment is the greatest in this scene from the Bible Videos.

Screenshot from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

From a devotional in the Chicago, Illinois, area to the Provo Missionary Training Center to a Friend to Friend for Primary children, several leaders recently have spoken on the two great commandments — loving God and loving others. 

What are the two great commandments?

The two great commandments, as found in Matthew 22:36-40, are to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart” and “love thy neighbour as thyself.”

“Jesus said unto him, 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.”

Here are quotes from leaders on the two great commandments in the last several months, plus when it was part of the “Music & the Spoken Word.” 

‘Live together with mutual respect’

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President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, greets missionaries in the Wilmette Illinois Stake center in suburban, Chicago, Illinois, on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023. President Oaks addressed members from 14 stakes in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin as part of a weekend ministry assignment.

Cody Bell, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Addressing members of 14 stakes in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin as part of a Feb. 11-12 weekend ministry assignment, President Dallin H. Oaks asked Latter-day Saints to press forward, having “a love of God and of all men” (2 Nephi 31:20). 

“This teaching — to follow our Savior’s command to love one another as He loves us — is one of our greatest challenges,” said President Oaks. “It requires us to live together with mutual respect for one another’s differences in today’s world. However, this living with differences is what the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us we must do.”

Love God, neighbors and self

Bishop Budge wearing a tie and suit coat while speaking from a pulpit.

Presiding Bishopric Second Counselor L. Todd Budge speaks during the Provo Missionary Training Center devotional Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, in Provo, Utah.

Mark Lineback

“God wants us to love Him, to love our neighbor and to love ourselves,” said Bishop L. Todd Budge, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, during a devotional at the Missionary Training Center on Feb. 7. 

To explain how people can show God their love, Bishop Budge read Doctrine and Covenants 42:29. “If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments.” Loving God requires both serving Him and keeping His commandments.

In addition to giving of themselves and serving their neighbors, Saints can keep the second great commandment by loving others as God loves them, he said. “He wants us to have this perfect circle of love and not to exclude anyone from the circle.”

After loving God and neighbors comes loving oneself: “The best way to love yourself,” said Bishop Budge, “is to keep the commandments.”

2 great commandments as a foundation

Elder Gary E. Stevenson speaks during a devotional at the Utah Valley Institute of Religion in Orem, Utah

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during a devotional at the Utah Valley Institute of Religion in Orem, Utah, on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

“When Jesus said the first and the second commandments, He didn’t say one is more important than the other. He said, ‘and the second is like unto it,’” Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said to thousands of students and young adults at the Utah Valley Institute devotional in Orem, Utah, on Feb. 3.

Heavenly Father’s children increase their love for Him and demonstrate that love by aligning their thoughts and actions with His word. The Savior, through the example of the good Samaritan, taught that “everyone is our neighbor.” Showing love to them can be done by reaching out in service to them.

With the two great commandments as a foundation — and with the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost — students and young adults can design, refine and plan their lives. 

“Do I love the Lord with all my heart and my mind and my soul? Do I keep the commandments? Do I love my neighbors? Am I serving them enough? Am I showing my love to everyone?” Elder Stevenson asked.

‘My Heavenly Father Loves Me’ at Friend to Friend

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Sister Amy A. Wright, left, first counselor in the Primary general presidency, speaks during the Friend to Friend broadcast Nov. 5, 2022. Primary General President Susan H. Porter, center, and Sister Tracy Y. Browning, right, second counselor are also on stage.

Screenshot from YouTube

Primary General President Susan H. Porter and counselors, Sister Amy A. Wright and Sister Tracy Y. Browning taught Primary children about the two great commandments — love God and love others — during the Friend to Friend in November 2022.

“Jesus told us the best way to be happy is to live the two most important commandments,” President Porter said. She invited a child in the audience to read from Matthew 22:37-39.

To help children remember these commandments, President Porter showed them how to first, point and look toward heaven (love God), and second, spread both arms out wide (love their neighbor). 

“How can we show Heavenly Father that we love Him?” President Porter asked the audience. Responses included praying, reading the scriptures, studying “Come, Follow Me,” fasting, attending church, helping someone who is lonely, and repenting. 

‘The Eternal Principle of Love’

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Elder Hugo Montoya, General Authority Seventy, speaks during the Saturday morning session of the 192nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Oct. 1, 2022.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In his October 2022 general conference talk, Elder Hugo Montoya, a General Authority Seventy, spoke about following the eternal principle of love in the two great commandments, to love God and love your neighbor.

“The eternal principle of love is manifested by living the two great commandments: love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself,” Elder Montoya said. 

As ministering brothers and sisters, Latter-day Saints should willingly help one another because they love each other as children of Heavenly Father, regardless of needs, nationality or language spoken.

“Our Heavenly Father’s love for each of His children is real. He is there for each one. I don’t know how He does it, but He does,” Elder Montoya said. 

The two great commandments and God’s love

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the Rev. Dr. Andrew Teal, chaplain and lecturer in theology at Pembroke College at the University of Oxford, in the Clore Old Library at the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, left, answers a question about the beliefs and doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during a public conversation with the Rev. Dr. Andrew Teal, right, chaplain and lecturer in theology at Pembroke College at the University of Oxford, in the Clore Old Library at the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018.

Simon D. Jones

In the “Music & the Spoken Word” that aired on Feb. 12, Lloyd Newell shared how “Those two commandments have been the bedrock of Christian belief and behavior …. Even as circumstances and cultural norms continue to change, these two standards — love God and love your neighbor — remain as relevant and reliable as ever.”

The Rev. Andrew Teal, a member of the Oxford Faculty of Theology and Religion and a lecturer, chaplain and Anglican priest, reflected on the two great commandments and God’s love. 

Rev. Teal said that God is love. “He can’t do anything other than what He is. His only desire is for every human being to flourish. If this has been a bad week, or if you feel that your life has dealt you more blows than hugs, keep on keeping on, because the dignity and importance of a human being is never dispensable. You’re never worthless. And feeling worthless itself can prompt us to reach out in empathy to other people and to understand other people’s pain, rather than crumble.”

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