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What have Church leaders taught about love? (And not just the romantic kind)

Valentine’s Day is a time for celebrating love of all kinds. Here’s a look at what Church leaders have said about various types of love

Valentine’s Day is a time for celebrating love of all kinds. In addition to teachings on romantic love, here’s a look at what Church leaders have said about various types of love.

Love of God

“Brothers and sisters, the pure love of Christ is the answer to the contention that ails us today. Charity propels us ‘to bear one another’s burdens’ rather than heap burdens upon each other. The pure love of Christ allows us ‘to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things’ — especially in tense situations.”

President Russell M. Nelson, April 2023 general conference, “Peacemakers Needed

“You are a beloved [child of God]. Nothing you do — or do not do — can change that. God loves you because you are His spirit [child]. Sometimes we may not feel His love, but it is always there. God’s love is perfect. Our ability to sense that love is not.”

Elder Dale G. Renlund, October 2022 general conference, “Your Divine Nature and Eternal Destiny

“Brothers and sisters, do you know how completely God, our Heavenly Father, loves you? Have you felt His love deep in your soul? ...

“God’s love is not found in the circumstances of our lives but in His presence in our lives. We know of His love when we receive strength beyond our own and when His Spirit brings peace, comfort and direction. At times it may be difficult to feel His love. We can pray to have our eyes opened to see His hand in our lives and to see His love in the beauty of His creations.”

President Susan H. Porter, then the first counselor in the Primary general presidency, October 2021 general conference, “God’s Love: The Most Joyous to the Soul

“God loves us — always — and we love Him. Our love of God counters all fears, and His love abounds in holy places. Think about it. When we are tentative in our commitments to the Lord, when we stray from His path leading to life eternal, when we question or doubt our significance in His divine design, when we allow fear to open the door to all its companions — discouragement, anger, frustration, disappointment — the Spirit leaves us, and we are without the Lord. If you know what that is like, you know it is not a good place to be. In contrast, when we stand in holy places, we can feel God’s love, and ‘perfect love casteth out all fear’ (Moroni 8:16).”

Elder Ronald A. Rasband, October 2018 general conference, “Be Not Troubled

“Your Heavenly Father loves you — each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there.”

— President Thomas S. Monson, October 2013 general conference, “We Never Walk Alone

“Do we frequently reject the Lord’s love that He pours out upon us in much more abundance than we are willing to receive? Do we think we have to be perfect in order to deserve His love? When we allow ourselves to feel ‘encircled about eternally in the arms of his love’ (2 Nephi 1:15) we feel safe, and we realize that we don’t need to be immediately perfect. We must acknowledge that perfection is a process. This is a gospel of eternal progress, and we must remember to appreciate the journey. ‘Eternal’ means ‘without beginning or end,’ so the encircling of His love is there for us every day. Remember, it’s constant — even when we don’t recognize it. I love Nephi’s description of this great gift: ‘The love of God … sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things … and the most joyous to the soul’ (1 Nephi 11: 22-23).”

— Sister Bonnie D. Parkin, then the Relief Society general president, October 2006 general conference, “Eternally Encircled in His Love

A young family walks together outside with the father holding a child.
Valentine’s Day is a time for celebrating love of all kinds. Here’s a look at what Church leaders have said about various types of love | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Love of family

“Every family has moments of awkwardness.

“Like when your parents ask you to take a ‘selfie’ of them, or when your great-aunt insists that you are still single because you are just too picky, or when your opinionated brother-in-law thinks his political view is the gospel view, or when your dad arranges a family portrait with everyone dressed like characters in his favorite movie.

“And you get the Chewbacca costume.

“Families are like that.

“We may share the same gene pool, but we are not the same. We have unique spirits. We are influenced in different ways by our experiences. And each of us ends up different as a result.

“Rather than attempting to force everyone into a mold of our own making, we can choose to celebrate these differences and appreciate them for adding richness and constant surprises to our lives.”

Then-President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, April 2016 general conference, “In Praise of Those Who Save

“In today’s world, where Satan’s aggression against the family is so prevalent, parents must do all they can to fortify and defend their families. But … our most basic institution of family desperately needs help and support from the extended family and the public institutions that surround us. Brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins can make a powerful difference in the lives of children. Remember that the expression of love and encouragement from an extended family member will often provide the right influence and help a child at a critical time.”

Then-Elder M. Russell Ballard, October 2005 general conference, “What Matters Most Is What Lasts Longest

“The eternal family is central to the gospel of our Savior. There would be no reason for Him to return to earth to rule and reign over His kingdom unless the eternal family unit has been established for our Father in Heaven’s children. When we understand the eternal role of the family, the nourishing and developing of strong family ties take on even greater significance. …

“Learning to appreciate what it means to belong to an eternal family is of great importance to us. Remember, you are part of that eternal unit that requires your best effort. Be certain you bring warmth, kindness, understanding, consideration and a strong love to your eternal family.”

Elder L. Tom Perry, October 1998 general conference, “Youth of the Noble Birthright

“Family members are priceless possessions. They offer love and strength. But even more, family members need each other. You can choose to be aware of the needs of each family member and do your part to help fill those needs. Some need a person to listen; some may need a compliment or positive reinforcement. There is strength and satisfaction in becoming involved in family projects. Encourage family love by being approachable even when you feel you have reason to turn away. The first step back in seeking family acceptance is to change oneself for the better. It is true today, true yesterday and will be true tomorrow that effective leadership can only be administered through love.”

— Elder Marvin J. Ashton, April 1988 general conference, “While They Are Waiting

Close up young wife embracing husband; she has closed eyes, man rear view.
Valentine’s Day is a time for celebrating love of all kinds. Here’s a look at what Church leaders have said about various types of love. | fizkes - stock.adobe.com

Love of spouse

“If you suppose that the full-blown rapture of young romantic love is the sum total of the possibilities which spring from the fountains of life, you have not yet lived to see the devotion and the comfort of longtime married love. Married couples are tried by temptation, misunderstandings, financial problems, family crises, and illness, and all the while love grows stronger. Mature love has a bliss not even imagined by newlyweds.”

President Boyd K. Packer, April 2015 general conference, “The Plan of Happiness

“It is only with the companionship of the Holy Ghost that we can hope to be equally yoked in a marriage free from discord. I have seen how that companionship is crucial for felicity in a marriage. The miracle of becoming one requires the help of heaven, and it takes time.”

President Henry B. Eyring, October 2013 general conference, “To My Grandchildren

“It is so rewarding to be married. Marriage is wonderful. In time you begin to think alike and have the same ideas and impressions. You have times when you are extremely happy, times of testing, and times of trial, but the Lord guides you through all of those growth experiences together.”

Elder Richard G. Scott, April 2011 general conference, “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage

“Harmony in marriage comes only when one esteems the welfare of his or her spouse among the highest of priorities. When that really happens, a celestial marriage becomes a reality, bringing great joy in this life and in the life to come.”

Then-Elder Russell M. Nelson, October 2008 general conference, “Celestial Marriage

“True love is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of anxious concern for the well being of one’s companion.

“Companionship in marriage is prone to become commonplace and even dull. I know of no more certain way to keep it on a lofty and inspiring plane than for a man occasionally to reflect upon the fact that the helpmeet who stands at his side is a daughter of God, engaged with Him in the great creative process of bringing to pass His eternal purposes. I know of no more effective way for a woman to keep ever radiant the love for her husband than for her to look for and emphasize the godly qualities that are a part of every son of our Father and that can be evoked when there is respect and admiration and encouragement. The very processes of such actions will cultivate a constantly rewarding appreciation for one another.”

Then-Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, April 1971 general conference, “‘Except the Lord Build the House …’

Two young women sit with their arms around each other.
Valentine’s Day is a time for celebrating love of all kinds. Here’s a look at what Church leaders have said about various types of love. | Dima Aslanian, Adobe Stock

Love of friends

“I have been blessed throughout my life with Christlike friends — from friends of my youth to the many people who have blessed our family in all the wards we have lived in. Their faith and commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ, their service, their wise and gentle instruction have enriched our lives. Some of my friends are very different from me. We disagree about things, and we can even irritate each other. But friendship allows for differences — in fact, it embraces them.”

— Sister Kathleen H. Hughes, then the first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, April 2005 general conference, “What Greater Goodness Can We Know: Christlike Friends

“I think in all of us there is a profound longing for friendship, a deep yearning for the satisfaction and security that close and lasting relationships can give. Perhaps one reason the scriptures make little specific mention of the principle of friendship is because it should be manifest quite naturally as we live the gospel. In fact, if the consummate Christian attribute of charity has a first cousin, it is friendship. To paraphrase the Apostle Paul slightly, friendship ‘suffereth long, and is kind; [friendship] envieth not; … seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; … [friendship] never faileth’ (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).”

— Elder Marlin K. Jensen, April 1999 general conference, “Friendship: A Gospel Principle

“It takes courage to be a real friend. Some of us endanger the valued classification of friend because of our unwillingness to be one under all circumstances. Fear can deprive us of friendship. Some of us identify our closest friends as those with the courage to remain and share themselves with us under all circumstances. A friend is a person who will suggest and render the best for us regardless of the immediate consequences. …

“A friend in the true sense is not a person who passively nods approval. A friend is a person who cares.”

— Elder Marvin J. Ashton, October 1972 general conference, “What Is a Friend?

A woman with dark hair and closed eyes, smiles and crosses her hands over her chest.
Valentine’s Day is a time for celebrating love of all kinds. Here’s a look at what Church leaders have said about various types of love. | VK Studio - stock.adobe.com

Love of self

“Our Heavenly Father wants us to love ourselves — not to become prideful or self-centered, but to see ourselves as He sees us: we are His cherished children. When this truth sinks deep into our hearts, our love for God grows. When we view ourselves with sincere respect, our hearts are open to treat others that way too. The more we recognize our divine worth, the better we understand this divine truth: that God has sent us right here, right now, at this momentous time in history, so that we can do the greatest possible good with the talents and gifts we have. This is our time!”

Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, April 2021 general conference, “This Is Our Time!

“Please, my beloved brothers and sisters, we must stop comparing ourselves to others. We torture ourselves needlessly by competing and comparing. We falsely judge our self-worth by the things we do or don’t have and by the opinions of others. If we must compare, let us compare how we were in the past to how we are today — and even to how we want to be in the future. The only opinion of us that matters is what our Heavenly Father thinks of us. Please sincerely ask Him what He thinks of you. He will love and correct but never discourage us; that is Satan’s trick.”

Elder J. Devn Cornish, October 2016 general conference, “Am I Good Enough? Will I Make It?

“Being a [child] of God means that if you seek it, you can find your true identity. You will know who you are. This will make you free — not free from restraints, but free from doubts, anxieties or peer pressure. You will not need to worry, ‘Do I look all right?’ ‘Do I sound OK?’ ‘What do people think of me?’ A conviction that you are a [child] of God gives you a feeling of comfort in your self-worth. It means that you can find strength in the balm of Christ. It will help you meet the heartaches and challenges with faith and serenity.”

— President James E. Faust, October 1999 general conference, “What It Means to Be a Daughter of God

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