Quotes on Kindness

See also: 4 Nephi 1:17; D&C 81:5
 
This world needs the gospel of Jesus Christ as restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith.  The gospel provides the only way the world will ever know peace.  We need to be kinder with one another, more gentle and forgiving.  We need to be slower to anger and more prompt to help.  We need to extend the hand of friendship and resist the hand of retribution.  In short, we need to love one another with the pure love of Christ, with genuine charity and compassion and, if necessary, shared suffering, for that is the way God loves us. — President Howard W. Hunter, Satellite broadcast commemorating 150th anniversary of martyrdom of Joseph Smith, Carthage, Illinois, June 26, 1994

God help us to realize that one of our greatest responsibilities and privileges is to lift a self-labeled “nobody” to a “somebody,” who is wanted, needed, and desirable.  Our first obligation in this area of stewardship is to begin with self.  “I am nobody” is a destructive philosophy.  It is a tool of the deceiver. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, General Conference, April 6, 1973

There are two invitations I would like to leave with the members of the Church as we strive to keep the commandments of God and receive the full measure of His blessings.  First of all, I would invite all members of the Church to live with evermore attention to the life and example of the Lord Jesus Christ, especially the love and hope and compassion He displayed.

I pray that we might treat each other with more kindness, more courtesy, more humility and patience and forgiveness.  We do have high expectations of one another, and all can improve.  Our world cries out for more disciplined living of the commandments of God.  But the way we are to encourage that, as the Lord told the Prophet Joseph in the wintry depths of Liberty Jail, is “by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; . . . without hypocrisy, and without guile.”  (D&C 121:41-42) — From President Howard W. Hunter’s statement to the news media on June 6, 1994, after being set apart as the new prophet of the church on June 5, 1994. Full text in the Church News, June 11, 1994.

The famed statesman, William Gladstone, described the formula for peace when he declared:  “We look forward to the time when the power of love will replace the love of power.  Then will our world know the blessings of peace.” — President Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, May 1994, p. 61

This quote hangs on the wall in my office:  “My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds.”  (Anne Morrow Lindbergh) — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Wisdom and Order,” Ensign, June 1994, p. 41

The nearer we get to our Heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs. . . . If you would have God have mercy on you, have mercy on one another.  — Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 241

We never know how far the effects of our service will reach.  We can never afford to be cruel or indifferent or ungenerous, because we are all connected, even if it is in a pattern that only God sees. — Chieko Okazaki, Ensign, May 1993, p. 85

Do your best to always be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard, silent battle.  — Anonymous

Tens of thousands of little things are done by those who follow the Savior.  Many of them are small and may appear to be of no great consequence; but in the doing, a certain refining influence comes into our lives.  There is more of kindness, there is more of courtesy, there is more of understanding and a reaching out to help and lift and soothe and heal. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Christmas Devotional, 1991

Perhaps the greatest of Christian acts are those we never hear about.  They are deeds done quietly, spontaneously, anonymously, without expectation of recognition or compensation.  Christian acts begin with Christlike thoughts in our hearts.  Then, Christ’s teachings and His characteristics will be reflected naturally in our actions.  Soon, there will be more friendly smiles, more kindly words, more courteous responses from us – all seemingly small, insignificant acts, yet they can have a great impact in all our lives. — Elder Rex D. Pinegar, Ensign, November 1991, p. 40

The way we treat each other is the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. . . . The best and most clear indicator that we are progressing spiritually and coming unto Christ is the way we treat other people.

If the adversary can influence us to pick on each other, to find fault, bash, and undermine, to judge or humiliate or taunt, half his battle is won.  Why?  Because though this sort of conduct may not equate with succumbing to grievous sin, it nevertheless neutralizes us spiritually.  The Spirit of the Lord cannot dwell where there is bickering, judging, contention, or any kind of bashing. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, May 1992, p. 20

There was a man named Joe who was asked to get up at 6:00 A.M. and drive a child with disabilities 50 miles to a hospital.  Joe didn’t want to do it, but he didn’t know how to say no.  When the tearful mother placed the child on the seat next to him, Joe assured her that everything would be all right and drove off quickly.

After a mile or so, the child inquired shyly, “You’re God, aren’t you?”

“I’m afraid not, little fellow,” replied Joe.

“I thought you must be God,” said the child.  “I heard mother praying and asking God to help me get to the hospital so I could get well and play with the other boys.  Do you work for God?”

“Sometimes, I guess,” said Joe.  “But not regularly.  I think I’m going to work for him a lot more from now on.” — President Thomas S. Monson, BYU Devotional, March 7, 1993

Family members do have differences that can cause friction, but they should reserve their most tender affection for those who are closest to them:  their spouse, parents, brothers and sisters.  The true greatness of a person, in my view, is evident in the way he or she treats those where courtesy and kindness are not required. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, Ensign, May 1992, p. 86

I learned a valuable lesson from the likes of Bob Hope and Jan Murray.  “Make friends with the workers before the bosses.” — Tony Bennett

I expect to pass through life but once.  If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, as I shall not pass this way again. — William Penn

The closer you get to Heavenly Father, the more compassion you feel for perishing souls.  The more you become like God, the less likely you are to gossip. — John Bytheway, BYU Education Week, August 1993

Preach the gospel all the time.  If necessary, use words. – Saint Francis of Assisi

I am convinced that when we give unconditional love; when our interest is first in serving, building, edifying, strengthening without thought of self; when we do not expect an automatic return for each act of kindness, generosity, or sincere effort to help; when we are not concerned about what we will receive or what others will say or whether our own burdens will be diminished, but selflessly seek to build another, the miracle of the power of the gospel is released in our lives.  When we permit the Lord to work through us to bless others, that sacred experience releases power in our own lives, and miracles occur.  Well did the Master say, “For inasmuch as ye do it unto the least of these, ye do it unto me” (D&C 42:38).

Respect and love must be earned, and there is no better way to earn them than to lift another.

Begin now with your best effort.  Reach out to another.  You will feel the power of the Lord flow through you.  Your own self-respect will return, and you can love yourself again.  Your life will be enriched and given purpose, and you will be given the power to make a difference in everything around you.  Of this I testify. . . . — Elder Richard G. Scott, “The Power to Make a Difference,” Ensign, November 1983, p. 71

Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.  Let one never come to you without feeling better and happier.  — Mother Teresa

Those who are breathless from going the second mile need deserved praise just as the fallen need to be lifted up. — Elder Neal Maxwell, General Conference, October 1976

The Savior said his disciples would be known by their love for each other and by their treatment of their enemies (see John 13:34-35; Matt. 5:44). . . .

“I feel at peace with all the inhabitants of the earth:  I love my friends, and as for my enemies, I pray for them daily; and, if they do not believe I would do them good, let them call at my house, when they are hungry, and I will feed them; yea, I will do good to those who despitefully use and persecute me” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 457). — Mary Ellen Edmunds, Ensign, December 1995, p. 51

“For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?  And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others?”  (Matthew 5:44, 46-47)  (Faith Precedes the Miracle, p. 203)

Love is one of the chief characteristics of Deity, and ought to be manifested by those who aspire to be the sons of God.  A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.  (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 174.) — Mary Ellen Edmunds, Ensign, December 1995, p. 52

In building the kingdom of God, every positive act, every friendly greeting, every thoughtful kind note contributes to the strength of the whole. — Elder Carl B. Pratt, General Conference, October 1997

 Never chasten a person beyond your ability to heal. — Brigham Young

Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand, and watch over them with tenderness.  When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what power it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind. — Joseph Smith, History of the Church 5:23 or TPJS p. 240

 Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. — Mother Teresa

How much larger your life would be if your self were smaller in it:  If you could really look at other men with common curiosity and pleasure . . . you would begin to be interested in them. . . . You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, and in a street full of splendid strangers.  (G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy.) — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, General Conference, October 1999

Within our allotments we see how the saintly display kindness even within barbed-wire circumstances. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Content with the Things Allotted Unto Us,” Ensign, May 2000, p. 74

We are all sons and daughters of God.  We must be careful whose relations we offend. — President Cecil O. Samuelson, BYU Women’s Conference, April 29, 2004

Let us be more neighborly.  Let us be kind.  Let us be gracious to those in our midst who are not of our faith.  Let us be helpful and generous and good.  Let us be Latter-day Saints in the full and complete meaning of that word. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, June 2004, p. 5; from a regional conference, Payson, Utah, 16 September 2001

Our willingness to aid those in distress around us has ever been the benchmark of the disciples of Christ.  Indeed, the Savior taught that our very salvation depends upon the level of our compassion for others.  (See Matt. 25:31-46.) — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Improving Our Prayers,” Ensign, March 2004, p. 28

When you find yourselves a little gloomy, look around you and find somebody that is in a worse plight than yourself; go to him and find out what the trouble is, then try to remove it with the wisdom which the Lord bestows upon you; and the first thing you know, your gloom is gone, you feel light, the Spirit of the Lord is upon you, and everything seems illuminated. — President Lorenzo Snow, Conference Report, April 1899, pp. 2-3

At the close of his address, President Hinckley asked the worldwide congregation to be kind to the Church’s critics – “some of whom are mean and vicious.”

“We have always had them, and I suppose we will have them all through the future.  But we shall go forward, returning good for evil, being helpful and kind and generous.

“I remind you of the teachings of our Lord concerning these matters.  You are all acquainted with them.  Let us be good people.  Let us be friendly people.  Let us be neighborly people.  Let us be what members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ought to be.” — President Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference, April 2001

Almost every day brings opportunities to perform unselfish acts for others.  Such acts are unlimited and can be as simple as a kind word, a helping hand, or a gracious smile.  The Savior reminds us, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”  One of life’s paradoxes is that a person who approaches everything with a what’s-in-it-for-me attitude may acquire money, property, and land, but in the end will lose the fulfillment and the happiness that a person enjoys who shares his talents and gifts generously with others. — President James E. Faust, “What’s in It for Me?” Ensign, November 2002, pp. 21-22

Father told us stories out of his memory.  I still remember one:

“An older boy and his young companion were walking along a road which led through a field.  They saw an old coat and a badly worn pair of men’s shoes by the roadside, and in the distance they saw the owner working in the field.

“The younger boy suggested that they hide the shoes, conceal themselves, and watch the perplexity on the owner’s face when he returned.

“The older boy . . . thought that would not be so good.  He said the owner must be a very poor man.  So, after talking the matter over, at his suggestion, they concluded to try another experiment.  Instead of hiding the shoes, they would put a silver dollar in each one and . . . see what the owner did when he discovered the money.  So they did that.

“Pretty soon the man returned from the field, put on his coat, slipped one foot into a shoe, felt something hard, took it out and found a silver dollar.  Wonder and surprise [shone] upon his face.  He looked at the dollar again and again, turned around and could see nobody, then proceeded to put on the other shoe; when to his great surprise he found another dollar.  His feelings overcame him. . . . He knelt down and offered aloud a prayer of thanksgiving, in which he spoke of his wife being sick and helpless and his children without bread. . . . He fervently thanked the Lord for this bounty from unknown hands and evoked the blessing of heaven upon those who gave him this needed help.

“The boys remained [hidden] until he had gone.”  They had been touched by his prayer and felt something warm within their hearts.  As they left to walk down the road, one said to the other, “Don’t you have a good feeling?”   (Adapted from Bryant S. Hinckley, Not by Bread Alone, 95) — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Lessons I Learned as a Boy,” New Era, October 1998, pp. 4-9; also April 1993 General Conference

People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember . . . how you made them feel.  –Anonymous

 We can never do a cheap or shoddy or a mean or tawdry thing if we carry in our hearts a conviction that we have divinity within our lives, that we are sons and daughters of an eternal Father. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Pres. Hinckley addresses nine stakes in St. George,” Church News, November 30, 2002, p. 3

When the Savior came to earth, He taught:  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  When smitten, turn the other cheek.  When asked for a coat, give your cloak also.  Forgive, not just once but seventy times seven.  This was the essence of the gospel He taught.  There was more emphasis on do than on do not.

I fear that some of our greatest sins are sins of omission.  These are the thoughtful, caring deeds that we ought to do but fail to do.  Then we feel guilty for not having done them.

As a small boy on the farm during the searing heat of the summer, I remember my grandmother Mary Finlinson cooking our delicious meals on a hot wood stove.  When the wood box next to the stove became empty, Grandmother silently picked it up, refilled it from the pile of cedar wood outside, and brought the heavily laden box back into the house.  I was so interested in the conversation in the kitchen that I sat there and let my beloved grandmother refill the kitchen wood box.  I feel ashamed of myself and have regretted my omission all my life.  I hope someday to ask for her forgiveness.

We are not only to do good, but, most importantly, to do the things of greatest worth – things of the heart that we know we should do but often don’t do. — President James E. Faust, from the Friend (Liahona), May 1999, 13; adapted from an October 1997 General Conference address

Let us be more merciful.  Let us get the arrogance out of our lives, the conceit, the egotism.  Let us be more compassionate, gentler, filled with forbearance and patience and a greater measure of respect one for another.  In so doing, our very example will cause others to be more merciful, and we shall have greater claim upon the mercy of God who in His love will be generous toward us. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, May 1990, p. 70

Be strong, my brethren, in the quality of mercy.  It is easy to be a bully in one’s home, in one’s business, in one’s speech and acts.  This sick world so cries out for kindness and love and mercy.  These virtues become an expression of strength rather than weakness on the part of any holder of the priesthood of God. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Conference Report, October 1992, p. 74

With your knowledge of the expansive plan of salvation, you could say, “Yes, the God of ‘worlds without number’ cares about what each of us on this tiny planet says and does, including how we treat our parents, our friends, and our roommates.” — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Brim with Joy,” BYU Devotional, January 23, 1996

Kindness is the essence of a celestial life.  Kindness is how a Christlike person treats others.  Kindness should permeate all of our words and actions at work, at school, at church, and especially in our homes. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Virtue of Kindness,” Ensign, May 2005, p. 26

When we are filled with kindness, we are not judgmental.  The Savior taught, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven” (Luke 6:37).  He also taught that “with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:2). 

“But,” you ask, “what if people are rude?”

Love them.

“If they are obnoxious?”

Love them.

“But what if they offend?  Surely I must do something then?”

Love them.

“Wayward?”

The answer is the same.  Be kind. Love them.

Why?  In the scriptures Jude taught, “And of some have compassion, making a difference” (Jude 1:22).

Who can tell what far-reaching impact we can have if we are only kind?

 . . . May we be models of kindness.  May we ever live up to the words of the Savior:  “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another” (John 13:35). — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Virtue of Kindness,” Ensign, May 2005, p. 28

Isn’t each of us a work in progress in the hands of our Maker?  Is God blessing others through you?  Do you pray and ask whom the Lord would have you bless by lifting another’s burden?  Do you love others as much as you love yourself? . . .

Conversion means consecrating your life to caring for and serving others who need your help and sharing your gifts and blessings.  The Lord didn’t say, “Tend my sheep when it is convenient; watch my sheep when you aren’t busy.”  He said, “Feed my sheep and my lambs; help them survive this world; keep them close to you.  Lead them to safety – the safety of righteous choices that will prepare them for eternal life.  (See John 21:15-16.)

Every unselfish act of kindness and service increases your spirituality.  God would use you to bless others.  Your continued spiritual growth and eternal progress are very much wrapped up in your relationships – in how you treat others.  Do you indeed love others and become a blessing in their lives?  Isn’t the measure of the level of your conversion how you treat others?  The person who does only those things in the Church that concern himself alone will never reach the goal of perfection.  Service to others is what the gospel and exalted life are all about. — Elder Robert J. Whetten, “Strengthen Thy Brethren,” Ensign, May 2005, p. 91

“How much larger your life would be if you could become smaller in it. . . . You would begin to be interested in others.  You would break out of this tiny . . . theater in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers.”  (G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, p. 2021)

The gospel tells us who those “splendid strangers” are.  It gives us a sense not only of the immensity and the vastness of God’s work, but also of the great personalness of His work as well. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Brim with Joy,” BYU Devotional, January 23, 1996

Throughout the world. . . strident voices are engaged in divisive disputation and name-calling.  Often demeaning nicknames are added to – or even substituted for – given names.  Unfortunately, terms of derision obscure the true identity of children of the covenant . . . When the Nephites were truly righteous, they avoided divisive nicknames. . . . “There were no Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God” (4 Nephi 1:17).  That lesson from history suggests that we also delete from our personal vocabularies names that segregate. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, May 1995, p. 34

I do not believe there will be anyone in the celestial kingdom that is not nice (see D&C 31:9; 52:40).  — Elder Hartman Rector Jr., Ensign, November 1990, p. 77

Politeness achieves much more than answering rudeness with rudeness.  — Elder Ted E. Brewerton, Ensign, May 1983, p. 73

Several years ago we had a young paperboy who didn’t always deliver the paper in the manner intended.  Instead of getting the paper on the porch, he sometimes accidentally threw it into the bushes or even close to the street.  Some on his paper route decided to start a petition of complaint.  One day a delegation came to our home and asked my wife, Frances, to sign the petition.  She declined, saying, “Why, he’s just a little boy, and the papers are so heavy for him.  I would never be critical of him, for he tries his best.”  The petition, however, was signed by many of the others on the paper route and sent to the boy’s supervisors.

Not many days afterward, I came home from work and found Frances in tears. When she was finally able to talk, she told me that she had just learned that the body of the little paperboy had been found in his garage, where he had taken his own life. Apparently the criticism heaped upon him had been too much for him to bear.  How grateful we were that we had not joined in that criticism.  What a vivid lesson this has always been regarding the importance of being nonjudgmental and treating everyone with kindness. — President Thomas S. Monson, “Constant Truths for Changing Times,” Ensign, May 2005

We can lay down our lives for those we love not by physically dying for them but rather by living for them  – giving of our time; always being present in their lives; serving them; being courteous, affectionate, and showing true love for those of our family and to all men – as the Savior taught. — Elder Claudio R. M. Costa, “Don’t Leave for Tomorrow What You Can Do Today,” Ensign, November 2007, pp. 73-75

Why do any of us have to be so mean and unkind to others?  Why can’t all of us reach out in friendship to everyone about us?  Why is there so much bitterness and animosity?  It is not a part of the gospel of Jesus Christ . . . . There is no end to the good we can do, to the influence we can have with others.  Let us not dwell on the critical or the negative.  Let us pray for strength; let us pray for capacity and desire to assist others.  Let us radiate the light of the gospel at all times and all places, that the Spirit of the Redeemer may radiate from us.– President Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Need for Greater Kindness,” Ensign, May 2006, p. 58

We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, June 1971, p. 72

Many small people in many small places doing many small things can alter the face of the earth. — Anne Pinegree

One day the Prophet [Joseph Smith] was visiting his parents’ home in Far West, when a group of armed militiamen came in and announced that they had come to kill him for a supposed crime. Lucy Mack Smith, the Prophet’s mother, described his gift for peacemaking:

“Joseph looked upon them with a very pleasant smile and, stepping up to them, gave each of them his hand in a manner which convinced them that he was neither a guilty criminal nor yet a cowering hypocrite.  They stopped and stared as though a spectre had crossed their path.

“Joseph sat down and entered into conversation with them and explained to them the views and feelings of the people called Mormons and what their course had been, as also the treatment which they had met with from their enemies since the first outset of the Church.  He told them that malice and detraction had pursued them ever since they entered Missouri, but they were a people who had never broken the laws to his knowledge.  But if they had, they stood ready to be tried by the law. . . .

“After this, he rose and said, ‘Mother, I believe I will go home.  Emma will be expecting me.’  Two of the men sprang to their feet, saying, ‘You shall not go alone, for it is not safe.  We will go with you and guard you.’  Joseph thanked them, and they went with him.

“The remainder of the officers stood by the door while these were absent, and I overhead the following conversation between them:

“First Officer: ‘Did you not feel strangely when Smith took you by the hand?  I never felt so in my life.’

“Second Officer: ‘I felt as though I could not move.  I would not harm one hair of that man’s head for the whole world.’

“Third Officer: ‘This is the last time you will ever catch me coming to kill Joe Smith or the Mormons either.’ . . .

“Those men who went with my son promised to go disband the militia under them and go home, and said that if he had any use for them, they would come back and follow him anywhere.”   [Lucy Mack Smith, “The History of Lucy Smith, Mother of the Prophet,” 1844-45 manuscript, book 15, pp. 8-10, Church Archives] — Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, pp. 339-341

Indeed heaven never seems closer than when we see the love of God manifested in the kindness and devotion of people so good and so pure that angelic is the only word that comes to mind. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Our kindness may be the most persuasive argument for that which we believe. — President Gordon B. Hinckley

Only the human mind has the capacity for creativity, imagination, insight, vision and responsibility.  And I urge you to develop your heart with your mind, to care as well as to think. — President Thomas S. Monson, “Guideposts for Life’s Journey,” BYU-Idaho Commencement, August 2003

“If you would have God have mercy on you, have mercy on one another. . . . We are full of selfishness; the devil flatters us that we are very righteous, when we are feeding on the faults of others.  We can only live by worshiping our God; all must do it for themselves; none can do it for another.  How mild the Savior dealt with Peter, saying, ‘When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.’ [Luke 22:32]  At another time, He said to him, ‘Lovest thou me?’ and having received Peter’s reply, He said, ‘Feed my sheep.’ [John 21:15–17] If the sisters [love] the Lord, let them feed the sheep, and not destroy them. . . .

“Sisters of the society, shall there be strife among you?  I will not have it.  You must repent, and get the love of God.  Away with self-righteousness.  The best measure or principle to bring the poor to repentance is to administer to their wants.”

“. . . Search yourselves – the tongue is an unruly member – hold your tongues about things of no moment – a little tale will set the world on fire.”

“The little foxes spoil the vines – little evils do the most injury to the Church.  If you have evil feelings, and speak of them to one another, it has a tendency to do mischief.”

“Do not injure the character of anyone.  If members of the [Relief] Society shall conduct themselves improperly, deal with them, and keep all your doings within your own bosoms, and hold all characters sacred.” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, pp. 454-55

My brothers and sisters, we are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness – be they family members, friends, acquaintances, or strangers.  We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children.  He is dependent upon each of us. — President Thomas S. Monson, “What Have I Done for Someone Today?” Ensign, November 2009, p. 86

Ways to Help New Members Feel Welcome:

  1. Introduce yourself to new ward or branch members and go out of your way to sit by them in classes and sacrament meeting.
  2. Make an effort to remember their names.
  3. Priesthood leaders and members of the Sunday School and Relief Society presidencies can invite new members to introduce themselves before the lesson begins.
  4.    Offer to assist newcomers in moving in and becoming familiar with the area.
  5.    Invite them to ward or branch activities.
  6.    Be a friend! Continue to become acquainted with new members in the ensuing weeks and months. — Ensign, January 2011

May I expand this counsel to make it a full family matter.  We must be so careful in speaking to a child. What we say or don’t say, how we say it and when is so very, very important in shaping a child’s view of himself or herself.  But it is even more important in shaping that child’s faith in us and their faith in God.  Be constructive in your comments to a child – always. Never tell them, even in whimsy, that they are fat or dumb or lazy or homely.  You would never do that maliciously, but they remember and may struggle for years trying to forget – and to forgive.  And try not to compare your children, even if you think you are skillful at it.  You may say most positively that “Susan is pretty and Sandra is bright,” but all Susan will remember is that she isn’t bright and Sandra that she isn’t pretty.  Praise each child individually for what that child is, and help him or her escape our culture’s obsession with comparing, competing, and never feeling we are “enough.” — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Tongue of Angels,” Ensign, May 2007

We live in a world where finding fault in others seems to be the favorite blood sport. It has long been the basis of political campaign strategy.  It is the theme of much television programming across the world.  It sells newspapers.  Whenever we meet anyone, our first, almost unconscious reaction may be to look for imperfections.

To keep ourselves grounded in the Lord’s Church, we can and must train our eyes to recognize the power of the Lord in the service of those He has called.  We must be worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost.  And we need to pray for the Holy Ghost to help us know that men who lead us hold this power.  For me, such prayers are most often answered when I am fully engaged in the Lord’s service myself. — President Henry B. Eyring, “Faith and Keys,” Ensign, November 2004, p. 28

Oh, let us not deal in personalities and tear down a brother’s reputation and hurt his feelings.  We are striving to establish the kingdom of God: let us hold to that fact as the anchor of our soul and then breathe forth charity and love to those who may not see just as we do. — President David O. McKay, Conference Report, October 1912, p. 122

Suppose that in this community there are ten beggars who beg from door to door for something to eat, and that nine of them are impostors who beg to escape work, and with an evil heart practice imposition upon the generous and sympathetic, and that only one of the ten who visit your doors is worthy of your bounty; which is best, to give food to the ten, to make sure of helping the truly needy one, or to repulse the ten because you do not know which is the worthy one?  You will all say, Administer charitable gifts to the ten, rather than turn away the only truly worthy and truly needy person among them.  If you do this, it will make no difference in your blessings, whether you administer to worthy or unworthy persons, inasmuch as you give alms with a single eye to assist the truly needy. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol.8, p.12, March 5, 1860

It should not discourage us if our kindness is unacknowledged; it has its influence still.  — Unknown

Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person . . . is at stake.  Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.  — Martin Luther King Jr.

The worldly man treats certain people kindly because he “likes” them:  the Christian, trying to treat every one kindly, finds himself liking more and more people as he goes on –  including people he could not even have imagined himself liking at the beginning.  — C. S. Lewis

By seriously trying to apply the Golden Rule that the Savior gave to us, we will find greater joy, success, satisfaction, and friendship as we go through life, and we will enjoy the love of others and the Spirit of our Father in heaven.  If we will always look for the best in others, in our friends, in our neighbors, in our wife, in our husband, in our children, they will turn out to be the most wonderful people in the world.  On the other hand, if we are looking for their weaknesses and faults and enlarge upon them, these same people may become even despicable. — Elder N. Eldon Tanner, “Love One Another,” Ensign, October 1972, p. 2

If you really want to be like the Lord – more than any thing or anyone else – you will remember that your adoration of Jesus is best shown by your emulation of Him.  Then you will not allow any other love to become more important than love for your companion, your family, and your Creator.  You will govern yourself not by someone else’s set of rules but by revealed principles of truth. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Endure and Be Lifted Up,” Ensign, May 1997

The real spirit of Christmas lies in the life and mission of the Master.  I continue with what the writer defines as the real spirit of Christmas:

“It is a desire to sacrifice for others, to render service and to possess a feeling of universal brotherhood.  It consists of a willingness to forget what you have done for others, and to remember what others have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you, and think only of your duties in the middle distance, and your chance to do good and aid your fellow-men in the foreground – to see that your fellow-men are just as good as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts – to close your book of grievances against the universe, and look about you for a place to sow a few seeds of happiness, and go your way unobserved.  (Clarence Baird, “The Spirit of Christmas”) — President Howard W. Hunter, “The Real Christmas,” Ensign, December 2005

Said Jesus: “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”  (Matt. 7:12 )

May I remind us at this Christmas season that if only each of us would reflect occasionally on that Christ-given mandate and make an effort to observe it, this would be a different world.  There would be greater happiness in our homes; there would be kinder feelings among our associates; there would be much less of litigation and a greater effort to compose differences.  There would be a new measure of love and appreciation and respect.

There would be more generous hearts, more thoughtful consideration and concern, and a greater desire to spread the gospel of peace and to advance the work of salvation among the children of men. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Do Ye Even So to Them,” Ensign, December 1991, p. 2

Once again may I emphasize the principle that when we truly become converted to Jesus Christ, committed to Him, an interesting thing happens: our attention turns to the welfare of our fellowmen, and the way we treat others becomes increasingly filled with patience, kindness, a gentle acceptance, and a desire to play a positive role in their lives. This is the beginning of true conversion. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, “The Tongue Can Be a Sharp Sword,” Ensign, May 1992, p. 18

It is amazing what courtesy will accomplish.  It is tragic what a lack of courtesy can bring.  We see it every day as we move in the traffic of the cities in which we live.  A moment spent in letting someone else get into the line does good for the one who is helped, and it also does good for the one who helps.  Something happens inside of us when we are courteous and deferential toward others.  It is all part of a refining process which, if persisted in, will change our very natures. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Conference Report, April 1996, p. 70

Change the focus of your view, and of your eyes, from watching for evil to watching for that which is good, that which is pure, and leading, prompting those who err into that path which has no error in it, and that will not admit of mistakes.  Look for good in men, and where they fail to possess it try to build it up in them; try to increase the good; and speak as little about the evil as you possibly can.  It does not do any good to magnify evil, to publish evil or to promulgate it by tongue or pen.  There is no good to be obtained by it. — President Joseph F. Smith, Conference Report, April 1913, pp. 7-8

Hard to do?  Of course.  The Lord never promised an easy road, nor a simple gospel nor low standards, nor a low norm.  The price is high, but the goods attained are worth all they cost.  The Lord himself turned the other cheek; he suffered himself to be buffeted and beaten without remonstrance; he suffered every indignity and yet spoke no word of condemnation.  And his question to all of us is: “Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be?”  And his answer to us is: ”Even as I am.” — President Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, October 1977, p. 71

It is a full-time job to be decent – to be decent to everybody all the time.  To be decent is to cease bitterness jealousy, and hate, to refrain from gossip, refrain from backbiting, and from passing on untrue comments and unreliable stories about another, to be considerate, thoughtful, and sympathetic.  After all, everyone that I know of already has a very heavy load to carry. — Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson, Conference Report, April 1959, p. 65

Have I any ill feelings towards these people that persecute and proscribe us?  No. I would do them good for evil, give blessings for curses; I would treat them well, treat them honorably.  Let us be men of truth, honor and integrity; men that will swear to our own hurt and change not; men whose word will be our everlasting bond.  If you see men hungry, feed them, no matter who they are; white, black, or red, Jew, Gentile or Mormon, or anybody else – feed them.  If you see naked, clothe them.  If you see sick, administer to them, and learn to be kind to all men; but partake not of their evil practices. — President John Taylor, General Conference, October 1884

Today we live in times of conflict, dissent, differences of opinion, charges, countercharges, disagreements.  There is a need for us, perhaps more than ever before, to reach within ourselves and allow the qualities of mutual respect, mingled with charity and forgiveness; to influence our actions with one another; to be able to disagree without becoming disagreeable; to lower our voices and build on common ground with the realization that once the storm has passed, we will still have to live with one another. — Elder Loren C. Dunn, Ensign, May 1991, p. 82

We live in perilous times when many believe we are not accountable to God and that we do not have personal responsibility or stewardship for ourselves or others.  Many in the world are focused on self-gratification, put themselves first, and love pleasure more than they love righteousness.  They do not believe they are their brother’s keeper.  In the Church, however, we believe that these stewardships are a sacred trust. — Elder Quentin L. Cook, “Stewardship – a Sacred Trust,” Ensign, November 2009, p. 91

Imperfect people are, in fact, called by our perfect Lord to assist in His work.  The Lord declared to certain associates of Joseph Smith that He knew that they had observed Joseph’s minor imperfections.  Even so, the Lord then testified that the revelations given through the Prophet were true!  (See D&C 67:5, 9.)

Unsurprisingly, therefore, we do notice each other’s weaknesses.  But we should not celebrate them.  Let us be grateful for the small strides that we and others make, rather than rejoice in the shortfalls.  And when mistakes occur, let them become instructive, not destructive. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “A Brother Offended,” Ensign, May 1982, p. 37

To be involved with outreach is to comply with what Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, called the “doctrine of inclusion.”  “Our doctrines and beliefs are important to us,” he taught.  “We embrace them and cherish them.  I am not suggesting for a moment that we shouldn’t.  On the contrary, our peculiarity and the uniqueness of the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ are indispensable elements in offering the people of the world a clear choice.  Neither am I suggesting that we should associate in any relationship that would place us or our families at spiritual risk.”  Quoting the First Presidency message from 1978, Elder Ballard reaffirmed:  “Our message . . . is one of special love and concern for the eternal welfare of all men and women, regardless of religious belief, race, or nationality, knowing that we are truly brothers and sisters of the same Eternal Father.”  “That is our doctrine,” Elder Ballard concluded, “a doctrine of inclusion.  That is what we believe.  That is what we have been taught.  Of all people on this earth, we should be the most loving, the kindest, and the most tolerant because of that doctrine.”  (In Conference Report, Oct. 2001, 44-45.) — “Reaching Out: A View on Interfaith Respect,” a devotional talk given on January 12, 2012 by Robert L. Millet, Professor of Religion and Emeritus Dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University.

Let me emphasize that the noblest aim in life is to strive to live to make lives better and happier.  The most worthy calling in life is that in which man can serve best his fellowman. — President David O. McKay, Conference Report, April 1961, p. 131

The best and most clear indicator that we are progressing spiritually and coming unto Christ is the way we treat other people. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, May 1992, p. 20

Often, when a tragedy or disaster happens, volunteers rush to give assistance.  They clear debris from homes devastated by floods, tornadoes, hurricanes or other acts of nature.  They clean carpets and walls.  They bring in food, clothing and even toys for children.  They endeavor to fill every need they can see.

Some people, unable to offer physical labor or monetary donations, serve by listening.  These listeners can be found just about anywhere there is human suffering, tragedy, sorrow or disappointment: amid the twisted ruins of an F5-level tornado or the ashes of a home lost to fire, in a waiting area outside a hospital’s operating room, in a care center’s room where resides a man or woman no longer able to tend to the ins and outs of daily living, in a quiet corner of school grounds where a young man or young woman is caught in the social throes of adolescence, on the playground where a child wails, “No one likes me!”

A listening ear goes far in alleviating pain, lessening sorrow, cheering up a sad countenance.  Indeed, as Voltaire opined, it is the road to the heart. –“A Listening Ear,” Church News, June 9, 2012

I have often regretted my speech, seldom my silence. — Xenocrates

Kindness is the essence of greatness and the fundamental characteristic of the noblest men and women I have known.  Kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends.  It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes. . . . Kindness is the essence of a celestial life.  Kindness is how a Christlike person treats others.  Kindness should permeate all of our words and actions at work, at school, at church, and especially in our homes. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Virtue of Kindness,” Ensign, May 2005, p. 26

We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance. — Elder David A. Bednar, “The Tender Mercies of the Lord,” Ensign, May 2005

It is indeed remarkable that the nature of our dealings with our fellowmen will determine, in large measure, our status in the kingdom of heaven. . . . We may attend to rites and rituals and yet overlook the weightier matters such as brotherly kindness, honesty, mercy, virtue, and integrity.  Let us never forget that if we omit them from our lives we may be found unworthy to come into His presence. — Elder Mark E. Petersen, “Do Unto Others,” Ensign, May 1977, p. 73

In this long eternal quest to be more like our Savior, may we try to be “perfect” men and women in at least this one way now – by offending not in word, or more positively put, by speaking with a new tongue, the tongue of angels.  Our words, like our deeds, should be filled with faith and hope and charity, the three great Christian imperatives so desperately needed in the world today. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Tongue of Angels,” Ensign, April 2007

In an interview with the press, President Howard W. Hunter said that one of our objectives as a church is “to change the world and its thinking.”  Identifying how we need to go about that task, President Hunter said, “We have an obligation, as Christians – as members of the Church – and we call upon all people to be more kind and more considerate – whether it be in our homes, in our businesses, in our relations in society.” Concluding this plea, he said that we have a responsibility to teach “a Christ-like response to all the problems of the world” (Gerry Avant, “Prophet Focuses on Christ’s Message,” Church News, 9 July 1994, 3). — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Sins and Mistakes,” Ensign, October 1996, p. 62

The people around us need a lot of help, and I think the Lord expects us to join in that effort.  I think that is what he meant when he said, “Come; see what I do and watch how I spend my time.” . . .

On the example of the Savior himself and his call to his apostles, and with the need for peace and comfort ringing in our ears, I ask you to be a healer, be a helper, be someone who joins in the work of Christ in lifting burdens, in making the load lighter, in making things better. . . . Someone sitting within reasonable proximity to you tonight is carrying a spiritual or physical or emotional burden of some sort or some other affliction drawn from life’s catalog of a thousand kinds of sorrow.  In the spirit of Christ’s first invitation to Philip and Andrew and then to Peter and the whole of his twelve apostles, jump into this work.  Help people.  Heal old wounds and try to make things better. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Come unto Me,” BYU fireside address, March 2, 1997

Referring to the suffering of the Martin and Willie handcart companies, President Hinckley said:  “I am grateful that those days of pioneering are behind us.  I am thankful that we do not have brethren and sisters stranded in the snow, freezing & dying, while trying to get to this, their Zion in the mountains.  But there are people, not a few, whose circumstances are desperate and who cry out for help and relief.

There are so many who are hungry and destitute across this world who need help. . . . Ours is a great and solemn duty to reach out and help them, to lift them, to feed them if they are hungry, to nurture their spirits if they thirst for truth and righteousness.

There are so many young people who wander aimlessly and walk the tragic train of drugs, gangs, immorality, and the whole brood of ills that accompany these things.  There are widows who long for friendly voices and that spirit of anxious concerns which speaks of love.  There are those who were once warm in the faith, but whose faith has grown cold. Many of them wish to come back but do not know quite how to do it.  They need friendly hands reaching out to them.  With a little effort, many of them can be brought back to the feast again at the table of the Lord.

My brethren and sisters, I would hope, I would pray that each of us . . . would resolve to seek those who need help, who are in desperate and difficult circumstances, and lift them in the spirit of love into the embrace of the Church, where strong hands and loving hearts will warm them, comfort them, sustain them, and put them on the way of happy and productive lives. — President Gordon B Hinckley, Ensign, November 1996, p. 86

My brothers and sisters, we are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness – be they family members, friends, acquaintances, or strangers.  We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children.  He is dependent upon each of us. . . . Find someone who is having a hard time or ill or lonely, and do something for him or her. — President Thomas S. Monson, “What Have I Done for Someone Today?” Ensign, November, 2009, pp. 84-87

It is not the purpose of this Church to make statements that would hurt the feelings of those who do not understand things.  This Church is not one that goes about criticizing and finding fault with others, but in the spirit of loving kindness and the desire to be helpful, its representatives carry the Gospel message to the nations of the earth.  (Conf. Report, Oct. 1931, p. 120) Teachings of Presidents of the Church, George Albert Smith, p. 149

Always be willing, even anxious, to help others.  Nothing else you do will give you the same genuine satisfaction and joy within because, and I quote, “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).  Ignoring the needs of others is a serious sin. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Running Your Marathon,” Ensign, November 1989

God offers us counsel not just for our own safety but for the safety of His other children, whom we should love.  There are few comforts so sweet as to know that we have been an instrument in the hands of God in leading someone else to safety.  That blessing generally requires the faith to follow counsel when it is hard to do. — Elder Henry B. Eyring, “Safety in Counsel”, Liahona, June 2008, pp. 2-7

Good and kind people outnumber all others by thousands to one.  Thus, in what I like to call the Great Asymmetry, every spectacular incident of evil will be balanced by 10,000 acts of kindness, to often unnoted and invisible as the “ordinary” efforts of a vast majority. — Stephen Jay Gould

Each assertion of a righteous desire, each act of service, and each act of worship, however small and incremental, adds to our spiritual momentum.  Like Newton’s Second Law, there is a transmitting of acceleration as well as a contagiousness associated with even the small acts of goodness. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts,” October 1996 General Conference

If we could look into each other’s hearts and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance, and care. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, May 1992

Let us . . . look around us in our neighborhood – not leave it to the Bishop and the Relief Society, but let each of us be ministers of loving kindness to those who will need us so much.  And whatever we do let us not make those who require assistance feel like paupers.  Let us give what we give as though it belonged to them.  God has loaned it to us. Sometimes we who have accumulated means [act] as though we think it belongs to us. Everything that we have, our food, our clothing, our shelter, our homes and our opportunities are all given to us as stewards in the Church and kingdom of our Heavenly Father, and if we will . . . impart of our substance even though it may be but the widow’s mite, we will obtain from him who lives on high the blessings we need in our day here upon the earth, and when the time comes for us to go hence we will find awaiting us the blessing of a loving Father who has appreciated the efforts we have put forth. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith

In a dating and courtship relationship, I would not have you spend five minutes with someone who belittles you, one who is constantly critical of you, one who is cruel at your expense and may even call it humor.  Life is tough enough without the person who is supposed to love you leading the assault on your self-esteem, your sense of dignity, your confidence, and your joy.  In this person’s care, you deserve to feel physically safe and emotionally secure. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “How Do I Love Thee?” BYU Devotional, February 15, 2000

I have spoken here of heavenly help, of angels dispatched to bless us in time of need.  But when we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil.  Some of them we walk with and talk with – here, now, every day. Some of them reside in our own neighborhoods. Some of them gave birth to us, and in my case, one of them consented to marry me. Indeed heaven never seems closer than when we see the love of God manifested in the kindness and devotion of people so good and so pure that angelic is the only word that comes to mind. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Ministry of Angels,” Ensign, November 2008

Every influence for peace ought to be exercised.  Lucifer is exercising every means to destroy the souls of the human family.  He is more active than he has ever been and he works in such an insidious way.  I will not take time to enumerate the many ways he employs but there is one way in which he operates, and has operated from the beginning of the world, and that is to tempt one individual to destroy the reputation of another by saying unkind things of them.  (“To the Relief Society,” Relief Society Magazine, Dec. 1932, 704.) . . .

As a people we are advised not to be critical, not to be unkind, not to speak harshly of those with whom we associate.  We ought to be the greatest exemplars in all the world in that regard.  Consider the criticism today.  Pick up your newspapers and see the unkind things that are being said by individuals about others, and yet many times the individual who is criticizing has a beam in his own eye and does not see at all clearly, but he does think his brother has a mote in his eye.  (In Conference Report, Oct. 1949, 168-69) Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, pp. 225-26

Every kind word spoken gives you greater ability to speak another.  Every act of assistance rendered by you, through the knowledge that you possess, to aid one of your fellows, gives you greater ability to aid the next one.  Good acts grow upon a person. . . . if you perform a kind act or add words of encouragement to one in distress, who is struggling along in the battle of life, the greater is your capacity to do this in the future. Don’t go through life with your lips sealed against words of kindness and encouragement, nor your hearts sealed against performing labors for another.  Make a motto in life: always try and assist someone else to carry his burden. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, p. 143

If you feel that Heavenly Father is not listening to your petitions, ask yourself if you are listening to the cries of the poor, the sick, the hungry, and the afflicted all around you. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Law of the Fast,” Ensign, May 2001, p. 73

Generally speaking, the most miserable people I know are those obsessed with themselves; the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others. . . . Well, in conclusion I just want to say to you who are here tonight, forget yourselves and reach out.  Occasionally, put in the background your own personal, selfish interests.  Reach out in service to others.  In so doing, you will find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Forget Yourself,” BYU Devotional, March 6, 1977

The more we obey God, the more we desire to help others.  The more we help others, the more we love God and on and on.  Conversely, the more we disobey God and the more selfish we are, the less love we feel.

Trying to find lasting love without obeying God is like trying to quench thirst by drinking from an empty cup – you can go through the motions, but the thirst remains. Similarly, trying to find love without helping and sacrificing for others is like trying to live without eating – it is against the laws of nature and cannot succeed.  We cannot fake love. It must become part of us. — Elder John H. Groberg, Ensign, November 2004, p. 9

Respect one another; do not speak lightly of each other.  Some, if they get a little pique against an individual, are disposed to cast him down to hell, as not worthy of a place upon earth.  O fools!  Not to understand that those you condemn are the workmanship of God, as well as yourselves!  God overlooks their weaknesses; and so far as they do good, they are as acceptable as we are.  Thank God that you know better, and be full of mercy and kindness. Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 274

Many people imagine that charity is giving a dollar to somebody; but real, genuine charity is giving love and sympathy, and that is the kind of charity that the apostle had reference to in this 13th chapter of First Corinthians. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, p. 153

How can we give to the Lord?  What shall we give to him?  Every kind word to our own, every help given them, is as a gift to God, whose chief concern is the welfare of his children.  Every gentle deed to our neighbor, every kindness to the poor and suffering, is a gift to the Lord, before whom all mankind are equal.  Every conformity to the Lord’s plan of salvation – and this is of first importance – is a direct gift to God, for thereby we fit ourselves more nearly for our divinely planned destiny.

The desire and the effort to give to the Lord, born of the surrender of man to the plan of salvation, stamp every Christmas gift with genuine value. They who identify themselves with the plan, who do not resist it, who earnestly seek to tread the path of the plan, are true givers to the Lord, and their gifts to men come with the flavor of heaven.  The Lord and his plan must have place in our Christmas celebration. — Elder John A. Widtsoe, Ensign, December 1972, p. 4

My understanding is that the most important mission that I have in this life is: first, to keep the commandments of God, as they been taught to me; and next, to teach them to my Father’s children who do not understand them.  It is not necessary for you to be called to go into the mission field in order to proclaim the truth.  Begin on the man who lives next door by inspiring confidence in him, by inspiring love in him for you because of your righteousness, and your missionary work has already begun. — President George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1916, pp. 50-51

The mighty change of heart the less active need to experience is, finally, the individual’s to make.  But our love can be a catalyst as these, our brothers and sisters, in Shakespeare’s phrase, “unthread the rude eye of rebellion, and welcome home again discarded faith.”  (King John IV, act 5, scene 4) 

Honest acceptance accompanied by love and service are never more felt than in those moments involving death, divorce, career changes, illness, or moves – when an individual’s world, in some way or another, has been shaken.  So often these events put us in circumstances wherein we are, to use Alma’s phrase, “in a preparation to hear the word.”  (Alma 32:6)             

Again, I refer to Jesus’ words:  “Unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent . . . and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.” 

Note that the resurrected Jesus, having completed a perfect mortal ministry, gives us this counsel clearly reflecting the style and substance of his leadership and charity, reminding us that we know not who will return and repent.  Note, too, that without belaboring it, the sequence is first the return, then a completion of the process of change in a nurturing and ministering environment.  The Lord said He “shall heal them,” but we “shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.”  This is a wondrous scripture, full of wisdom and direction and consolation.  We should not forget that for many in the Church who do not yet have the witness of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, they must believe on the words of those of us who do know.  (See D&C 46:13–14.) — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Continue to Minister,” Ensign, June 1987, p. 10

Be kinder to one another and kinder to ourselves.  — Elder Robert D. Hales, General Conference, October 2011

Let me emphasize that the noblest aim in life is to strive to live to make lives better and happier.  The most worthy calling in life is that in which man can serve best his fellowman. — President David O. McKay, Conference Report, April 1961

One of the talents which needs to be greatly magnified is a sensitivity to others, and this sensitivity involves reaching out and touching another heart.  By learning not to be afraid to laugh at oneself, one is able to stir up the kindred feelings of others.  Under the cultivation of the Holy Ghost the talents will be greatly magnified. — President James E. Faust, BYU Speeches, March 17, 1981

I plead with you to control your tempers, to put a smile upon your faces, which will erase anger; speak out with words of love and peace, appreciation, and respect.  If you will do this, your lives will be without regret.  Your marriages and family relationships will be preserved.  You will be much happier.  You will do greater good.  You will feel a sense of peace that will be wonderful. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Slow to Anger,” General Conference, October 2007

We have been sent into the world to do good to others; and in doing good to others we do good to ourselves.  We should always keep this in view, the husband in reference to his wife, the wife in reference to her husband, the children in reference to their parents, and the parents in reference to their children.  There is always opportunity to do good to one another. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow, p. 259

If we really want to feel better about ourselves, we should do deeds of kindness. Kindness shapes our character and makes us more like our Father in Heaven. — President James E. Faust

We must not be clannish.  We must never adopt a holier-than-thou attitude.  We must not be self-righteous.  We must be magnanimous, and open, and friendly.  We can keep our faith.  We can practice our religion.  We can cherish our method of worship without being offensive to others.  I take this occasion to plead for a spirit of tolerance and neighborliness, of friendship and love toward those of other faiths. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Pioneer Day Commemoration, July 2001

Latter-day Saints have a positive and inclusive approach toward others who are not of our faith.  We believe they are literally our brothers and sisters, that we are sons and daughters of the same Heavenly Father.  We have a common genealogy leading back to God.  But more than that, we also seek the true and the beautiful wherever it may be found.  And we know that God has blessed all his children with goodness and light, in accordance with the conditions in which they find themselves. — President Howard W. Hunter, Ensign, November 1991, p. 19

One way you can measure your value in the kingdom of God is to ask, “How well am I doing in helping others reach their potential?  Do I support others in the church, or do I criticize them?”

If you are criticizing others, you are weakening the church.  If you are building others, you are building the kingdom of God.  As Heavenly Father is kind, we also should be kind to others. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Virtue of Kindness, Ensign, May 2005, p. 28

We all have our weaknesses and failings.  Sometimes the husband sees a failing in his wife, and he upbraids her with it.  Sometimes the wife feels that her husband has not done just the right thing, and she upbraids him.  What good does it do?  Is not forgiveness better?  Is not charity better?  Is not love better?  Isn’t it better not to speak of faults, not to magnify weaknesses by iterating and reiterating them?  Isn’t that better?  And will not the union that has been cemented between you and the birth of children and by the bond of the new and everlasting covenant, be more secure when you forget to mention weaknesses and faults one of another?  Is it not better to drop them and say nothing about them – bury them and speak only of the good that you know and feel, one for another, and thus bury each other’s faults and not magnify them; isn’t that better?” — President Joseph F. Smith, “Sermon on Home Government,” Millennial Star, 25 January 1912, pp. 49–50

In your associations one with another, build and strengthen one another. “No man is an island; no man stands alone.”  We so need help and encouragement and strength, one from another. . . . Let me urge you to desist from making cutting remarks one to another.  Rather, cultivate the art of complimenting, of strengthening, of encouraging.  What wonders we can accomplish when others have faith in us. No leader can long succeed in any society without the confidence of the people.  It is so with us in our daily associations. . . .

It is a responsibility divinely laid upon us to bear one another’s burdens, to strengthen one another, to encourage one another, to lift one another, to look for the good in one another, and to emphasize that good.  There is not a student in this assembly who cannot be depressed on the one hand, or lifted on the other, by the remarks of his associates. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled,” BYU Devotional, October 29, 1974