“Baskets and Bottles,” Ensign, April 2018
God has given us many gifts, much diversity, and many differences, but the essential thing is what we know about each other—that we are all His children.
Our challenge as members of the Church is for all of us to learn from each other, that we may all love each other and grow together.
The doctrines of the gospel are indispensable. They are essential, but the packaging is optional. Let me share a simple example to show the difference between the doctrines of the Church and the cultural packaging. Here is a bottle of Utah peaches, prepared by a Utah homemaker to feed her family during a snowy season. Hawaiian homemakers don’t bottle fruit. They pick enough fruit for a few days and store it in baskets like this for their families. This basket contains a mango, bananas, a pineapple, and a papaya … picked by a Polynesian homemaker to feed her family in a climate where fruit ripens all year round.
The basket and the bottle are different containers, but the content is the same: fruit for a family. Is the bottle right and the basket wrong? No, they are both right. They are containers appropriate to the culture and the needs of the people. And they are both appropriate for the content they carry, which is the fruit.
Now, what is the fruit? Paul tells us: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, [and] temperance” [Galatians 5:22–23]. In the sisterhood of Relief Society, in the brotherhood of priesthood quorums, in the reverent coming together to partake of the sacrament, the fruit of the Spirit unites us in love, joy, and peace whether the Relief Society is in Taipei or Tonga, whether the priesthood quorum is in Montana or Mexico, and whether the sacrament meeting is in Fiji or the Philippines.
… When I was called to the Relief Society General Presidency, President [Gordon B.] Hinckley counseled me: “You bring a peculiar quality to this presidency. You will be recognized as one who represents those beyond the borders of the United States and Canada. … They will see in you a representation of their oneness with the Church.” He gave me a blessing that my tongue might be loosed as I spoke to the people.4
… [When I spoke in other lands,] I could feel the Spirit carrying my words to their hearts, and I could feel “the fruit of the Spirit” bringing back to me their love, their joy, and their faith. I could feel the Spirit making us one.
Brothers and sisters, whether your fruits are peaches or papaya, and whether you bring them in bottles or in baskets, we thank you for offering them in love. Father in Heaven, may we be one and may we be Thine,5 I pray in the sacred name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.