Friend to Friend: A Beautiful World
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“Friend to Friend: A Beautiful World,” Friend, Dec. 2004, 8

Friend to Friend:

A Beautiful World

Let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth … knoweth God (1 Jn. 4:7).

Elder Mervyn B. Arnold

The earliest memory I have as a small child happened on our farm. I was three or four years old at the time, and we were herding sheep. The Wasatch Mountains had a little snow on them; in the sunset, they looked absolutely beautiful. The thought came to my mind of how beautiful this world is.

That picture has come back to my mind several times since then as I have seen those mountains at various times of the year. I reflect upon the beautiful things of this world that the Savior has made for us—trees, streams, birds, flowers, and butterflies. I love the beauty of this earth. I have a great love for my Heavenly Father and the little things He puts around us to remind us that He loves and cares about us.

My parents were wonderful examples of love and nurturing. They loved the gospel and lived the gospel, and were in my mind perfect examples of Christlike people. They loved their neighbors and took care of them. We had a small farm with lots of chickens, a cow, and a horse. We were not in a wonderful financial condition ourselves, but we never went without food. As a young child I remember many instances of people who were too poor to pay for their eggs. I remember my mother saying, “It’s OK, you don’t need to pay for the eggs today.” And, “Why don’t you take this chicken home with you and have a good chicken dinner?”

Wonderful Primary teachers also taught me many good things. My memory of names is very poor, and yet these people’s names are engraven on my soul. I think there is a cement of love that permanently binds such people’s names to our hearts and our minds. Most of all, I remember their love toward me. My Primary teachers demonstrated that love in lots of ways. I remember them coming over to see me when I was sick. If I ever missed Primary, they were there to find out why and to check on me.

When I was a very young boy I had pneumonia, and both my lungs filled up with fluid. My father asked me if I wanted a priesthood blessing. I told him I did. I remember asking him to call my uncle to come. When they placed their hands on my head and through the holy Melchizedek Priesthood called down a blessing of heaven, I felt different. I felt something flow into me, and I knew that the priesthood was very real. The doctor had told my mother that I was in very serious condition, but the next morning I felt great. My mother took me back to the doctor, and he checked my lungs. They were completely empty of fluid.

I would like to tell you children that I love you. I think about you all the time. I want you to know that I personally pray for you, and that I care about what is happening in your lives. I have great hopes for you. This world is just as beautiful now as when I was growing up, and I hope you see the beauty around you. I know that the Savior cares about every child individually. I want you to know that. He knows you personally and cares about each one of you dearly, deeply. He wants you to succeed and be happy. I know this Church is true. If you live the commandments, you will always feel good, and the Lord will bless you.

Photo composition by Mark Robison

1. At age 4

2. At age 8

3. Elder Arnold with his wife, Devonna, and their six children in April 1985

4. Elder Arnold and his family in 2002