“Speaking Today,” Liahona, July 2006, N9
Sister Lant Teaches Love of Self
When Primary general president Cheryl C. Lant was sent to visit with children in South Africa in 2005, she worried about whether she could emotionally handle the living conditions of some of the children. When she actually met with them, though, her reaction surprised her.
“I did see children in terrible conditions, and I knew I could do nothing to change it,” Sister Lant told students during a February 2006 devotional at Brigham Young University. “But I also felt an overwhelming love for them and a sense of God’s love for them.”
Speaking on Valentine’s Day, a holiday devoted to the celebration of love, Sister Lant told students they could prepare to truly love others by first loving themselves and appreciating their worth as children of Heavenly Father. She suggested that students develop righteous self-love by respecting their bodies, keeping themselves pure, appreciating who they are, and forgiving themselves.
Quoting Doctrine and Covenants 88:124, Sister Lant asked students to consider whether they “retire to thy bed early” and get appropriate amounts of sleep. She also urged students to exercise, eat the right kinds of food at the right times, and avoid fad diets.
Addressing moral purity as an important aspect of self-love, Sister Lant recalled her thoughts as she looked at photographs of her sons’ rock-climbing adventures. “I remember thinking, ‘I’m glad they don’t make eternal choices like they rock climb,’” Sister Lant said. “Their eternal choices keep them firmly planted on solid ground.”
Asking students whether they ever find themselves on the edge of rules and commandments governing morality, Sister Lant urged students to do everything in their power to avoid the temptation to defile their bodies. “Satan will do everything to persuade you to misuse and abuse your body,” she said.
Sister Lant told students they shouldn’t compare themselves to others but rather appreciate their unique talents as divine gifts. “We owe all that we are to Heavenly Father,” she said.
Finally, Sister Lant said students should be able to forgive themselves when they make mistakes.
Once students achieve a sense of self-love and appreciation, they should focus outward and serve others, Sister Lant said. Service should ultimately be performed not out of a sense of duty or guilt, she said, but should spring naturally from a sense of love for others. This love includes understanding others rather than condemning them and accepting personal differences as strengths.
“We can pray for this love,” Sister Lant said. “We can work for this love.”
People who understand the laws of love and express pure love toward themselves, others, and God will be able to follow the commandments, while those who pursue lust or love of material things will be unsatisfied, Sister Lant said. “If our lives are about ‘me,’ we’re missing the point,” she said.
Adapted from BYU NewsNet, February 14, 2006.