Love, Unity, Respect, and Friendship—Recent Messages from Prophets and Apostles
September 2022

Digital Only

Love, Unity, Respect, and Friendship—Recent Messages from Prophets and Apostles

See what living prophets have taught recently about these topics on social media.

Jesus sitting at the well with a Samaritan woman

At the Well, by Crystal Close

Members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have spoken in general conference of the importance of unity, respect, and friendship. They have also shared messages about these topics on social media, including the following:

Be Kind and Eliminate Contention

“Resolve to be kind to others. When the Savior Jesus Christ visited the Americas, as recorded in the Book of Mormon, one of the first things He taught was the need to eliminate contention in our lives. So, please be compassionate, be understanding, be slow to judge, and be quick to forgive.”

President Russell M. Nelson, Facebook, Jan. 1, 2022, facebook.com/russell.m.nelson.

Create a Spirit of Cooperation

“Friendship and respect can literally be lifesaving.

“I was among those who worked to develop an artificial heart-lung machine, which in turn helped in the pioneering of open-heart surgery. There was a great spirit of cooperation and respect among the few of us working in that new area of medical research. We knew that our real competition was against disease and death. Our cooperation in the race to pioneer new medical procedures literally saved lives.

“It is possible to disagree with others without violating the Savior’s injunction to ‘love one another, as I have loved you’ (John 15:12). It is possible to have a different opinion than your neighbor while still loving that neighbor. It is even possible to ‘compete’ in a spirit of mutual respect that brings out the best in everyone.

“May we reflect personally on what we can do to eliminate contention from our own lives as we embrace … excellence, friendship, and respect.”

President Russell M. Nelson, Facebook, July 23, 2021, facebook.com/russell.m.nelson.

Abandon Prejudice and Promote Respect

“We welcome these opportunities to build friendship and discuss shared initiatives that will continue to foster understanding and mutual respect.

“Such friendships enrich our lives and reflect important teachings of the Savior. …

“I reiterate my call1 to members of the Church everywhere to abandon attitudes and actions of prejudice and to promote respect for all of God’s children. This is a hallmark of all true followers of Jesus Christ.

“Abandoning prejudice must go well beyond what we say at the pulpit. We also need to abandon hurtful and insensitive comments in our conversations, in our private messages to one another and on social media, and, most importantly, in our own hearts. This will happen as we fully embrace the teachings of the Savior Jesus Christ, who said, ‘Love one another; as I have loved you’ (John 13:34).

“May we strive to follow Him by living up to His lofty, loving, and inclusive example.”

President Russell M. Nelson, Facebook, June 14, 2021, facebook.com/russell.m.nelson.

Reconcile Differences

“Although our society is still painfully unsettled in managing the relationship between religious freedom and nondiscrimination, I believe that it need not remain so. … As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I advocate the moral and political imperative of reconciling existing conflicts and avoiding new ones.

“As a practical basis for coexistence, we should accept the reality that we are fellow citizens who need each other. This requires us to accept some laws we dislike, and to live peacefully with some persons whose values differ from our own. When some advocates voice insults or practice other minor provocations, both sides should ignore them. Our society already has too many ugly confrontations. If we answer back, we tend to mirror the insult.

“Far from being a weakness, reconciling adverse positions through respectful negotiation is a virtue. As Jesus taught, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God’ (Matthew 5:9).

“All that is necessary for unity and a broad coalition to promote our common need for religious freedom is our shared conviction that God has commanded us to love one another, including our neighbors with different beliefs and cultures.”

President Dallin H. Oaks, Facebook, Nov. 12, 2021, facebook.com/dallin.h.oaks.

Love as Christ Loves

“I feel the light, the optimism, and the witness that come from the influence of the Holy Ghost whenever I remember, ponder about, and strive to emulate the Savior of the World.

“… We must try to love as He loved.

“He made no distinction between the poor and rich, the young or old, the healthy or infirm. He did not shun those of different faiths or those of different cultural backgrounds. He loved everyone. He loves everyone. And He has commanded us to ‘love one another,’ as He has loved us (John 15:12).”

President Henry B. Eyring, Facebook, Dec. 20, 2020, facebook.com/henry.b.eyring.

Include One Another

“It breaks my heart to think that someone would not feel there is a place for them at church on Sunday. There is a place for all of Heavenly Father’s children. Every one of us is a precious member of God’s family. Come! Wherever you are, and whoever you are. …

“I would hope that ward members work in a spirit of unity to include one another. Instead of judging each other, we should remember that the Savior Jesus Christ is interested only in our personal growth. We should not compare ourselves with others. Let us love each other, and remember that even He ‘continued from grace to grace, until He received a fulness’ [Doctrine and Covenants 93:13].”

President M. Russell Ballard, Facebook, Oct. 13, 2021, facebook.com/mrussell.ballard.

Show Love and Acceptance

“I am so grateful for the presence of genuine friends in my life.

“Reverend Dr. Andrew Teal, chaplain and theologian at Oxford University, is one such friend. When we met, it felt as if we had known each other forever. He is charitable, honest, and deeply kind. Our friendship transcends religious and cultural differences that could otherwise distance us. Instead, we focus on the many similarities we share, such as our love of God and desire to share His love with others.

“I have learned a great deal from Andrew’s innate ability to love and accept his fellow brothers and sisters. He defies self-interest and through selfless acts, welcomes people from all walks of life into his giving heart. Pat and I have been the beneficiaries of that love and acceptance while visiting him at Oxford from time to time.

“Surround yourself with genuine friends whom you not only enjoy but from whom you can learn precious lessons. In this way we can fulfill the second greatest commandment, to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’ [Mark 12:31].”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Facebook, Feb. 28, 2022, facebook.com/jeffreyr.holland.

See Everyone as Brothers and Sisters

“As world citizens, we have more in common than we might suppose. That is not only true for us as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but also for all children of our Heavenly Father. …

“If we only would focus on the life experiences and hopes we have in common, it should not be too hard to get along with individuals, communities, and nations—regardless of where we live and regardless of what our backgrounds or life circumstances may be.

“If world history has taught us anything, we learn that it is a human tendency to think of ourselves as being the ‘good guys’—as the heroes of the story. And those who think and behave differently? Well, they are the ‘bad guys.’

“When we see others as enemies, we look for the worst in them and the best in us.

“We judge our side by our good intentions, and their side by their bad actions.

“The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to magnify the love in our heart until we see all men and women as our neighbors—as our brothers and sisters. His gospel unites and unifies every man, woman, and child. It teaches that we are not enemies, but are of one divine and eternal family; sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father.”

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Facebook, Oct. 18, 2021, facebook.com/dieterf.uchtdorf.

Strengthen Relationships with the Lord and Others

“Friendships are such an important part of our lives. As we make and live our covenants with God, we find camaraderie and belonging with each other. In covenant belonging, we strengthen each other in His love, thereby coming more to love God and each other. To belong to God and to each other in covenant belonging is to smile in unexpected places as we see with eyes to see and hear with ears to hear. He changes us and our relationships to become more like Him and His. May we be strengthened in our relationships with the Lord and each other as we walk together our paths of life.”

Elder Gerrit W. Gong, Facebook, July 30, 2021, facebook.com/gerritw.gong.


  1. See Russell M. Nelson, “Let God Prevail,” Liahona, Nov. 2020, 94.