“The Love Bank,” New Era, June 1981, 4
Once upon a time there was a banker. He was a good, thoughtful man, and, like most bankers, was thinking about that which is close to the heart of all bankers: the interest rate. If you were to ask this banker to list the greatest inventions of all time in order of their importance to mankind, he would unhesitatingly rank the charging of interest as the most important of all, even above electricity, the steam engine, atomic power, etc.
You see, if you lend money at interest, you hardly have to work to make a profit. You need only make wise decisions as to whom you can trust to return the money at the appointed time with the agreed interest. The banker keeps the interest for himself, his employees, and his patrons and turns around to loan the same money out again. It is a nice business! Everyone seems to come out ahead. The person who puts his money in the bank as savings can get more money back than he deposited at any time he wants it back. The person who borrows makes a profit on his business transaction, so he is happy to split that profit by returning more to the bank than he borrowed.
So our thoughtful banker was happily meditating upon this miraculous circle of mutual benefits to the depositor, the borrower, and of course, the banker. Then he remembered that the Savior had good things to say about interest too.
He turned to the parable of the talents in Matthew. This parable tells of a servant who took his master’s five talents and traded them until he had doubled the money. The second servant took his two talents and did likewise. But the third servant did not use the money; he hid it so as not to lose it, earning nothing with it! When the master returned and asked for an accounting, he commended both the first and the second servants equally for having been faithful. He promised them increased responsibilities in the future, with implied higher benefits for them. He scolded the third, called him slothful, and said, “Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers [the bankers of that day], and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury [what we call interest” (Matt. 25:27). The banker realized that the Savior did know the advantage of interest.
He then thought of the several different kinds of banks: money banks, blood banks, eye cornea banks, and royal jelly banks. Why not have a love bank! He quickly organized and opened the new love bank in his city. Anyone depositing acts of love would receive more in return when they withdrew them. The only restriction was that those who borrowed love could not use it for themselves but had to give the love to someone else. The love bank grew and prospered with all the increased love.
A father borrowed some love from the bank and gave it to his children. He was amazed at what happened! Not only did he receive blessings in his relationship with his children, but it seemed as though he suddenly received more love from others: his wife, his parents, his neighbors, his quorum president, and his fellow workers.
A wife borrowed some love from the bank and used it on her husband. With the loan she gave much more love and affection than ever before. The more she did for her husband, the more she loved him, and the more he returned that love. The children noticed how much love mom gave dad, and they too gave dad and mom more attention, more obedience, and more love. The wife became such a happy person that love just came to her from all sides. The Relief Society work went better. The sisters gave her more love than ever before. The grouchy neighbor changed into a person happy to see her, loving her as a sister. Her mother-in-law, seeing such a loving family, changed her mind and said that her son had made a wise choice in his marriage. The children also found that they could borrow love from the bank. They gave love to each other. Astounding results! There was no more rivalry or quarreling. They shared happily. They willingly completed their assigned chores and did extra things.
The borrowing families had so much love left over after paying back their loan at the bank, with interest, that they didn’t have any place for all the extra love. So just like we share our surplus from our gardens with neighbors and friends, they began to share the surplus love with their neighbors and friends. They ran errands, tended children, mowed lawns for vacationers, and helped those who were ill with meals and tasks. They made phantom cookie deliveries and performed phantom car washes while no one was looking. The blessings they received in return were greater if no one knew who had done it.
This made the surplus of love grow even more. It was unbelievable! The friendshipping and fellowshipping just wouldn’t stop. The only thing left was to share and teach the gospel to everyone. They bore testimony of the influence of the gospel of love in their lives. They told about Christ and his miracles of love. They asked the Golden Questions. They loaned the Book of Mormon. They brought friends to church. They took them to baptismal services. They invited the missionaries into their homes for group discussions. They became missionaries all day long and were examples of unselfish love in action.
You know what happened? The people were full of love; the city was full of love; the bank was full of love. They had discovered the secret!
I have it from a good source—the bank and the banker really did exist. But I have searched all over the world and can’t find them anywhere, so they must have gone where Enoch and his city went.
Each one of us is a banker of love. We have great resources and treasures of love stored away in our banks. Plus each of us has an unlimited source of love to draw on—the Savior. Now we just have to get our love out and put it in circulation. That is when it starts multiplying. Unlike bank regulations, there is no ceiling on the loans of love you may place. There is no reserve requirement. You don’t have to keep a part of it in reserve. The only regulation is that you do each loving act expecting nothing in return. Do everything possible so that the beneficiary will not know you, nor can he repay you. Cast your bread upon the waters of life.
“And [love] suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and … rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things” (Moro. 7:45).