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From the Vault: Elder Holland's 'How Do I Love Thee?'

In a February 2000 devotional at Brigham Young University, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke about the truest form of devotion, “the pure love of Christ.” Drawing the title of his talk from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How Do I Love Thee?”, Elder Holland incorporated scripture and literature to explore the attributes that are most important in a successful relationship.

“The first element of divine love—pure love … is its kindness, its selfless quality, its lack of ego and vanity and consuming self-centeredness,” he said.

Expounding on what it means to be kind, Elder Holland turned to the life of Christ in order to outline what individuals can aspire to be.

“In all that Christ was, He was not ever envious or inflated, never consumed with His own needs. He did not once, not ever, seek His own advantage at the expense of someone else,” Elder Holland said. “He delighted in the happiness of others, the happiness He could bring them. He was forever kind.”

Additionally, Elder Holland referenced Moroni 7:45 and reminded listeners that true charity “is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity.” Noting that most challenges in relationships stem from selfishness, he spoke about the positive influence true charity can bring in daily interactions with others.

“Think of how many arguments could be avoided, how many hurt feelings could be spared, how many cold shoulders and silent treatments could be ended, and, in a worst-case scenario, how many breakups and divorces could be avoided if we were not so easily provoked, if we thought no evil of one another, and if we not only did not rejoice in iniquity but didn’t rejoice even in little mistakes,” he said.

Although Christlike characteristics may seem impossible to achieve, Elder Holland stated that with power from on high, it is possible to overcome human weaknesses. With faith in Christ and obedience to his commandments, Elder Holland also promised that the eternal blessing of pure love will help bring peace during trials.

“It is there through thick and thin,” he said. “It endures through sunshine and shadow, through darkest sorrow and on into the light. It never fails. So Christ loved us, and that is how He hoped we would love each other.”

Read the entire talk here.