In a sermon about faith, hope, and charity, Mormon listed some of the characteristics of charity (Moroni 7:45). His list is similar (but not identical) to a list provided by the apostle Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthian saints (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). At the end of their lists, both Paul and Mormon state that a person with charity “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
In 1842, at the request of a Chicago newspaper editor, Joseph Smith wrote a brief history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the end of this history, known as the Wentworth Letter, he appended thirteen statements summarizing some of the Church’s core beliefs. These statements are known today as the Articles of Faith. The thirteenth of these statements, which emphasizes our acceptance of all good things, references the characteristics of charity identified above:
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things (Articles of Faith 1:13).
In other words, Latter-day Saints are striving to develop the attributes of charity: expansive belief, expansive hope, and a willingness to endure “all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us]” (Mosiah 3:19).
Earlier in his sermon, Mormon had warned his people that narrow-mindedness is not appropriate for a disciple of Christ. “Take heed,” he said, “that ye do not judge…that which is good and of God to be of the devil.” (Moroni 7:14). “And if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ” (Moroni 7:19).
Mormon had already connected faith, hope, and charity, suggesting that it is impossible to have one of these attributes without the others (Moroni 7:42-44). I think this emphasis on accepting “every good thing” explains the connection. If we recognize the good in the world, we will be willing to act in the face of uncertainty (faith). We will be able to envision a bright future (hope). and we will see the good in the people around us (charity). As a result, we will be well positioned to endure trials and difficulties, because we can see beyond the current darkness, discomfort, or pain.
Today, I will strive to recognize and embrace the good in the world around me and in the people around me. I will remember that a person who can identify and accept good things will be able to continue to believe, hope, and endure even under difficult or painful circumstances.