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John is described as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, and it may be no surprise that he gives us a deeper look into what it means to love and how it is done. Of all the things I want and hope for in this world, it is to learn how to be a person filled with love, but self creeps in at every turn. Let’s turn to John for help.

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Maurine and Scot Proctor have spent extensive time in the Holy Land, researching the life of Christ. They have taught the New Testament in the Institute program for many years and have written books and numerous articles on the life of the Savior.

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John is described as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, and it may be no surprise that he gives us a deeper look into what it means to love and how it is done. Of all the things I want and hope for in this world, it is to learn how to be a person filled with love, but self creeps in at every turn. Let’s turn to John for help.


Hello. We are Scot and Maurine Proctor and this is Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me podcast, this week on 1-3 John and Jude. Thanks to Paul Cardall for the music that begins and ends this podcast and one more reminder.  We have created a calendar to celebrate the bicentennial of the First Vision in 2020. Filled with photos of the sacred grove and quotes from Joseph that you may not know, it is a way of remembering this sacred event by having something to look at every day next year on your wall. We made the price so you can give it to everybody on your list this season—neighbors, friends, the brothers and sisters to whom you minister. At $15, the calendar can be found at That’s 

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We have a special love for John because we see in him a special love for the Savior. Six times in the gospel of John this is highlighted. It was John who was laying on Jesus’ bosom during the last supper, which only makes sense if you understand that meals in the Middle East were eaten in more of a reclining position on the floor. He is the one who Peter asked to ask the Savior, who would betray him. It was John whom Jesus addressed while on the cross and entrusted the care of his mother saying, “Woman, here is your son,” and then to John, “Here is your mother” (John 19:26,27). It is John who came running to the empty tomb and who was the first to arrive. It is John whose gospel is different than the other three and is directed to members of the church. No wonder these three epistles from him, written possibly from Ephesus, sometime between A.D. 70 and 100, ring with such meaning.


We know that John is a translated being, who remains on the earth by his choice. This is implied in the last chapter of John’s gospel when Peter talks to the Lord about his own death, and then points to John and asks, “What shall this man do?” Jesus answered, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” (John 21: 21,22)

This is made much more clear in Doctrine and Covenants 7, which is a translated version of the record made on parchment by John and hidden up by himself. Here we learn that Jesus asked of John, “What desirest thou? For if you shall ask what you will, it shall be granted unto you. And I said unto him: Lord, give unto me power over death, that I may live and bring souls unto thee. And the Lord said…Verily, verily, I say unto thee, because thou desirest this, thou shalt tarry until I come in my glory and shalt prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people” (Doctrine and Covenants 7:1-3).

A translated being, of course, is one “who is changed so that they do not experience pain or death until their resurrection to immortality.” (from Topical Guide). 


We get further insight from what the Lord told the three Nephite disciples, who also desired translation. He said, 

6 …ye have desired the thing which bJohn, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me…

And ye shall never endure the pains of death; but when I shall come in my glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from amortality to bimmortality; and then shall ye be blessed in the kingdom of my Father.

And again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the asins of the world; and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of me, for ye have desired that ye might bbring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand (3 Nephi 28).

What is interesting about that is Eusebius, an early Christian author wrote of John, “In Asia, moreover, there still remained alive the one whom Jesus loved, apostle and evangelist alike, John, who had directed the churches there since his return from exile on the island, following Domitian’s death. That he survived so long is proved by the evidence of two witnesses who could hardly be doubted…

“All the clergy who in Asia came in contact with John, the Lord’s disciple, testify that John taught the truth to them; for he remained with them till Trajan’s time.” Trajan was Roman emperor from 98 to 117 A.D.


John’s major message is in 1 John 4

7 Beloved, let us alove one another: for blove is of God; and every one that loveth is cborn of God, and knoweth God.

8 He that loveth not aknoweth not God; for God is love.

Clearly no attainment in this life can measure to becoming a loving and charitable person. No political triumph, no economic success, no influence or power matters. They will all fade. If someone asks us what we want to be when we grow up—since we are all in the process of growing up no matter what age we are—the answer must be that we learn to love, “for love is of God” and love is God. “God is love.”

Joseph Smith said it this way, “Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand, and watch over them with tenderness. When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what power it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith,  240)


I so much want to learn this power of love and I know that this is a gift from God that we must pray in all energy of heart for. I remember a friend telling us that he prayed every day to be blessed with this gift of love, to be filled with compassion and the eyes to see those in need.

Sometimes I learn about love in watching others, because it teaches me to see what I don’t see. President Thomas S. Monson leaps to mind. As an apostle, his assignment was to serve the members in then East Germany behind the Iron Curtain. The political bondage for them translated both into a loss of freedom and into desperate poverty. 

One day, “He noticed that Werner Adler, the senior high councilor, a man about his same height and build, was dressed in a near-threadbare suit. What happened next was pure Thomas S. Monson. He found a little room, took off his suit, put on a pair of trousers and a casual shirt, and presented his suit of clothes to Brother Adler. As Brother Adler tried them on, his elation was evident: “It fits just fine—just fine.”


Elder Monson gave away his shoes and came home in his slippers. He gave away his calculator. While addressing a large congregation of Saints, he turned to President Burkhardt and motioned for him to come forward; he then handed this longtime German leader his own set of marked scriptures, knowing that the East German members were not allowed to bring in Church materials from the West themselves. He gave away the cashmere coat that had kept him warm in Canada. Frances caught the spirit of giving and sent her clothing for the sisters to take home. Thus began the suitcases of clothes—suits, shirts, ties, belts, shoes, even socks—that Elder Monson left behind on his visits to the Dresden Mission.

When he invited a man in for an interview, that man might come out dressed in a whole new suit of clothes. Other areas in the world also received his largesse. No one has kept count, but his secretary (Lynne Cannegieter) estimates he has given away up to ten suits a year for forty years, not to mention the other items of clothing he has shared.” (To the Rescue: The Biography of Thomas S. Monson)

Then we watched first hand and personal as President Monson served my uncle Keith Facer. Keith was a man easy to love. Gentle and unassuming, stalwart and true, he would be anyone’s dream uncle. 


It was wrenching later to hear that Keith had developed a particularly rare and vicious kind of cancer – Merkel-cell carcinoma.  This was one where the tumor grew not inside his body, but on the exterior – from a nasty red lump first appearing on the left side of his face, on his cheek, then around to his ear and his neck to grow into a hideous, enormous, almost reptilian-like growth that crawled across his face, first closing off an ear and then an eye, and then finally his ability to breathe or eat at all.  The face we had loved was distorted, unrecognizable, and his suffering nearly incomprehensible.

The bright red of the now-enormous tumor, which seemed to grow daily, looked angry, burning.  His torso was covered with dime and nickel-sized sores.  Radiation treatments were attempted but only burned his body, making the pain even more intense.

We could not have recognized Keith as anyone familiar except for the affectionate tone in his voice, while he could still mumble out a few sentences.


Keith did not live far from President Monson.  In fact, at one time they had been in the same ward, before boundaries had been redrawn—perhaps a number of times.  President Monson got word about Keith’s illness and called me immediately, wondering if he could come by that very early evening to cheer him and give him a blessing on his way home from work.

“President,” I said, “Do you need the address?” “No, I know right where Keith and Virginia live. My friends. I’ll be by at 5:30 if that is alright.”

I don’t know what else might have been on President Monson’s schedule that day – surely many pressing things, a desk full of urgencies.  Yet, nothing was so urgent for President Monson as the soul of the distressed.  It called to his sympathies; it stirred his love.

We had been visiting Keith that day before President Monson arrived.  He was surrounded by his wife, a son and daughters who loved him, but the situation was so grim, it was hard to be anything but teary.  Life just seemed too hard if someone like Keith could be so afflicted and we struggled to say anything besides a pitiful, “I’m so sorry, so sorry.”  We felt heavy, grayed over with the burden.


Then, at the appointed moment, President Monson arrived, and it was like the sun came up on a new day.  It was not only that the Spirit was with him, which we all felt immediately; it was that his very presence was buoyant.  A tangible sense of joy and assurance had entered the room.

Here was someone seasoned in the sickroom and knew what we didn’t.  He didn’t look surprised or shocked to see Keith’s condition.  He didn’t put on a long face in sympathy.  He smiled that large, warming smile and with enthusiasm said, “Keith it is good to see you.”

President Monson then began to give Keith what he needed most.  It was the same thing any very sick person needs, whose once energetic and perfect body has been ravaged by an illness until he can’t recognize himself anymore.  President Monson gave him back his identity, and a sense of himself.

“Keith,” he said, “Do you remember when you were in the bishopric and I had just moved into the ward and you assigned me to head up the committee to build a new meetinghouse?  I told you that I didn’t know anyone in the ward, and you said, ‘That’s OK.  Just call them Gunderson and you’ll be right 40% of the time.’


At that Keith laughed out of the corner of his mouth not yet smothered by cancer.  We all laughed, our laughter cascading through the sick room like a blessed relief.  President Monson continued the banter about everything he knew about Keith, a heartening conversation about how dedicated and committed Keith had always been.

We were swept away by a series of delightful memories.  Each one drove the gray and gloom further and further from our hearts.


Then President Monson did a remarkable thing.  He changed the subject to something even lighter. (How completely delightful for a sick person to finally get to hear something besides how sorry all the rest of us are and how sick they are.)

He started to tell us the story about when he had recently gone to lunch with the chairman of the board of Parker Brothers who said that Monopoly was still their best-selling game, and he had asked, jokingly, if President Monson could remember the names of any of the properties of the game.  He told him that he could indeed remember them – all of them – IN ORDER.  We were all laughing then, and President Monson, with his perfect memory, named them all – right there beside the sick bed – Mediterranean, Baltic, Reading Railroad and continuing all the way around, he ended with Park Place and Boardwalk!


With all of us now in a happy mood, he said gently, “Now, Keith, let’s give you a blessing.  Scot, will you anoint?”  The Spirit continued to illuminate our hearts.

Then he laid hands upon Keith’s head and gave him a blessing of power and comfort, promising him in a powerful voice that, “This is only temporary.”  (And it would be.  Keith died ten days later.)

The joy that filled the room, the Spirit comforting every wounded heart, was tangible.

This grim sickroom had been transformed by a priesthood blessing and by a spiritual emissary who knew just how to minister with love.  That bright moment stayed with our family for the days and weeks ahead and has never been forgotten.


That reminds me also of an experience we had with President Dieter F. Uchtdorf at the Washington Cathedral. He had come for a presidential inauguration, as had many religious leaders throughout the nation, but we got word, as members of the press, that he would give a press conference. 

I remember that day, I was a little down for some reason I can’t remember, but, as it turned out no other press showed up for the conference except us, so we had almost an hour alone with President Ucthdorf. That was an unforgettable experience for me. I don’t know how he did it, but as we were with him, I just began to feel loved. I felt noticed and needed and cared about and seen. I felt he saw something good in me and that he liked us. We were like instant friends. I remember, as we drove away that day, we said to each other, “He really likes us. I wonder if the next time he comes to Washington DC, we could go out to lunch?” 

Of course, with his schedule that would never happen, but the fact that he made me feel that way, and so beloved, has never left my mind.

How did he convey so much to me? So how do you become a person filled with such love?


Good actions certainly matter, but at the same time, they are not all. Love is an energy of soul that partakes of and calls upon the divine attributes. John says, “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself” (1 John 5:10) Keeping his commandments and growing closer to Him line upon line lights something inside us. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous,” John says. (1 John 5:3). In fact, his commandments are delicious because we can feel this capacity for love and joy growing in us. 

In his book “Bonds that Make Us Free”, Terry Warner tells us how we must look at others to love them. He writes: “I must have been about ten years old when I first caught hold of the thought that my character—the kind of person I was—might have something to do with how I thought about others. My family was living near San Francisco. My parents and another couple had gone out for the evening, and I was left in the other couple’s apartment to sit up with their sleeping baby…I took a book from the shelf and read. One of the sentences I encountered there made such an impression on me that I still can recall the book’s color and heft, the names of its authors, Harry and Bonaro Overstreet (though I do not remember the name of the book itself), and the feeling I had as I read from it. The sentence seemed to stand out from the page about three-quarters of an inch and to be lit from behind. I was sure it had been written just for me. It said: “To the immature, other people are not real.” Those eight words pierced me. I knew that, aside from my mother, other people were not especially real for me. Their feelings and desires did not matter to me as much as my own; a lot of the time they didn’t matter to me at all. Yet I was sensitive enough to be disturbed by my insensitivity.”


I have always identified with this story because I remember when I was very tiny, much younger than 5, looking at my mother and thinking that she existed for me. She was there to comfort me, attend to me, feed me and read me stories—and that is why she was. Then one day she left the room, and something startling occurred to me. She still existed even when she was out of my sight. She was still breathing and living and perceiving in the next room, and this meant she had a being inside of her just like I did. That was a moment of mind expansion for me. My mother was real.

Terry continues, “At that moment, it seemed to me supremely important to be a person who cared about people. Each of us chooses whether or not to be an individual for whom others are real. It is not in the same way we decide which color of sweater to buy. Rather, the choice is made subtly, in a process that cannot be distinguished from life itself, the process of responding or refusing to respond to others as we feel we should. For to the extent that we act toward others as we feel we might, we open ourselves to their inner reality, and their needs and aspirations seem as important to us as our own. We hope their hopes will be fulfilled and need to see their needs satisfied. Their happiness makes us happy, and we are pained to see them hurt. We resonate with them and delight in their prosperity. Few of us consistently live this way, it is true, but far fewer never live this way at all. At least some of the time most people have a resonant relationship with a child, a mate, or a beloved sibling or friend. Living resonantly is not limited to the most saintly among us. Still, some embody this ideal to a remarkable and memorable degree…


“By contrast, to the extent that others are not real to us, we are guarded, alienated, and hardened. These words describe a more brutish way of being. They suggest something of the way we grow numb and anxious when we betray ourselves, as if darkness were descending and the landscape were becoming desolate, foreboding, and cold. We get wrapped up in ourselves, worried about gathering evidence of our worth, such as the company we keep or the possessions we have accumulated or the public image we have managed to project. We cannot spare ourselves to care very much about others’ hopes and fears and feelings because of our intense preoccupation with our own. When we live in this guarded way of being, we attend to others only when they can help us get what we want or when they stand in our way. This goes not only for the cashier at the store, the teller at the bank, and the neighbor next door, but also for the son or daughter we want to behave well in public and the spouse we wish would hurry up. While others are talking, we are thinking about what we want to say next or about what we have to do today. We see everything and everyone in terms of how they fit into our program, our agenda for ourselves. We have become absorbed in ourselves and commensurately suspicious, mistrustful, or fearful of others. To live in the first, open, generous, resonant way is to live for others; in the second, accusing, self-absorbed, alienated way, for ourselves. There are no other possibilities.”


We hope to see other people as real, but we don’t see their past, their context, their pains and strivings. We only see them in this moment, and too often as cardboard cutouts. Referring to a book by Martin Buber, Terry says too often we see others in an I-it relationship. They are just objects to us. Now think of an object, like a folding chair that is before you. That chair may just get in your way and impede your progress, while your agenda and needs are all that is on your mind. It’s in your way. Think how often we view people that way. They get in our way on the road. They have needs that contradict ours. They don’t let us finish our work. They are in the same line that we are. They demand our precious time. If they are our children or our spouse, they don’t conform to the image we insist they have so we look good enough. If they are children, they color on our walls.


When you think of people as objects—like a chair—you may need that chair to be useful to you. You see a person only in terms of their utilitarian use to you. Can they forward your aims? Are they cooperating with your agenda? Are they a smiling audience for you? Will they help you on your way? Is it useful to know them? Popular to know them? Important to know them? We may never think of ourselves as looking at others as objects, but if we really step back and look, too often we look at people as fulfilling our own ego. We do this because we are anxious, concerned, driven by certain hungers, self-obsessed and looking at others as anything else besides playing a bit part in our play where we are center-stage seems like just too much energy. We are the play. They are the bit parts. 


Another way we look at people as objects is if we just ignore them all together. The chair is sitting there, but we don’t notice. We don’t even see. There is a famous study on change blindness that is noteworthy here. Change blindness is where an observer is in a scene and a major change is introduced, but the observer does not see it. For instance, they have found that you can be seeking help from a person across a desk—say a person in an office or a clerk in the hospital. Then, if you are distracted, look away, and then look back at that person who is helping you, an entirely different person can be substituted, and chances are strong you will not notice! This is true, even if that person helping you has been substituted by a person of a different ethnicity or sex. You never really saw that person helping you.

So what we seek is to see other people as real, whose life is playing out with the same importance to them as is ours. We see them in order to love them and serve them. It is a major shift for us, because it is immature and undeveloped to see the whole world through the filter of our needs and hungers, but that is what we do while we are still natural men and women. 

Scot, I have to say how much I have learned from you about not seeing others as objects. It is so easy to look at the help at the store or the doctor’s office as objects that help you get your work done, and you hope they are quick about it. Yet, everywhere you go you learn the names of everyone we come in contact with. You ask them about themselves. You engage and send affection and care. I watch it day in and day out, and I so deeply appreciate your example to me. We walk into Costco and you know so many of the workers by name. You ask them about how their life is going. You could never suffer from change blindness. No, you’d say, “Hey, where’s Julie?” (That’s our friend at Costco.)


It is my deep desire to really see the people I encounter. It is like when our friend Becky Douglas first went to India and was surrounded by beggars at the stop lights at her car window. So many of them had leprosy and the sight of their sometimes maggot infested wounds was painful to see. She went home and prayed about the leprosy-affected and asked, “Lord, what can I do?” He answered, “Becky, look at them. Look at them.” Let us look at each other, and then having seen, love.

John says,  “Beloved, now are we the asons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall bappear, we shall be clike him; for we shall dsee him as he is” (John 3:2).

The only way we can see Christ, as He is, when He appears, is to be like Him, and that includes his primary characteristic which is love. His gift to us is that gradual light and love growing in us as we do what He asks. As long as we are caught up in the darkness of seeing people only in their usefulness to us, we cannot be like Him.


We also learn from John “that God is alight, and in him is no bdarkness at all” ( 1 John 1: 5). Light, love and truth mark our God, and our invitation is to follow that journey to the place where there is no longer darkness in us. How are we able to do that? “Here is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us…and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him…We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:10, 16, 19). When we really seek to dwell in God, then we begin to find that love begins to dwell in us.

Now, one verse that I have clung to my entire life is that “Perfect love casteth out fear” (1 John 4:18). That is important because we ourselves and most everyone close around us deals with perfection-and-achievement-driven stress and anxiety. Those are just other words for fear, and I know personally how counterproductive and paralyzing fear is. What is it about perfect love that casts out fear? Is it a soul-deep realization of God’s perfect love for us that is the source of abandoning fear?


On the night of his agony in Gethsemane, Christ told his apostles, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid’ (John 14:27). 

We may think of a phrase like “let not your heart be troubled” as a word of comfort, a comforting pat on the back from a loving parent, but a commandment?  Doesn’t that seem a little hard, in fact, almost impossible?

What could be more natural than to be troubled or frightened when distress can come upon us at any moment and we swallow it like sea water, gulping for life?   Why not be afraid?  After all, we live in a world where we are always at the mercy of thousands of forces that are far beyond our control and yet impact our lives dramatically. Tomorrow is dim and subject to surprises that disappoint and burn.  We cannot prepare well enough to sidestep them.  Is it not surprising that we may not feel entirely safe?

After all, we didn’t choose to be on edge and on the line.  Isn’t it just part and parcel of the mortal condition?  When we came to mortality weren’t we just cast into a whirlpool of uncertainty?  So how can we be commanded to be neither troubled, nor afraid?  Isn’t that just a lot to ask?


Elder Holland continues, explaining why our living in a fearful or anxious state would grieve the Lord : “I can tell you this as a parent: as concerned as I would be if somewhere in their lives one of my children were seriously troubled or unhappy or disobedient, nevertheless I would be infinitely more devastated if I felt that at such a time that child could not trust me to help or thought his or her interest was unimportant to me or unsafe in my care. In that same spirit, I am convinced that none of us can appreciate how deeply it wounds the loving heart of the Savior of the world when he finds that his people do not feel confident in his care or secure in his hands or trust in his commandments.”

What he suggests here is that anxious, over-wrought living is a manifestation that we do not understand the very nature of God and his personal, intimate care of us as his child.  Oh, we may be able to give lip-service to his attributes, reciting his characteristics of loving kindness with the best of them in Sunday School class, but it is in the hollow chambers of our own soul that we must make that knowledge soul-deep.  It is when life presents us or our loved ones with the challenges that harrow the heart, that we are left having to come straight up against it.  Is God who he says he is, and am I safe or have I only been giving lip service to a beautiful idea?


We truly do have to know God’s perfect love in our bones.  Elder Holland again, “Just because God is God, just because Christ is Christ, they cannot do other than care for us and bless us and help us if we will but come unto them, approaching their throne of grace in meekness and lowliness of heart. They can’t help but bless us. They have to. It is their nature.”

The world is an anxious place, but that is because most of us two-legged creatures roaming here, have forgotten him, amnesiac about his nature.  He tells us not to fear as an expression of the nature of our relationship with him.  We have to trust that he is able to do his own work.  He is watchful, not careless.  His memory is everlasting, not spotty.  His notice penetrates to our individual level—and he cannot do otherwise.

It is His perfect love which casteth out fear.


That’s all for today. We’re Scot and Maurine Proctor of Meridian Magazine and next week we’ll be studying Revelation 1-11, “Glory and Power Be unto…the Lamb Forever.”


Have a great week and see you next time.