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Prophetic Statements

Joseph F. Smith

The city people have become accustomed to living near neighbors for years without associating together. There are instances where good people, well acquainted in business and upon the street, have lived neighbors for twenty-five or more years, and yet not invited each other to their homes, to take dinner together, nor to have a social hour or evening. They live so near each other that they can almost shake hands, from door to door, yet never call, nor associate together; they are perfectly exclusive. That is not a wise nor a good way, especially when, as Latter-day Saints, we should be looking after the welfare of mankind, by preaching the gospel in word and in deed. Would it not be much better if we arranged a little dinner, or invited our neighbor to come and join us in a little social, to become acquainted and make him feel we are not strangers to him, nor he to us? And let us remember the definition which Christ sanctioned of neighbor, as well as the requirement: He that showeth mercy unto me is my neighbor, and the commandment is: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

I hope we shall do better. But there is really little sociability among us, and there is an exclusiveness that is not in keeping with the warmth of the gospel. We do not think enough of each other; we do not care for each other; we take little or no notice of each other; and, finally, we pass each other on the street without the slightest recognition. We scarcely bow to a brother, unless we are really intimate with him. That is not the spirit that belongs to “Mormonism.” It is contrary to that friendship and sociability that ought to characterize Latter-day Saints. I believe in the broadest, most charitable, the kindest and most loving spirit that it is possible for broadminded and big-souled men to exercise or to possess; and that this spirit ought to be the spirit possessed and diffused by the Saints everywhere.

Let us, then, gather in the honest in heart, and treat them and one another with the spirit of warmth and love characteristic of the gospel.1

  1. Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 322

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