This talk, given in the Saturday afternoon session of conference by Elder Neil L. Anderson, impressed me for a few reasons. Mostly, however, I was grateful for the topic he chose: the ones less looked for. This does not mean they mean any less–just the opposite! I desire to ensure no one feels overlooked when speaking with me. These individuals don’t have to match the classic descriptions of the left out or lonely, because feelings like that don’t require an outward manifestation. Anyway, without further ado, Whoso Receiveth Them, Receiveth Me.
“God loves children. He loves all children. The Savior said, ‘Suffer [the] little children … to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.‘”
“In this increasing spiritual commotion, the restored gospel will continue to carry the standard, the ideal, the pattern of the Lord.
“Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. …”
“We recognize the many good parents across the world, of all faiths, who lovingly care for their children.”
“But my plea today is for the hundreds of thousands of children, youth, and young adults who do not come from these, for lack of a better term, “picture-perfect” families. I speak not only of the youth who have experienced the death, divorce, or diminishing faith of their parents but also of the tens of thousands of young men and young women from all around the world who embrace the gospel without a mother or father to come into the Church with them.”
“We will continue to teach the Lord’s pattern for families, but now with millions of members and the diversity we have in the children of the Church, we need to be even more thoughtful and sensitive.”
“Leif told me, “I knew deep in the recesses of my mind that God was my Father and that He knew me and loved me.”
Our friend Veronique said, “As I learned the principles of the gospel and studied the Book of Mormon, it was as though I was remembering things that I had already known but had forgotten.””
“While a child’s earthly situation may not be ideal, a child’s spiritual DNA is perfect because one’s true identity is as a son or daughter of God.”
“As a teenager, after not attending for several months, Max had the feeling that he needed to go back to church and determined one Sunday morning that he would return. But his resolve weakened as he approached the front door of the church; his stomach tightened.
There, standing at the door, was the new bishop. Max didn’t know him, and he felt sure the bishop didn’t know Max. As Max approached, the bishop’s face lit up, and he put his hand out and said, “Max, it’s so good to see you!” […] Knowing someone’s name can make a difference.”
“Let us think about them, welcome them, embrace them, and do everything we can to strengthen their love for the Savior. Jesus said, “Whoso shall receive one such … child in my name receiveth me.”14 In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
Amen, indeed. There are many other wonderful stories shared in this talk, and it definitely merits its own read-through. But regardless, let us welcome and love those around us, whoever they are and whatever circumstances they come from. We can all strive for the ideal, but that ought never stop us from loving others where they are.
Thanks for reading,