Charity Helps Us Become What We Are “Supposed to Be”
Contributed By Carole M. Stephens, Relief Society general presidency
“When we offer succor to anyone, the Savior feels it as if we reached out to succor Him.” —President Henry B. Eyring
“I know you, and you know me.
We are as different as the sun and the sea.
I know you, and you know me,
And that’s the way it is supposed to be.
I help you and you help me.
We learn from problems, and we’re starting to see.
I help you, and you help me,
And that’s the way it is supposed to be.
I love you, and you love me.
We reach together for the best we can be.
I love you, and you love me,
And that’s the way it is supposed to be.”
The words of the Primary song “We Are Different” teach an important pattern: Know them, help them, and love them … so we can become what we are “supposed to be.”
When Jaisey Rindlisbacher introduced her son, Alec, who has autism—or as their family affectionately refers to it, “Awesome–ism”—to a new Primary after a move from Texas to Utah, Eli went home from Primary and enthusiastically told his mother that Alec liked some of the same things he liked. He thought Alec needed a friend and wanted get to know him better.
Eli's thoughtful mother guided Eli’s enthusiasm into action. She encouraged him to take another neighborhood boy, Sam, and invite Alec to play. It was the first time in all Alec’s 10 short years on earth that a friend knocked on the door just for him.
Sister Rindlisbacher shared, “My heart melted with gratitude. Alec was so excited he yelled and screamed and clapped his hands for absolute joy. Because Eli and Sam have turned their hearts outward in love to Alec, they are helping Alec to feel included and important. These young men are helping to enrich his life with happiness and hope as they continue to faithfully come. They are Alec’s friends.”
What do Eli and Sam really stand to gain from inviting Alec to play basketball? He can’t contribute to the overall score. It seems they don’t have much to gain outwardly, do they? But like Nephi, “born of goodly parents” (1 Nephi 1:1), these young men are being taught in their homes what it means to honor and keep their baptismal covenants. King Benjamin taught, “And now, because of the covenant which ye have made … your hearts are changed” (Mosiah 5:7).
As Eli and Sam get to know Alec, help him, and turn outward to him in service and love, it’s what’s happening in their hearts that really matters. They are growing in capacity to act as the Savior did and to love as He loved. And what is this love the Savior offers? It is charity. “Charity is the pure love of Christ” (Moroni 7:47). It is this kind of love for others that moves us from being annoyed to endeared, from frustrated to finding humor, from judgmental to compassionate, and from critical to empathetic. And when we are “filled with this love … we shall be like him” (Moroni 7:48). Is it any wonder that Moroni urges us to “cleave unto charity” (Moroni 7:46)?
President Henry B. Eyring taught: “Our Heavenly Father wishes to bless His children spiritually and temporally. He understands each of their needs, their pains, and their hopes. When we offer succor to anyone, the Savior feels it as if we reached out to succor Him” (“Is Not This the Fast That I Have Chosen?” April 2015 general conference).
Eli and Sam have recently been ordained to the priesthood and are learning what it means to do their duty and magnify the priesthood. In the Doctrine and Covenants section 13 we read, “Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels,” and in section 84 verse 111 we learn, “Deacons … should be appointed to watch over the church, to be standing ministers unto the church.”
Sister Rindlisbacher said, “I have become a witness that God sends angels both seen and unseen. Sam and Eli have allowed the power of God to be manifest in them, and they have become our earthly angels sent to minister to Alec and our family.”
As they continue to know, help, and love Alec, his family, and others, they are becoming what they are “supposed to be.”
Sister Rindlisbacher shared more of Alec’s story during a talk, “Learning to Love as He Loves: Helping Children Understand and Embrace Diverstiy,” given at the 2015 BYU Women’s Conference.