Respect for Others


(Adapted from an April 1991 conference address. See Ensign, May 1991, pages 81–83.)
The Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love (2 Ne. 26:30).

When the Saints began to settle in Nauvoo and surrounding areas, a French Catholic priest by the name of Father John Alleman, who lived in neighboring McDonough County, needed transportation to visit a sick member of his church. The Prophet Joseph Smith provided him with ferry service to cross the river, and a carriage to his destination.

As an expression of respect, Joseph Smith commented, “The priests attend to their people faithfully and mind their own business, whereas others are continually bothering the Latter-day Saints.”

This quality of respect for others, no matter what their belief or religious affiliation, seems to have been a part of the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He stood for truth and the restored gospel to his dying day, and he had no patience with those who were deliberately wicked or who tried to exercise unrighteous dominion over the Latter-day Saints or, for that matter, anyone else. Still, he showed a respect and brotherly concern for others, no matter what their beliefs or their backgrounds, which, in many ways, was remarkable, when one considers the persecution that both he and the early Saints underwent.

In his dealings with members and nonmembers, he was committed to the principle that can be found in Doctrine and Covenants 121, verse 45 [D&C 121:45]: “Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith.”

Today we live in times of conflict, differences of opinion, disagreements. There is a need for us, perhaps more than ever before, to allow respect, charity, and forgiveness to influence our actions with one another.

[illustration] Painting by Alvin Gittins

[illustration] Illustrated by Dick Brown