My dear brothers and sisters, I bring greetings from the Saints and missionaries in the beautiful islands of Hawaii. I say to you, aloha!
Today, I would like to ask a question: My dear brothers, are we treating our wives as daughters of God? Are you treating your wife as a daughter of God?
A daughter of God. The words have a special feeling. Even as you say them, you feel a reverence. You may say, “Oh, Brother Kikuchi, of course I treat her as a daughter of God!” But my next question is, How much do you treat and honor her as a daughter of God? Let’s stop and think of your lovely companion. She was entrusted to you by Heavenly Father as a special daughter of God.
I believe that in this lifetime, the closest person or neighbor that you can have in your life is your sweet wife. She is your sweetheart! She is your love! She is your best friend! She is your lover! And she is a daughter of God!
The Lord’s teaching to the lawyer was very clear:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
“This is the first and great commandment.
“And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matt. 22:37–39; italics added).
Yesterday, our beloved prophet, President Ezra Taft Benson, said that above everything we do in our lives, we must place the first commandment first—“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.”
The second is also like the first. The Lord said:
“Love thy neighbour as thyself.” Brothers, among all the children of our Father in Heaven, don’t you think your wife is the closest neighbor that you can have?
The Lord said, “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart” (D&C 42:22).
When the Lord told Abraham to offer his only son, Isaac, on Mt. Moriah, Abraham took Isaac, two servants, and a donkey and built an altar (see Gen. 22:2–3). On the way, Isaac asked, “Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Though Father Abraham knew that Isaac was the one, he said, “My son, God will provide” (Gen. 22:7–8).
When the time came, Abraham was willing to offer Isaac, and Isaac did not run away (Gen. 22:9–11). Brothers and sisters, in our marriages, we need both the commitment of Abraham and also the spirit of Isaac.
At the time of his unendurable agony, the Savior looked down on his mother, Mary, and introduced John to her, saying, “Woman, behold thy son!” And to John he said, “Behold thy mother!” The scripture records that John “took her unto his own home” (John 19:26–27).
Are we worthy to be entrusted by the Lord to take care of one of our Heavenly Father’s daughters?
The Savior must have a special feeling toward the women of the world, because the first person that saw the resurrected Lord was a woman, Mary Magdalene. Oh, how special that was! (see John 20).
May I share today a story about a person who lived in such a way, in an eternal, loving companionship in Hawaii.
In 1850, Brigham Young sent ten missionaries to the Hawaiian Islands. Without understanding the language and culture, the missionaries found the work extremely difficult. Eventually they became discouraged, including the mission president. They became so discouraged that five of the ten left to go home. The youngest of the remaining missionaries, Elder George Q. Cannon, was determined to stay. He went to the Lord in prayer. The Lord inspired him to go to Lahaina on Maui. He did so.
As he approached this town, two ladies went screaming into a nearby house and brought out a local gentleman. The previous night, this man had had a dream that a messenger of God was coming to his town and that he must feed him. Elder Cannon was invited to stay and preach in the home of this man, Jonathon H. Napela, who was a very well-educated man and the magistrate of that district (see Alma 10:4).
Subsequently, Elder Cannon and Jonathon Napela became very close friends, like Alma and Amulek in the Book of Mormon (see Alma 10–15). Because of the guiding hand of God and Brother Napela’s great help, along with the hospitality and kindness of the Hawaiian Saints, the missionary work began to excel in Hawaii, and the foundation was laid.
Many years later, in 1873, Kitty, the wife of this great man, Jonathon Napela, contracted leprosy. She was a beautiful and noble woman in the early days of the Church in Hawaii. Today modern medical knowledge has advanced so that this disease is no longer fatal, but at that time, there was no cure for this dreadful disease. In order to prevent the spreading of this disease, once you contracted it you were forced to live on one of the seashores in the leper colony on Molokai. The lepers were taken there by boat. The sailors were so afraid of this disease that they pushed the patients into the sea, forcing them to swim to shore.
Because his wife had to go to Kalaupapa, the leper colony, Jonathon, too, wanted to go. He took her hand and they went there together. Why would he do this? Because he loved her so much! He knew that life is eternal and love is eternal, even through days of “sickness and health.”
Oh, how much do I love my wife? Oh, do I love her as a daughter of God, as Jonathon loved his wife? Would I be willing to go to a place like that to be with her? Would you be willing to demonstrate your pure love like Jonathon? Brethren, are we honoring our companions? Are we caring? Are we thoughtful? We must be, because God has joined us together (see Mark 10:9).
History records that this valiant and giant man of God worked in the leper colony and fought to obtain government assistance for the lepers to have a more comfortable place to live. He was a giant in the pure love of Christ for his own people. Oh, I can almost hear the words of Paul to the Corinthians when he said, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1).
This good brother later contracted that same disease and died even before his wife passed away. She followed him two years later. Husbands, do you love your wife as a daughter of God? Oh, “husbands, love your wives” as daughters of God, “even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it” (Eph. 5:25).
I know that God lives! This is his church. I know that the Savior lives! I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, who restored this church. I know that our beloved prophet, even President Ezra Taft Benson, is the living oracle of God and an example to us. The Book of Mormon is true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.