To the Point


“I thought I was in love with a young man in my ward. As I look back, though, it was probably not love. How do I know when what I’m feeling is love, lust, or infatuation?”

Often what we call being “in love” is actually infatuation. It’s that exciting feeling you have when you discover that you really, really like another person. That feeling usually includes an element of physical attraction. There’s nothing wrong with being infatuated with someone. It’s a normal and important part of getting to know what you like about other people. But sometimes it isn’t much more than a quickly passing excitement.

Love, on the other hand, is a much deeper and richer emotion. It develops over time as you get to know and value the character of another person, as you enjoy the relationship you share, and as you become committed to acting in the best interests of that person. It includes caring, friendship, and respect, in addition to physical attraction.

Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles offered this description of love: “True love elevates, protects, respects, and enriches another. It motivates you to make sacrifices for the [person] you love” (“Making the Right Choices,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 38).

Lust, on the other hand, is pretty much the exact opposite. Instead of elevating, it lowers. Instead of protecting, it endangers. Instead of enriching, it impoverishes. When you are feeling lust, you are thinking about the other person mainly as a means to satisfy your own physical desires. As Elder Scott taught: “Satan would promote counterfeit love, which is really lust. That is driven by hunger to satisfy personal appetite” (Ensign, Nov. 1994, 38).

Although infatuation can lead to love, lust actually keeps love from growing. According to Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Lust prevents the development of true love” (“Cleanse Us from All Unrighteousness,” New Era, Feb. 1987, 7). True love motivates us to place the comfort and convenience of the other person before our own, while lust does just the opposite.

To keep your relationships on the right track, try to focus on the other person as a whole person. Do things together that will help you get to know each other’s personalities, interests, and character traits. Think how you would want someone to treat your younger sister or brother, and try to treat the other person accordingly. Then love can grow out of a foundation of friendship and respect.

[photo] Photography by Welden C. Andersen, posed by model

“My little brother wants to go everywhere I do. I love him, but he’s driving me crazy. What do I do?”

You’re not alone. For centuries older siblings have been dealing with the same problem. Your brother is just going through a phase. Right now, following you around is his way of showing that he admires you.

This kind of admiration can get frustrating, though. You have a few options. (1) You can tough it out until he grows out of it. (2) You can offer to let him go with you to three or four places a week and let him choose—not including dates, of course! Or (3) you can ask your parents what they think you should do and then follow their advice.

If you treat him with love and kindness, your annoying little brother may one day grow up to be your best friend. He wants to be just like you, so give him a great example to grow into. (See 1 John 3:17–18 and 4:20–21.)

“How do I read the Book of Mormon every day and still make the other scriptures a part of my life? Am I expected to read each book of scripture daily?”

You don’t have to read each day from all the standard works, but you will want to read every day from the Book of Mormon. This book of scripture is unique because it was written for us. The prophets who wrote it saw our day and were inspired to write what we need to know, be, and do.

President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) asked members to study the Book of Mormon daily: “The Book of Mormon is studied in our Sunday School and seminary classes every fourth year. This four-year pattern, however, must not be followed by Church members in their personal and family study. We need to read daily from the pages of the [Book of Mormon]” (“Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, Nov. 1988, 4).

During your daily scripture study, you could read from both the Book of Mormon and the book of scripture you are studying in seminary or Sunday School. Furthermore, if you are studying by topic, you might end up reading from all the standard works. For instance, if you look up faith in the Topical Guide or in True to the Faith, you can read about it throughout the scriptures.

Sometimes studying a few verses carefully can be better than reading several pages quickly. The important thing is to study the word of God every day so you can feel the Spirit, learn the gospel, and draw closer to Heavenly Father.