Paul Edwards, editor and publisher of Deseret News, addressed students and faculty about the importance of friendship and love at BYU-Idaho’s devotional Jan. 19.
“One of the most important opportunities in this formative period of your life is the opportunity to make lifelong friends who will influence how you think and act,” Edwards said.
Edwards referenced the importance of families in the gospel and society, but he noted that there is no agency in choosing family. Choosing friends, however, is all agency driven.
“Friendship is one of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism,” said Joseph Smith, Jr., the first president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, near the end of his life.
Edwards asserted that because of increasing social media presence in the lives of today’s millennials, there are fewer, closer intimate friends.
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“We are not meant to be alone,” Edwards said.
Citing ancient Greece, Edwards shared the four types of love:
- Eros, or romantic love.
- Agape, or abiding platonic love, or charity.
- Storge, or natural affection or empathy.
- Philia, or deep friendship.
Focusing on Philia, Edwards cited Philadelphia — the city of brotherly love, the feelings forged by soldiers on a battlefield through loyalty and sacrifice and the love between David and Jonathan in the first book of Samuel.
“You know it as the deep friendship between Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, one of the greatest of all fictional friendship trios,” Edwards said.
Edwards challenged the students to make friends. Student are meeting more people now than they will in 10 years. The friendships formed at BYU-Idaho will turn into deep friendships lasting a lifetime.
Andrew Peabody, long-time pastor of Harvard College said in an introduction to Cicero’s book on friendship, “But in the life of the founder of Christianity, who teaches most of all by example, friendship has its apogee, its supreme preeminence and honor. He treats his apostles and speaks of them and to them not as mere disciples, but as intimately and dearly beloved friends.”
Edwards closed by adding a prayer that all students who pondered his message of friendship would find people to build and add value where they served.