As my sister and I strolled along the cobblestone at Disneyland, the question hung over our heads of how to make the day the best it could be.
We waited in line for the new Star Wars ride and struck up a conversation with the cute family next to us. We found out they were from Chile, moved to New Zealand, and were on vacation in California. It was their daughter’s first time at Disneyland.
My sister and I looked at each other and, without words, knew we wanted to help make this family’s day as magical as possible.
Our party of two immediately turned into a party of five. Together, our unlikely group flew through space at light speed, climbed a mountain named Thunder, took countless pictures and gave lots of piggyback rides. As the day fell to night, we departed with big hugs and an exchanging of phone numbers. It was as if saying goodbye to distant relatives we rarely got to see.
Here at the Scroll, we believe that everyone is a part of God’s family, that He is our Father and we are His children. If we are all family, shouldn’t we treat each other as such?
Too often we see people on social media, on opposite sides of a basketball court, on the freeway and other places, judging, yelling at, making obscene gestures to and ridiculing people they don’t even know.
Imagine how different the world would be if we treated people as if we were spending a whole day at Disneyland with them. We could get to know them, learn their story, share the joy of eating delicious treats, and offer them piggyback rides when they got tired from walking.
The bond I felt with that family from New Zealand wasn’t because I knew them for long, or had any dramatic experience with them. It was because I had chosen to bring them into my circle, get to know them, and show them love just as I would to any good friend or family member.
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is common to refer to each other as “brother” or “sister.” Why do we do this? We believe it is because our spirits are all linked to that same God who gave us life. We are all spiritual sons and daughters of Heavenly Parents, who love us and want us to love each other.
In April 2014’s General Conference, President Thomas S. Monson taught “We cannot truly love God if we do not love our fellow travelers on this mortal journey. Likewise, we cannot fully love our fellowmen if we do not love God, the Father of us all. The Apostle John tells us, “This commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” We are all spirit children of our Heavenly Father and, as such, are brothers and sisters. As we keep this truth in mind, loving all of God’s children will become easier.”
I remember one day on my mission, I was on exchanges with a sister who had recently been told by our mission president that she had the gift of ‘family.’ This confused her, and she asked for my thoughts on what it could have meant.
An experience from that same day came to my mind immediately that I knew could help. We had visited a family for the very first time and this sister instantly connected with them. By the end of the lesson, they offered for her to come back and stay with them after her mission ended, which was coming very soon.
I helped her realize that these people had just met her, yet were willing to take her into their home as they would for extended family. She had shown them pure love, and they could immediately feel it.
At the Scroll, we are constantly working with BYU-Idaho students, faculty and community members to share the best information we can. As a staff, we have become a family, and we feel that this community is an extension of our family.
We agree with the teaching of Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, who says, “The Savior loves all of God’s children regardless of their socioeconomic circumstance, race, religion, language, political orientation, nationality, or any other grouping. And so should we!”
Here we try to emulate that love through feature stories on students from around the world, stories of uplifting events such as the weekly devotionals and much more.
May we invite each and everyone reading this to choose to treat everyone as their brothers and sisters too, and feel the love that can bind them together.