President Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke at the Inaugural John A. Widstoe Symposium on Friday, April 24 at the University of Southern California.
According to Deseret News, his remarks, titled “Fellow Travelers, Brothers and Sisters, Children of God,” addressed a diverse audience.
“Today, the LDS Church connects cultures, nationalities, languages, and people of every socio-economic status,” he said. “It encourages people to be good citizens, to care for those who are in distress, to be kind to others, and to nurture and build loving, respectful families. Today, Church members seek to create goodwill among people of all religious beliefs, political persuasions, and of every race.”
Uchtdorf recounted his experience as a child growing up in Czechoslovakia, hearing about the Holocaust throughout his life, and expressed the magnitude of the actions surrounding those events and their impact on the entire world.
He then related three principles that he and his wife, Harriet, learned on their recent visit to Auschwitz, Germany.
First: “We hate those we do not really know.”
“Do we really know even our neighbors and colleagues — people we greet daily? It is one of the most disconcerting qualities of being human to distrust or dislike those who are different from us in a variety of elements,” said Uchtdorf. “The great tragedy is, if only we could take the time to truly know another person we would discover that perhaps we are not so different after all.”
Second: “We must speak up.”
“We all have a responsibility to speak the truth. To stand for what is right. To lift our voices in support of that which is good,” he said. “Too often evil rises in the world because good men and women do not find the courage to speak against it. And sometimes terrible, preventable events happen because we fail to open our mouths.”
Third: “Divine love is the answer.”
“If we only learned to love our fellowman as our brothers and sisters, this would give us compassion,” he said. “After all, these are God’s great commandments — to love God and to love our fellowman.”
Uchtdorf encouraged the group to love God’s children and promised that, through doing so, more similarities than differences would be discovered.