…I remember that thou hast said that thou hast loved the world, even unto the laying down of thy life for the world, that thou mightest take it again to prepare a place for the children of men.
And now I know that this love which thou hast had for the children of men is charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father. (Ether 12:33-34)
My first few drafts of this post included my attempts to define charity and then trying to expound on the writings about charity found in 1 Corinthians 13, Moroni 7, and my favorite – Ether 12. I’ve decided to simply quote what inspired this post in the first place, Elder Jefferey Holland’s words on charity which reference the verses above:
“…it is not just that we should try to be charitable ourselves. We should. We are supposed to be Christ-like, we are supposed to be charitable, we are supposed to demonstrate charity, but what [Moroni] is saying is, that were it not for real charity, capital C, the one time in all the world that real charity was demonstrated, i.e., the pure love of Christ — if it were not for that, “we could not inherit that place which thou has prepared in the mansions of thy Father.” That’s the charity that faileth not. Ours does as much as we try. We give it our best effort and we fall short. But one time, in one way, with one person, the pure love of Christ was demonstrated. Real charity was given to this world. And that’s why we can say that charity never faileth.
He never fails us. The message of the Book of Mormon is that Christ does not fail us! That’s what we’re trying to tell a world. That’s what we’re trying to say with the basic missionary text of this dispensation. That Christ is the pure love. He is the only one that has ever really mastered it while the rest of us are still trying. But it will never fail. His salvation will not fail, His ordinances will not fail, His church will not fail. This is the dispensation of the fullness of times. [The fullness of the gospel] will never be taken from the face of the earth again. That’s the message of the Book of Mormon.
Life has its share of fears and failures. Sometimes things fall short. Sometimes people fail us, economies fail us, businesses or governments fail us. But one thing in time and eternity does not fail us, the pure love of the Lord Jesus Christ as manifest in His Atoning sacrifice. That’s why we can inherit the place which Thou has prepared, Father, for us in the mansions on high.”
“Mission of the Book of Mormon”, 1997 Mission Presidents’ Seminar