According to scripture, charity . . . “is the pure love of Christ,” “suffereth long, and is kind,” “envieth not,” “is not puffed up,” “doth not behave itself unseemly,” “seeketh not her own,” “is not easily provoked,” “thinketh no evil,” “rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth” (Moroni 7:45).
In simple terms, Mormons believe charity is love. More specifically, charity is the pure love of Jesus Christ. It involves loving Christ, feeling His love for oneself, and sharing that love with others. The above characteristics of charity can be applied to Jesus Christ and the type of life He represents. Mormons believe that as individuals strive to live their lives in a more Christ-like way, they will develop charity. Having charity means loving all men as Jesus loves them; it means seeing people as Jesus sees them–as children of our Heavenly Father.
Charity is something that takes a lifetime to develop and maintain. Mormons believe that with the help of the Savior, each person can indeed have charity.
“Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ” (Moroni 7:47-48).
So, it is necessary to pray for charity. Mormons believe that God the Father will bless His children who come unto Him in sincere prayer, asking in faith to be blessed with those things they righteously desire. As one continues in life to try to be more like Jesus Christ, the Lord rewards those efforts with spiritual gifts. Mormons believe and understand that the Lord will bless each person who desires charity, those who are “true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ,” with an increased ability to see the good in others and to love as Jesus loves.
In New Testament times, the apostle Paul wrote about charity to the early members of Jesus Christ’s church in Corinth. He wrote,
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling symbol. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that could remove mountains, and have no charity, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-2).
From Paul, we learn that charity is an absolutely essential characteristic of true followers of Jesus Christ. If one believes he has all the faith and knowledge in the world, but he doesn’t have charity, he is not truly converted to the gospel of Christ, or as Paul says, he is “nothing.”
This is why the gift of charity is so important to members of the Mormon Church. Learning to be like Jesus Christ and walking in the example He sets is the goal for all faithful Mormons and anyone who wants to prove himself worthy to the Lord. As Joseph Smith stated in the thirteenth Article of Faith:
“We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all me; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul–We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things” (Articles of Faith 1:13).
Mormons believe that developing charity requires that one have a hope in Jesus Christ, believing that He can heal every soul, and that each individual may be perfected through the Atonement of Christ. Service is an important part of charity, as well. Mormonism teaches that as children of God turn to the Savior and follow His example, they will be blessed and be able to bless the lives of others.