Monday, August 19, 2013


The first and great commandment is to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. (Matt. 22: 37-40).  Another word that is often used in the scriptures to describe this kind of love is the word "cleave," hence the Apostle Paul counsels us to "cleave to that which is good" (Romans 12:9).  Paul's missionary companion Barnabas, being filled with the grace of God, exhorted the early Christian's of Antioch "that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord." (Acts 11:23)

In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Jacob used a similar expression to expound upon the great commandment: 

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I beseech of you in words of soberness that ye would repent, and come with full purpose of heart, and cleave unto God as he cleaveth unto you. And while his arm of mercy is extended towards you in the light of the day, harden not your hearts." (Jacob 6:5, see also Helaman 4:25)

Toward the end of the Book of Mormon, Moroni echoed Jacob's teaching by recording the words of his father's sermon:

"For he hath answered the ends of the law, and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him will cleave unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men; and he dwelleth eternally in the heavens." (Moroni 7:28)

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—" (Moroni 7:46)

Cleave to good, to God, to charity.  The Doctrine and Covenants also provides insights into what it means to cleave:

"For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things." (D&C 88:40)

Cleave to intelligence, cleave to light.

The commandment that is closest to the first great commandment is reflected in the second great commandment, and finds expression in another verse:

"Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else." (D&C 42:22)

The Lord instructed Emma Smith to cleave to the covenants:

"Wherefore, lift up thy heart and rejoice, and cleave unto the covenants which thou hast made." (D&C 25:13)

This is true.  These are things unto which I strive to cleave:

"For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled.

For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." (2 Ne. 25:23-26)

As certain crusaders journeyed to the Holy Land, they cleaved unto Christ, singing Most Beautiful Lord Jesus:

"1. Fair is the sunshine,
Fairer the moonlight
And all the stars in heav'n above;
Jesus shines brighter,
Jesus shines purer
And brings to all the world his love.
2. Fair are the meadows,
Fairer the woodlands,
Robed in the flowers of blooming spring;
Jesus is fairer,
Jesus is purer.
He makes the sorrowing spirit sing.
3. Beautiful Savior!
Lord of the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Thee will I honor, praise, and give glory,
Give praise and glory evermore!