“I Pray Unto Thee for Them That We May Be One”

Bryan Richards

Jeffrey R. Holland

"That is, of course, a variation on the great intercessory prayer Christ offered for his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion in the Old World, praying that his followers might be unified with the Father and the Son, as well as with each other, and be taken from the adverse temptations and evil influences of the world. (Jn 17)
"From the Savior's language, we see clearly it is the Holy Ghost that provides such unity, a doctrinal point not so clearly communicated in the New Testament account." (Christ And The New Covenant, p. 280)

Hugh Pinnock

"I was speaking with a remarkable business leader and teacher of Christianity in New York City a few weeks ago—a man who is actively working with some 220 different Christian denominations. He continued to comment upon the effectiveness of the Latter-day Saint church. He said many wonderful things about our members, about their dedication and the certainty of their beliefs.
"He reported, 'One of the most remarkable characteristics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that you seem to be working together. You are headed in the same direction. As one, you concentrate upon doing that which you believe Jesus wants you to do. You all study the same doctrine. You respond to your leaders. You are unified.'
"That was a great lesson! Even though I already realized much of what he said, to hear it from a man who had more contact with other churches than almost anyone added special meaning to the importance of our like-mindedness and the bonds of our harmony.
"You see, one of the facets that makes us different is that we strive for compatibility. We sustain our leaders and generally follow their counsel and direction. There are many reasons to be unified, but perhaps the greatest reason is that we have been asked to be one. In the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord asks us to assemble ourselves together to agree upon his word (see D&C 41:2). Joseph Smith stated, 'Unity is power' (History of the Church, 6:198), when speaking about stability in governments. Just so, unity adds power in the Church and in our families.
"Let us turn again to the Book of Mormon, where the Savior is preaching to his other sheep. Jesus is praying with those in the Western Hemisphere, 'And now Father, I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words…that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one' (3 Ne. 19:23; italics added).
"Yes, we can almost see Jesus standing before those ancient Americans as he continues, 'Father, I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me out of the world, because of their faith, that they may be purified in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one, that I may be glorified in them' (3 Ne. 19:29). It was this same Jesus, as Jehovah of the Old Testament, who inspired these words, 'Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!' (Ps. 133:1).
"How do we glorify Jesus? How do we say thank you for the Atonement? How do we state gratitude for the ordinances and the covenants? How do we express appreciation for his teachings? Of course, we do it by loving God, by loving our neighbor, by living the commandments, and also by being one." (Conference Report, Apr. 1989, "The Blessings of Being Unified")