girl looking at ocean

Where Do Lonely Hearts Go?

Belonging is an individual feeling. But paradoxically, belonging is also a group activity.

Although human beings are vastly different, one thing links us all in a shared human experience: our emotions. At one point or another, we’ve all felt the breath of peaceful relief, the smile of giddy joy, the twist of realized regret. We’ve also felt the hurt of hollow loneliness. Feeling alone undermines our human need for connection. Even our Creator says “It is not good” for us to “be alone” (Genesis 2:18). So where do we go to heal our hearts when we feel lonely?

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In his October 2022 conference talk, “The Doctrine of Belonging,” Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles teaches us a novel truth about combating loneliness through belonging: “Belonging comes not as we wait for it but as we reach out to help one another.” Contrary to natural instinct, which tells us to turn inward when we feel alone, an apostle of the Lord tells us to turn outward.

When we believe that life is all about ourselves, loneliness becomes a cyclical trap. Falling into that trap is easy when, according to one study Elder Christofferson cites, much of the rising generation believes that “society is nothing more than ‘a collection of autonomous individuals out to enjoy life.’” Elder Christofferson resolutely debunks this belief and emphasizes instead the role of sacrifice and service in helping our hearts find wholeness. He says, “Any sacrifice we make in the Lord’s cause helps to confirm our place with Him.” As we resolve in our own hearts to minister instead of waiting to be ministered unto (see Mark 10:45), we create space not just for others but also for ourselves.

Read Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s full article “The Doctrine of Belonging” to learn more about belonging.

Source: General Conference

—Jamie Kathryn LeSueur, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights 

Check out the Latter-day Saint Insights article “Belonging to God’s Family” to read about one unmarried Church member’s experience fitting in at church.

Read Eric B. Murdock’s Liahona article titled “We All Long to Belong” to learn more about the Savior’s example of inclusion.

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