Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship

Studies in the Bible and Antiquity


The parable of the prodigal son is among the most beloved and consoling of the Savior’s teachings. This literary masterpiece is essentially a distillation of God’s plan of salvation, a sobering insight into human nature—men and women’s tendency to stray, their inclination toward envy, the temptation to judge unrighteously. And yet towering above the condition of the two sons—each a prodigal in his own way—is the tender revelation of the waiting father, the actual hero of the story. His capacity to love without limits, to readily forgive, and to celebrate the return of a wandering child is as stunning as it is dramatically moving. It is, of course, a glimpse into the soul of God, our Heavenly Father.