Day 26 September 4 - I Corinthians 2-9

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The Way to Grow Spiritually

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. - Hebrews 5:12-14

Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have atasted that the Lord is gracious. - 1 Peter 2:1-3

For they cannot bear meat now, but milk they must receive; wherefore, they must not know these things, lest they perish. - D&C 19:22

Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. - D&C 50:40

Scripture Reference: 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Scripture Lesson: 1 Peter 2: 2-3

"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious."

The following seven things that help to ensure a baby's good health can be adopted and applied to a Christian's spiritual growth as well.

1. Daily Food. Take in "the sincere milk of the word" through study and meditation. (Joshua 1:8; 2 Timothy 2:15)

2. Fresh Air. Pray often or you will faint. Prayer is the oxygen of the soul. (Luke 18:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:17)

3. Regular Exercise. Put into practice what you learn in God's Word. (James 1:22-25)

4. Adequate Rest. Rely on God at all times in simple faith. (Psalm 37:7; Matthew 11:28)

5. Clean Surroundings. Avoid evil company and whatever will weaken you spiritually. (Proverbs 16:27; Proverbs 13: 20-21; Romans 14:16; 1 Corinthians 15:33-34)

6. Loving Care. Be an active part of the Church where you can benefit from teaching and fellowship. (Hebrews 10:25)

7. Periodic Checkups. Regularly examine your spiritual health. (1 Corinthians 11:28)

*If we neglect any of these rules, our progress will be hindered.

"But grow in the grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." - 2 Peter 3:18

Notice how the wisdom of men was affecting these converted Corinthians. That Paul says that they were still "babes in Christ" shows they were converted, but they were converted to such a small degree that Paul still had to speak to them as if they were unconverted!

Paul uses milk as a metaphor for weak or elementary in I Corinthians 3:1-2: "And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able." Paul judges the Corinthians as weak based upon their behaviors and attitudes, which reflected no spiritual progress. So he "fed" these immature Christians elementary knowledge because things of greater depth would have gone unappreciated, misunderstood, and unused. These references directly tie spiritual diet to growth in understanding, behavior, and attitude.

In I Corinthians 3, the embarrassing immaturity that required him to feed the people like babies also produced strife and factions in the congregation, proving that the people were far more carnal than converted.

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1 Cor. 2:2 I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified

Derek A. Cuthbert

“I have always been impressed that, although Paul was a very learned man, after his conversion he declared: ‘For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.’ (1 Cor. 2:2.) These thoughts came to mind when, on a recent visit to Ghana, I heard Dr. Emmanuel Kissi, a prominent surgeon and now the district president, teach the simple truths of the gospel in the district conference meetings.

“Yes, we need to strive for the simplicity of a child, and raise our own children to have simple, unshakable testimonies of Jesus Christ. Then they will not fall prey to those temptations which would divert them from the strait and narrow way. As Elder Matthew Cowley used to say, ‘Life should be beautifully simple. And then it will be simply beautiful.’” (“The Meaning of Maturity,” Ensign, Nov. 1982, 54)

LeGrand Richards

“I think of the words of the apostle Paul when he said that he determined to know nothing but Jesus and him crucified. (See 1 Cor. 2:2.) That doesn’t mean that he didn’t know the old prophets or appreciate them, but a new day had come.

“The Son of God had come, of whom the prophets had spoken, and then he said: ‘… for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!’ (1 Cor. 9:16.)

“In that same sense, we know nothing but the restoration of the gospel, that it was brought by the Son of Man himself, so that there is no separation from the prophets of this dispensation, and woe be unto us if we share not these marvelous truths with the world!” (“The True Church,” Ensign, July 1972, 116)

Harold B. Lee

“I think nothing could get you into deep water quicker than to answer people on [Church policy], when they say, ‘What does the Church think?’ and you want to be smart, so you try to answer what the Church's policy is. Well, you're not the one to make the policies for the Church. You just remember what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians. He said, ‘For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified’ (1 Corinthians 2:2). Well now, as teachers of our youth, you're not supposed to know anything except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. On that subject you're expected to be an expert. You're expected to know your subject. You're expected to have a testimony. And in that you'll have great strength. If the President of the Church has not declared the position of the Church, then you shouldn't go shopping for the answer.” (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 451.)

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1 Cor. 2:9 Eye hath not seen nor ear hear…the things which God hath prepared for them that love him

LeGrand Richards

“…when you kneel around the altar in the Holy Temple of God and have sealed upon you kingdoms and thrones and principalities and powers and dominions and exaltation, you can receive blessings that you could not purchase with all the wealth of this world—and these are not idle words. They are the things that God has prepared for them that love him.

“No wonder Paul, who was caught up into the third heaven, and the paradise of God, and saw things he was not permitted to write, said, ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.’ (1 Cor. 2:9 .)” (October 29, 1963, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1963 11.)

Spencer W. Kimball

“Youare heirs to great fortunes, for eternal life is the greatest gift.

“What will you do with it? You are entitled to a kingdom or a queendom. You are princesses and princes. Do you prize your inheritance? Will you abdicate and relinquish your heavenly rights to all that is your due? Doyou but realize what the Lord has in store for you? Do you know what you could discard in a moment of carelessness and heedlessness? The Lord told his servants:

. . . Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.’ (1 Cor. 2:9.)

“The king's highway—the royal road to eternal joys and exaltation—is a hard road, full of full of sacrifices and restrictions and hard work. The way is narrow but it is straight, well-marked, and strongly-beamed. But if you get off course, the dot and dash tapping gets dimmer and fainter till it fades out entirely.

“The permanent kingdom is yours, not for the asking, but for the earning.” (February 15, 1966, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1966 17.)

Neal A. Maxwell

“We are not now ready for all things the Lord has prepared in the City of God for them that love Him. (See 1 Cor. 2:9.) Our present eyes are unready for things which they have not yet seen, and our ears are not prepared for the transcending sounds and music of that city.

“The trek will be proving and trying. Faith, patience, and obedience are essential (see Mosiah 23:21; Abr. 3:25), but he who completes the journey successfully will be immeasurably added upon. (see Abr. 3:26.) And he who does not will have subtracted from the sum of his possibilities.

“When we arrive home, we shall be weary and bruised. But at last our aching homesicknesses will cease. Meanwhile, our mortal homecomings are but faint foreshadowings of that Homecoming!” (“Called and Prepared from the Foundation of the World,” Ensign, May 1986, 36)

Neal A. Maxwell

“The best mortal music we have heard will be surpassed by the sounds of celestial chords we shall hear there. The most beautiful art and scenery experienced in the here and now of this earth will have scarcely prepared us for the beauties we shall see then and there.

“The pain of the judgment will be followed by the overwhelming blessings the living and loving Father has prepared for us. Those who hear the words ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant, . . . enter thou into the joy of thy lord’ (Matthew 25:21), will be filled with unspeakable joy. Those so adjudged can say of their own tiny trek, ‘It is finished,’ and yet so much will have just begun!

“We will be home, and the promise to us is that God will land our souls, yea, our immortal souls, ‘at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out.’ (Helaman 3:30.) Never again will we be really away from Him!” (Things As They Really Are [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 118-119.)

George Q. Cannon

“In our present condition we cannot conceive of these things because they are beyond our comprehension. But we have a foretaste of that glory given unto us in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit when it rests upon us. You have felt, no doubt, many times in your lives as though you were filled to overflowing and had no room for another drop of happiness. The peace and love of God have filled your hearts. Of course, we are but mortal beings at the present time, and we are not prepared for that glory and immortality that God has in store for us. But we will grow up to it, and we will be prepared for it when it comes.” (Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, selected, arranged, and edited by Jerreld L. Newquist [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 84.)

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JST 1 Cor. 2:11 the things of God knoweth no man, except he has the Spirit of God

Joseph Smith

“We never can comprehend the things of God and of heaven but by revelation. We may spiritualize and express opinions to all eternity, but that is no authority.” (Kent P. Jackson, Joseph Smith’s Commentary on the Bible, 159)

Marion G. Romney

“The principle of revelation is the key which opens the mind and spirit of man to an understanding of the gospel. There is no other key to such knowledge. Thinkers have philosophized poets have dreamed; and scientists have experimented; but only God speaks with a sure knowledge of all truth.

“Some years ago I listened to a lecturer who argued long and deviously and came to the conclusion that there was no such thing as religious knowledge. Within his premises, he was right. He had no religious knowledge, and he could not obtain any because he had ruled out revelation.” (Conference Report, April 1964, Afternoon Meeting 123.)

Spencer W. Kimball

“We must remember that neither God nor his gospel can be found and understood through research alone. The skeptic will some day learn to his sorrow that his egotism robbed him of much joy and growth. The things of God—and often the things of his earth—cannot be understood by the spirit of man, but are understood only through the Spirit of God. (See 1 Cor. 2:11.)” (“Seek Learning Even by Study and Also by Faith,” Ensign, Sept. 1983, 6)

Ezra Taft Benson

“There are ‘hidden treasures’ of knowledge—truths beyond the reach of reason alone. Paul recognized this basic truth when writing to the Corinthians. He said: ‘For what man knoweth the things of man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.’ (1 Cor. 2:11.)

“Will you value and take advantage of the opportunity to tap these unseen but very real spiritual powers? Will you with Lincoln before Gettysburg and Washington at Valley Forge humble yourselves before Almighty God in fervent prayer? May you say, with a former president of one of our land-grant colleges and an eminent scientist: ‘Men who search out truth are prayerful. They stand with uncovered heads before the unknown. They know their insignificance before the eternal fount of knowledge. . . . Manly men who really love truth, are proud to pray to God for help and guidance. They get down on their knees. . . . To win knowledge of the unseen, to obtain a testimony of truth, one must pray without ceasing. It must be the first and the last act of the day.’ Will you value this practice and seek throughout your lives the blessings of daily secret prayer?” (So Shall Ye Reap, compiled by Reed A. Benson [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1960], 153 - 154.)

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1 Cor. 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it

Bruce C. Hafen

“One essential element in [God’s] plan is the principle of ‘line upon line, precept upon precept.’ Not only does he leave to us the initiative to believe, he also imparts to his hearers only what they are ready to hear. Milk comes before meat. ‘I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.’ (John 16:12.)…Hugh Nibley has described this guiding principle as the ‘policy of reticence,’ which the Lord has always followed ‘to protect sacred things from common misunderstandings and to protect the unworthy from damaging themselves with them.’” (The Believing Heart, 2nd ed. [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990], 6.)

Boyd K. Packer

“The scriptures teach emphatically that we must give milk before meat. The Lord made it very clear that some things are to be given only to those who are worthy.

“It matters very much not only what we are told but when we are told it. Be careful that you build faith rather than destroy it.” (Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled [salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991], 108.)

Boyd K. Packer

“Undernourished children must be carefully fed; so it is with the spiritually underfed. Some are so weakened by mischief and sin that to begin with they reject the rich food we offer. They must be fed carefully and gently.

“Some are so near spiritual death that they must be spoonfed on the broth of fellowship, or nourished carefully on activities and programs. As the scriptures say, they must have milk before meat (1 Corinthians 3:2; D&C 19:22). But we must take care lest the only nourishment they receive thereafter is that broth.” (Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled [salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991], 34.)

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1 Cor. 3:9-10 ye are God’s building…let every man take heed how he buildeth

Sterling W. Sill

“No man can be engaged in a more godly business than that of building the character, excellence, and righteousness that will go with him throughout eternity.

“An old legend tells of a man who interviewed some stone cutters who had different attitudes about their building efforts. To the first he said, ‘What are you doing?’ The stone cutter said, ‘I am cutting stones. I work four hours in the morning and four hours in the afternoon. I am a stone cutter.’ To the second he said, ‘What are you doing?’ He said, ‘I am cutting stones. I make four dollars in the morning and four dollars in the afternoon. I am a stone cutter.’ To the third he said, ‘What are you doing?’ The third stone cutter stepped back to survey the rising walls and said, ‘I am building a cathedral.’

“Each of us is also building a cathedral, one that is far more important than a mere physical structure.” (Thy Kingdom Come [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1975], 150.)

Sterling W. Sill

’. . . ye are God's building .... [therefore] let every man take heed how he buildeth....’ (1 Cor. 3:9-10.)

“The greatest responsibility that is ever entrusted to any human being is that of building his own personality. The first soul that anyone should bring to God is his own soul. President McKay recently pointed out that the purpose of the gospel is to make men better. The primary objective in the mission of Jesus was to provide the world with better men and women. God himself has said, ‘. . . this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.’ (Moses 1:39.) It is God's work to build character, ability, and Godliness into the lives of his children. Any influence that works against that purpose is evil, and whenever we build evil into our lives, we are tending toward failure.” (Conference Report, April 1962, First Day—Morning Meeting 13.)

Thomas S. Monson

“Tabernacles and temples are built with more than stone and mortar, wood and glass. Particularly is this true when we speak of the temple described by the Apostle Paul: ‘Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?’ (1 Corinthians 3:16.) Such temples are built with faith and fasting. They are built with service and sacrifice. They are built with trials and testimonies.” (Live the Good Life [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1988], 17.)

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1 Cor. 4:20 the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power

Bruce R. McConkie

“The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. O how this truth needs to be thundered into the ears of every living soul…It matters not that a people have the word of God, that the Bible is open before them, that they have a record of what God and angels have said, that they know what the doctrines of salvation are. There is no salvation in these things standing alone. Of course men must have the word, of course they must learn the doctrines of salvation. But men do not gain the kingdom…until they possess the power. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. There must be priesthood…or there is no kingdom of God, no Church of Jesus Christ, no saving gospel. Where God's power is manifest, there is the Church and kingdom of God on earth, and where his power is not found, there the Church and kingdom is not.” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 2:333.)

Ezra Taft Benson

“The gospel of Jesus Christ certainly offers incentives to achieve and accomplish challenges which develop a person's inner powers. Only by daily applying its principles and teachings in our lives may the power which is inherent within us be released and made manifest among men. Thus may we achieve the ideal spoken of by Paul when he explained to the Corinthian Saints that ‘the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power’ (1 Corinthians 4:20).” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 341.)

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1 Cor. 5:5 deliver such an one unto Satan…that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord

One of the issues facing those who decide matters of church discipline is what to do with the unrepentant sinner or the individual who has committed a particularly heinous transgression. Should they be excommunicated or just disfellowshipped? Certainly, many factors must be considered, but occasionally, there is a misguided tendency to recommend disfellowshipment out of a sense of sympathy for the individual. In this regard, John Taylor warned, “there are some…who have departed from correct principles, but out of respect to the fathers in the one instance and the sons in the other, we allow evil…to go unchecked. Well, you Presidents and you Bishops and you Priests and Teachers may do that if you please, but their blood will be upon your heads, not upon mine. And we call upon you to honor your calling and Priesthood and purge from your midst corruption of every kind.” (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 22: 2.)

Along these same lines, President Harold B. Lee noted: “When we let members lead a double and destructive life, instead of doing them a favor as we suppose, we damage them, sometimes, irreparably. We must let the light of gospel standards shine fully, and not try to deflect the penetrating rays of its standards. The gospel is to save man, not to condemn them, but to save, it is sometimes necessary to confront and to discipline as the Lord has directed us.” (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 118.)

In these particular situations, it is folly to think the individual is better off being disfellowshipped or placed on probation. Indeed, Paul understood that a church member who would sleep with his stepmother is better off being delivered over to the buffetings of Satan. Excommunication is actually better for his personal salvation. The atonement cannot atone for the sins of the unrepentant. It is then that ‘justice excerciseth all his demands’ (Alma 42:24) and the individual is required to pay the terrible price for his own sins. The Lord has declared, ‘if they would not repent they must suffer even as I’ (DC 19:17). This suffering starts as ‘the destruction of the flesh’ in mortality and continues as the pains of hell in spirit prison, but it ends at the last day when the wicked are resurrected.

Salvation, in varying degrees, is possible even for those who are excommunicated and suffer the pains of hell. Such individuals may be saved in the telestial kingdom of God (DC 76:39, 104-106, see also DC 132:26). Along these lines, king David fell from his exaltation (DC 132:39), but he could still hope for some degree of salvation. Hence Joseph Smith said, “A murderer…cannot have forgiveness. David sought repentance at the hand of God carefully with tears, for the murder of Uriah; but he could only get it through hell: he got a promise that his soul should not be left in hell.” (Teachings, 339) Hence, Paul was instructing the Corinthian saints that the first step in this transgressor’s salvation was his excommunication. Thereby, even if he did not repent in mortality, he could also hope that his soul should not be left in hell but should be brought forth in the Resurrection of the unjust, after he had paid for his sins.

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1 Cor. 6:7 there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another

The latter-day saints should be the least litigious people on the earth. In the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior said, ‘if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift’ (Matt 5:23-24). The scripture indicates that one can’t be right with God if he hasn’t first made things right with his fellowmen. Rather, ‘if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother’ (Matt. 18:15). These are the Lord’s instructions regarding the resolution of disputes between individuals.

Those who would kneel in the altars of the temple one day and sue his brother in civil court the next have not understood the meaning of these scriptures. They have not understood that if they are patient and humble when wronged, the Lord will more than make up for that which was lost (Romans 12:17-21). Alternatively, one who seeks compensation for wrongs in this life, cannot expect compensation from the Lord in the next, for ‘they [already] have their reward.’

Dallin H. Oaks

“One of the most common manifestations of controversy in the United States is the lawsuit…This familiar feature of American life provides another illustration of the many contrasts between the Lord's way and the world's way.

“Some Latter-day Saints mirror the typical American acceptance of an increasing use of civil courts to resolve public and private disputes. Others, sensitive to scriptural and prophetic cautions on this subject, are bewildered or uneasy about whether or when the Lord would justify us in participating in litigation to resolve disputes.

“…Because of my experience as a lawyer, law professor, educator, and judge, I have received many such questions about when it is appropriate for a faithful Latter-day Saint to be involved in litigation. I have always felt inadequate in responding to such inquiries. Though sometimes able to answer a question about one specific circumstance, I have never been able to outline comprehensive principles to use as a guide in the multitude of circumstances in which such questions arise.

“The preparation of this book has given me the opportunity and the incentive for research and prayerful consideration of this question. What follows is my personal summary and interpretation of what the scriptures and the modern prophets have taught on this subject and how those teachings apply in the circumstances of our day.

“At the outset, I reject two extremes.

“1. Some have asserted that a conscientious Christian can never use the courts to resolve disputes. A few illustrations will suffice to indicate that this extreme is unrealistic and even at odds with the scriptures themselves.

“Modern revelation directs that a person who has killed, robbed, stolen, or lied ‘shall be delivered up and dealt with according to the laws of the land.’ (D&C 42:79, D&C 42:84-86.) Those laws are, of course, administered in the civil and criminal courts.

“The Church's ‘declaration of belief,’ published in 1835, states: ‘We believe that men should appeal to the civil law for redress of all wrongs and grievances, where personal abuse is inflicted or the right of property or character infringed, where such laws exist as will protect the same.’ (D&C 134:11.) This declaration obviously contemplates that there will be some circumstances in which a Latter-day Saint will appropriately use the courts, since that is the usual way of appealing to the civil law for the redress of wrongs and grievances…

“2. At the opposite extreme, some Latter-day Saints have apparently assumed that there are no religious restraints on participating in litigation, thus succumbing to the popular notion that every wrong must have a legal remedy, properly enforceable in court.

“This attitude has contributed to an expensive public problem. Any conscientious reader of the public press over the past few decades has seen many reports of lawsuits that can fairly be characterized as abusive or frivolous. A nine-year-old girl sued the makers of Crackerjack because the toy was missing from the box she purchased. A Chicago Bears fan sued his team for consumer fraud because the Bears had a losing record. A frustrated man brought suit for being stood up on a date. The list of similar examples is distressingly long…

“In summary, some scriptural and prophetic directions against any recourse to the civil courts are temporary. So it was with Paul's counsel to the Corinthians and with President Young's and President Taylor's counsel to the Latter-day Saints in the Utah Territory…Today the number of members of the Church and the extent of long-distance contacts among them means that most disputes among members will involve persons who reside in different stakes. In that circumstance, the resolution of personal disputes by a bishop's court or a high council court is impractical and inadvisable because there is no local church council that has jurisdiction over all the parties.

“Does the Church's relinquishment of any function in the adjudication of disputes among members mean that members have no moral impediments to their use of civil courts to resolve disputes with other members? Of course not. The restored church has a long history of encouraging its members to resolve their disputes without using the civil courts. The counsel of President Young and President Taylor on that subject remains in force.” (The Lord's Way [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 153-169.)

Dallin H. Oaks

“A 1919 article by Elder James E. Talmage explains the Church's continuing counsel that disputes among members should first be settled by brotherly mediation. If that failed, members disputing one another should go to the bishop's court, then to the high council, and only then to the Council of the Twelve Apostles. The article continues with what now seems to be the Church's last statement of counsel that members should not take their disputes to the civil courts. ‘The courts of the Church in no sense assume to oppose or supersede the secular law,’ the article states. However, it continues, ‘We hold that in matters of difference between brethren, in which no specific infraction of the secular law is involved, and in offenses called `civil` as distinguished from `criminal,` it is as truly unworthy of members of the Church today as it was in Paul's time that `brother goeth to law with brother`; and that it stands to our shame if righteous judgment cannot be rendered among ourselves. (1 Cor. 6:5-7.)’” (The Lord's Way [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 167.)

LeGrand Richards

“I do not know a great deal about the law, but my experience in the execution of the law among the ordinary laymen is that it is not so much the righteousness of the law which governs the decisions of the courts as it is the ability of the attorneys who represent those who go to law. And so the decisions are not always righteous. If the brethren of the Church were making decisions, I think the decisions would be righteous. To my friends who come to me inquiring whether they should sue their brethren for this or that, I say, ‘Brother, if you win, you lose,’ and that is almost invariably true when you go into the courts.

“I would like to read a few words by Paul in First Corinthians… (I Corinthians 6:1-3, 1 Cor. 6:7-8)

“…Now, brethren, it is my feeling that when we can be…free and independent from every power beneath the celestial kingdom and become so united that we as members of the Priesthood of the living God can settle all our troubles within our own ranks, then we will literally become a light upon a hill, an ensign unto the nations.” (Conference Report, April 1943, Second Day—Morning Meeting 50.)

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1 Cor. 7:3-4 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife

“Paul said some things about sex that are not plain, that in fact seem to me quite strange. Fortunately, he said most of them, as he admitted, on his own. But he did say one thing that captures well the perfect equality and modest but affirmative attitude about sex that the gospel implies generally (and here I use the Phillips translation for better plainness): ‘The husband should give his wife what is due to her as his wife, and the wife should be as fair to her husband. The wife has no longer full rights over her own person, but shares them with her husband. In the same way the husband shares his personal rights with his wife. Do not cheat each other of normal sexual intercourse, unless of course you both decide to abstain temporarily.’ (1 Corinthians 7:3-5.) Because of both the repressions and obsessions about sex in our culture, as well as our individual trials and tragedies as we form our sexual identities in such a culture, that ideal of Paul is not easy to attain. And the very effort to make certain both husband and wife are equally ‘willing’ can itself become obsessive rather than liberating; however, such an ideal is far superior to destructive actions of male dominance and aggression and female passivity and resentment rampant in our traditional culture.” (Eugene England, As Women of Faith: Talks Selected from the BYU Women's Conferences [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989], 115.)

“…the point Paul makes is that our intimate life together ought to be kind, ‘benevolent.’ There is no room for coercion or neglect, for pressure or vengeful withholding. I suppose it must be granted that sex that is motivated solely by kindness would be missing a number of essential vitamins, but it is also true that sex lacking this quality does not meet the minimum standard of acceptability for Latter-day Saint marriages. So that ought to be our first step in shaping our intimate life together to the model of righteousness set forth by the spokesmen of the Lord: Nothing should be done except in kindness.” (Carlfred Broderick, One Flesh, One Heart: Putting Celestial Love into Your Temple Marriage [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1986], 4)

“Thus, physical intimacy is a blessing to married couples when it is an expression of their mutual benevolence and commitment to each other's well-being, an affirmation of their striving to be emotionally and spiritually one. The key in sexual matters is unselfishness. Self-centered pursuit of physical desire is destructive of the unity and love that characterize healthy marital relations. Such love or charity is long-suffering, kind, not envious, does ‘not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not [one's] own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil’ (1 Cor. 13:4-5), and is compatible with the Light of Christ, which directs all in the ways of righteousness.” (Terrance D. Olson, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1-4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 1306.)

Spencer W. Kimball

“It is not love if it manipulates; it is selfishness; it is irresponsibility. If sex relations merely become a release or a technique and the partner becomes exchangeable, then sex returns to the compulsive animal level.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Love Versus Lust, Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Publications, 1975, p. 15.)

“Love is far more than physical attraction. It is deep, inclusive, and comprehensive. Physical attraction is only one of the many elements; there must be faith and confidence and understanding and partnership. There must be common ideals and standards. There must be great devotion and companionship. Love is cleanliness and progress and sacrifice and selflessness. This kind of love never tires or wanes, but lives through sickness and sorrow, poverty and privation, accomplishment and disappointment, time and eternity.” (“Thoughts on Marriage Compatibility,” Ensign, Sept. 1981, 46)

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1 Cor. 7:14 the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife

Paul recognizes the struggles of part-member families among the Corinthians. Since there were significant cultural and religious differences between the believers and the unbelievers, his advice must have been a source of comfort and peace for those that wondered if they should leave their spouse for the gospel’s sake (v. 12-13). Rather than condescending to the unbeliever, Paul recognizes the sanctifying power of having a believer in the home. Hence, the husband is sanctified by the wife’s example. He is sanctified by the wife who brings the Spirit into the home. He is sanctified by the wife who raises up his children in light and truth. He is sanctified by the home teaching and missionary visits made possible by his wife’s membership. He is sanctified by the possibility that years of diligence will soften the husband’s heart towards baptism. One sister described her experience as follows:

“After reading this scripture I fasted and prayed continually that my husband's heart would be softened. I learned that our time is not the Lord's time, and I needed to live my life to be worthy of the time when my husband would accept and return to the fold. Although I had faith, I really never thought it would happen in this life. On our 49th anniversary of marriage we were able to go to the temple once again and have been going ever since. The joy we both feel is unspeakable.” (Jeanne Beam, Living by the Scriptures, LDS Church News, 1998, 02/28/98)

We sometimes think of missionary work in narrow terms. Is not one of the most powerful missionary forces in the world called motherhood? If a missionary is one who teaches an investigator and encourages his conversion, then is not a mother a missionary? Can we not imagine the Lord speaking to all mothers and wives as follows, ‘if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this [family], and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!’ (DC 18:15)? Whether her children or her husband, the faithful sister’s powers of sanctification are not fully recognized or appreciated.

“The best place for us to start blessing the world is in our own family, ward, and neighborhood. The greatest challenges given to any ward involve nonmembers, part-member families, less active members, troubled youth, and others with special needs. These are found in every ward and branch of the Church. The scriptures provide excellent models of effective ways to bless all the families of the earth with the blessings of the gospel, salvation, and eternal life. If we search them, these truths will unfold.” (S. Michael Wilcox, A Witness of Jesus Christ: The 1989 Sperry Symposium on the Old Testament, ed. by Richard D. Draper, [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990], 279.)

Franklin D. Richards

“…the average stake has several hundred prospective elders. In checking with a number of stakes, I find that about 60 percent are married to nonmember wives. We also have many member women who have married nonmember husbands. In most stakes, there are several hundred part-member families and they have many children who are nonmembers. As these nonmembers are taught, many of their inactive husbands and wives can be taught with their nonmember spouses, uniting the families and helping them go to the temple.” (“Being a Successful Member Missionary: A Conversation with Elder Franklin D. Richards of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy,” Ensign, Oct. 1977, 43)

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1 Cor. 7:34 the unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy

“In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we stress the importance of marriage as an eternal state, as the condition in which all truly righteous sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven will one day live. We are so accustomed to hearing this that we fail to realize that single people not only have equal opportunities for spiritual progress but also in some ways may actually find it easier to pursue certain spiritual goals than married people do. In 1 Corinthians 7:32-33, Paul writes: ‘He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.’

“That is a somewhat surprising scripture, and as Latter-day Saints we do not automatically assume that a married person is a second-class spiritual citizen because he ‘careth for the things that are of the world.’ But most married women who have child-care responsibilities will tell you that they sometimes think back with longing to their single days when they simply had more autonomy, more jurisdiction over their own time, so that fasting, scripture study, and personal prayer were not so hard to schedule. Paul's statement should not give single people an excuse to flaunt a supposed spiritual superiority, but it is an interesting point to contemplate. With singles' greater autonomy and self-determination, is it possible that some spiritual opportunities available to single people are in fact more difficult for married people to find?

President Spencer W. Kimball often stressed that married people have no monopoly on the opportunity and responsibility for spiritual growth. At one point he said, in speaking to the women of the Church in September 1979, ‘Sometimes to be tested and proved requires that we be temporarily deprived—but righteous women and men will one day receive all that our Father has. It is not only worth waiting for—it is worth living for! Meanwhile, one does not need to be married or a mother in order to keep the first and second great commandments—to love God and our fellow-men—on which, Jesus said, hang all the law and all the prophets.’ (My Beloved Sisters, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1979, p. 41.)” (Karen Lynn Davidson, Thriving on Our Differences [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990], 44.)

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1 Cor. 8:2 if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing

As soon as a man begins to think he is smart, he proves in reality that he is an idiot and knows nothing. A corollary of this doctrine was declared by Spencer W. Kimball, “When one becomes conscious of his great humility, he has already lost it.” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 233.) Indeed the greatest of scientists and philosophers eventually come to the same conclusion, “the more you know, the more you realize how much there is yet to learn.” In the gospel, this principle applies equally well, for the more mysteries of godliness that we master, the more we realize the limitations of our understanding. At last, we conclude as did Moses, ‘Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed’ (Moses 1:10).

John Taylor

“What are we? At best but little specs in motion moving about in the world, puffed up, in many instances, with things we profess to know, when really we know nothing only as God communicates it, and can understand nothing only as he makes it manifest. Can all the philosophers of to-day make a grain of wheat and give vitality to it, much less a world? Or can they make a simple blade of grass?” (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 21: 343 - 344.)

John Taylor

“Who can boast of anything? Who among you, ye Elders of Israel, can boast of any knowledge or intelligence? Why we know nothing about the principles of truth, only what God has revealed. How do I know anything about baptism for the remission of sins even, and the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost? Why, the Lord revealed it; if He had not I should have known nothing about it…for all we know we are indebted to God, and if He had not revealed them to us we should have been as ignorant as they are.” (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 12: 397.)

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1 Cor. 8:5 there be gods many, and lords many

Bruce R. McConkie

“Though ‘there is none other God but one’ for men on this earth to worship, yet ‘there be gods many, and lords many’ throughout the infinite expanse of eternity. (1 Cor. 8:4-7.) That is, there are many exalted, perfected, glorified personages who reign as gods over their own dominions. John saw 144,000 of them standing with Christ upon Mount Zion, all ‘having his Father's name written in their foreheads’ (Rev. 14:1), which is to say that they were gods and were so identified by wearing crowns so stating. Indeed, to each person who overcomes and gains exaltation, Christ has promised: ‘I will write upon him the name of my God,’ and he shall ‘sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.’ (Rev. 3:12)

Joseph Smith said: ‘Every man who reigns in celestial glory is a god to his dominions.’ (Teachings, p. 374.) All exalted persons ‘are gods, even the sons of God.’ (D. C. 76:58.) Through obedience to the whole gospel law, including celestial marriage, they attain the ‘fulness of the glory of the Father’ (D. C. 93:6-28) and ‘a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.’ (D. C. 132:19-20.)

“But to us there is but one God, who is Elohim, and one Lord, who is the Lord Jehovah; the Holy Ghost acts as their minister; and these three are one Godhead, or as it is more graphically expressed, one God. Thus we find the Psalmist, whom Jesus quoted, saying: ‘God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. . . . I have said, ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.’ (Ps. 82:6)” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 1: 491.)

Joseph Smith

“If Joseph Smith says there are Gods many and Lords many, they cry, ‘Away with him, crucify him.’ Mankind verily say that the scripture is with them. Search the scriptures; they testify of things that apostates would blaspheme. Paul, if Joseph Smith is a blasphemer, you are. I say there are Gods many and Lords many, but to us only one, and we are to be subject to that one. . . .

“Some say, ‘I do not interpret [the] same as you.’ They say it means the heathen god. Paul says, ‘there are gods many.’ It makes a plurality of Gods anyhow. Without a revelation, I am not going to give the God of heaven to them anyhow. You know, and I testify, that Paul had no allusions to it. I have it from God, get over it if you can. I have a witness of the Holy Ghost and a testimony that Paul had no allusion to the heathen god in the text.” (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 159.)

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1 Cor. 9:18 when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge

To the paid ministries across the width and breadth of Christianity, we ask, “what did Paul mean when he said, ‘I make the gospel of Christ without charge’?” The only payment Paul received as he traveled without purse of scrip was the hospitality of his host and the blessings of bringing souls unto Christ.

M. Russell Ballard

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doesn't have a paid, professional clergy. Everywhere the Church is organized, it is administered and staffed by members of the ward or branch (which is what we call our congregations) who have been called to their positions through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. And that's quite an accomplishment.” (Our Search for Happiness: An Invitation to Understand The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1993], 108.)

Bruce R. McConkie

‘Salvation is free.’ (2 Ne. 2:4.) It has no price tag; it cannot be purchased with money. None is ever asked to buy saving grace. God's decree is: Every living soul is entitled to hear the truth taught and the testimony of Jesus born by a legal administrator, who has no purpose in preaching except the eternal welfare of his hearers. To all preachers the Lord's directive is: ‘Freely ye have received, freely give.’ (Matt. 10:8.)

“But the ministers of salvation must eat and drink; they must be clothed, marry, raise families, and live as other men do. When all of their time and strength is expended in building up the kingdom, others—happily, those blessed by their ministrations—must supply the just needs and wants of the laborers in the vineyard, for ‘the laborer is worthy of his hire.’ (D. & C. 84:79.) ‘But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.’ (2 Ne. 26:31.)” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 2: 351.)

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