Posted in Gospel Doctrine 2015, LDS Doctrine, New Testament

Gospel Doctrine 2015 – Lesson 34 -“Keep the Ordinances, As I Delivered Them”

  1. Husbands’ and wives’ relationships with each other and with the Lord

1 Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

“This is but another way of saying that the wife is to obey the law of her husband only as he obeys the laws of God. No woman is expected to follow her husband in disobedience to the commandments of the Lord.” (Ye Are the Light of the World: Selected Sermons and Writings of Harold B. Lee [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974], chap. 34.)

1 Corinthians 11:11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.

‘For anyone to attain the fulness of priesthood blessings, there must be a husband and a wife sealed in the house of the Lord, working together in righteousness and remaining faithful to their covenants. This is the Lord’s plan for His children, and no amount of public discourse or criticism will change what the Lord has declared. We need to continue to model righteous marriages, seek for that blessing in our lives, and have faith if it is slow in coming. Let us be defenders of marriage as the Lord has ordained it while continuing to show love and compassion for those with differing views.’ (Bonnie L Oscarson, General Conference, April 2015)

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President Marion G. Romney taught: “[A husband and wife] should be one in harmony, respect, and mutual consideration. Neither should plan or follow an independent course of action. They should consult, pray, and decide together. … Remember that neither the wife nor the husband is the slave of the other. Husbands and wives are equal partners” (Ensign, Mar. 1978, 2, 4).

  1. The purpose of the sacrament

There seems to have been a tradition in Corinth, where people would attend the religious meetings of the various temples primarily for a free meal. The Lord’s supper seemed to have been used as a meal by many, and so was causing dissensions.

1 Corinthians 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

‘Paul seems to have mentioned the fact that it was on the very night on which he was betrayed, in order to throw around it the idea of greater solemnity. He wished evidently to bring before their minds the deeply affecting circumstances of his death; and thus to show them the utter impropriety of their celebrating the ordinance with riot and disorder.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

1 Corinthians 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

“That is the real purpose of the sacrament, to keep us from forgetting, to help us to remember. I suppose there would never be an apostate, there would never be a crime, if people remembered, really remembered, the things they had covenanted at the water’s edge or at the sacrament table and in the temple. I suppose that is the reason the Lord asked Adam to offer sacrifices, for no other reason than that he and his posterity would remember-remember the basic things that they had been taught. I guess we as humans are prone to forget. It is easy to forget. Our sorrows, our joys, our concerns, our great problems seem to wane to some extent as time goes on, and there are many lessons that we learn which have a tendency to slip from us. The Nephites forgot. They forgot the days when they felt good.” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], 113.)

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1 Corinthians 11: 27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

‘He is to examine himself about his knowledge, whether he rightly understands what Christ is, what the nature of the sacrament is, what he doth in that sacred action; about his faith, love, repentance, new obedience, whether he be such a one as God hath prepared that holy table for; it is the children’s bread, and not for dogs; a table Christ hath spread for his friends, not for his enemies.’ (Matthew Poole’s Commentary)

1 Corinthians 11: 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

“The sacrament meeting is the most sacred and the most important meeting required of all the members of the Church. If any of the members are not in good standing; if they have in their hearts any feeling of hatred, envy, or sin of any kind, they should not partake of these emblems. If there are any differences or feelings existing between brethren, these differences should be adjusted before the guilty parties partake; otherwise they will eat and drink unworthily and bring upon them the condemnation spoken of by Paul. We should all see that our hearts and hands are clean and pure.” (Joseph Fielding Smith,Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 2: 343.)

  1. The importance of all spiritual gifts

1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

‘How can man profit by it if he hasn’t received it? How can he receive it unless he follows the gospel path as taught by the Christ and has the Holy Ghost conferred upon him by the laying on of hands by one authorized to bestow it?’ Delbert L Stapley, General Conference, October 1963)

1 Corinthians 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

“The greatest knowledge is that which opens the way to exaltation. As with wisdom, there are varying degrees of knowledge, temporal and spiritual, greater and smaller. The ultimate and sublime purpose of knowledge is ‘for the salvation of our souls.’ (Jacob 4:13.)

“Firsthand knowledge comes with the aid of the Spirit. To read the scriptures gives one knowledge of what others have said. That is secondhand knowledge. When the Spirit bears witness to the truth of what the prophets have written, it becomes the personal and firsthand knowledge of the reader. The knowledge thus obtained is a gift of God.” (S. Brent Farley, Studies in Scripture, Vol. 8: Alma 30 to Moroni, ed. by Kent P. Jackson, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1988], 307.)

1 Corinthians 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

‘Some may say that the gift of healing was only intended for ancient times, to establish the Gospel; that the people in those days needed some miraculous power and evidence to convince them of the truth of the Gospel; but I find that the gift of healing was given for the benefit of all who had faith to be healed. This was the way that the Lord administered in ancient times, and there is just as much necessity in our day that the sick should be healed, as there was eighteen centuries ago; and the Lord is just as willing, inasmuch as we will exercise faith in him, to bestow the gift of healing now as he was in ancient times.’ (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses)

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1 Corinthians 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

Marvin J Ashton: ‘Let us review some of these less-conspicuous gifts: the gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using a still, small voice; the gift of being able to weep; the gift of avoiding contention; the gift of being agreeable; the gift of avoiding vain repetition; the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost.’

1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

14 For the body is not one member, but many.

15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

“The scriptures state clearly that while our respective callings may be different and may change from time to time, all callings are important to the operation of the Church. We need the priesthood quorums to assert themselves and fulfill their divinely mandated stewardship, just as we need the Relief Society, the Primary, the Young Women, the Sunday School, and the activities committees to perform their vital functions. And we need the officers and members of all of these inspired organizations to work together, assisting each other as needed for the benefit of individuals and families. This is not man’s work nor woman’s work; it is all God’s work, which is centered on the atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (M Russell Ballard”Strength in Counsel,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 77)

1 Corinthians 12:19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:

25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

‘The general sentiment which the apostle had been illustrating and enforcing was, that all the endowments which were possessed in the church were the work of the same Holy Spirit, and that they ought to be appropriately cherished and prized, as being all useful and valuable in their places. This sentiment he now illustrates 1Co. 12:12-27 by a beautiful similitude taken from the mutual dependence of the various parts of the human body. The human body is one, and yet is composed of various members and parts that all unite harmoniously in one whole.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

1 Corinthians 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

“I will show you a more excellent way of evincing your “zeal” than by aspiring to the place of apostles, prophets, or rulers, and that is by cultivating universal charity or love.” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

  1. The Resurrection and the degrees of glory


1 Corinthians 15:12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

‘That doctrine is the center and pivot of Christian theology, the foundation of the Christian religion, the very basis of Christian hope. Strip that dogma from your creed, and you destroy Christianity. Take it away, and you devitalize your New Testament, for it is the fundamental fact of that whole record.’ (Albert E Bowen, Conference Report, April 1944, Third Day-Morning Meeting 130.)

1 Corinthians 15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

‘There were, then, some five-and-twenty years after the Resurrection, several hundred disciples who were known amongst the churches as having been eyewitnesses of the risen Saviour. The greater part survived; some, evidently a very few, had died. The proportion of the living to the dead, after five-and-twenty years, is generally the opposite. The greater part have ‘fallen asleep’; some, a comparatively few, remain ‘unto this present.’ Possibly there was some divine intervention which supernaturally prolonged the lives of these witnesses, in order that their testimony might be the more lasting. But, be that as it may, they evidently were men of mark, and some kind of honour and observance surrounded them, as was very natural, and as appears from the fact that Paul here knows so accurately {and can appeal to His fellow-Christians’ accurate knowledge} the proportion between the survivors and the departed.’ (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

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1 Corinthians 15:7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

“What can we do if we cannot accept such irrefutable evidence? To me their testimonies mean but one thing, and that is that Jesus Christ who was born of the Virgin Mary, who preached the gospel after his own name, who sought the lost ones, whose life as we know it, even from the fragmentary accounts thereof, is an inspiration and has been an inspiration to millions, for two thousand years, who was crucified in ignominy and who was buried: that this same Jesus Christ arose from the grave literally, and that the early Christian church was founded upon that divine fact.” (David O. McKay, Conference Report, April 1926, Afternoon Session 38.)

1 Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

“‘If a man die, shall he live again?’ (Job 14:14). This is the great universal question framed by Job. He spoke what every other living man or woman has pondered. The Christ alone, of all the millions who up to that time had walked the earth, was the first to emerge from the grave triumphant, a living soul complete in spirit and body. He became ‘the firstfruits of them that slept’ (1 Cor. 15:20). Were greater words ever spoken than those of the angel that first resurrection morn-‘Why seek ye the living among the dead?’ (Luke 24:5). ‘He is not here: for he is risen, as he said’ (Matt. 28:6).” (Gordon B Hinckley, “The Victory over Death,” Ensign, Apr. 1997, 2)

1 Corinthians 15:29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

‘This is the reason we do ordinance work in temples for our deceased ancestors. No person’s choice or agency is taken away. Those for whom the work is done may accept it or not, as they choose.’ (James E Faust, General Conference, April 2006)

1 Corinthians 15:35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?

36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:

38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

“Here we have…the comparison of the resurrection to the sowing of a seed of grain, as suggested by the Apostle Paul…although a seed of grain decomposes, in order to give new life, there remains sufficient of its fundamental element to give the new seeds the same look, size and shape, just as there will be retained those essential elements of our human bodies sufficient to give to each of us the same identity and personality our bodies possessed during our mortal lives.” (Harold B Lee, Decisions for Successful Living [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1973], 184.)

1 Corinthians 15:39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.

‘As the gold and the silver and other minerals can be mixed together and again separated, so the different kinds or particles of flesh may be united, one going into the other through natural processes, but the same God by whose wisdom the laws were made which so govern the mineral bodies, separating them one from another, has also framed and made laws by which the various particles of the different kinds of flesh can be separated, each returning and cleaving to its respective element. The component parts of man can no more become the flesh of beasts or fishes than gold can become silver, lead turn to iron, or copper to gold. Each is separate and distinct from the other.’ (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses)

1 Corinthians 15:40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

Those who attain to the blessing of the first or celestial resurrection will be pure and holy, and perfect in body. Every man and woman that reaches to this unspeakable attainment will be as beautiful as the angels that surround the throne of God.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 10: 24 – 25.)

1 Corinthians 15:41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.

‘This shows that different degrees of glory will be awarded men and women in the resurrection according to their faithfulness here. Some will receive the glory of the sun, which is called the celestial glory; others will receive a glory typified by the moon, called the terrestrial glory; and others a glory typified by the stars, which is called the telestial glory’ (George Q Cannon, Journal of Discourses)

1 Corinthians 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown incorruption; it is raised in incorruption:

43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

“Now what is a spiritual body? It is one that is quickened by spirit and not by blood. Our Father in heaven and our Savior and all those who have passed through the resurrection have physical bodies of flesh and bones, but their bodies are quickened by spirit and not by blood, hence they are spiritual bodies and not blood bodies. The immortal body is quickened by spirit, but the mortal body is quickened by blood.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 1: 77.)

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Posted in Inspirational

FSY – a week of miracles

This time last year, my pearl among women and I were called by the Area Presidency to serve as Administrators in the FSY (For the Strength of Youth programme). For the past year we have been working with our wonderful Session Directors, Roy and Vanessa Tunnicliffe, our amazing Co-ordinators, Ally Siu and Megan Platt, and our brilliant assistant administrators, Philip and Sam Siu, to plan and prepare for ‘our’ 2015 FSY session. This work all came to fruition last week when nearly 400 youth from the London South Mission descended on Nottingham University.

It was an exhausting yet exhilarating, frenetic yet fantastic, bewildering and beautiful week of miracles.

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One of the great miracles of FSY is the counsellors. About 70 young adults gave up two weekends of their time for training and then the week of FSY to serve as group counsellors, health counsellors and one to one counsellors. For no financial reward, they arose early and went to bed late (sometimes very late) and devoted the hours between to the spiritual and physical welfare of their young charges. Without these counsellors there could be no FSY. Their example of selfless service is magnificent.

Another miracle is the young people themselves. The FSY grooming and behaviour standards are pitched at a higher level than the general standards for the Church. For some of the youth this is not a problem – they are living up to those standards already. For others it is a stretch and they have to make changes to their dress, their appearance or their actions in order to attend. I don’t fully know why it is necessary for FSY to have these high standards but I do know that these young people, and we as leaders, are blessed for their obedience and sacrifice. That willingness to be obedient brings the Spirit to FSY. Not one young person had to be turned away or sent home because of a failure to abide by these standards – a great group achievement.

As you would expect, the youth of the London South Mission come from all sorts of different social backgrounds, have different cultural and ethnic origins and have varying levels of gospel knowledge. Despite these differences, one of the miracles of FSY is that they come together and are united by shared spiritual and learning experiences. At the beginning of the week, as we met these young people off the coaches, they were subdued and apprehensive. They were concerned about whether they would be accepted by their peers and whether they would make friends. By the end of the week they were happy, didn’t want to go home and had made firm friends with other youth that they had only known for a few days. Included in the group were a number of youth with particular or special needs. One of the miracles I saw was the way in which these young people were embraced and loved by their peers.

The allocation of youth to their groups and counsellors was a miracle. Through fasting and prayer, Phil and Sam assigned each young person to a group and to a counsellor. Their work was inspired as once the week had begun no youth requested that they be moved to another group and no one asked to go home because they were unhappy or homesick.

I was grateful to be able to participate in priesthood blessings that were asked for by a number of young people who were looking for comfort and strength to help them deal with heart-rending challenges in their personal lives. They sought a blessing from the Lord through the priesthood but their courage and faith blessed me and blessed the rest of their group. Miracles were wrought.

One of the highlights of the week for many was the service project. Our FSY session knitted 275 hats for premature babies and made 29 blankets for the elderly or homeless. Together with the other two FSY sessions, we were able to donate over 800 hats to the local neo-natal unit. It was a wonderful experience to see young men and women, many of whom had probably never dreamed that they could knit a hat, concentrating with furrowed brows and tongues poking out as they wound wool around a loom to help increase the survival chances of tiny babies.

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The FSY week was filled with lessons, devotionals, dances, games and other activities but many youth reported that the time they valued most was the time spent quietly studying and sharing feelings about the gospel with their counsellors and their groups.

The FSY week is over now, the youth have returned to their homes. We are now receiving messages from parents, leaders and the young people themselves telling us that FSY was the best week of their lives and that their lives have been changed. It is truly a miracle. It was not done through our efforts or even through the great work done by the counsellors or the rest of the team but by the Lord through his Spirit. I pray that that Spirit might remain with these choice young people and that their FSY experiences will strengthen them as they embark on the rest of their lives.

 

Posted in Gospel Doctrine 2015, New Testament

Gospel Doctrine 2015 – Lesson 33 -“Ye Are the Temple of God”

  1. Avoid contention and be unified.

 

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1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

‘Oneness is at the very heart of the atonement, which literally means at-one-ment. Its transcendent purpose is to provide a means whereby mortals, utterly divided from their Father by sin and mortality, can become one with him again. …. The atonement is also the only means whereby people, divided by their selfish interests, can become united in a glorious relationship of harmony. If oneness is God’s goal for us, then, we can be certain that its very opposite is division, the grabbing territory and self-protection, the dissension that is so often part of life in mortality. When Lucifer is on the loose, he scatters people and disintegrates relationships.’ (Maurine Proctor, Meridian Magazine.)

1 Corinthians 3: 1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

“The Corinthians were plagued by ignorance stemming from their preoccupation with material and immoral attractions and from their obeisance to false gods and idols (1 Corinthians 8:1-5)…Scholars have noted the difficulties Paul faced in broadcasting his message to the Saints in Corinth. As one writer observed, ‘Corinth was depraved. Going beyond the licentiousness of other trading cities and ports it lent its own name as the symbol of debauchery and corruption.’ Paul indicated his frustration over the conditions in Corinth: ‘And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ’ (1 Corinthians 3:1).” (Robert C. Freeman, The Apostle Paul, His Life and His Testimony: The 23d Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 35.)

1 Corinthians 3:2 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.

‘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 spoon fed on the broth of fellowship, or nourished carefully on activities and programs. As the scriptures say, they must have milk before meat. But we must take care lest the only nourishment they receive thereafter is that broth.’ (Boyd K Packer, General Conference, April 1984)

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

4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

‘St. Paul names himself and Apollos, to show that he would condemn any division among them, even though it were in favour of himself, or the dearest friend he had in the world.’ (Benson Commentary)

1 Corinthians 3:5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

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“One of Satan’s techniques for thwarting the work of the Lord is to convince members and missionaries alike that certain individuals who decline invitations to attend church or to hear the gospel discussions ‘have had their chance.’ The number of converts to the Church who have ‘gone through’ several sets of missionaries emphasizes the fact that none of us can judge when another person has had an adequate opportunity to hear and accept the gospel.

“The apostle Paul observed: ‘I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.’ (1 Cor. 3:6.) What if Apollos had failed to make efforts with those who were not converted with Paul’s initial contact? Some of us become discouraged when our gospel green thumbs don’t seem to bear fruit. Often some soul-searching will reveal that our approach has been ill timed or hastily planned, or perhaps that we were anxious to accept the credit for a future conversion, even though God gives the increase.” (Spencer J Condie, “Bring Them to Church,” Ensign, Oct. 1977, 36)

1 Corinthians 3: 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

‘Many come to me and say, “Brother Brigham, are we going to have any potatoes this year?” “I neither know nor care.” “Have you planted any?” “Yes, a great many.” “Have you looked to see whether there are any sets upon them?” “No: but it is my business to keep out the weeds, to water and till, and wait until the harvest.” I have not power to make potatoes set. If I should plant and hoe, and raise nothing, it is the same to me as though I obtained a good crop. God gives or withholds the increase.’ (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses)

1 Corinthians 3:8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

They are one in that they are working in the same cause.

1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

‘All that Paul had done had been by the mere favor of God. His appointment was from him; and all the skill which he had shown, and all the agency which he had employed, had been from him.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

1 Corinthians 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

“…If we build our house of salvation on the rock of personal revelation; if we build it on the revealed reality that Jesus is the Lord; if we build it on him who is the eternal rock-it will stand forever. If we are guided by the spirit of inspiration while here in mortality, we will be able to withstand all the floods and storms that beat upon us. If we are founded upon a rock, we worship the Father in the name of the Son by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1998], 116.)

See also my post Health Warning

  1. Rely on the Spirit rather than the wisdom of the world.

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

‘The more we incline our hearts and minds toward God, the more heavenly light distills upon our souls. And each time we willingly and earnestly seek that light, we indicate to God our readiness to receive more light. Gradually, things that before seemed hazy, dark, and remote become clear, bright, and familiar to us.

By the same token, if we remove ourselves from the light of the gospel, our own light begins to dim—not in a day or a week but gradually over time—until we look back and can’t quite understand why we had ever believed the gospel was true. Our previous knowledge might even seem foolish to us because what once was so clear has again become blurred, hazy, and distant.’ (Dieter F Uchtdorf, General Conference, October 2014)

1 Corinthians 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

‘The wise.—The general reference in this word is to those who would exalt human knowledge, while “the scribe” indicates the Jew, and the “disputer” the Greek, who discussed philosophy. (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

1 Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Those who measure life only with the intellect will always find the gospel of Christ ridiculous.  The idea of angels and gold plates and revelation and healings and visions and prophets will bring an indulgent smirk to the faces of hard-hearted intellectuals.

1 Corinthians 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

“In these long weeks since July 8 [1943, the date Spencer W. Kimball was called to be an apostle] I can tell you that I have been overwhelmed and have felt that I was unable to carry on this great work; that I was unworthy; that I was incapable because of my weaknesses and my limitations. I have felt many times that I was up against a blank wall. And in that interim I have been out in the desert and in high mountains alone, apart, and have poured out my soul to God. I have taken courage from one or two scriptures that constantly came to my mind and of which people continued to remind me. One was from Paul, and as I felt so foolish, small, and weak, I remembered that he said: ‘Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. That no flesh should glory in his presence.’ (1 Corinthians 1:25-27, 29.)

“When my feeling of incompetence wholly overwhelmed me, I remember the words of Nephi when he said: ‘I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.’ (1 Nephi 3:7.) I want to tell you that I lean heavily on these promises, that the Lord will strengthen and give me growth and fit and qualify me for this great work.” (Spencer W Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972], xvii.)

1 Corinthians 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

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

3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

‘That should be the only objective of instructors and teachers in this Church to teach “Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” We need not the “excellency of speech nor of wisdom,” but we need the testimony of God, as Paul said. ‘ (Harold B Lee, General Conference, April 1949)

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spirituallydiscerned.

“Note that Paul does not say that the natural man simply does not know the things of God; he says the natural man cannot know them. The things of the Spirit are just as real as the things of the earth, but they are in a different sphere, and fallen man’s ability to perceive and understand them is so limited that he can comprehend them only by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.” (Robert J. Matthews, A Bible! A Bible! [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1990], 163.)

3.Be morally clean.

1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

“Your physical body is a magnificent creation of God. It is his temple as well as yours, and it must be treated with reverence.” (Russell M Nelson, The Power within Us [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1988], 60.)

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Elder Bednar expounded wonderfully upon this small scripture in the Sept. 2001 Ensign:
“Our physical bodies indeed are temples of God. Consequently, you and I must carefully consider what we take into our temple, what we put on our temple, what we do to our temple, and what we do with our temple.

1 Corinthians 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

‘What would happen if we truly treated our bodies as temples? The result would be a dramatic increase in chastity, modesty, observance of the Word of Wisdom, and a similar decrease in the problems of pornography and abuse, for we would regard the body, like the temple, as a sacred sanctuary of the Spirit. Just as no unclean thing may enter the temple, we would be vigilant to keep impurity of any sort from entering the temple of our bodies.

Likewise, we would keep the outside of our bodily temples looking clean and beautiful to reflect the sacred and holy nature of what is inside, just as the Church does with its temples. We should dress and act in ways that reflect the sacred spirit inside us.’ (Susan Tanner, General Conference, October 2005)

President Boyd K. Packer said, “If we abuse our body with habit-forming substances, or misuse prescription drugs, we draw curtains which close off the light of spiritual communication.”

1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

‘The Corinthians are warned against many great evils, of which they had formerly been guilty. There is much force in these inquiries, when we consider that they were addressed to a people puffed up with a fancy of their being above others in wisdom and knowledge.’ (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

1 Corinthians 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

“Throughout his ministry the Apostle Paul wrote many epistles to the churches where he had served and to his friends. It is likely that he wrote scores of letters in his lifetime. Fortunately, 14 of these epistles have survived the ravages of time. These precious documents are unique in scripture. Nowhere else in the Bible do we have so many personal writings of an Apostle. These letters give us a window into the life and soul of this special witness of the Savior. Through his letters the Apostle Paul becomes one of the most accessible of all scriptural figures. These letters also bring the world of the early Church to life and document the challenges of the early members in learning and practicing the gospel.” (David Rolph Seely and Jo Ann H. Seely, “Paul: Untiring Witness of Christ,” Ensign, Aug. 1999, 25)

1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

‘Our challenges, including those we create by our own decisions, are part of our test in mortality. Let me assure you that your situation is not beyond the reach of our Savior. Through Him, every struggle can be for our experience and our good. Each temptation we overcome is to strengthen us, not destroy us. The Lord will never allow us to suffer beyond what we can endure. (Robert D Hales, General Conference, April 2009)

“All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not.The devil has no power over us only as we permit him” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 181).

Posted in Gospel Doctrine 2015, New Testament

Gospel Doctrine 2015 – Lesson 32 – “Live in the Spirit”

  1. Paul teaches, baptizes, and confers the Holy Ghost on believers in Ephesus.

Acts 18: 22 And when he had landed at Cæsarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.

Gone up = gone up to Jerusalem

Acts 18:23 And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.

This is Paul’s 3rd (and last) missionary journey.

Acts 18:24 ¶And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.

‘An eloquent man.—The Greek adjective implies learning as well as eloquence. It was applied pre-eminently to those who wrote history with fulness and insight. (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

Acts 18:25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.

26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.

I hope my granddaughters will understand that Relief Society today is organized after a pattern of discipleship that existed in the ancient Church. When the Savior organized His Church in New Testament times, “women were vital participants in [His] ministry.”1 [Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society (2011), 3.] He visited Martha and Mary, two of His most dedicated followers, in Martha’s home. As Martha listened to Him and served Him according to the custom of their time, He helped her see that she could do more than that. He helped Martha and Mary understand that they could choose “that good part,” which would not be taken from them.This gentle comment served as an invitation to participate in the Lord’s ministry. And later in the New Testament, Martha’s strong testimony of the Savior’s divinity gives us some insight into her faith and discipleship (See John 11:20-27).

As we read further in the New Testament, we learn that the Apostles continued to establish the Lord’s Church. We also learn about faithful women whose discipleship contributed to the growth of the Church. Paul spoke of female disciples in places such as Ephesus. (See Acts 18:24-26 and Romans 16:3-5) and Philippi (See Philippians 4:1-4). But as the Lord’s Church was lost in apostasy, this pattern of discipleship was also lost.

As the Lord began restoring His Church through the Prophet Joseph Smith, He again included women in a pattern of discipleship. A few months after the Church was formally organized, the Lord revealed that Emma Smith was to be set apart as a leader and teacher in the Church and as an official helper to her husband, the Prophet.  In her calling to help the Lord build His kingdom, she was given instructions about how to increase her faith and personal righteousness, how to strengthen her family and her home, and how to serve others.

I hope my granddaughters will understand that from the day the gospel began to be restored in this dispensation, the Lord has needed faithful women to participate as His disciples. (Julie B Beck, General Conference, October 2011)

Acts 18: 27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:

28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

‘For he mightily convinced the Jews—The word is very strong: “stoutly bore them down in argument,” “vigorously argued them down,” and the tense in that he continued to do it, or that this was the characteristic of his ministry.’ (Jamieson- Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary)

Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

A scriptural example of the gift of the Holy Ghost being conferred by the laying on of hands.

Acts 19:8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.

9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.

Disputing = discussing or discoursing

Acts 19:18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.

19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.

‘Many of them also which used curious arts . . .—The Greek word expresses the idea of superstitious arts, overbusy with the supposed secrets of the invisible world. These arts were almost, so to speak, the specialité of Ephesus. Magicians and astrologers swarmed in her streets and there was a brisk trade in the charms, incantations, books of divination, rules for interpreting dreams, and the like, such as have at all times made up the structure of superstition. The so-called “Ephesian spells” (grammata Ephesia) were small slips of parchment in silk bags, on which were written strange cabalistical words, of little or of lost meaning.’ (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

Acts 19: 23 And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.

‘The Syriac version reads, “the way of God”; and the Vulgate Latin version, “the way of the Lord”: that is, the Christian religion, and the doctrines and ordinances of the Gospel, which the saints were directed to walk in; and the Ethiopic version renders it, “about this doctrine”; which mightily grew and prevailed, and which such numbers embraced; and how great the stir was about it, and from whence it arose, who began it, and what were the consequences of it, are hereafter related.’ (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)

Acts 19:24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;

Pagan pilgrims to the temple of Ephesus would buy small silver models of the temple.

Acts 19:25 Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.

26 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands:

‘We have here the noble testimony of a pagan to the zeal and success of the ministry of Paul. It is an acknowledgment that his labors had been most strikingly successful in turning the people from idolatry.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

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Acts 19: 27 So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.

28 And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

‘The grounds of the charge which Demetrius made against Paul were two: first, that the business of the craftsmen would be destroyed usually the first thing that strikes the mind of a sinner who is influenced By self-interest alone; and, second, that the worship of Diana would cease if Paul and his fellow-laborers were suffered to continue their efforts.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

  1. Paul gives a farewell address to Church leaders from Ephesus.

Acts 20: 28 ¶Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

“We are convinced that our members are hungry for the gospel, undiluted, with its abundant truths and insights. … There are those who have seemed to forget that the most powerful weapons the Lord has given us against all that is evil are His own declarations, the plain simple doctrines of salvation as found in the scriptures.” (Harold B Lee, “The Power of the Word,”Ensign, May 1986, 79)

Acts 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

‘There have always been alternate voices whose purpose or effect is to deceive. Their existence is part of the Plan. The prophet Lehi taught that there “must needs be … an opposition in all things.” (2 Nephi 2:11)  And there have always been other alternate voices whose purpose or effect is unselfish and wholesome.

In most instances, alternate voices are heard in the same kinds of communications the Church uses to perform its mission. The Church has magazines and other official publications, a newspaper supplement, letters from Church leaders, general conferences, and regular meetings and conferences in local units. Similarly, alternate voices are heard in magazines, journals, and newspapers and at lectures, symposia, and conferences.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not attempt to isolate its members from alternate voices. Its approach, as counseled by the Prophet Joseph Smith, is to teach correct principles and then leave its members to govern themselves by personal choices.’ (Dallin H Oakes, General Conference, April 1989)

Acts 20: 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

‘Not only false teachers from abroad should come and enter among them, but some would spring up out of their own communities, such as had been admitted members of them, and of whom they had hoped well;’ (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)

Acts 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

“The tears were not in thankfulness for new generations of Christians but in sadness in realizing that all that he had worked for would be spoiled. He bluntly warned of apostasy soon after his time: ‘For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after themselves’ (New King James Version, Acts 20:29-30). … Thus, Paul left the astounding testimony that local Christian leaders would reverse the apostle’s doctrines.” (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul, p. 65.)”

Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

‘And to the word of his grace – That is, to his gracious word; to his merciful promise. Paul refers, doubtless, to the gospel, including its promises of support, its consoling truths, and its directions to seek all needful help and comfort in God.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

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Acts 20:33 I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.

34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.

35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

“…it is abundantly clear that the Bible does not contain all the words or deeds of Jesus. It is such a partial record that it is simply unthinkable to the reasonable mind that this sketchy record contains all his teachings, or that he never said anything new or worthwhile on those other days. John makes reference to this when he says: ‘And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written’ (John 21:25).

“In this connection one is reminded of Paul urging his friends from Ephesus ‘to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:35). It is clear that Paul knew this as a particular statement by Jesus, yet nowhere in the four ‘testimonies’ is Jesus represented as saying that. (Robert J. Matthews, Behold the Messiah [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 24.)

  1. Paul chastises and counsels the Galatian Saints.

Galatians 1:6  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

‘Removed.—The Greek word is one regularly used for a “deserter,” “turn-coat,” or “apostate,” either in war, politics, or religion. The tense is strictly present: “You are now, at this moment, in the act of falling away.”’ (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

Galatians 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

“Paul’s epistles…are…written to answer the questions and solve the problems of specific groups of saints. And in the case of the Galatians, the problem is apostasy. These Galatians are Gentile converts. They are now being contaminated by Jewish-Christians who tell them they must also be circumcised and live the law of Moses to be saved. Paul’s purpose is to call them back to Christ and his gospel.

“Galatians is thus written to people who are losing the true faith, who are adopting false doctrines and ordinances, who are being overcome by the world, who are commingling the dead law of Moses with the living word which is in Christ. Thus, in principle, Galatians is written to the Sectarian world, to those plagued with apostasy, to people who no longer believe the gospel in its purity and perfection.” (Bruce R McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 2: 455.)

 Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach anyother gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

‘Now that is quite a statement, but Paul was not at all backward in indicating what he thought of those who didn’t teach the truth that had come to them through the Savior and his teachings.

Now I realize, as I stand here today before this great multitude and all those who are listening in on television and radio, that I will come under the condemnation that Paul spoke of if I am not preaching the same gospel that Paul preached; but I bear witness to you today that we have the only true, living church upon the face of the earth that the Lord recognizes that has divine authority to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel.’ (LeGrand Richards, General Conference, April 1975)

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Galatians 1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.

12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it ,but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

‘For I neither received it of man – This is very probably said in reply to his opponents, who had maintained that Paul had derived his knowledge of the gospel from other people, since he had not been personally known to the Lord Jesus, or been of the number of those whom Jesus called to be his apostles. In reply to this, he says, that he did not receive his gospel in any way from man.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

‘The Gospel was preached to Abraham, and also to ancient Israel. The Israelites were unable to live the law of the Gospel—so a law of carnal commandments, known as the law of Moses, was given as a schoolmaster to bring them up to the higher law: Christ came and introduced that higher law—the Gospel, explained its precepts, and pointed out the difference between it and the law of Moses. The Gospel took the place of the law of Moses, which was laid aside, having fulfilled the object for which it was added to the Gospel.’ (Brigham H Roberts, Journal of Discourses)

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these;  Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

“Today the dealers of pornography, sex, alcohol, tobacco, narcotics, and other forms of vice hate the souls of youth but love their money and resources. Such despisers of youth would make slaves of the young by drowning them in the addictive works of the flesh. So they raise their voices high and seek to entice young people to get lost down strange roads with dead ends. Their contempt for you is evidenced in the trail of broken hearts, broken promises, and broken health (physical and spiritual) they leave behind.” (Carlos E Asay, The Road to Somewhere: A Guide for Young Men and Women [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 127.)

Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

“We mortals sometimes experience boredom in the routine repetition of our mortal tasks, including even good works; and thus vulnerable, we are urged not to grow weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9; D&C 64:33; 84:80; Alma 37:34). But given God’s divine love, there is no boredom on His part amid His repetitive work, for his course, though one eternal round, involves continuous redemption for His children; it is full of goodness and mercy as His long-suffering shows His love in action.” (Neal A Maxwell, Not My Will, But Thine[Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1998], 53.)