042: “Seek Ye Earnestly the Best Gifts”; Doctrine & Covenants and Church History 15

April 13, 2013

Engaging Gospel Doctrine

“Seek Ye Earnestly the Best Gifts”

We all notice that some of us are better at some things than others, and vice versa. Some talents border on miraculous, and the scriptures teach of miracles work through the gifts of God. The imagery of the “body of Christ” where different members have different roles (and gifts to fulfill those roles) presents a compelling and charitable way to understand differing gifts and how we can use them to serve each other, build God’s kingdom, and fulfill the purpose of the Plan of Salvation.
In this lesson and discussion we will cover:
  • Spiritual gifts in Church History, including the manifestations of spiritual gifts to women
  • Spiritual gifts in the Biblical tradition
  • Spiritual gifts in other religions
  • Spiritual gifts in human nature, with an emphasis on differing gifts

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Student Reading
: D&C 46; Articles of Faith 1:7; 1 Corinthians 12–13; Moroni 10:8–18; Our Heritage, pages 42–43, 47–48, 63,

Additional Teacher Reading: D&C 42:13–14,D&C 43:8, D&C 50, D&C 88:122, 2 Nephi 33:1

Carl, Jessica, Lisa and Ryan provide a rewarding and illuminating discussion.

And for the first time, download or listen to our bonus discussion here! Ryan’s gifted wife Christa shares her perspective.

You can access my Reading Notes here.

You can access my Lesson Notes here.

Continue the conversation by posting your comments and questions here, in the facebook group, or email them to me at MormonSundaySchool at gmail.

Resources

Many thanks to Devin Roth for the beautiful bumper music. Check out his arrangement of hymns and other work at DevinRothMusic!

Thanks to James Estrada of Oak Street Audio for his timely post-production.

15 Responses to “042: “Seek Ye Earnestly the Best Gifts”; Doctrine & Covenants and Church History 15”

  1. Jason Case Says:

    Jared,

    Excellent as always, sir! One question: you mentioned that the order of the gifts of the spirit in 1 Corinthians implied the order of their importance. Was this simply a common convention in Paul’s day? Can you elaborate on why the order implies order of importance?

    Reply

    • Jared Anderson Says:

      I would need to look into details of rhetoric in the Greco-Roman world if that is your question, but Paul’s immediate goal it seems is to put glosollalia or speaking in tongues in perspective. The Corinthians are really excited about the more dramatic spiritual gifts, so when Paul discusses gifts he discounts their importance by listing them last, and putting the prophetic gifts that grant wisdom and knowledge as a greater priority, and then culminating his argument with the beautiful sermon on the importance of love in chapter 13. Does that answer your question?

      Reply

      • Hillary Says:

        Yes, I tool LOVED this part of the podcast! I would love to quote it, and also reference it. Are there any further references that you can give, in addition to your expertise.

        Reply

      • Jason Case Says:

        Yes, thank you. I really appreciate your insight into the ordering – it does definitely make sense because even today we tend to list things in order of importance. If you have any further insight into Greco-Roman rhetoric, I’d love to hear it, but your clarification did answer my question.

        Reply

        • Jared Says:

          Here is a tiny example, some comments on Paul’s rhetoric in Romans. http://www.introducingnt.com/images/hyperlinks/html/hyperlink-12-03.html

          Reply

          • Jason Case Says:

            Thanks Jared. I found a quote from Joseph Smith that substantiates your assertion that Paul is suggesting that the gift of tongues is less important than other gifts: The gift of tongues is the smallest gift perhaps of the whole, and yet it is one that is the most sought after…Be not so curious about tongues, do not speak in tongues except there be an interpreter present; the ultimate design of tongues is to speak to foreigners, and if persons are very anxious to display their intelligence, let them speak to such in their own tongues. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 247.)

    • Jason Case Says:

      Repost of my last comment (for readability purposes):

      Thanks Jared. I found a quote from Joseph Smith that substantiates your assertion that Paul is suggesting that the gift of tongues is less important than other gifts: The gift of tongues is the smallest gift perhaps of the whole, and yet it is one that is the most sought after…Be not so curious about tongues, do not speak in tongues except there be an interpreter present; the ultimate design of tongues is to speak to foreigners, and if persons are very anxious to display their intelligence, let them speak to such in their own tongues. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 247.)

      Reply

      • Hillary Says:

        Jason, I found the same quote and was going to use it in my class also! I got it from A companion to Your Study of the D&C-Volumes 1 and 2, Daniel Ludlow. But in addition to that, Jared, I couldn’t help but notice how similar the circumstances were for the people of Corinth and the early LDS Saints, thus the need for this revelation. If you read the preface and history to Sec.46, is says that the Saints were having “extravagant spiritual phenomena” -I guess there really is a pattern in all things righ;) My favorite quote by the prophet was this though Joseph Smith said “The greatest, the best, and the most useful gifts would be known nothing about by an observer”

        Reply

  2. Jason Case Says:

    Jared,

    Thank you for your thoughts in this podcast.

    I particularly loved the last 20 minutes of your discussion, especially the part where you talk about unexamined vs. examined faith. As I considered my own faith, I concluded that mine is largely unexamined.

    I’m a gospel doctrine teacher, and I feel like the majority of the members of my class would have a hard time hearing some of the ideas discussed here (i.e. the “I think you should be an atheist” story). I wonder if this has something to do with faith.

    As I write this, I confess that even I had a hard time with that and some other ideas presented here, but I WANT to be able to embrace these. I don’t LIKE that I had a hard time with it. I feel somewhat like an outsider listening to this podcast because of this.

    I’m 32, a Utah Mormon, lived here most of my life, and like many of the people that surround me, I don’t feel like I’ve really been exposed to a lot of other religions or ideas. I feel that it is unfortunately common that we label other ideas as “wrong” (or at least “not very important”) if they are not immediately in harmony with what we understand as the restored gospel (and by that I mean the version of the gospel we hear preached within our communities). I would like to think that the Gospel would embrace many things outside of our church, but I can’t help but feel that many people within the church (myself included) would often have the knee-jerk reaction to dismiss some of what you discuss in this podcast because it doesn’t immediately pertain to our experience.

    I hope some of this is making sense. I almost emailed all of this to you privately, but I decided to post it because I’ve got to assume that many people across a variety of Latter-Day Saint communities would have similar feelings and experiences on this topic.

    I would love to know your thoughts on this problem.

    Additionally, could you give me any suggested reading or other things I might do to broaden my perspective?

    Thanks in advance.

    Jason

    Reply

    • Jared Says:

      Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts Jason. I wrestle with these issues every single episode. I honestly try to keep it as faithful as I feel I responsibly can. I am sensitive to the fact that if ideas feel foreign, our instinct is to reject them. It is telling that of the 350+ respondents to our survey, only about 60% describe this podcast as “faithful”.

      I will get back to you about resources after I am done with the semester’s grading. Admirable questions and self-awareness.

      Reply

    • Jared Anderson Says:

      Jason,

      What kind of sources are you looking for. How broad 😉 do you want your perspective on which issues? Do you want sources on the Bible, on scripture, on religion in general, or how we think about all of the above?

      Reply

  3. Sara Vranes Says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for this information. I taught this lesson today and “I know” it was much better because of the resources offered here. I spent the majority of my lesson discussing “I know” vs “I believe” statements and I got the vibe that it was exactly what a majority of the class needed. Thank you so much for this resource. I will definitely donate some money to keep it going… once my student loan comes through!

    Reply

  4. Utahhiker801 Says:

    I appreciated your discussion and push-back about the value judgments we sometimes put on the types of examined and unexamined faith that may manifest itself in our lives. It’s sometimes easy for me to feel that those positions which agree with mine are somehow of greater worth, and I must be conscientious to overcome that.

    I know that there are some aspects of my views on life and faith that could be considered “well-examined” and there are likely other parts that some could judge as being “unexamined.” The lesson I take from it is that I need to be kind and compassionate to everyone, no matter where they are in their journey.

    Reply

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