Chapter 44: “Be Thou an Example of the Believers”

The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, (1979), 358–66


Map Chp. 44

A Letter from Paul to the Saints in Philippi, Macedonia

Written While Under Arrest in Rome, ca. A.D. 63 (Philippians)

 

Philippians

Paul’s Experiences in Teaching Christ

1:1–26

Be of One Spirit and One Mind

1:27–30; 2:1–4

The Equality of Father and Son

2:5–8

All Men Shall Bow and Confess Christ

2:9–11

“Work Out Your Own Salvation”

2:12–18

The Mission of Timothy and Epaphroditus

2:19–30

The Way of Salvation

3:1–21

“Stand Fast in the Lord”

4:1–9

Paul’s Thanks for Aid

4:10–23

Paul’s First Letter to Timothy

Written from Macedonia to Ephesus, ca. A.D. 66 (1 Timothy)

 

1 Timothy

Teach Only True Doctrine

1:1–11

Christ Came to Save Repentant Sinners

1:12–17

Timothy’s Responsibility

1:18–20

Prayers of Thanks Are Pleasing to Our Mediator

2:1–8

The Conduct of Women in Worship Services

2:9–15

Requirements for a Bishop

3:1–7

Description of a Worthy Deacon

3:8–13

The Mystery of Godliness

3:14–16

Signs of Latter-day Apostasy

4:1–11

“Be Thou an Example of the Believers”

4:12–16

Saints Commanded to Care for Their Worthy Poor

5:1–16

The Responsibility of Elders

5:17–25

Slaves Are to Respect Their Masters

6:1, 2

Sound Teaching About Wealth

6:3–10

Timothy—Fight the Good Fight

6:11–21

Interpretive Commentary

The Letter to the Philippians: Friendship, Confidence, and Good Cheer

(44-1) It Is a Classic of Spiritual Autobiography

“This Epistle is a letter of friendship, full of affection, confidence, good counsel and good cheer. It is the happiest of St. Paul’s writings, for the Philippians were the dearest of his children in the faith. …

“… it is a classic of spiritual autobiography. … Philippians reveals the spring of his inward peace and strength. It admits us to St. Paul’s prison meditations and communings with his Master. We watch his spirit ripening through the autumn hours when patience fulfilled in him its perfect work.” (Dummelow, A Commentary on the Holy Bible, p. 969.)

(44-2) Place and Date of Writing

This letter was possibly the last letter Paul wrote during his first imprisonment at Rome. The letter was sent sometime about A.D. 63.

(44-3) Background Information

Paul traveled to the country of Macedonia after he received a special vision in the night wherein he saw a man who said, “Come over into Macedonia, and help us.” (Acts 16:9.) Philippi, which Luke describes in Acts as “the chief city of that part of Macedonia” (Acts 16:12), was the first city on the European continent to receive the gospel. Lydia, “a seller of purple,” and her household were Paul’s first converts in Philippi (Acts 16:14, 15). Paul used his priesthood powers to cast a demon from a young woman, for which act Paul and Silas were persecuted, cast into prison, scourged, and put into stocks. The persecution continued until the magistrates learned of the Roman citizenship of the two men, after which time Paul and Silas were asked to leave the city (Acts 16:39).

The city of Philippi was located in eastern Macedonia, at the foot of Mount Pangaeus, on the East-West Egnation Highway which linked Rome and Asia. Between the time when Paul first preached in the city and the writing of Philippians, approximately ten years had passed. News of Paul’s Roman imprisonment may have been the motivation for the Philippian saints to remember Paul again. Whatever the reason, they sent a gift, carried by a member of the branch whose name was Epaphroditus. It was apparently their intent to have Epaphroditus stay with Paul and help him in every possible way.

It is possible that Epaphroditus brought Paul a letter which detailed the state of affairs among the saints. From Paul’s letter to the Philippians it appears that the members were still firm in their faith in the Lord Jesus. No great schism or heresy, no major error of doctrine or practice appears to have occasioned Paul’s letter. Clearly, the letter is not one of chastisement. Even reference to the legalism of the Judaizers may indeed have been written merely to call attention to a potential and not a real threat to the saints. When Epaphroditus decided to return home, Paul sent the Philippian letter back with him.

(44-4) Significant Contributions

Like Philemon, the letter to the Philippians is one of Paul’s most personal letters. “Philippians is not a mighty dissertation, one to shake the earth or serve as a guidepost to Christendom, but it is a sweet and refined statement into which a number of gospel doctrines are woven. And our Bible is greatly enriched by its presence there.” (McConkie, DNTC, 2:525.)

This letter depicts Paul’s triumphant faith. It shows his total commitment to Jesus Christ. And it is obvious from the letter, as it is so apparent from his other writings, that Paul is diligent in carrying out his commission to preach. In it Paul proclaims this good news of the gospel, the glad tidings of faith and exaltation in and through the Savior, Jesus Christ.

(44-5) Philippians 1:19. What Is “the Spirit of Jesus Christ”?

See D&C 84:46, 47 and Moroni 7:16, 18.

(44-6) Philippians 2:5–8. Of the Equality and Nature of the Father and the Son

“Wherein, then, lies our Lord’s equality with his God and our God? Is it not in that Jesus, crowned now himself with exaltation, has received from the Father all knowledge, all truth, all wisdom, and all power? Is it not in the same sense that all of the sons of God, as joint-heirs with Christ, shall receive all that the Father hath? (D. & C. 76:54–60; 84:38; 132:20.) Is it not in that, treading in the tracks of the Father, those who are adopted as his sons gain exaltation of their own?” [See Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 347–48.] (McConkie, DNTC, 2:531.)

(44-7) Philippians 2:12. “Work Out Your Own Salvation with Fear and Trembling”

“An outstanding doctrine of the Church is that each individual carries the responsibility to work out his own salvation, and salvation is a process of gradual development. The Church does not accept the doctrine that a mere murmured belief in Jesus Christ is all that is necessary. A man may say he believes, but if he does nothing to make that belief or faith a moving power to do, to accomplish, to produce soul growth, his professing will avail him nothing. ‘Work out your salvation’ is an exhortation to demonstrate by activity, by thoughtful, obedient effort the reality of faith. But this must be done with a consciousness that absolute dependence upon self may produce pride and weakness that will bring failure. With ‘fear and trembling’ we should seek the strength and grace of God for inspiration to obtain the final victory.

“To work out one’s salvation is not to sit idly by dreaming and yearning for God miraculously to thrust bounteous blessings into our laps. It is to perform daily, hourly, momentarily, if necessary, the immediate task or duty at hand, and to continue happily in such performance as the years come and go, leaving the fruits of such labors either for self or for others to be bestowed as a just and beneficent Father may determine.” (David O. McKay in CR, Apr. 1957, p. 7.)

(44-8) Philippians 3:2. What Did Paul Mean When He Said, “Beware of Dogs, Beware of Evil Workers, Beware of the Concision”?

Paul was attacking the Judaizers—those Jewish Christians who demanded complete obedience to the Mosaic law as a condition for salvation. He used the word dogs to imply that they were unclean and unholy. His use of the words evil workers indicates those who thought they were righteous and in fact were not. In sarcasm he used the word concision, which means “mutilation,” instead of circumcision, which is the normal adjective used to define Jews.

(44-9) Philippians 3:15. Was Paul Suggesting That the Saints Were Perfect?

“When those apostles wrote letters to the members of the Church they addressed them as saints. A saint is not necessarily a person who is perfect, but he is a person who strives for perfection—one who tries to overcome those faults and failings which take him away from God. A true saint will seek to change his manner of living to conform more closely to the ways of the Lord.

“It is true that we each have imperfections to overcome. Life is a constant series of challenges and trials. Notwithstanding, we should never fail to strive for that perfection of life which can bring us closer into harmony with God.” (Theodore M. Burton in CR, Oct. 1973, p. 151.)

(44-10) Philippians 4:14. How Did the Philippian Saints “Communicate with [Paul’s] Affliction”?

The word is used in the sense of “share” or “sharing.”

Thus, here Paul had reference to gifts of material value which the saints had shared with Paul.

The First Letter to Timothy

(44-11) Be True to Your Trust

Proper care of the church by Timothy and other appointed leaders is the central Theme of this letter. Paul encourages Timothy to teach only the true doctrines of the kingdom, to keep the faith, to pray diligently, and to walk in all holiness. Paul’s letter challenges Timothy, and for that matter, all other priesthood leaders, to be true to their trust in the ministry.

An old tradition has it that the letter was written from Laodicea; however, the possibility exists that it was written from Macedonia. Whatever the place of writing, it appears to have been written during the time between Paul’s first and second imprisonments in Rome. The year was approximately A.D. 66.

(44-12) Background Information

At the time when Timothy received this letter, he was a priesthood leader in the church at Ephesus and had major administrative responsibilities. He was a church leader of proven worth whom Paul regarded highly. Timothy was left by Paul to be in charge of the Ephesus church and to persuade the membership to adhere to the principles of the gospel. Most likely some of the prominent members were older than Timothy and experienced difficulty in accepting the younger man’s authority. This appears to have been a major reason why Paul sent Timothy this letter.

(44-13) Significant Contributions

Church administration, the conscientious performance of duties, the teaching of correct doctrine, the faithful conduct of an appointed servant in Christ’s church—these are some of the topics written of in Paul’s first letter to Timothy. Interwoven into the text are some of the references to Jesus Christ, to salvation, to the great latter-day apostasy, and to the necessity for obedience to the principles of the gospel.

(44-14) 1 Timothy 1:4; 4:7. What Were the Fables and Endless Genealogies?

“‘The Jews had scrupulously preserved their genealogical tables, till the advent of Christ … but we are told that Herod destroyed the public registers: he, being an Idumean, was jealous of the noble origin of the Jews: and that none might be able to reproach him with his descent, he ordered the genealogical tables, which were kept among the archives in the temple, to be burned. … From this time the Jews could refer to their genealogies only from memory, or from those imperfect tables which had been preserved in private hands; and to make out any regular line from these, must have been endless and uncertain. It is probably to this the apostle refers; I mean the endless and useless labor which the attempt to make out these genealogies, must produce; the authentic tables being destroyed.’

“So we may well conclude that Paul’s denunciation was towards doubtful and untruthful genealogies which had been tampered with for improper purposes.” (Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 1:214–15.)

Paul may also have had reference to the Jewish tendency to take great pride in their ancestry and in their belief that genealogical descent was a proof of God’s favor (John 8:37–45). This, Paul says, is a fable. God’s favor is given on the basis of righteousness, not ancestry.

(44-15) 1 Timothy 3:3. What Is “Filthy Lucre”?

“Now, all money is not lucre—all money is not filthy. There is clean money—clean money with which to buy food, clothes, shelter, and other necessities and with which to make contributions toward the building of the kingdom of God.

“Clean money is that compensation received for a full day’s honest work. It is that reasonable pay for faithful service. It is that fair profit from the sale of goods, commodities, or service. It is that income received from transactions where all parties profit.

“Filthy lucre is blood money; that which is obtained through theft and robbery. It is that obtained through gambling or the operation of gambling establishments. Filthy lucre is that had through sin or sinful operations and that which comes from the handling of liquor, beer, narcotics and those other many things which are displeasing in the sight of the Lord. Filthy lucre is that money which comes from bribery, and from exploitation.

“Compromise money is filthy, graft money is unclean, profits and commissions derived from the sale of worthless stocks are contaminated as is the money derived from other deceptions, excessive charges, oppression to the poor and compensation which is not fully earned. I feel strongly that men who accept wages or salary and do not give commensurate time, energy, devotion, and service are receiving money that is not clean. Certainly those who deal in the forbidden are recipients of filthy lucre.” (Spencer W. Kimball in CR, Oct. 1953, p. 52.)

(44-16) 1 Timothy 3:6. Why Does Paul Say a Bishop Should Not Be a Novice?

Paul used the word neophyton to refer to one who is newly converted. This word is a compound of neos, “new, recently born” and phyow, which in the passive means “to be born, to spring up, to grow,” thus expressing the concept of a new convert or one newly born. A bishop, in particular, should be an experienced priesthood holder.

(44-17) 1 Timothy 3:12. Should Deacons Be Married?

“It was the judgment of Paul that a deacon in that day should be a married man. That does not apply to our day. Conditions were different in the days of Paul. In that day a minister was not considered qualified to take part in the ministry until he was thirty years of age. Under those conditions deacons, teachers, and priests were mature men. This is not the requirement today. There are in all kinds of churches today ministers who are under that age, and there is no requirement in the Church in this dispensation that a person must be a matured man before he can take part in the ministry or hold the priesthood. Nor was it the rule in very ancient times, for we learn that Noah was only ten years of age when he was given the priesthood under the hands of Methuselah.” [D&C 107:52.] (Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 1:129.)

(44-18) 1 Timothy 4:3. “Forbidding to Marry”

Since eternal life may only be achieved through celestial marriage, Satan does all within his power to “forbid” men and women to marry. Celibacy, living together out of wedlock, homosexuality, adultery, abortion, and birth control are but a few of the many methods employed to pervert men’s minds and prevent the creation and continuance of this holy union. In the words of President Harold B. Lee, “Satan’s greatest threat today is to destroy the family, and to make mockery of the law of chastity and the sanctity of the marriage covenant.” (Church News, 19 Aug. 1972, p. 3.)

Paul prophetically recognized this major problem of “forbidding to marry” in the latter times, and accordingly he has given us a specific warning against such an apostate practice.

(44-19) 1 Timothy 4:3–5. Are the Mosaic Restrictions on Eating Certain Meats and Foods Still in Force?

“‘Whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God; For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance.’ (D. & C. 49:18–19.)” (See also D&C 89:12, 13.)

“God has removed the Mosaic restrictions where the eating of certain meats and foods are concerned. These are now clean (sanctified, as it were); there are no longer any ceremonially unclean or forbidden foods.” (McConkie, DNTC, 3:86.)

(44-20) 1 Timothy 4:8. Does Paul Condemn Bodily Exercise?

The word order as arranged in the King James Version is an unfortunate one, for it conveys something different from what was intended. Literally, the Greek reads, “Bodily exercise for a little is profitable, but godliness for all things profitable is.” The meaning is not that physical exercise is worthless, but, rather, that its usefulness is limited; it is profitable only in a few ways. But godliness (or spiritual exercise) has unlimited usefulness; it is profitable in every way. Physical exercise profits the body, which shall perish, but godliness profits both the body and the spirit.

(44-21) 1 Timothy 5:1–18. What Principles of Temporal Welfare Are Endorsed by Paul?

Three specific welfare principles are taught by Paul in these verses. They are as follows:

[1.] “Gospel standards provide that members of the Church should work and support themselves. When this fails, they are to gain temporal assistance from their family, including children and grandchildren. Only when these resources do not suffice is there justification for calling on the Church itself for temporal assistance. …

[2.] “To qualify for church assistance, under the welfare system then in operation, widows were: To be in need; to be without children or relatives who could support them; to be 60 years of age: to have been faithful to their husbands; to have lived the gospel in general, as shown by the fact of rearing children, of lodging strangers, of washing the clothes of the saints, of relieving the afflicted, and of general proper living. Young widows were counseled to marry again and raise families.

[3.] “There are times when elders, spending their full time in the ministry, should receive temporal help from the Church, especially for their families.” (McConkie, DNTC, 3:90–91; see D&C 75:24.)

(44-22) 1 Timothy 5:22. “Lay Hands Suddenly on No Man”

“Brethren should be seasoned, tried, and found worthy before they are ordained and set apart to serve in positions of power and influence in the Church.” (McConkie, DNTC, 3:92.)

Points to Ponder

Recognize and Resist “Doctrines of Devils” That Seek to Destroy the Faith of the Saints

In his first letter to Timothy, Paul warned that in the latter days certain apostate doctrines would become so popular among members of the Church that they would constitute a most serious threat to the faith. (1 Timothy 4:1, 2.) Even so today, members of the Church are confronted with social practices and false beliefs so serious in nature that those who embrace them may lose their testimonies and their Church membership, and do irreparable damage to future generations. If you heed the counsel given, you may be the means by which your friends may avoid similar pitfalls.

What are some of the doctrines of the devil that some, even in the Church, would begin to believe?

Paul cites two “doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1) as examples: first, forbidding to marry, and second, commanding people not to eat meats (certain foods).

The exclusion of long lists of prohibited foods from our diets is certainly not as important in our relationship to the Lord as the Jew of Paul’s time made it to be; nevertheless, today some take liberties with what the Lord has said and suppose that the Word of Wisdom means more than it really means.

“Some unstable people become cranks with reference to this law of health. It should be understood that the Word of Wisdom is not the gospel, and the gospel is not the Word of Wisdom. As Paul said, ‘The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.’ (Rom. 14:17.)

“There is no prohibition in Section 89, for instance, as to the eating of white bread, using white flour, white sugar, cocoa, chocolate, eggs, milk, meat, or anything else, except items classified under the headings, tea, coffee, tobacco, and liquor. As a matter of fact those who command that men should not eat meat, are not ordained of God, such counsel being listed by Paul as an evidence of apostasy. God has created ‘meats,’ he says, ‘to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.’ (1 Tim. 4:3.)” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 845–46.)

Sadly, some persons become so involved in their interpretation and practice of the Word of Wisdom that they overlook other matters which are of great significance to their exaltation. Paul said that one of the most important of these is marriage. If Satan or one of his advocates came to Church members and said, “You should never marry,” few if any members of the Church would accept this idea. But we are extremely naive if we suppose that Satan would try such a direct, boldfaced approach to try to get us to accept his program. Satan is more subtle than that. (See Moses 4:1–6, for instance.)

Today many couples live together without marriage. They justify themselves by arguing that their “commitment” to one another is more important than a marriage ceremony. Fortunately, most Latter-day Saint men and women do not choose to follow this evil practice. They acknowledge the value and importance of the marriage contract. But what of those who choose a civil ceremony when a celestial sealing is available? If Satan can persuade you not to marry, or to postpone marriage in the temple, what may be the eternal consequences? In May of 1843 the Prophet Joseph Smith gave inspired instruction which indicates how much the Lord values celestial marriage. Read D&C 131:1–4.

Even after people are married, Satan continues his relentless battle. Listed here are some of the lies he is using in his attempt to destroy marriage; also listed are the answers given by our modern prophets. This is a good opportunity for you to check your own attitude on these matters so that you may be assured you are in harmony with the Lord’s servants.

Satan’s Lie: Physical gratification before marriage should be emphasized.

Can young people indulge in improper relationships before marriage without detrimental effect to their eventual marriage? President McKay has given this answer:

“It is important for young people to realize that intelligent home building begins with a young man and a young girl in their teens. Often the health of children, if a couple be blessed with such, depends upon the actions of parents before marriage. … “Every young man, particularly, should prepare for the responsibility of fatherhood by keeping himself physically clean, that he might enter into that responsibility not as a coward or deceiver, but as one honorable and fit to found a home. The young man who, in unfitness, takes upon himself the responsibility of fatherhood is worse than a deceiver. The future happiness of his wife and children depends upon his life in youth.

“Let us also teach girls that motherhood is divine, for when we touch the creative part of life, we enter into the realm of divinity. It is important, therefore, that young womanhood realize the necessity of keeping their bodies clean and pure, that their children might enter the world unhampered by sin and disease. An unshackled birth and an inheritance of noble character are the greatest blessings of childhood. No mother has the right to shackle a child through life for what seems in youth to be a pleasant pastime or her right to indulge in harmful drugs and other sinful practices. Those who are to be the mothers of the race should at least so live as to bear children who are not burdened from birth by sickness, weakness, or deformity. …” (In CR, Apr. 1969, p. 6.)

Satan’s Lie: Birth control should be practiced.

Is the commandment to “multiply and replenish the earth” still in force? Can you see how the violation of this commandment will have a deteriorating, disintegrating effect on marriage?

President Spencer W. Kimball has said:

“The first commandment recorded seems to have been ‘Multiply and replenish the earth.’ Let no one ever think that the command came to have children without marriage. No such suggestion could ever have foundation. When God had created the woman, he brought her unto the man and gave her to him as his wife, and commanded, ‘Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24). …

“There seems to be a growing feeling that marriage is for legal sex, for sex’s sake. Marriage is basically for the family; that is why we marry—not for the satisfaction of the sex, as the world around us would have us believe. When people have found their companions, there should be no long delay. Young wives should be occupied in bearing and rearing their children. I know of no scriptures where an authorization is given to young wives to withhold their families and to go to work to put their husbands through school. There are thousands of husbands who have worked their own way through school and have reared families at the same time. Though it is more difficult, young people can make their way through their educational programs. On most campuses there are married student buildings for their living. It’s a good experience to learn to save and to scratch and to economize.” (“Marriage Is Honorable,” Speeches of the Year, 1973, pp. 262, 63.)

Satan’s Lie: Legal opportunities for abortion should be increased.

When couples may destroy unwanted children simply because they want to, what does the institution of marriage become? In what ways does this weaken marriage? The First Presidency (Spencer W. Kimball, N. Eldon Tanner, Marion G. Romney) has stated:

“The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to, be a party to, or perform an abortion except in the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or health of the woman is seriously endangered or where the pregnancy was caused by forcible rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the victim. Even then it should be done only after counseling with the local bishop or branch president and after receiving divine confirmation through prayer.

“Abortion is one of the most revolting and sinful practices in this day, when we are witnessing the frightening evidence of permissiveness leading to sexual immorality.

“Members of the Church guilty of being parties to the sin of abortion are subject to the disciplinary action of the councils of the Church as circumstances warrant. In dealing with this serious matter, it would be well to keep in mind the word of the Lord stated in the 59th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 6. ‘Thou shalt not steal; neither commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it.’

“As far as has been revealed, the sin of abortion is one for which a person may repent and gain forgiveness.” (Ensign, July 1976, p. 76.)

Satan’s Lie: Reduce the contact children have with parents.

Is it natural for children to be raised by other than their parents? How does it affect children if they are taken from the home a great deal during those early years of their greatest need for parental love and training? The First Presidency of the church has declared:

“This divine service of motherhood can be rendered only by mothers. It may not be passed to others. Nurses cannot do it; public nurseries cannot do it; hired help cannot do it—only mother, aided as much as may be by the loving hands of father, brothers, and sisters, can give the full needed measure of watchful care.” (The First Presidency [Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., David O. McKay], Oct. 1942, as cited by Spencer W. Kimball, CR, Apr. 1974, p. 9.)

“By bringing these choice spirits to earth, each father and each mother assume towards the tabernacled spirit and towards the Lord Himself by having taken advantage of the opportunity He offered, an obligation of the most sacred kind, because the fate of that spirit in the eternities to come, the blessings or punishments which shall await it in the hereafter, depend, in great part, upon the care, the teachings, the training which the parents shall give to that spirit.

“No parent can escape that obligation and that responsibility, and for the proper meeting thereof, the Lord will hold us to a strict accountability. No loftier duty than this can be assumed by mortals.” (Message of the First Presidency [Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., David O. McKay], presented by J. Reuben Clark, Jr., in CR, Oct. 1942, p. 12.)

Satan’s Lie: Divorce is the solution for unhappy marriages.

As it becomes easier and easier to obtain a divorce, will couples who otherwise might work out a successful marriage be tempted to break their marriage apart without making a real effort? In what way does this cheapen marriage and weaken it as a means to hold society together? Are lax divorce laws simply a symptom of the low spiritual level of society? President Spencer W. Kimball has said:

“With all conditions as nearly ideal as possible, there are still people who terminate their marriages for the reason of ‘incompatibility.’ We see so many shows and read so much fiction and come in contact with so many society scandals that the people in general come to think of ‘marrying and giving in marriage,’ divorcing and remarrying, as the normal patterns.

“The divorce itself does not constitute the entire evil, but the very acceptance of divorce as a cure is also a serious sin of this generation. The fact that a program or a pattern is universally accepted is not evidence that it is right. Marriage never was easy. It may never be. It brings with it sacrifice, sharing, and a demand for great selflessness.

“Many of the TV screen shows and stories of fiction end with marriage: ‘They lived happily ever after.’ Since nearly all of us have experienced divorce among our close friends or relatives, we have come to realize that divorce is not a cure for difficulty, but is merely an escape, and a weak one. We have come to realize also that the mere performance of a ceremony does not bring happiness and a successful marriage. Happiness does not come by pressing a button, as does the electric light; happiness is a state of mind and comes from within. It must be earned. It cannot be purchased with money; it cannot be taken for nothing. …

“Every divorce is the result of selfishness on the part of one or the other or both parties to a marriage contract. Someone is thinking of self—comforts, conveniences, freedoms, luxuries, or ease. Sometimes the ceaseless pinpricking of an unhappy, discontented, and selfish spouse can finally add up to serious physical violence. Sometimes people are goaded to the point where they erringly feel justified in doing the things which are so wrong. Nothing, of course, justifies sin.” (“Marriage and Divorce,” BYU Devotional, 7 Sept. 1976, pp. 3, 6.)

(44-23) Strive to Be an Example of the Believers

With regard to the lies of Satan listed earlier, what should a “believer” do? If you are to be “an example of the believers,” how would you respond to Satan’s lies?

If you are determined to be an example of the believers, how would you respond in your personal life to the question of whether it is wrong to eat any meat?

These are the last days, and it is no coincidence that you have come to the earth at this time. President Joseph Fielding Smith said:

“Our young people are among the most blessed and favored of our Father’s children. They are the nobility of heaven, a choice and chosen generation who have a divine destiny. Their spirits have been reserved to come forth in this day when the gospel is on earth, and when the Lord needs valiant servants to carry on his great latter-day work.

“May the Lord bless you, the youth of Zion, and keep you true to every covenant and obligation, cause you to walk in paths of light and truth, and preserve you for the great labors ahead.” (“Our Concern for All Our Father’s Children,” Improvement Era, June 1970, p. 3.)

Will you be faithful to this birthright about which Elder Lee spoke? Will you resist Satan’s lies which Paul prophesied would deceive some of the saints in the latter-days? Will you strive with all your might to be “an example of the believers”? For Saturday night is drawing to a close, and a glorious Sabbath morning shall greet those who have been faithful.