Colossians 3

Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth

Hugh B. Brown

So many men spend their lifetime accumulating this world's goods, and sometimes they are not particular how they get them; but most men, if they live to old age, get a new sense of values, but too often it is too late.

May I illustrate my point by referring to an experience I had in 1917 as I was returning from my first trip overseas in World War I where I was serving with the Canadian Army. I arrived in New York and while there learned of the presence in the hospital of an aged man whom I had known. As I had some time before the train left for the West, I called on him in the hospital. He was a very wealthy man, had racing stables in Cuba, in the Northwest, and in California, had millions invested in various places, but at the age of eighty he was lying at death's door.

As I stood by his bedside and thought over various parts of his life as I had known it, as I thought of his divorced wife, of his five children, all of whom were estranged, and none of whom cared enough to come to the hospital to see him, as I thought of the things he had lost which money could not buy and noted his tragic situation and the depth of his misery, I asked him what he would do if he had the privilege of living his life over again and could start it with the wisdom which had come through the years, what he considered the real values in life as he stood near the end of it. I asked him what he considered the most important things in life, and if he would tell me as a young man how I could get the greatest riches and enjoy them when I grew old.

This old gentleman, who died a few days later, said to me, "As I think back over life the most important and valuable asset which I might have had but which I lost in the process of accumulating millions, was the simple faith my mother had in God and in the immortality of the soul."

...That was the dying testimony of a man who was born in the Church but had drifted far from it. That was the brokenhearted cry of a lonely man who could have anything that money could buy, but who had lost the most important things of life in order to accumulate this world's goods. He realized as he lay upon his deathbed that he could not take any of it with him. (Continuing the Quest [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1961], 33-34.)

Robert E. Wells

It is true that if your treasures are on earth you will be reluctant to do those things, such as serving the Lord as missionaries, that lead to earning celestial treasures. The apostle Paul taught, "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." (Colossians 3:2.) In other words, sell everything, buy a small condominium that can be left alone while you are serving, and go out to serve the Lord. And if everything goes up in smoke or downstream with a flood, the Lord will help you through it somehow. At least you have proven you will serve him, no matter what the cost or sacrifice. (The Mount and the Master [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 155.)

Colossians 3:3 your life is hid with Christ in God

"In the above scripture, Paul apparently was speaking to those who had sanctified or intended to sanctify themselves to the point where they were 'dead' as to things of a carnal or worldly nature. He was enjoining them to place their esteem on eternal attainments.

"The Prophet Joseph Smith clarified this scripture when, on May 16, 1843, he, with William Clayton, was at the home of Benjamin F. Johnson.

"As recorded in History of the Church 5:391, he wrote:

"Before retiring, I gave Brother and Sister Johnson some instructions on the priesthood; and putting my hand on the knee of William Clayton, I said: 'Your life is hid with Christ in God, and so are many others. Nothing but the unpardonable sin can prevent you from inheriting eternal life for you are sealed up by the power of the Priesthood unto eternal life, having taken the step necessary for that purpose.'

"In other words, having one's life 'hid with Christ in God' means having one's calling and election made sure, according to Elder Bruce R. McConkie's Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, vol. 3 p. 35. Those so blessed, according to verse 4, will appear with Christ in glory at His Second Coming. (LDS Church News, 1995, 09/02/95)

Colossians 3:5 covetousness, which is idolatry

"As a sin, covetousness is a form of idolatry, Paul declared (see Col. 3:5). It may not involve pagan worship or graven images in the religious sense, but it certainly includes having our 'hearts ... set so much upon the things of this world' and 'the honors of men' (D&C 121:35) that we are in danger of forgetting about eternal, celestial objectives. Unrighteous covetousness creates divided loyalties that prevent complete consecration and total devotion to God and his kingdom." (Brent L. Top, "Thou Shalt Not Covet," Ensign, Dec. 1994, 24)

Colossians 3:9-10 put off the old man... put on the new man

Neal A. Maxwell

Thus Jesus, the greatest leader of all, in spite of the most ominous challenges He faced, consistently admonished His disciples to "be of good cheer" (Matt. 14:27).

Another way is to lighten the load and do what Paul noted: "that ye have put off the old man with his deeds" (Col. 3:9). King Benjamin preceded what was later preserved from Paul by elaborating:

For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father (Mosiah 3:19).

Brigham Young, a careful student of the Book of Mormon, was likewise quick to see and to use the same metaphor in his teachings concerning "the natural man":

How difficult it is to teach the natural man, who comprehends nothing more than that which he sees with the natural eye! . . . Talk to him about angels, heavens, God, immortality, and eternal lives, and it is like sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal to his ears; it has no music to him; there is nothing in it that charms his senses, soothes his feelings, attracts his attention, or engages his affections, in the least. (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widstoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941], p. 260.)

Brigham thus understood about the natural man, as did Paul, how to the natural man the things of the Spirit "are foolishness" (1 Cor. 2:14). (One More Strain of Praise [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1999], 20.)

Ezra Taft Benson

Can you see how we become more Christlike as we are more virtuous, more kind, more patient, and more in control of our emotional feelings?

The apostle Paul used some vivid expressions to illustrate that a member of the Church must be different from the world. He commended us to "put on Christ," "put off . . . the old man," and "put on the new man." (See Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 4:22, 24.)

What does that mean to us as members of the Church?

It means that we must become like Jesus Christ. We must emulate His way of life in our lives. Of necessity, we must be "born again" and put aside worldly lusts and former behavior unsuited to the Christlike character. We must seek the Holy Ghost to temper our actions.

How is this done?

As I have thought about the serious sins that some of our members have committed, I have wondered, Did they seek the Lord to help them overcome their emotional outbursts or lascivious desires? Did they rely on fasting and prayer? Did they seek a priesthood blessing? Did they ask our Heavenly Father to temper their emotions by the influence of the Holy Ghost? (Come unto Christ [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 51.)

Colossians 3:11 there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision

Joseph F. Smith

In speaking of nationalities we all understand or should that in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints there is neither Greek, nor Jew, nor Gentile; in other words, there is neither Scandinavian, nor Swiss, nor German, nor Russian, nor British, nor any other nationality. We have become brothers in the household of faith, and we should treat the people from these nations that are at war with each other, with due kindness and consideration... They have come here to be members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and good and true citizens of the United States, and of the several states in which they live, and other places throughout the world, where Latter-day Saints are building homes for themselves.

I have heard the story that a poor girl was actually denied employment, in an American household, because she happened to be born in a foreign land, and because there is such a great prejudice wrought in the minds of some of the people against that country-not against the people; the people are innocent, the people are blameless. You must not condemn the people, however much you may judge and condemn their leaders, who place their people in jeopardy, and demand their life blood for their maintenance in position of prominence and power. Their leaders are to blame, not the people. The people that embrace the gospel are innocent of these things, and they ought to be respected by Latter-day Saints everywhere. Treat our neighbors, our brethren and sisters that have come to Zion for the purpose of worshiping God according to the dictates of their conscience, like Latter-day Saints, not as English, or French, or Scandinavians, or Germans. They are Latter-day Saints.

They are our brethren and our sisters, our neighbors, and they are helping to build up this great country of ours, and we must respect them and uphold them in the purest kindness, love and compassion, and with sorrow that their native countries are in the terrible plight that they are, for which they are not responsible. (Conference Report, April 1917, 11-12.)

Chieko N. Okazaki

Marian Wright Edelman, a powerful advocate in the United States for children, is fond of observing: "When Christ told His disciples to let the little children 'come unto me,' He did not say rich children or white children or smart children or nondisabled children. He said, 'Let the children come unto me.' And so it must be."

Will we learn to look beyond the simple barriers of culture, nation, and class to see that we are all precious and valuable to God? I believe we must. (Disciples [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 146.)

Colossians 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another

Gordon B. Hinckley

If there be any who nurture in their hearts the poisonous brew of enmity toward another, I plead with you to ask the Lord for strength to forgive. This expression of desire will be of the very substance of your repentance. It may not be easy, and it may not come quickly. But if you will seek it with sincerity and cultivate it, it will come. And even though he whom you have forgiven continues to pursue and threaten you, you will know you have done what you could to effect a reconciliation. There will come into your heart a peace otherwise unattainable. That peace will be the peace of Him who said: "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:14-15.) (Be Thou an Example [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1981], pp. 50-51.)

...There is no peace in harboring old grudges. There is no peace in reflecting on the pain of old wounds. There is peace only in repentance and forgiveness. This is the sweet peace of the Christ, who said, "Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God." ("#Matt. 5:9Matthew 5:9.) (Be Thou an Example [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1981], p. 52.)

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. (Matthew 5:43-44.)

Most of us have not reached that stage of compassion and love and forgiveness. It is not easy. It requires a self-discipline almost greater than we are capable of. But as we try, we come to know that there is a resource of healing, that there is a mighty power of healing in Christ, and that if we are to be His true servants we must not only exercise that healing power in behalf of others, but, perhaps more important, inwardly. (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 229-230.)

Colossians 3:14 put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness

In Peter's chronology of virtues (2 Pet. 1:5-7), he begins with the virtue of faith and ends with the virtue of charity. Charity, then, is the supreme virtue for all disciples. Charity is "above all these things," meaning it is more important than "mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering... Forbearing... and forgiving" (v. 12-13). Elsewhere, Paul called it the "end of the commandment" (1 Tim. 1:5) meaning it is both the product and purpose of God's law. Perfection and charity go hand in hand for one begets the other-they cannot be separated-they are bound together by spiritual law. As we gain charity, we gain perfection; as we gain perfection, we gain charity.

"'There is a love from God that... gives scope to the mind, which enables us to conduct ourselves with greater liberality towards all that are not of our faith, than what they exercise towards one another. These principles approximate nearer to the mind of God, because [they are] like God, or Godlike.' Further, 'love is one of the chief characteristics of Deity, and ought to be manifested by those who aspire to be the sons of God'-that is, by those who are born again into the kingdom of God. 'A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race' (Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 147, 174).

"Joseph Smith taught in the School of the Prophets that the Almighty possesses all attributes and characteristics of godliness in perfection; there is no virtue, no ennobling quality, he does not embody perfectly. In speaking of God's love, the Prophet explained, 'with all the other excellencies in his character, without this one (charity) to influence them, they could not have such powerful dominion over the minds of men' (Lectures on Faith, 3:24). That is to say, God's love colors all other divine attributes. And so it should be with us. 'Cease to be idle,' the Lord declared; 'cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.' And then comes this marvelous invitation: 'And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace' (D&C 88:124-25; compare Colossians 3:14). Charity is 'the highest, noblest, strongest kind of love, not merely affection; the pure love of Christ. It is never used to denote alms or deeds or benevolence, although it may be a prompting motive' (LDS Bible Dictionary, 632). Charity is 'the highest pinnacle the human soul can reach and the deepest expression of the human heart' (Howard W. Hunter, That We Might Have Joy, 170)." (Robert L. Millet, Alive in Christ: The Miracle of Spiritual Rebirth [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 62 - 63.)

Colossians 3:16 psalms and hymns and spiritual songs

"The Apostle Paul also commented on appropriate worship through hymn singing: 'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord' (Col. 3:16; italics added).

"It is obvious to musician and nonmusician alike that some of the hymns in our present collection are musically more satisfying than others and that some texts are more beautifully and accurately expressed. But the real value of any hymn is measured by the way people respond to it.

"If we sing 'with grace in [our] hearts,' as the Apostle Paul admonished us to do, our effort will be pleasing to the Lord. If we sing with a spirit of conviction and worship (even those of us who say we can't sing or read music), we can be moved to reflect upon the beauties of the gospel and further commit to live its principles.

"Music speaks to us through the language of the heart. And through music, we speak to God. Indeed, the Lord said: 'My soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads' (D&C 25:12)." (Joyce P. Brown, "I Have a Question," Ensign, Oct. 1980, 35)

Dallin H. Oaks

The scriptures contain many affirmations that hymn singing is a glorious way to worship... When the Lord's Apostles meet in modern times, the singing of hymns is still part of their meetings. The weekly meetings of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the Salt Lake Temple always begin with a hymn. Elder Russell M. Nelson plays the organ accompaniment. The First Presidency, who conduct these meetings, rotate the privilege of selecting the opening song. Most of us record the date each hymn is sung. According to my records, the opening song most frequently sung during the decade of my participation has been "I Need Thee Every Hour" (Hymns, 1985, no. 98). Picture the spiritual impact of a handful of the Lord's servants singing that song before praying for his guidance in fulfilling their mighty responsibilities.

The veil is very thin in the temples, especially when we join in worshipping through music. At temple dedications I have seen more tears of joy elicited by music than by the spoken word. I have read accounts of angelic choirs joining in these hymns of praise, and I think I have experienced this on several occasions. In dedicatory sessions featuring beautiful and well-trained choirs of about thirty voices, there are times when I have heard what seemed to be ten times thirty voices praising God with a quality and intensity of feeling that can be experienced but not explained. Some who are listening today will know what I mean.

Sacred music has a unique capacity to communicate our feelings of love for the Lord. This kind of communication is a wonderful aid to our worship. Many have difficulty expressing worshipful feelings in words, but all can join in communicating such feelings through the inspired words of our hymns. ("Worship through Music," Ensign, Nov. 1994, 10)

Colossians 3:18-19 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord

"The recent transition in the United States from a patriarchal to a democratic or even a matriarchal type of family organization has had its consequences.

"In 1968, Dr. Edward J. Rydman, executive director of the American Association of Marriage and Family Counselors, noted:

'... there has been a profound shift from the authoritarian family in which the husband-father had the major control over his wife and children. Most of the family power, decision-making responsibility, and authority rested upon him, as did the responsibility for supporting the family economically. The shift from the authoritarian to a more equalitarian family has profoundly affected the position of the head of the family as women have entered the economic marketplace in ever-increasing numbers and especially as even larger numbers of mothers take their place in offices, assembly lines, and other occupations and professions. As women assume more important roles outside the home, so stresses, strains, and problems within the family relationships proliferate.'

"The recent trend in family government is also a departure from biblical teachings. The apostle Paul admonished, 'Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands. ...' (Eph. 5:22; see also Col. 3:18.) He also taught that 'the husband is the head of the wife. ...' (Eph. 5:23.) In addition, the Lord instructed Eve in the Garden of Eden that 'thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.' (Gen. 3:16.)

"It is true that in some Latter-day Saint homes the wife or mother must assume a major portion of the responsibility in governing family affairs. Such would be the case, for example, if the father were absent because of death or divorce or if he were incapacitated through illness or injury. But what about Latter-day Saint homes where both father and mother are present? What should be the relationship between a Latter-day Saint husband and wife, particularly if the husband holds the priesthood?

"In 1902, shortly after becoming sixth president of the Church, President Joseph F. Smith stated:

'There is no higher authority in matters relating to the family organization, and especially when that organization is presided over by one holding the higher Priesthood, than that of the father. The authority is time honored, and among the people of God in all dispensations it has been highly respected and often emphasized by the teachings of the prophets who were inspired of God. The patriarchal order is of divine origin and will continue throughout time and eternity. There is, then, a particular reason why men, women and children should understand this order and this authority in the households of the people of God, and seek to make it what God intended it to be, a qualification and preparation for the highest exaltation of his children. In the home the presiding authority is always vested in the father, and in all home affairs and family matters there is no other authority paramount.

"Do such teachings have relevance for contemporary Latter-day Saint marriages and families? Questions immediately arise as to how the patriarchal order operates in a Latter-day Saint home. Both the validity and the practical application of the principle need careful evaluation.

"In what manner does a Latter-day Saint husband act as 'head' over his wife? Must a woman 'obey' her husband at all times in all things? Does a wife have anything to do with the decision-making policies in her marriage and family? Is a patriarch similar to a dictator who rules with absolute control and often in a domineering way?

"Let us begin by saying that a Latter-day Saint husband or father presides over his wife and family in much the same way a bishop, stake president, or elders quorum president presides over the specific group to which he is called. Each acts with counselors and seldom makes decisions without carefully consulting those whom he calls to assist him.

"A counselor may be chosen to officiate in the absence of the appointed leader, or, even in the presence of the leader, the counselor may conduct by appointment while the former presides. In a similar manner, according to President Smith, 'in the home the presiding authority is always vested in the father.' He then explained why:

'... This patriarchal order has its divine spirit and purpose, and those who disregard it under one pretext or another are out of harmony with the spirit of God's laws as they are ordained for recognition in the home. It is not merely a question of who is perhaps the best qualified. Neither is it wholly a question of who is living the most worthy life. It is a question largely of law and order, and its importance is seen often from the fact that the authority remains and is respected long after a man is really unworthy to exercise it.'"

(Brent A. Barlow, "Strengthening the Patriarchal Order in the Home," Ensign, Feb. 1973, 29-31)

Marion D. Hanks

If there is a key for resolving the many great social problems of our time it must be in developing homes that are training places for Christian qualities, families in which the relationships between individuals teach the responsibility to be good citizens in the home, in the neighborhood where the force is most effectual, and so in the community and the country. The instructions of the epistles demonstrate that the apostles taught with conviction this approach to solving the problems of their ancient world. Christians were expected to have sound marriages and strong families, to be good wives and good husbands, good parents and good children. Paul to the Ephesians and Colossians, and Peter and John in their writings, taught the same truths: wives and husbands must love each other and fill their major responsibilities in the home. Children must obey their parents and honor them. To fathers comes an especially significant invitation:

"Provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." (Eph. 6:4.) ("Failing Never: What the Apostles Teach Us about Love," Ensign, Sept. 1975, 76)

Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives

Russell M. Nelson

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." (Eph. 5:25) With that kind of love, brethren, we will be better husbands and fathers, more loving and spiritual leaders. Happiness at home is most likely to be achieved when practices there are founded upon the teachings of Jesus Christ. Ours is the responsibility to ensure that we have family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening. Ours is the responsibility to prepare our children to receive the ordinances of salvation and exaltation and the blessings promised to tithe payers. Ours is the privilege to bestow priesthood blessings of healing, comfort, and direction.

The home is the great laboratory of love. There the raw chemicals of selfishness and greed are melded in the crucible of cooperation to yield compassionate concern and love one for another.

Honor the special sisters in your lives, brethren. Express your love to your wife, to your mother, and to the sisters. Praise them for their forbearance with you even when you are not at your best. Thank the Lord for these sisters who-like our Heavenly Father-love us not only for what we are but for what we may become. Humbly I thank God for my mother, my sisters, my daughters, granddaughters, and for my special sweetheart, companion, and friend-my wife! ("Our Sacred Duty to Honor Women," Ensign, May 1999, 40)

Spencer W. Kimball

Can you think of how [Christ] loved the church? Its every breath was important to him. Its every growth, its every individual, was precious to him. He gave to those people all his energy, all his power, all his interest. He gave his life-and what more could one give? ... When the husband is ready to treat his household in that manner, not only his wife but also his children will respond to his loving and exemplary leadership. It will be automatic. He won't need to demand it. ...

Certainly if fathers are to be respected, they must merit respect: If they are to be loved, they must be consistent, lovable, understanding, and kind-and they must honor their priesthood. (H. Burke Peterson, "Unrighteous Dominion," Ensign, July 1989, 9)

Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things

John Taylor

Children, obey your parents; respect your fathers and mothers. Your mothers have watched over you, and your fathers are desirous for your welfare, and their hearts and feelings and affections are drawn out towards you. Do not give them pain by departing from correct principles; but walk in the paths of life. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 21: 99.)

Dallin H. Oaks

President Spencer W. Kimball combined the ideas of obedience and emulation in these words:

"If we truly honor [our parents], we will seek to emulate their best characteristics and to fulfill their highest aspirations for us. No gift purchased from a store can begin to match in value to parents some simple, sincere words of appreciation. Nothing we could give them would be more prized than righteous living for each youngster." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982, p. 348.)

Young people, if you honor your parents, you will love them, respect them, confide in them, be considerate of them, express appreciation for them, and demonstrate all of these things by following their counsel in righteousness and by obeying the commandments of God. ("Honour Thy Father and Thy Mother," Ensign, May 1991, 15)

Brigham Young

I wish to say to the children, obey your parents, be good, never suffer yourselves to do that which will mortify you through life, and that will cause you to look back with regret. While you are pure and spotless preserve yourselves in the integrity of your souls. Although you are young you know good from evil, and live so that you can look back on your lives and thank the Lord that he has preserved you, or has enabled you to preserve yourselves, so that you have no misconduct to regret or mourn over. Take this course and you will secure to yourselves an honorable name on earth among the good and the pure; you will maintain your integrity before heaven, and prove yourselves worthy of a high state of glory when you get through with this world. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 14: 200.)J786

Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged

"We must constantly be aware of the one most influential factor in our children's behavior: us. As parents we must guard against the tendency to actually provoke in our children the very behaviors that disturb us. (See Eph. 6:4; 1 Cor. 13:5; Col. 3:21.) Our reactions to our children, when we are not motivated by love for them, will nearly always trigger annoying behaviors and attitudes." ("Coping with Disturbing Behavior," Ensign, Aug. 1986, 34)

"True discipline is not emotionally charged. Punishment, on the other hand, is frequently accompanied by a tide of uncontrolled emotion. There is no value in screaming at a child for his misbehavior. When parents engage in a shouting match with their children, the emotional temperature in the home rises and parents become guilty of the very thing the scriptures caution against: 'Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.' (Col. 3:21.) The parent who finds himself lashing out in anger at a child's misbehavior is seldom thinking of the child's best interests. Punishment in such situations is frequently excessive and unfair. It is seldom constructive-and indeed is often counterproductive, since it tends to weaken love and respect.

"We used to have great difficulty getting our eight-year-old son, Oliver, out of bed in the morning in time to catch his school bus. Each morning his mother would begin encouraging him in a gentle, loving voice to wake up. But each time she returned to the bedroom, her voice would get progressively louder-until she became emotionally upset. She finally realized that Oliver wasn't paying any attention to her until her voice reached a certain pitch!

"Since this situation was starting the day off wrong for both of them, we discussed the problem at a family council. We reached an agreement that would help Mother maintain self-control and encourage Oliver to become more responsible. After a few long walks to school, he soon learned the consequences of ignoring her. And she no longer found it necessary to raise her voice." (Layne E. and Jana Squires Flake, "Punishment-or Discipline," Ensign, Oct. 1983, 40)

Colossians 3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters

Mark E. Petersen

From these scriptures it becomes obvious that the early Christians made converts among both free men and slaves. These words of the prophets were simply advice to those who were held in bondage but had joined the church. It was no expression condoning slavery at all; it was merely a recognition that slavery did exist and that some of the slaves had joined the church.

That the Lord ever gave justification to the sale and purchase of human slaves is impossible to believe. Slavery came as a curse from Noah, and it remained a curse. God allowed it through the curse of Canaan, but that does not say that he condoned it. Rather, his whole gospel plan is predicated upon freedom-freedom of choice, or, as we call it, free agency. And this for one great reason: that we may be accountable for our own sins. (Abraham: Friend of God [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979], 81.)