Mark 9

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Mark 9:1 there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death

Note the language of Jesus' statement. He didn't say, "some of you will not die." He said that some of you 'shall not taste of death.' By this, he had reference not only to John's translation (John 21:20-23, DC 7:1-3), but also to the fundamental truth that the righteous are blessed so that they never taste of death. DC 42:46 says, 'that those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them.' In this sense, the only apostle which tasted the pains and bitterness of death was Judas Iscariot. All the others, though they suffered the most horrible martyrdom, did not taste of death, for 'it [was] sweet unto them.' See also commentary for Matthew 16:28.

JST Mark 9:4 or in other words, John the Baptist and Moses

"In the Prophet's inspired translation of Mark's record, we learn that John the Baptist was also present on the Mount of Transfiguration. JST Mark 9:3 reads:

'And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses, or in other words, John the Baptist and Moses; and they were talking with Jesus.'

"Robert J. Matthews, who has done extensive work with the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible comments upon this verse:

"Considerable discussion has been stimulated by this comment, since the presence of the Baptist at the Mount has never before been suggested. Furthermore, it is certain that Elijah the Prophet was present at the Mount, and the term Elias (the Greek form the Hebrew name Elijah) has generally been understood to have reference to him. For this reason many have wondered if this passage has somehow been printed erroneously. However, NT 2, folio 2, page 24, reads exactly as the printed Inspired Version for this passage. Likewise, the Bernhisel copy, page 74, reads with precisely the same wording, thus corroborating the present text of the printed Inspired Version. This discussion is not intended to be a doctrinal explanation of the matter, but simply a presentation of evidence that the published account gives the text in the original manuscript. ...

"There can be no mistake that the Elias at the Mount of Transfiguration was Elijah the prophet. What role John the Baptist might have had there is not known." (Joseph Smith's Translation of the Bible, Provo: BYU Press, 1975, pp. 180, 367.)

"Elder Bruce R. McConkie gives us the following explanation about John the Baptist being on the Mount of Transfiguration:

'It is not to be understand that John the Baptist was the Elias who appeared with Moses to confer keys and authority upon those who then held the Melchizedek Priesthood, which higher priesthood already embraced and included all of the authority and power John had held and exercised during his ministry. Rather, for some reason that remains unknown-because of the partial record of the proceedings-John played some other part in the glorious manifestations then vouchsafed to mortals. Perhaps he was there, as the last legal administrator under the Old Covenant, to symbolize that the law was fulfilled and all old things were done away, thus contrasting his position with that of Peter, James, and John who were then becoming the first legal administrators of the New Kingdom.' (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965, 1:404.)

"The Elias on the Mount of Transfiguration, then, was Elijah, although John the Baptist was also present." (Larry E. Dahl, "I Have a Question," Ensign, Apr. 1983, 21-22)

Mark 9:5-6 let us make three tabernacles

"It is the fall of the year, a time when the Feast of Tabernacles is celebrated among the Jews. It is six months before Passover, six months before the Redeemer will be crucified, buried, and resurrected. It is a time of sober reflection for the Lord and of inquiry for the Apostles. Mark thus writes that Jesus took 'Peter, and James, and John, who asked him many questions concerning his sayings' (JST, Mark 9:1)." (Robert L. Millet, Selected Writings of Robert L. Millet: Gospel Scholars Series [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2000], 55.)

James E. Talmage

"Undoubtedly Peter and his fellow apostles were bewildered, 'sore afraid' indeed; and this condition may explain the suggestion respecting the three tabernacles. 'He wist not what to say'; yet, though his remark appears confused and obscure, it becomes somewhat plainer when we remember that, at the annual feast of Tabernacles, it was customary to erect a little bower, or booth of wattled boughs, for each individual worshiper, into which he might retire for devotion." (Jesus the Christ: A Study of the Messiah and His Mission According to Holy Scriptures Both Ancient and Modern [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 343.)

Mark 9:7 This is my beloved Son: hear him

Harold B. Lee

"The Beloved Son is introduced by the Father saying to all of us, 'This is my Beloved Son. Hear ye him.' (See 3 Nephi 11:7; Mark 9:7.) Hear Him all of us, here and now! Will you ask me then where are we to look to find Him; where shall it be that we shall hear His voice today? In the scriptures the Lord Himself speaking said this, 'What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same' (D&C 1:38; emphasis added). Now, there you can hear His voice if you have ears to hear and minds to understand." (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 437.)

Mark 9:9 they came down from the mountain

James E. Talmage

"Our Lord's descent from the holy heights of the Mount of Transfiguration was more than a physical return from greater to lesser altitudes; it was a passing from sunshine into shadow, from the effulgent glory of heaven to the mists of worldly passions and human unbelief; it was the beginning of His rapid descent into the valley of humiliation. From lofty converse with divinely-appointed ministers, from supreme communion with His Father and God, Jesus came down to a scene of disheartening confusion and a spectacle of demonized dominion before which even His apostles stood in impotent despair. To His sensitive and sinless soul the contrast must have brought superhuman anguish; even to us who read the brief account thereof it is appalling." (Jesus the Christ, 351.)

JST Mark 9:12 Elias verily cometh first, and prepareth all things

The theme of Mark's version of the Mount of Transfiguration, according to the JST, is the role of John the Baptist as an Elias. Hence, the Prophet alters the verse in question to refer to John as the Elias who would prepare all things before the coming of the Messiah.

This does not mean that there are not other Eliases. There is another Elias (or Eliases) who was to restore all things (DC 27:6). See also commentary for Matthew 17:10-12 and John 1:21. One significant difference is that the preparatory Elias was to precede the First Coming, and the restorational Elias was to precede the Second Coming.

Joseph Fielding Smith

"The Elias who was to restore all things is a composite Elias. In other words, the restoration was not made by one personage, but many, and in speaking of Elias coming to restore all things, the Lord was using that title in a plural meaning, having in mind all the prophets who came to restore the fulness of the gospel. This would include John the Baptist, Peter, James and John, and every ancient prophet who restored keys from the days of Adam down." (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 1: 173.)

Mark 9:20 the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming

To us, this event sounds like an epileptic seizure. Accordingly, many modern commentators have suggested that many of the afflicted healed by Jesus had physical ailments rather than demonic possessions. This particular example is probably the best because the episode sounds just like a grand mal seizure. However, Jesus specifically speaks to the spirit which had possessed this individual saying, 'Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him' (v. 25). While the people of that day may not have been able to distinguish between a seizure disorder and a demonic possession, certainly the Savior knew the difference. Therefore, any attempt to disparage this account as the healing of an epileptic is scripturally unfounded. Besides, which is easier, to heal epilepsy or to cast out a devil?

James E. Talmage

"Many modern writers have attempted to explain the phenomenon of demoniacal possession; and beside these there are not a few who deny the possibility of actual domination of the victim by spirit personages. Yet the scriptures are explicit in showing the contrary. Our Lord distinguished between this form of affliction and that of simple bodily disease in His instructions to the Twelve: 'Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils.' In the account of the incidents under consideration, the evangelist Mark observes the same distinction, thus: 'They brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.' In several instances, Christ, in rebuking demons, addressed them as individuals distinct from the human being afflicted, and in one such instance commanded the demon to 'come out of him, and enter no more into him.'

"In this matter as in others the simplest explanation is the pertinent truth; theory raised on other than scriptural foundation is unstable...The demons that take possession of men, overruling their agency and compelling them to obey Satanic bidding, are the unembodied angels of the devil, whose triumph it is to afflict mortals, and if possible to impel them to sin. To gain for themselves the transitory gratification of tenanting a body of flesh, these demons are eager to enter even into the bodies of beasts." (Jesus the Christ: A Study of the Messiah and His Mission According to Holy Scriptures Both Ancient and Modern [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 170-171.)

Mark 9:23 all things are possible to him that believeth

Sterling W. Sill

"We don't always understand that faith is the moving cause of all action. It is not only the chief pillar of success, it is also its very foundation." (Conference Report, April 1962, First Day-Morning Meeting 14.)

Joseph Smith

"...the plan of salvation [is] a system of faith-it begins with faith, and continues by faith; and every blessing which is obtained in relation to it is the effect of faith, whether it pertains to this life or that which is to come. To this all the revelations of God bear witness." (Lectures on Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 7:17.)

Gene R. Cook

"Has someone convinced you that you are no good at music or mathematics, or that you'll always be overweight? Re-evaluate your attitudes. Each of us has great gifts, but many of us severely limit ourselves with negative attitudes about our potential.

"The Lord said, 'As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he.' (Prov. 23:7.) And again, 'If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.' (Mark 9:23.) You cannot rise higher than your own beliefs and thoughts about yourself.

"Trust the Lord to help you unlock the door to the gifts you have just begun to recognize and use. There is literally genius locked inside each of us. Don't let anyone convince you otherwise!" ("Trust in the Lord," Ensign, Mar. 1986, 78-79)

Mark 9:24 Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief

David A Bednar

I have reflected many times on this father's request: "Help thou mine unbelief." I wonder if the intent of the man's pleading was not primarily to help him believe in Jesus as our Redeemer and in His healing power.  He already may have acknowledged Christ as the Son of God.  But perhaps he needed to help to believe the Master's healing power indeed could be so individual and so personalized as to bless his own beloved son.  He may have believed in Christ generally but not believed Christ specifically and personally. ("If Ye Had Known Me," Ensign (Nov. 2016), 105)

James E. Faust

" the search for light, truth, and knowledge, almost everyone may have at one time or another some private questions. That is part of the learning process. Many are like the biblical father of the child with the 'dumb spirit' who pleaded with the Savior: 'Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.' (Mark 9:17, 24)" (Reach Up for the Light [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990], 25.)

Neal A. Maxwell

"As we inventory whatever our personal hesitations, reservations, or equivocations are, it is better to acknowledge them honestly while meekly indicating to God that, though we understand somewhat the doctrine of faith, we need help in practicing it. 'Lord, help thou my unbelief' (Mark 9:24)." (Lord, Increase Our Faith [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 7.)

Chieko N. Okazaki

"We do not need to wait for perfect faith to have enough faith to begin building Christ-centered families. When the apostles could not cast an evil spirit out of a boy, the father carried him to Jesus, who gave him a piercing challenge: 'If thou canst believe, all things are possible.' The father, knowing the imperfect state of his faith but also his desire for more, cried out, weeping, 'Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.' (Mark 9:23-24.) Jesus did not rebuke him or say, 'Come back when you have more faith.' He healed the child.

"The scriptures show us examples of families with whom Jesus interacted during his premortal and mortal ministries. They had hearts willing to receive him even if their circumstances were not ideal. They had faith and yearned for more. They sacrificed, served others, prayed, fasted, and pondered the promises of the prophets.

"What is our Heavenly Father's work and glory? It is 'to bring to pass [our] immortality and eternal life.' (Moses 1:39.) The work of salvation goes on despite imperfect circumstances and imperfect faith. 'I am come that they might have life,' the Savior explained, 'and that they might have it more abundantly.' (John 10:10.) His task was not only to give life to the dead, miraculous though that was, but to give increased life to those living with less than flourishing faith, less than vibrant hope, less than burning charity.

"He accepts our imperfections even as he challenges us to rise above them. He loves us even when we are not very lovable. He rewards even a struggling faith with miracles." (Aloha! [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 9-10.)

Mark 9:27 Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up

Marvin J. Ashton

"Last evening in our priesthood meeting President Lee recalled some of the blessings that came from the recently completed great Munich conference. In my mind one of the highlights of this conference came in sharing the heartwarming statement and spirit of a beautiful young adult Latter-day Saint lady...she said, 'President Lee has lifted my soul to new heights. I feel I can now walk in strength beyond my own.'

"This touching declaration reminded me of a similar quotation found in the book of Mark: '... Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.' (Mark 9:27.)

"Certainly the day is here when, if we are to follow in his paths, we must take the weary, lonely, depressed, the troubled soul, and the gospel-hungry by the hand and lift and help...

'For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.' (Matt. 25:35-36.)

"Today we can appropriately add, 'I was down and ye lifted me up. My soul was sick and ye comforted me. My steps were unsteady and ye took my hand. I was uncertain and ye lifted me to paths of security.'

"How beautiful in the eyes of the Lord are the spiritually well, those who have been taken by the hand and lifted up and made spiritually whole. How beautiful in the eyes of the Lord are those who take the time to lift the needy hand. Peace of mind only comes to us when we are spiritually healed. True joy comes from within. Freedom from a troubled soul is a worthy goal of all.

"Many were healed physically from ailments and suffering during the Savior's ministry, but real joy and happiness were not always realized. People may be healed but not lifted. Happiness does not come from physical, social, or economic success. '... a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.' (Luke 12:15.)

"Frequently the Savior admonished the physically healed to boast not of their new strength, but rather to go their ways, walking in truth and using their new powers to lift others. Evidence teaches us many were healed physically but remained undisciplined and spiritually ill. '... return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you' (3 Ne. 9:13), the Savior said.

"Healings are not to be made the subject of pride and boasting. Rather, healings should be used to lift self and others to greater heights and service. May we not appropriately conclude the lift can be more important than the healing.

"Certainly the greatest miracles of our day are the lifting and healing of troubled souls. Spiritual strength is a priceless possession available to those who will endure in righteousness. The healing of the troubled soul gives health and strength to those dead in things righteous. Purity, faith, hope, and charity are restored, making the once spiritually sick whole.

"...I pray our Heavenly Father to help us so live that we may have that inner strength and power to take those about us by the hand and lift." ("He Took Him by the Hand," Ensign, Jan. 1974, 102-104)

Mark 9:29 This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting

Delbert L. Stapley

"I feel, my brothers and sisters, that in our work, and our callings also in our homes, that we individually need the spiritual power, the strength, the guidance, and the blessings that fasting and prayer will obtain. (Recounts the story of Mark 9:14-29.)

"It seems to me, my brethren and sisters, particularly my brethren holding the Melchizedek Priesthood, that when we are called to administer to the sick who are sorely afflicted, if we would humble our souls through fasting and prayer, we would be close to our Heavenly Father and have claim upon him for the blessings to those we love and seek to help." (Conference Report, October 1951, Morning Meeting 124-125.)

Mark 9:32 they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him

"This account (Mark 9:31-32) suggests that the disciples heard the doctrine but chose not to inquire into it, while Matthew's version suggests there was at least limited understanding: 'Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:

"'And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry' (Matt. 17:22-23; emphasis added; see also Matt. 16:21-22).

"The Gospel narratives agree that before the Lord's resurrection, the disciples did not comprehend the doctrine. They understood that he would go to Jerusalem and there die, but they do not seem to have grasped what would happen after that. Yet after they had received an outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, the Apostles were able to view the Resurrection with new eyes." (Richard D. Draper, "The Reality of the Resurrection," Ensign, Apr. 1994, 36)

Jeffrey R. Holland

There is almost no group in history for whom I have more sympathy than I have for the eleven remaining Apostles immediately following the death of the Savior of the world. I think we sometimes forget just how inexperienced they still were and how totally dependent upon Jesus they had of necessity been. To them He had said, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me . . . ?" 

But, of course, to them He hadn't been with them nearly long enough. Three years isn't long to call an entire Quorum of Twelve Apostles from a handful of new converts, purge from them the error of old ways, teach them the wonders of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then leave them to carry on the work until they too were killed. Quite a staggering prospect for a group of newly ordained elders.

Especially the part about being left alone. Repeatedly Jesus had tried to tell them He was not going to remain physically present with them, but they either could not or would not comprehend such a wrenching thought. Mark writes:

"He taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.

"But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him."

Then, after such a short time to learn and even less time to prepare, the unthinkable happened, the unbelievable was true. Their Lord and Master, their Counselor and King, was crucified. His mortal ministry was over, and the struggling little Church He had established seemed doomed to scorn and destined for extinction. His Apostles did witness Him in His resurrected state, but that only added to their bewilderment. As they surely must have wondered, "What do we do now?" they turned for an answer to Peter, the senior Apostle. (Ensign, November 2012, 83)

Mark 9:34 they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest

Gordon B. Hinckley

"All of us at some time will be released by one process or another. It matters not where we serve in this great cause, but how we serve.

"Brigham Young and a handful of others are remembered from our pioneer history. But what of the unsung, the unheralded, the unrecognized who lived the gospel, loved the Lord, and did their daily work without fanfare or applause? Will their eternal reward be any less? I think not.

"So it is with us. We each make our own contribution, and that contribution adds up to the building of the cause. Your contribution is as acceptable as ours. Jesus said, 'If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all' (Mark 9:35).

"Brethren and sisters, we're all part of one great family. Each has a duty; each has a mission to perform. And when we pass on, it will be reward enough if we can say to our beloved Master, 'I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith' (2 Tim. 4:7)." ("Our Testimony to the World," Ensign, May 1997, 84)

Ezra Taft Benson

"The principle of not aspiring to positions in the mission field is taught well in Mark 9:34-35 and Matthew 23:11-12. Missionaries should be taught that it doesn't matter where they serve, but how. Position doesn't save anyone, but faithfulness does. Aspiring to positions of responsibility can destroy the spirit of the mission as well as the spirit of a missionary." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 202.)

Mark 9:37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me

M. Russell Ballard

"Parents are to nourish, tend, and teach their children so they will grow to their full stature and potential.

"Parents and teachers should see beyond the little girl in pigtails and should not be misled by the ragged little boy with a dirty face and holes in the knees of his pants. True teachers and leaders see children as they may become. They see the valiant missionary who will one day share his testimony with the world and later become a righteous father who honors his priesthood. The inspired teacher sees pure and beautiful mothers and future presidents of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary, even though today they may be girls who giggle and chatter on the back row in the classroom. Sometimes people say, 'Well, boys will be boys!' Not so-boys will be men, and almost before we know it.

"To see our children grow, succeed, and take their places in society and in the Lord's kingdom is an eternal reward worth any inconvenience or sacrifice.

"Oh, that every parent could understand that children come from a premortal experience and have possibilities that often are far beyond what we might expect. We should spare no effort to help our children reach their full potential. Is it any wonder that Jesus brought the little children unto himself to teach and bless them? He said, 'Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me.' (Mark 9:37.) He also said, 'Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.' (Matt. 18:14.)" ("Teach the Children," Ensign, May 1991, 78-79)

Mark 9:40 he that is not against us is on our part

Neal A. Maxwell

"One important thing we can do, as Church members, is to gladly and spontaneously rejoice over how much good so many other people do and in so many good causes! Jesus so responded to offset the wonderment of His meridian disciples who were concerned over good deeds being done by some who apparently were not of Jesus' flock: 'And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part. For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.' (Mark 9:38-41.)

"Our zeal must never lead to intolerance. Nor should we restrain our rejoicing in all good deeds.

"In fact, Mormon revealed that 'all things which are good cometh of God' (Moroni 7:12). Therefore, we should sincerely rejoice in all goodness." (That Ye May Believe [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1992], 187.)

Robert E. Wells

"Our eleventh Article of Faith states: 'We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.' One element of the commandment to not judge is the admonition to be tolerant and not criticize others for their religious beliefs. Religion is a matter of free agency, and each individual is responsible before God for his or her choice. If we are to follow Christ, we must not be fanatical, critical, or intolerant of others' beliefs. John, the beloved apostle, showed a bit of that tendency when he saw someone casting out devils in the name of Christ. John forbade that person to do works in the name of the Master and reported it to the Savior. Jesus was much more tolerant. He said, 'Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part.' (Mark 9:39-40.)

"Lack of tolerance, especially in matters of religion, leads some to want to force their opinions upon others. That was Satan's way, perhaps, because he wanted to forgo free agency and force all to be saved without losing anyone. But force is no solution-not in politics, not in business, and, most important, not in things of the Spirit. There should be only harmony and unity of purpose between those professing different religious beliefs. The pure love of Christ should lead us to love others, no matter what church they belong to, and to truly put into practice in our lives the uplifting principles of tolerance and love that Paul and Moroni taught in their great sermons on charity." (The Mount and the Master [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 168.)

Mark 9:41 whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name...shall not lose his reward

George Q. Cannon

"We have the solemn promise of Jesus that not even a cup of cold water, given in the name of a disciple, shall go unrewarded" [Mark 9:41], and, that all who have made any temporary sacrifices for his sake, whether houses, lands, friends, wives, children, reputation or what else, shall receive a hundredfold therefor, together with the gift of eternal life. [Mark 10:29-30.] It is this promise and this certainty of rewards that have sustained the Saints of God under the most trying circumstances, enabled them to penetrate the surrounding gloom, by the eye of faith, and discover a bright and hopeful future beyond-. . . knowing that all they are called upon to endure for the truth's glory." (Roy W. Doxey, comp., Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 2: 216 - 217.)

Mark 9:42 Whosoever shall offend one of these little ones

David E. Sorensen

"Another important aspect to providing a nurturing environment for new members is to give them a sense of safety, love, and acceptance when they come to church. In particular, we must take care to avoid offending others even if this causes us discomfort. Jesus taught that it would be better to perish than to offend one of the 'little ones,' a caution that can also apply to new converts (see Matt. 18:14; Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2). The Apostle Paul indicates that new converts, who generally lack in gospel knowledge, can be offended by the otherwise harmless actions of those with greater knowledge, leading weaker new members to fall away. He taught that we should avoid such words and actions, even if our information is correct (see 1 Cor. 8:8-13). For example, it might be correct to point out that a new convert has made a mistake, but to do so publicly or in a way that causes unnecessary pain may harm a fragile, young soul. The way a new member prays or dresses or speaks may be different from our traditions or teachings, but correcting such differences should be undertaken only by a loving leader if done at all and only with the benefit and needs of the new member utmost in mind." ("Why Baptism Is Not Enough," Ensign, Apr. 1999, 20)

Mark 9:42 it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck

Chieko N. Okazaki

" most cases of sexual abuse...the perpetrator is male. As women, we know the victims and hear their stories, but we also know perpetrators. Most abusers have mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters. Yet the secrecy with which we shroud the victim is nothing to the secrecy with which we shroud the perpetrator. When the abuse is incest, that means that a wife and a mother either does not know or chooses not to know what her husband is doing to her child. She may love him and choose to not know what is happening because the knowledge is too painful, because she feels too helpless, because there is too much to lose. Please remember the words of the Savior, 'And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea' (Mark 9:42).

"If you know a perpetrator, and if you love him, or if you love his victim, set the processes in motion so that he can receive help and start on his own process of healing. He needs professional help, and he also needs ecclesiastical help. My friend was born into an LDS family that had been active in the Church for generations on both sides. That lineage did not make her father pure. It did not make her mother brave. It did not protect my friend.

"I implore you not to shield perpetrators out of a mistaken sense of love. I have never seen any study suggesting that those who sexually abuse children will alter their behavior without direct intervention. We must believe this dismal message: No child in a neighborhood is safe from a sexual abuser. No child or grandchild in a family is safe." (Disciples [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 107.)

JST Mark 9:40-48 if thy brother offend thee and confess not and forsake not, he shall be cut off

Dallin H. Oaks

"In a sermon given while he was president of the Council of the Twelve, President John Taylor warned: 'I have heard of some Bishops who have been seeking to cover up the iniquities of men; I tell them, in the name of God, they will have to bear . . . that iniquity, and if any of you want to partake of the sins of men, or uphold them, you will have to bear them. Do you hear it, you Bishops and you Presidents? God will require it at your hands. You are not placed in position to tamper with the principles of righteousness, nor to cover up the infamies and corruptions of men.'

"...the good name and influence of the Church are especially threatened by the transgressions of its most prominent members, including officers and teachers, since their transgressions are most likely to dilute the moral authority and teaching effectiveness of the Church. A transgression by a member in a prominent position could seriously detract from the Church's ability to teach correct principles, unless the Church takes public action to discipline the transgressor. In contrast, the church discipline required for the transgressions of a member who is not in the public eye, especially if those transgressions are not well known, can be dictated solely by what is needed to save the soul of the transgressor. This contrast, which assigns more serious and more public consequences to the transgressions of the more highly placed and prominent, is supported by the revelation that states, 'Of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation.' (D&C 82:3.)

"These concerns about the purity, integrity, and good name of the Church seem to be the basis for what the Savior taught his apostles at Capernaum. 'If thy hand offend thee, cut it off,' he taught, explaining that 'it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell.' (Mark 9:43). The hand seems to be a reference to the rank-and-file members of the Church. In his inspired translation, the Prophet Joseph Smith inserted an explanation of the intent of this passage: 'or if thy brother offend thee and confess not and forsake not, he shall be cut off.' (JST Mark 9:40; emphasis added.) As clarified, the direction is not to cut off every offender in the rank and file, but only those who do not confess and forsake.

"In contrast, the next two examples, the foot and the eye, seem to refer to leaders. They are held to a higher standard. Because of their visible and influential position, they should be cut off for transgression without regard to whether they confess and forsake. The italicized portion is the text the Prophet Joseph Smith added in the inspired translation.

"'And again, if thy foot offend thee, cut it off; for he that is thy standard by whom thou walkest, if he become a transgressor, he shall be cut off. It is better for thee, to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell; into the fire that never shall be quenched. . . . And if thine eye which seeth for thee, him that is appointed to watch over thee to show thee light, become a transgressor and offend thee, pluck him out. It is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God, with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.' (JST Mark 9:42-43, 46-47.)

"To cut off a leader or a member means to sever that person's membership, fellowship, or some of the person's privileges. In context, then, these scriptures direct the application of what we now call church discipline, and they call for more rigorous discipline for leaders." (The Lord's Way [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book o., 1991], 228-231.)

Mark 9:49 every one shall be salted with fire

How is it that everyone will be salted with fire? Well, each one of us has a choice. We can choose to be purified by the refiner's fire of discipleship, or we can reject the refiner's fire and experience the fires of hell instead. Either way, we get salted. Elder James E. Faust said,

"Into every life there come the painful, despairing days of adversity and buffeting. There seems to be a full measure of anguish, sorrow, and often heartbreak for everyone, including those who earnestly seek to do right and be faithful. The thorns that prick, that stick in the flesh, that hurt, often change lives which seem robbed of significance and hope. This change comes about through a refining process which often seems cruel and hard. In this way the soul can become like soft clay in the hands of the Master in building lives of faith, usefulness, beauty, and strength. For some, the refiner's fire causes a loss of belief and faith in God, but those with eternal perspective understand that such refining is part of the perfection process." ("The Refiner's Fire," Ensign, May 1979, 53)

In this sense, to be salted means to be seasoned, to be prepared, to be purified, to be made ready for the Lord. Mortal agency gives us the choice: we can either accept the Lord's overtures at seasoning us or reject them. Either way, every one will eventually be salted, until every salted knee shall bow and every salted tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ.

Mark 9:49 and every sacrifice salted with salt

According to the Law of Moses, every meat offering was also offered with the purifying agent of salt, 'with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt' (Lev. 2:13). What is the significance of this law? To answer, we should first contrast the purifying effect of salt with the contaminating effect of leaven. The leaven or hypocrisy of the Pharisees made their religious devotion unacceptable to God. By contrast, all of our offerings must be made without hypocrisy. Our intentions and motivations must be completely pure in order to offer a sacrifice which tastes good to the Lord.

One of the earliest stories in religious history teaches this principle. Both Cain and Abel made offerings to the Lord (Gen. 4). Cain's offering was leavened with hypocrisy while Abel's offering was salted with righteousness. No matter how hard we try, we can't really impress the Lord-He knows us too well. But at least we understand that he will accept our offerings if they are salted with Abel-like purity.

Mark 9:50 Have salt in yourselves

Delbert L. Stapley

"I have heard men explain this teaching of our Lord by saying that in olden times salt, not refined as we have it today, but acquired in its natural state, was washed out and used to season food. When only the worthless tailings or residue remained, it was tossed upon the walkways to be trodden down by the feet of men...

"The Gospel according to Mark contributes this additional thought by Jesus: '. . . Have salt in yourselves and have peace one with another.' (Mark 9:50.) And Luke, the physician, records this same teaching, then cites this further admonition by our Lord: '. . . He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.' (Luke 14:35.)

"Salt symbolized to the Hebrews purity and fidelity, also an unbreakable league of friendship. It was no doubt with this knowledge that Christ used the metaphor to drive home a doctrinal point his disciples could understand.

"The Apostle Paul writing to the Colossian Saints counseled, 'Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.' (Col. 4:6.)...

"The scriptures which I have quoted or referred to furnish but a glimpse of the meaning of this significant and profound statement of our Lord, but not a fulness of understanding. The fulness of that knowledge was reserved for the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, or the era in which we live. It is found in a revelation of the Lord given to the Prophet Joseph Smith on December 16, 1833, at Kirtland, Ohio. In this important doctrinal disclosure the Lord said:

'When men are called unto mine everlasting gospel, and covenant with an everlasting covenant, they are accounted as the salt of the earth and the savor of men;
They are called to be the savor of men; therefore, if that salt of the earth lose its savor, behold, it is thenceforth good for nothing only to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men.' (D&C 101:39-40.)

"This revelation is most enlightening. It is worthy of careful and prayerful study. It is a clear explanation and interpretation of Christ's statement which can be understood and which people accept as a correct guide to improve their personal lives and thus qualify them as the savor of men." (Conference Report, October 1964, Afternoon Meeting 61 - 62.)