1 Corinthians 14

1 Cor. 14:1 desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy

Joseph Fielding Smith

"[A] privilege is given to any member of the Church who seeks knowledge in the spirit of prayer and faith. The Lord will cause the feeling of security and truth to take hold of the individual and burn within the bosom and there will be an overwhelming feeling that the thing is right. Missionaries have felt the manifestation of this gift while laboring in the field; when searching the scriptures; when speaking before congregations on the streets and in public gatherings. When you have been listening to some inspired speaker who has presented a new thought to you, have you not felt that burning within and the satisfaction in your heart that this new thought is true? On the other hand, have you experienced the feeling of stupor, gloom, or uneasiness, when some thought has been presented which was in conflict with the revealed word of the Lord, and you have felt by this manifestation of the Spirit that what was said is not true? It is a great gift which all may receive, to have this spirit of discernment, or revelation, for it is the spirit of revelation. This is what Paul meant when he said to the Corinthian Saints: 'Follow after charity and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.' (I Cor. 14:1.) He was not so anxious that the members of the Church in that day should seek for the power to reveal the future as he was to have this spirit by which they could discern truth and separate it from error. The better our understanding of the scriptures and the more diligent we are in the service of the Lord, the better will we comprehend this truth and have this gift bestowed upon us." (Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 1: 47 - 48.)

1 Cor. 14:2 he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God

"One of the first demonstrations of the use of the Adamic tongue in our dispensation took place early in the history of the Church. Brigham Young relates the following story: 'In September, 1832, Brother Heber C. Kimball took his horse and wagon, Brother Joseph Young and myself accompanying him, and started for Kirtland to see the Prophet Joseph...In the evening a few of the brethren came in, and we conversed together upon the things of the kingdom. He called upon me to pray; in my prayer I spoke in tongues. As soon as we arose from our knees the brethren flocked around him, and asked his opinion concerning the gift of tongues that was upon me. He told them it was the pure Adamic language. Some said to him they expected he would condemn the gift Brother Brigham had, but he said, `No, it is of God, and the time will come when Brother Brigham Young will preside over this Church`' (Millennial Star 25 [3 January 1863]: 439).

"At the time of the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, and on many other occasions, Latter-day Saint men and women have enjoyed this gift. Because most of us, like Ammon, often 'cannot say the smallest part which [we] feel' (Alma 26:16), speaking in the language of God, by virtue of a spiritual outpouring, seems to allow people to speak and rejoice and exult in the things of righteousness, to express their praise to God from the depth of their souls, and otherwise to give voice to that which is unutterable.

"It is presumably this manifestation of the gift of tongues that many outside the true church seek to acquire or imitate. Many Pentecostals hold it as a tenet of their faith that one is not truly born again until he or she speaks in tongues. The Prophet Joseph Smith, like Paul, his apostolic colleague, said that the gift of tongues is in some ways the least of the spiritual gifts but the one most sought after (see 1 Corinthians 14:8-32; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 246). Because Satan is so eager to deceive those who seek excessively for the gift of tongues (ibid., 25, 162, 195), the Prophet declared that anything taught in tongues was not to be received as doctrine (ibid., 229). 'Tongues were given,' he explained, 'for the purpose of preaching among those whose language is not understood; as on the day of Pentecost, etc., and it is not necessary for tongues to be taught to the Church particularly, for any man that has the Holy Ghost, can speak of the things of God in his own tongue as well as to speak in another; for faith comes not by signs, but by hearing the word of God' (ibid., 148-49)." (Robert L. Millet, Alive in Christ: The Miracle of Spiritual Rebirth [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 132 - 133.)

1 Cor. 14:5 I would...rather that ye prophesied

Dallin H. Oaks

"When we hear the word prophet in our day, we are accustomed to thinking of the prophet. These words signify him who holds the prophetic office and is sustained as the prophet, seer, and revelator. The priesthood offices and powers exercised by the President of the Church are unique. As we learn in the Doctrine and Covenants, it is given to him to have 'all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church.' (D&C 107:92; see also D&C 46:29; D&C 50:26-28.)

"The spiritual gift of prophecy is quite different. As we read in the Book of Revelation, 'The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.' (Rev. 19:10.) The Prophet Joseph Smith relied on this scripture in teaching that 'every other man who has the testimony of Jesus' is a prophet. (Teachings, p. 119.) Similarly, the Apostle Paul states that 'he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.' (1 Cor. 14:3.) Thus, in the sense used in speaking of spiritual gifts, a prophet is one who testifies of Jesus Christ, teaches God's word, and exhorts God's people. In its scriptural sense, to prophesy means much more than to predict the future.

"The scriptures often use the word prophet and its derivatives in the broad sense of one who teaches and testifies of God. When the prophet Moses was asked to forbid two men who 'prophesied in the camp,' he refused, expressing the wish 'that all the Lord's people were prophets.' (Num. 11:26, 29.) The Apostle Paul taught that Christians should 'desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.' (1 Cor. 14:1.) The Book of Mormon describes various times in which there were many prophets. (See 1 Ne. 1:4; W of M 1:16-18.) In our day, Elder Joseph Fielding Smith declared that 'all members of the Church should seek for the gift of prophecy, for their own guidance, which is the spirit by which the word of the Lord is understood and his purpose made known.' (Church History and Modern Revelation, 3 vols., Salt Lake City, Deseret Book Co., 1953, 1:201.)" ("Spiritual Gifts," Ensign, Sept. 1986, 71)

Bruce R. McConkie

"'The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.' (Rev. 19:10.) That is, every person who receives revelation so that he knows, independent of any other source, of the divine Sonship of the Savior, has, by definition and in the very nature of things, the spirit of prophecy and is a prophet." (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 23.)

Bruce R. McConkie

"A true prophet is one who has the testimony of Jesus; one who knows by personal revelation that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God, and that he was to be-or has been-crucified for the sins of the world; one to whom God speaks and who recognizes the still small voice of the Spirit. A true prophet is one who holds the holy priesthood; who is a legal administrator; who has power and authority from God to represent him on earth. A true prophet is a teacher of righteousness to whom the truths of the gospel have been revealed and who presents them to his fellowmen so they can become heirs of salvation in the highest heaven. A true prophet is a witness, a living witness, one who knows, and one who testifies. Such a one, if need be, foretells the future and reveals to men what the Lord reveals to him." (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979-1981], 2: 169.)

1 Cor. 14:7 Paul Paraphrased

"If you can't distinguish the difference between a flute and a harp, then you are hearing noise not music." So is the exercise of tongues noise and not music if there is no interpreter.

1 Cor. 14:8 if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle

"Paul taught, 'For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?' (1 Corinthians 14:8.) If leaders are eager to make impressions and have their eyes on their own reputations, their double-mindedness will uproot their power. In giving forth an uncertain sound, their trumpets may spread the same contagious disease to other leaders and to the people in their organization or group. In their eagerness to be all things to all people, they will end up without respect from others or from themselves. They may compromise the magnificent principles and programs of the organization's purpose...

"Let teachers or leaders examine their motives and exert all their power to develop a single and pure one-to serve God by serving his children through the revealed program. They are appointed agents of the Lord, called by prophecy and the laying on of hands. They do not seek praise, for they are agents, nor are they discouraged by criticism. Let there be no mistake about it-'a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.' (James 1:8.)" (Stephen R. Covey, Spiritual Roots of Human Relations [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1970], 239 - 240.)

Harold B. Lee

"In a stake conference, a serviceman said something about the importance of trumpet calls to a military man. There is reveille at daybreak, which summons men to the day's duties. There is the trumpet call that means assembly, or to assemble or fall into military order. There is the mess call. (I suspect that is probably the first one that military men learn to understand. That's the call to meals.) There is the call that means forward march. There is the call that means a call to arms, to prepare for battle. And then there is taps, a signal to extinguish all lights in military quarters and to go to bed or to preserve silence; it is also used at a military burial.

"One can imagine the utter confusion if a military commander were to fail to give correct instructions to the bugler. If the individuals in the military encampment were not taught sufficiently to understand each trumpet call, one can likewise fancy the confusion. It is this confusion in the Babel-like tower of contradictory voices among us today that I would like to make a few comments about and, if possible, to guide the thinking of our leaders and youth." (Stand Ye in Holy Places [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], 106.)

Harold B. Lee

"...those who lead must have a certain, sure trumpet sound to their instructions-no wavering, no compromising, but down the middle of the road of truth. To be a leader, you have to be moving. I cannot conceive of anybody following a leader who isn't going anywhere, and that's what Paul is trying to say...Leaders with clear, sharp understanding of their jobs, and the ability to give instructions and leadership direction, and those who have the ability to listen are vital in this program." (Stand Ye in Holy Places [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], 105.)

Gordon B. Hinckley

"In your ministry as leaders in this Church, brethren, bless the people. Lift them. Encourage them. Help them. There are so many in distress. They have so many troubles, so many problems. . . . Bless them with leadership. 'For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?' (1 Cor. 14:8). Yours is the opportunity to blow the trumpet with a certain sound. You are leaders. Every man here is a leader because you are responsible for the well-being of others. That makes of you a leader. Lead the people. Lead them with boldness. Lead them with faith. Get on your knees and pray to the Lord and lead the people with faith. They will follow where you go as their leaders. God bless you in so doing." (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 310.)

1 Cor. 14:10 There are...so many kinds of voices in the world

James E. Faust

"Paul said, 'There are . . . so many kinds of voices in the world' (1 Cor. 14:10) that compete with the voice of the Spirit. We have come here to hear just one voice. I have humbly prayed that I will speak by the power of the Holy Ghost so that my message may be carried into your hearts by that same power (see 2 Ne. 33:1). Imagine, however, what would happen if all of a sudden a heckler in the back of this hall started to yell obscenities; another on my left began to contend with him; another on my right began to debate with his neighbor; someone in the center turned on a recording of some loud music. Soon a chorus of raucous, rival voices would smother my voice, and it would be difficult, if not impossible, to deliver a spiritual message to you.

"Such is the situation in the world. The Spirit's voice is ever-present, but it is calm... The Adversary tries to smother this voice with a multitude of loud, persistent, persuasive, and appealing voices." (James E. Faust and James P. Bell, In the Strength of the Lord: The Life and Teachings of James E. Faust [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1999], 435)

Carlos E. Asay

"Have you ever stopped to count the number of voices you hear each day? If you have, you know that there is a chorus of people calling out for your attention. There are the voices at home, in school, over the radio, through the television set, on the street, at work, and everywhere you go. Some of these voices are friendly and have your best interests at heart. Others are not so friendly and belong to people whose love for you is only as deep as your pocketbook. Nonetheless, all of these friendly and unfriendly voices can influence your thoughts and actions for better or for worse, whether you are aware of it or not. As one inspired man put it, 'There are...so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.'

"Many of the voices you hear convey very enticing messages, such as 'Come here,' 'Buy this,' 'Do this,' 'Do that.' These are only a few of the sounds that bombard your ears each day. Not all of these voices and messages are evil; but some are seductive invitations issued by men and women with bad intent. As messages are communicated verbally, visually, or in print, you must sift carefully the good from the bad. Otherwise you may be enticed to travel down strange roads toward bright lights and wrong destinations." (The Road to Somewhere: A Guide for Young Men and Women [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 123 - 124.)

Neal A. Maxwell

"We can dissolve the stress of wearily listening to 'so many kinds of voices in the world' (1 Corinthians 14:10). A true disciple need tune in on only one channel: 'My sheep hear my voice' (John 10:27). Like ancient Athenians, some today spend their energies and 'their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing' (Acts 17:21). A true disciple will not listen to the voices that deny the divinity of Jesus or of His latter-day work, that deny the apostolic foundations of the Restoration, or that suggest compromising with the world." (Men and Women of Christ [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991], 26.)

1 Cor. 14:11 if I know not the meaning of the voice...he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me

Joseph Smith

"There are only two gifts that could be made visible-the gift of tongues and the gift of prophecy. These are things that are the most talked about, and yet if a person spoke in an unknown tongue, according to Paul's testimony, he would be a 'barbarian' to those present. They would say that it was gibberish. And if he prophesied, they would call it nonsense. The gift of tongues is the smallest gift perhaps of the whole, and yet it is one that is the most sought after. . . . Be not so curious about tongues. Do not speak in tongues except there be an interpreter present. The ultimate design of tongues is to speak to foreigners, and if persons are very anxious to display their intelligence, let them speak to such in their own tongues." (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 167.)

1 Cor. 14:13 let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret

Joseph Smith

"Speak not in the gift of tongues without understanding it or without interpretation. The Devil can speak in tongues. The Adversary will come with his work; he can tempt all classes [and] can speak in English or Dutch. Let no one speak in tongues unless he interprets, except by the consent of the one who is placed to preside. Then he may discern or interpret, or another may." (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 166)

Joseph F. Smith

"The devil himself can appear like an angel of light. False prophets and false teachers have arisen in the world. There is perhaps no gift of the Spirit of God more easily imitated by the devil than the gift of tongues. Where two men or women exercise the gift by the inspiration of the Spirit of God, there are a dozen perhaps who do it by the inspiration of the devil. Bless your souls, apostates speak in tongues, apostates prophesy, apostates claim to have marvelous manifestations and what is that to us?" (Gospel Doctrine, 201)

Joseph Smith

"If any have a matter to reveal, let it be in your own tongue. Do not indulge too much in the gift of tongues, or the Devil will take advantage of the innocent. You may speak in tongues for your own comfort, but I lay this down for a rule, that if anything is taught by the gift of tongues, it is not to be received for doctrine." (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 166 - 167.)

1 Cor. 14:19 I had rather speak five words with my understanding...than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue

Joseph F. Smith

"I believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit unto men, but I do not want the gift of tongues, except when I need it. I needed the gift of tongues once, and the Lord gave it to me. I was in a foreign land, sent to preach the gospel to a people whose language I could not understand. Then I sought earnestly for the gift of tongues, and by this gift and by study, in a hundred days after landing upon those islands I could talk to the people in their language as I now talk to you in my native tongue. This was a gift that was worthy of the gospel. There was a purpose in it. There was something in it to strengthen my faith, to encourage me and to help me in my ministry. . . . Paul did not seem to care much about the gift of tongues either. He said to the Corinthians: 'I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.' (91 Cor. 14:19)" (Gospel Doctrine, p. 201.)

1 Cor. 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding...but in understanding be men

Spencer J. Condie

"[Paul] admonished his brethren more pointedly to 'be not children in understanding ... but in understanding be men' (1 Cor. 14:20).

"Some people have never quite gained an understanding of the basic principles of the gospel because they have never put forth the necessary effort to study the gospel. Thus, the scriptures never become their 'life script.' They say it is a matter of a shortage of time, but somehow they find time for skiing, television, ball games, escape literature, social events, and videos. As one wag put it: 'You can tell the age of the boys by the price of their toys.'" (In Perfect Balance [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1993], 224.)

1 Cor. 14:22 tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not

Joseph Fielding Smith

"The true gift of tongues is made manifest in the Church more abundantly, perhaps, than any other spiritual gift. Every missionary who goes forth to teach the gospel in a foreign language, if he is prayerful and faithful, receives this gift. This is the idea in Paul's remarks, 'Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not.' This was the nature of the gift on the day of Pentecost when Peter and the apostles spoke to the assembled Jews who had come to Jerusalem from foreign lands to attend the feast. Each understood in his own tongue. There are hundreds of testimonies by elders who have carried the gospel to foreign lands, similar to the day of Pentecost." (Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957-1966], 2: 29.)

1 Cor. 14:26 How is it then, brethren? When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation...

In the early Christian church, we might imagine that there was a lack of standardization in the way meetings were run. Likely, the direction was similar to the Nephite practice, 'their meetings were conducted by the church after the manner of the workings of the Spirit, and by the power of the Holy Ghost...whether to preach, or to exhort, or to pray, or to supplicate, or to sing, even so it was done' (Moroni 6:9). It would seem that the Corinthian saints would come to the meeting, each hoping to make their own contribution to the service. Yet, if zealous members get out of hand, such a practice could easily lead to confusion rather than edification. Richard Lloyd Anderson has noted:

"Early Christian worship involved organization and participation. Standardized ceremonies today tend to create a passive Christian audience, but attending the Early Church was anything but a 'spectator sport.' Paul insisted that there be worship, not chaos." (Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 109 - 110.)

Paul reminded the Corinthians that the leadership needed to make certain corrections and that the members needed to participate only when their contributions would edify the entire congregation. Otherwise, their meetings would be full of confusion rather than peace (see v. 33).

1 Cor. 14:31 ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn

Bruce R. McConkie

"We talk about latter-day prophets; we think in terms of prophets who tell the future destiny of the Church and the world. But, in addition to that, the fact is that every person should be a prophet for himself and in his own concerns and in his own affairs. It was Moses who said: 'Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them' (Num. 11:29). It was Paul who said we should 'covet to prophesy' (1 Cor. 14:39)." (Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1998], 154.)

Brigham Young

"Without revelation direct from heaven, it is impossible for any person to understand fully the plan of salvation. We often hear it said that the living oracles must be in the Church, in order that the Kingdom of God may be established and prosper on the earth. I will give another version of this sentiment. I say that the living oracles of God, or the Spirit of revelation must be in each and every individual, to know the plan of salvation and keep in the path that leads them to the presence of God." (John A. Widtsoe, comp., Discourses of Brigham Young, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954, p. 38.)

Joseph Fielding Smith

"All members of the Church should seek for the gift of prophecy, for their own guidance, which is the spirit by which the word of the Lord is understood and his purposes made known." (Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:184.)

1 Cor. 14:31-32 the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets

"We may wonder, 'If so many people are allowed to prophesy, won't this lead to confusion?' Again, the answer is no-if we keep the function of the gift in proper perspective. Consider this excellent counsel from Elder John A. Widtsoe of the Quorum of the Twelve:

"Revelations are given for a two-fold purpose: to furnish guidance for the Church, and to give comfort to the individual. ...

"Divine manifestations for individual comfort may be received by every worthy member of the Church. In that respect all faithful members of the Church are equal. Such manifestations most commonly guide the recipients to the solution of personal problems. ... They are cherished possessions, and should be so valued by those who receive them...

"Every member of the Church may seek and receive revelation, but only for himself and those for whom he is responsible. Every officer of the Church is entitled to revelation to help him in the field into which he has been called, but not beyond. The bishop can claim no revelation except for his ward duties, the stake president for his stake duties only; the President of the Church is the only person who can receive revelations for the guidance of the Church as a whole. These limitations, coming from the Lord, protect the orderliness of the Kingdom of God on earth.' (John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1960, pp. 98-99, 101; italics added.)" (Dean Sorensen, "I Have a Question," Ensign, Apr. 1990, 54)

Bruce R. McConkie

"The true Church is or should be made up of prophets without number...Every man should be a prophet for his family and for those over whom he is called to preside in the Church and kingdom of God on earth. But there is to be no diversity of views, no differences of opinion, among the prophets. A prophet is a prophet only because he receives revelation from the Holy Ghost and is in tune with the Spirit of God. Anarchy is foreign to a heaven-sent organization. The Lord's house is a house of order and not a house of confusion. And so 'the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.' (1 Cor. 14:29-32.)

"There is only one presiding prophet on earth at any one time, and he is the President of the Church. All other prophets are subject to him and his direction. There is not now on earth and there shall not be-as long as the earth shall stand or there is one man on the face thereof-a prophet who is not subject to and whose acts are not governed by the presiding prophet." (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 326.)

Spencer W. Kimball

"Whenever an individual gets out of his area and begins to tell the bishop of revelations he's received for the conduct of the ward, then he's wrong. His revelations are coming from the wrong source because God is not the author of confusion." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], 453.)

1 Cor. 14:33 God is not the author of confusion, but of peace

Elder Ben E. Rich

"There cannot be two different churches and both of them be right. 'One Lord, one faith, one baptism,' was the doctrine taught in the days of the early Apostles, nearly two thousand years ago. Anything more than that creates confusion; and it is written that God is not the author of confusion. If He is not the author of confusion, then He is not the author of all that goes to make up this Babel of confusion in the religious world today. Something is wrong." (Conference Report, April 1909, Outdoor Meeting. 45 - 46.)

Joseph Fielding Smith

"The devil is the author of false religions. He is perfectly willing that men should worship something and in some manner. He makes them think they are worshiping Jesus Christ and his Father but sees to it that many false doctrines contrary to the plan of salvation are introduced among men. He is the author of confusion and laughs at the divided condition existing among the religious denominations. He it was who brought to pass the great apostasy from the religion and Church of Jesus Christ in former days. Satan is exercising great power and has led the great majority of mankind away from the commandments of God, even while he makes them think that they are serving him." (Man, His Origin and Destiny [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 292 - 293.)

Elder Joseph J. Daynes

"I think if we look around the world today we will find that confusion is everywhere to be found; misunderstanding, misinterpretation, doubt, and uncertainty are all ever present. The world is fraught with anxiety....Many of these conditions that exist today, as we know, have been brought about as a result of confusion and misunderstanding with reference to religion. It is astonishing how men's ideas are warped; how small they become; and, not being sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit of the Lord, they do not desire to have truth penetrate their souls. If truth could make its imprint upon the hearts of men as the Lord intended, what a marvelous and wonderful thing it would be...

"This Church invites the world to come to it. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in fact the Church of Jesus Christ and the Gospel of Jesus are one and the same, inseparable and indivisible, and we who have embraced its truths and live according to its glorious ideals and standards will assuredly go to our eternal homes, and there will be unfolded to us a glory and a beauty that will be very graciously received by us." (Conference Report, April 1937, Afternoon Meeting 74.)

1 Cor. 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches

"In [chapter 11], Paul insists that a woman ought not to 'pray and prophesy' without being veiled (1 Cor. 11:5). This proves that women did participate in Christian meetings, which is also known through the names of several faithful, participating sisters mentioned in Acts and the letters. This suggests that Paul had a particular kind of speaking in mind in the later chapter (chapter14). Some ask whether Corinthian women were interrupting meetings with questions. Or were they 'speaking out' in the sense of 'leading out,' loudly correcting the presiding elder? The Joseph Smith Translation interprets 'speak' in that official sense, saying that women were not permitted to 'lead.' That is certainly one thrust of the chapter, since men and women are both told to be silent whenever someone else is speaking (1 Cor. 14:28, 30)." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 111 - 112.)

"The JST also clarifies this statement: 'Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak' (KJV, 1 Cor. 14:34). This statement seems odd since the Apostle Paul had already acknowledged the right of women to pray and prophesy, the latter meaning to teach under the power of the Holy Ghost (see 1 Cor. 11:5). The JST changes one word and in so doing clarifies the whole issue: 'It is not permitted unto them to rule'; rather, they are 'to be under obedience, as also saith the law [of Moses]' (JST, 1 Cor. 14:34, footnote b). From this simple change, we see that the Apostle Paul was not forbidding sisters to teach or pray, but rather correcting those who attempted to usurp priesthood authority." (Richard D. Draper, "New Light on Paul's Teachings," Ensign, Sept. 1999, 26)

1 Cor. 14:35 if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home

Joseph Fielding Smith

"In order that we, today, may understand these instructions it is necessary that we be given divine inspiration. We are living many hundreds of years since the days of Paul. It is difficult for us, therefore, to get the proper setting in relation to the customs and manners prevailing among the people and which called forth some of his remarks. Some of his instruction will not fit into the picture of today, but it may have been in perfect order in his day as we would see if we had lived in his time. For instance his counsel that women should 'keep silence in the churches.' (meetings) and if they wished to obtain knowledge they were to 'ask their husbands at home, for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.' Again, his counsel that in the meetings the women's heads should be covered, else the hair should be shorn. (1 Cor. 14:34-36.) What would we think today, when the Lord revealed to the Church the contrary, and gave to us a woman's organization and commanded them to teach and expound scriptures, if some brother advocated such doctrines?" (Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 2: 44 - 45.)

1 Cor. 14:39 forbid not to speak with tongues

Joseph F. Smith

"So far as I am concerned, if the Lord will give me ability to teach the people in my native tongue, or in their own language to the understanding of those who hear me, that will be sufficient gift of tongues to me. Yet if the Lord gives you the gift of tongues, do not despise it, do not reject it. For if it comes from the Spirit of God, it will come to those who are worthy to receive it, and it is all right. But this idea of seeking it, desiring it, when you don't pay your tithing, when you don't pray in your families, when you don't pay your debts, when you desecrate the Sabbath day, and when you neglect other duties in the Church; I tell you the devil will take advantage of you by and by, if he does not at first.-Apr. C. R., 1900, p. 41." (Gospel Doctrine, p. 201.)