1 Cor. 13:1 I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal
James E. Talmage
"Religion without morality, professions of godliness without charity, church-membership without adequate responsibility as to individual conduct in daily life, are but as sounding brass and tinkling cymbals-noise without music, the words without the spirit of prayer." (Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 389.)
"Wherever I go, outside of the families of the Church and the conferences that I attend in different places in which the Church gathers, there are few places where prayer is offered. And sometimes when I hear prayer in other places it is like a tinkling cymbal and sounding brass. It goes in one ear and out of the other. No power whatever is back of it. It is mere words and nothing else." (Conference Report, October 1931, Third Day-Morning Meeting 113.)
Elder Levi Edgar Young
"Mormonism may become a mere shell that we lay upon the shelf, it may be a mere sounding brass to each individual. We are to see that with all the acts of baptism, the administration of the sacrament, with our prayers, with our fast offerings, with the offering of tithes to God, that behind it all there stands a cleanliness, a majesty, a power of our own souls and intellect, the power to know and the power to love, to worship Him, for the truth that is in Him, and to worship God, and Him crucified. That gives us the spirit of Mormonism." (Conference Report, October 1910, Overflow Meeting. 76 - 77.)
1 Cor. 13:2 though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing
Charity is the supreme attribute of divinity. It is the underlying principle of both the first and second commandments (Matt 22:36-40). It is the last and greatest of Peter's list of divine qualities (2 Pet. 1:7). Mormon declared that 'whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him' (Moroni 7:47). It is the embodiment of divinity, for as John said, 'God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him' (1 John 4:16). If we are to become like God, we must develop this quality as well as all the others. Otherwise, we have failed and are "nothing" as Paul said.
Imagine for a moment what would have happened to humanity of God the Father and Jesus Christ had no charity. 'God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son' (John 3:16). What if he didn't love us enough to send his Son? And what of Jesus' love for us? It has been said that it was not the nails which held Jesus on the cross but his love for us. Indeed, he had the power to stop his own suffering at any time. But the Savior 'loved the world, even unto the laying down of [his] life for the world, that [he] mightest take it again to prepare a place for the children of men.' As Moroni prayed, 'And now I know that this love which thou hast had for the children of men is charity' (Ether 12:33-34). It is frightening to contemplate where we would be without the love of God the Father and God the Son. We would of necessity become the property of Satan, 'our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies in misery' (2 Ne. 9:9). Jeffrey R. Holland explained it this way:
"It is that charity-his pure love for us-without which we would be nothing, hopeless, of all men and women most miserable... But the 'pure love of Christ' Mormon spoke of is precisely that-Christ's love. With that divine gift, that redeeming bestowal, we have everything; without it we have nothing and ultimately are nothing, except in the end 'devils [and] angels to a devil.' (2 Ne 9:9)" (Christ And The New Covenant, p. 336 - 337)
Therefore, if we are to become as the Master, we must master this concept. As Elder Marion D. Hanks noted: "The major source of our self-image should be our Heavenly Father, whose children we are, in whose image we are made, whose attributes and qualities we have within us in embryo. He it is who loved us so much that he sent his Only Begotten Son to show us the way and to die for us. We are his children, worthy of love, and we have in us the capacity to love. We must learn to love even as we are loved by him." (Conference Report, April 1968, Second Day-Morning Meeting 58 - 59.)
"A paraphrase: And though I attend all my meetings faithfully, and fulfill all my callings, and make a home teaching visit during the first week of the month; and though in all ways I am an active Church member, yet if I do not spend time in love and service for others, then I am not yet a Saint, for I do not yet love the Lord with all my heart, might, mind, and strength; and I do not love my neighbor as myself." (Orson Scott Card, "Sunday Meetings: A Preparation for Work," Ensign, Jan. 1978, 63)
H. Burke Peterson
"We have been taught in other scripture that no matter how great and significant our mortal accomplishments, no matter how much was accomplished under our hand-as a bishop, a clerk, a president, a teacher, or a parent-unless we learn to exhibit charity, we are nothing. (See 1 Cor. 13:1-3.) All our good deeds will not weigh in our favor if charity is lacking." ("Our Responsibility to Care for Our Own," Ensign, May 1981, 81)
"In comparison with this wonderful power, charity or love-these accomplishments here mentioned pale into insignificance. Qualified, and endowed with these rare [spiritual] gifts we naturally conclude, one must of necessity be a most powerful preacher; he can speak with the tongues of men and the eloquence of angels; he understands all mysteries, and has all knowledge and faith so that he could remove mountains. But he lacks one thing, and that is the vitalizing force which is the secret of his power. And what is that? It is that supreme love which the Savior describes in the following words: 'Except a man is willing to leave father and mother, houses and lands, wives and children, and all for my sake and the gospel's, he is unworthy of me.'
"It is that love of God, which overshadows and transcends the love of everything else in the world whether it be personal glory and honor, wealth or fame. It matters not what it may be, there is no love in his heart equaling his love of God. That is the source of his power; and possessed of that, his words are irresistible, and his power will redound to the honor and glory of God and the salvation of his children." (Conference Report, April 1921, Afternoon Session 60 - 61.)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"Love of God is basic. It is the very foundation of true worship. It puts heart and soul and spirit into our lives. It subdues arrogance and conceit and greed. It leads to love for all of God's creations. It leads to obedience to the second great commandment, love of neighbor. In the world in which we now live, that love of neighbor finds expression not only in Christian acts of charity and kindness to those in need, but in a larger sense includes a sacred regard for the environment in which all men as neighbors across the earth must live." ("A Unique and Wonderful University," BYU 1988-89 Devotional and Fireside Speeches, October 11, 1988, p. 51.)
1 Cor. 13:3 though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor
The saint's understanding of charity is different than the world's. If you were to ask a worldly individual, "what is charity?" The response may be, "that is when you donate money to the poor or send a check to a charitable organization." Satan would be happy if the world would continue to understand charity in only these terms. Ironically, Paul says 'though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor...and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.' Doesn't Paul know that bestowing one's goods to the poor is charity? How is it possible to donate to the poor without having charity?
From Paul's words, we must understand that charity is more than feeding the poor-indeed it is much, much more. A charitable act is not necessarily an act of charity. As one First Presidency message put it, "Many people imagine that charity is giving a dollar to somebody; but real, genuine charity is giving love and sympathy." (James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-75), 5: 180)
It is possible to donate to the poor without really caring about them. The advantages include a tax write-off, a sense of self-righteousness, and the great relief from guilt made possible by making a contribution. But Paul says that you can be a charity's greatest benefactor and still lack charity. Without real intent, without real love and sympathy for the afflicted, the angels who are usually "silent notes taking" take no notes at all.
Dallin H. Oaks
"We know from these inspired words that even the most extreme acts of service fall short of the ultimate 'profit' unless they are motivated by the pure love of Christ. If our service is to be most efficacious, it must be unconcerned with self and heedless of personal advantage. It must be accomplished for the love of God and the love of his children." (Pure in Heart [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 47.)
1 Cor. 13:4-7 The characteristics of charity
Since charity is the pure love of Christ, we should not be surprised to find that Jesus embodied all the characteristics of charity. His mortal ministry alone stands as a testimony that he suffered long, and was kind; he envied not; he vaunted not himself, was not puffed up, did not behave himself unseemly, sought not his own, was not easily provoked, thought no evil; rejoiced not in iniquity, but rejoiced in the truth; bore all things, believed all things, hoped all things, endured all things. As Nephi declared, 'wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men' (1 Ne. 19:9).
1 Cor. 13:4 Charity suffereth long
"When I read Paul's description of charity, I see more than words on a page. I see the faces of women who have touched my life, women who exemplify charity. Let me introduce some of them to you.
"Adela became a widow with four small children while she was in her early thirties. She not only had a family to raise but a farm to run, as well as serious health problems. One day, when I was a teenager, my mother took me with her to visit Adela, who was just beginning to recover from yet another surgery. She lay in a hospital bed in her living room. Her primary caregivers were her teenage sons and her eleven-year-old daughter. They were getting along 'just fine,' she insisted when my mother questioned her. Then, for an hour, she kept us laughing, telling one funny story after another. On the ride home, my mother asked, 'Did you notice how much pain she was in?'
"Pain? I hadn't noticed. In fact, she had been happy and fun to be around.
"'Did you look at her eyes?' Mother questioned. 'You could see the pain in her eyes.'
"Adela has had many surgeries since then, but her love for the gospel is apparent even when she is in pain. She was a diligent visiting teacher until she became homebound. She enjoys her children and grandchildren. She makes sure those around her are smiling. To see the pain, you still have to look deep into her eyes. Charity suffereth long." (Nanette Justus, "Women of Charity," Ensign, Feb. 1995, 30)
1 Cor. 13:4 Charity...is kind
Chieko N. Okazaki
"When the apostle Paul says, 'Charity suffereth long, and is kind' (1 Corinthians 13:4), he's not just talking about being nice and wearing smiley-face buttons. He's talking about the core of the disciple's life. Kindness without love is not kindness at all. It's patronage, it's condescension, it's smugness and superiority. If you have been the recipient of this species of 'kindness,' you know that you would much rather do without it. But with love, kindness is refreshment and rejoicing. It strengthens bonds and creates new ones. And it's a tough, patient virtue, not a frilly, fluffy one...Kindness is not sentimental or weak. It's tough, strong, and long-lasting." (Sanctuary [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 75.)
Elaine L. Jack
"Nothing will bring the Spirit of the Lord into your meetings, your homes, and your personal associations more quickly than showing kindness. 'Charity ... is kind' (1 Cor. 13:4). Kindness should be right at the top of everyone's list of things to do. Write it down every day: 'Be kind.' Kindness comes in many different packages. Be thoughtful to your neighbors. Be patient in a crowd. Be considerate of your children and your husband. Be honest with your sisters. Trust them and they will trust you. Go out and bring them into this grand circle of sisters we call Relief Society. As we increase our kindness, we add charity to our storehouse and we are strengthened." ("Strengthened in Charity," Ensign, Nov. 1996, 92-93)
David O. McKay
"The spirit of kindness is as enduring as love itself. Let us go home, and if we have been cruel, either by treating our wives with indifference, or by scolding or loud talking, if we have been cruel to our children by neglect or by striking them, let us see if we cannot repent and look introspectively and see whether or not we are to blame for some of the conditions that arouse these passions." (Conference Reports, October 1951, p. 182)
1 Cor. 13:4 Charity...vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up
"To vaunt is to proudly call attention to our possessions, our accomplishments, our associations, or our righteousness...One of the most serious forms of 'vaunting' is the sin of pride. 'Pride is a `my will` rather than `thy will` approach to life,' says President Ezra Taft Benson. 'The opposite of pride is humbleness, meekness, submissiveness (see Alma 13:28), or teachableness. ... With pride, there are many curses. With humility, there come many blessings.' (Ensign, May 1986, pp. 6-7.)
"We may vaunt ourselves in other ways. If we interrupt someone or whisper during a meeting, class, or performance, we may convey disrespect for what others are saying or doing. If we are late for an appointment, we may show that we consider our time or other activities more important.
"We also vaunt ourselves if we take credit for what we haven't earned. Some people blame God when things go badly in their lives and take the credit when things go well, overlooking the fact that their talents, skills, and possessions are gifts from the Lord.
"The scriptures say that 'in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things.' (D&C 59:21.) True humility comes when we acknowledge our dependence on him in every act-indeed, in every breath.
"Such humility encourages us to follow the Savior's example of love and service to others. President Spencer W. Kimball exemplified this philosophy. Just after he was sustained as President of the Church in April 1974, he attended a family dinner. Noticing a security guard in a parked car in front of the house, President Kimball filled a plate and took it out to the officer. (See Ensign, Mar. 1975, p. 6.) Despite his busy schedule, President Kimball did not consider himself too important to serve others; on the contrary, he saw his new position as an opportunity to serve.
"As we learn to recognize the Lord's love for us and our dependence on him, to feel gratitude for the blessings he gives us, and to focus on serving others, we will learn charity, which, the Apostle Paul said, 'vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.' (1 Cor. 13:4; see also Moro. 7:45.) We will then want to do as Ammon did, when he said, 'I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things.' (Alma 26:12.)" ("Charity Vaunteth Not Itself, Is Not Puffed Up" Ensign, Mar. 1988, 53)
1 Cor. 13:5 Charity...doth not behave itself unseemly
"The word modesty ultimately stems from the Latin term modus, meaning 'measure.' Hence modesty connotes balance, proportion, restraint, and (from the same root) moderation. Its opposites would be excess, extremity, lack of restraint, outlandishness, intemperateness, immoderation, and so forth. Thus modest dress is measured, as are modest speech and conduct. Like charity, modesty 'vaunteth not itself, ... doth not behave itself unseemly.' (1 Cor. 13:4-5.) It does not seek undue attention, does not flaunt itself, but shows respect for the feelings of others. Though it means much more than merely good manners, modesty belongs among the social virtues because it requires sensitivity and tact." (John S. Tanner, "To Clothe a Temple," Ensign, Aug. 1992, 45)
1 Cor. 13:5 Charity...seeketh not her own
Neal A. Maxwell
"Whereas the natural man is filled with greed, the men and women of Christ 'seeketh not [their] own' (1 Corinthians 13:5)...One of the last, subtle strongholds of selfishness is the natural feeling that we 'own' ourselves. Of course, we are free to choose and are personally accountable. Yes, we have individuality. But those who have chosen to 'come unto Christ' soon realize that they do not 'own' themselves. Instead, they belong to Him! We are to become consecrated along with our gifts, our appointed days, and our very selves. Hence there is a stark difference between stubbornly 'owning' oneself and submissively belonging to God. Clinging to the old self is a mark not of independence but of indulgence." (Men and Women of Christ [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991], 14.)
1 Cor. 13:5 Charity...thinketh no evil
"We don't develop character by chance. Good character is the result of continual effort in righteous thinking and the righteous acts that such thinking brings about.
"The scriptures tell us, 'As he thinketh in his heart, so is he' (Prov. 23:7), and 'Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God' (D&C 121:45). Both the Apostle Paul and the prophet Mormon taught that charity, the pure love of Christ, 'thinketh no evil.' (See 1 Cor. 13:4-5; Moro. 7:45.) Clearly, we are what we think. And if we think righteous thoughts, we will very likely live righteously...
"We are the masters of our thoughts. Just as we would tend, prune, and cultivate a garden, so should we tend and cultivate our minds, pruning and weeding impure, negative, or sinful thoughts while cultivating righteous ones...
"To develop purity of mind, we need to do more than dismiss or avoid evil, negative, or impure thoughts. We also need to learn to think virtuous thoughts. Just as it takes effort to discover material treasures of the earth, it takes effort to develop good thoughts. The scriptures guide us in choosing what to think about:
"'Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report ... think on these things.' (Philip. 4:8.)
"We can learn to 'think on' such things by seeking good surroundings, reading the scriptures and other good books, praying, singing hymns, fasting, observing the Sabbath, selecting uplifting entertainment, wearing modest clothing, developing talents, participating in church and community service, and striving to keep the commandments.
"As we learn to think virtuous thoughts, our lives become more virtuous. We will want to live righteously, in thought and in deed. We will be more Christlike." ("Charity Thinketh No Evil," Ensign, Aug. 1988, 61)
1 Cor. 13:7 Charity...beareth all things...endureth all things
"Our trials need not overcome us. In fact, they can teach us humility, faith, courage, and compassion, and can ultimately help us develop charity, the pure love of Christ, which 'beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, [and] endureth all things.' (1 Cor. 13:7; see also Moro. 7:45.)
"President Spencer W. Kimball knew the importance of enduring in the face of trials-in his case, serious health problems. 'Being human, we would expel from our lives sorrow, distress, physical pain, and mental anguish and assure ourselves of continual ease and comfort,' he said. 'But if we closed the doors upon such, we might be evicting our greatest friends and benefactors.' (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982, p. 168.)
"It takes great faith to endure and trust in the Lord. But we can learn about endurance from Alma's words: 'As much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day.' (Alma 38:5.)" ("Charity ... Endureth All Things," Ensign, Oct. 1988, 47)
1 Cor. 13:8 Charity never faileth
"Why is charity so vital? Simply because it is the ultimate solution. There is no problem in the world or in any human heart that could not be directly or indirectly solved by the exercise of charity...The power and magnitude of that love is a greater factor and force than anything else that exists." (Linda and Richard Eyre, Teaching Children Charity [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1986], 8.)
Vaughn J. Featherstone
"The pure love of Christ will eventually triumph over all the evils, including power, pride, boasting, worldly acclaim, cruelty, wars, perversion, sadness, and heartache. The Lord through His servants has promised that charity will never fail. One day charity, the pure love of Christ, will triumph over all the world. Those who are possessors of charity will triumph over all evil and will dwell with the author of this 'new commandment' forever and forever." (The Incomparable Christ: Our Master and Model [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 78 - 79.)
Spencer W. Kimball
"We know with great assurance that our Father in Heaven has ways to touch hearts. Remember Alma? Remember Paul? Great changes can occur if individuals are sincere in their desires.
"There may be someone who will say, 'Well, we know a man or a woman who can never be touched.' Of course he or she can be touched. He or she can always be blessed and helped! There is the promise of scripture. It reads, 'Charity never faileth.' (1 Cor. 13:8.) Never! Charity, applied long enough, never fails to work its miracle either in the individual, in us, in both of us, or in others around the individual." (Spencer W. Kimball, "Helping Others Obtain the Promises of the Lord," Ensign, June 1983, 5)
Elaine L. Jack
"...progressing along the straight and narrow is characterized by making the Lord's work our work, serving as He would. Such work is grounded in charity, a principle Relief Society sisters have embraced for many years, for 'charity never faileth' (1 Cor. 13:8). Charity helps us maintain our footing when all around us are skidding about." ("Walk with Me," Ensign, May 1994, 16)
1 Cor. 13:8-10 prophecies...shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away
Elder John W. Taylor
"That is perfectly natural; for when that which is perfect is come, we shall see as we are seen, and know as we are known. There will be no need for men to prophesy what shall take place, for we shall all see and understand it. In that day it will not be necessary for one to say to another, Know ye the Lord; for all shall know Him. Perfect knowledge will be enjoyed by all. We shall see eye to eye, and be of one heart and mind in the kingdom of God. It will not be necessary for any to speak in an unknown tongue; for the original Adamic language will be restored, and all shall speak in the one tongue. Hence how consistent it is to say, 'When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.' These gifts are now given to us as a lamp to lighten our pathway, to encourage us when our spirits are drooping, to heal our bodies when we are afflicted, and to give us knowledge of things to come, that we may be buoyed up and go on to perfection." (Conference Report, October 1903, Overflow Meeting 97.)
"Thus it will be seen that the gifts were not to cease until 'that which is perfect is come'-until we see the Lord face to face-until we know as we are known. Then tongues will cease, and the heavenly glorified throng will all speak the same language. Then prophesying in part will be done away; for the knowledge of the future will be fully understood. Then knowledge in part shall vanish away and the Saints will know in full. Then the day of perfection will come, and all the Saints shall enjoy the fullness of Christ, and see Him no longer through a glass darkly, but face to face. Until that day of glory and perfection shall arrive, all the spiritual gifts will be indispensably necessary, without which the Saints can never attain to that great salvation promised." (Orson Pratt's Works [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1945], 100.)
1 Cor. 13:11 when I became a man, I put away childish things
Just as a grown man no longer rides his tricycle, no longer plays with toy soldiers, no longer makes paper airplanes, so spiritual maturity discards the accessories of an earlier day. Paul is speaking of a future time when 'all things shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men, and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth.' (2 Ne. 27:11) Imagine how much greater will be our spiritual perspective! Can you imagine yourself in the celestial kingdom of God, dwelling 'in the presence of God and his Christ' (DC 76:62) when the earth 'will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom...will be manifest' (DC 130:9)?
How will the mundane struggles of mortality appear at that day? As a recipient of 'all that [the] Father hath' (DC 84:38), one might say, "I can't believe I was so worried about money and paying the bills." Dressed like everyone else in a brilliant white robe, one might say, "I can't believe I used to worry about what I was wearing and what I looked like." Blessed with exaltation and 'a continuation of the seeds forever and ever' (DC 132:19), one might say, "I can't believe I used to be more worried about my education and career than raising a family in righteousness." As Neal A. Maxwell noted, "Then we will see the true story of mankind-and not through glass darkly. (See 1 Cor. 13:12.) The great military battles will appear as mere bonfires which blazed briefly, and the mortal accounts of the human experience will be but graffiti on the walls of time." ("O, Divine Redeemer," Ensign, Nov. 1981, 10) In retrospect, we will declare of our own mortal experience, "I was just a child, 'I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child' but now that I have finally reached my spiritual potential, I have no need for these childish things." Then will all things mortal be done away, but charity will still abound. Elder Maxwell declared, "Thus developing charity is clearly just as essential for admission to the upper realms of the celestial kingdom as is baptism!" (If Thou Endure It Well [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 34.)
1 Cor. 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly
A latter-day analogy might be that the Lord has sent each of us into mortality wearing a pair of sunglasses. He gives them to us for our own protection. We may not take them off. Still, we have the option of dwelling in light or darkness. If we choose darkness, we are bound to stumble, living life with skinned knees and stubbed toes. If we choose light, we will navigate the obstacle course of life successfully, without suffering the harmful effects of too much sunlight. Indeed, it takes a long time of living in the light before our eyes can fully accommodate.
Those who have totally rejected the darkness-though they may not remove their sunglasses by themselves-may find that the Lord will briefly remove their sunglasses for them. Such an illuminating experience can only happen to those who have developed far beyond the near-sightedness and darkness of mortality. As Joseph Smith said, "Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject." (History of The Church, 6: 50.) Apparently, Paul had gazed into heaven for at least five minutes (see 2 Cor. 12:1-4), so he knew that his mortal eyes saw only 'through a glass, darkly.'
Neal A. Maxwell
"If our love of God is sufficiently deep, then we will be sufficiently assured of His enveloping loving-kindness. With this perspective, our fears can shrink. Dread can dissolve. Additionally, there need be no ultimate fear for mankind's future solely because of proximate circumstances, vexing and besetting as the latter may be...Granted, because we now look 'through a glass, darkly' (1 Corinthians 13:12), we do not see the details very clearly. Nevertheless we can surely distinguish between light and darkness, between the revelations and despair. We can understand that some of our tribulations come because 'all these things shall give thee experience' (D&C 122:7)." (That Ye May Believe [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1992], 57.)
Joseph F. Smith
"While we are in mortality we are clogged, and we see as through a glass darkly, we see only in part, and it is difficult for us to comprehend the smallest things with which we are associated. But when we put on immortality, our condition will be very different, for we ascend into an enlarged sphere." (Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith, compiled by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], 440.)
1 Cor. 13:12 now I know in part; but then shall I know [in full]
"When we are born into this world, we only have a vague recollection of our preexistent life. By the inspiration of the Spirit 'we see through a glass darkly' and we 'know in part.' Ultimately our previous knowledge will be restored to us, when that which is perfect comes, and then we shall know even as also we are known...Ultimately the veil of darkness, or forgetfulness, which deprives us of the recollection of our existence in the spirit world before this earth was made and of the acquaintances we had here, will be lifted. Then we will see as we are seen and know as we are known and as we were known before earth life." (A Marvelous Work and a Wonder [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1950], 281.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"We define the veil as the border between mortality and eternity; it is also a film of forgetting which covers the memories of earlier experiences. This forgetfulness will be lifted one day, and on that day we will see forever-rather than 'through a glass darkly' (1 Cor. 13:12)." ("Patience," Ensign, Oct. 1980, 31)
1 Cor. 13:12 then shall I know even as also I am known
"One of the most fascinating consequences of following Christ is mentioned in both the New Testament and the Doctrine and Covenants. Paul, describing the celestial state, says, 'For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known' (1 Cor. 13:12). We also read that those who receive celestial glory will 'see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fulness and of his grace' (D&C 76:94). These passages tell me that it is possible for me to see myself and experience myself precisely as God sees and knows me. In other words, as I grow toward perfection I can have a more perfect picture of myself, without any distortion from the eye of the beholder, since God's view is perfect and undistorted. The words also imply to me that those worthy to dwell in the presence of God have a special relationship with one another, understanding and being understood perfectly-undoubtedly an even greater joy than we can possibly imagine." (Sheryl Condie Kempton, "Why I Need Friends," Ensign, Mar. 1979, 37)
Vaughn J. Featherstone
"What a blessing it will be in the eternal world to know each person's heart and mind and for them in turn to know our very thoughts and reasons. We will be like transparent crystal. We will know the deepest motivation, the unspoken words, even those thoughts we do not have the ability to communicate. Imagine the day that will come when all of the beautiful unspoken phrases, words, and utterances that should have been spoken will all be understood." (The Incomparable Christ: Our Master and Model [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 103 - 104.)
1 Cor. 13:13 now abideth faith, hope, charity
"If our lives are devoid of the vital gifts of faith, hope, and charity, we should earnestly examine ourselves and our relationship with our Father in Heaven. We should pray for those essential gifts earnestly, because acquiring them is crucial to our eternal salvation. Indeed, to have charity is to have acquired a quality vital to salvation, the Apostle Paul implies, while to lack it is to have nothing of eternal significance (See 1 Cor. 13:1-8)." (Arthur R. Bassett, "I Have a Question," Ensign, Mar. 1994, 52)
Elaine L. Jack
"These three good friends-faith, hope, and charity-become stronger because of their association with each other. Perhaps what is most important about them is that they exist together. The charitable woman is also the hopeful, faithful woman. Hence, when a woman loses hope, she will also lose faith and charity.
"This is a major connection. I have known women who have let go of hope yet claimed to maintain faith. It appears from the interlacing of these qualities that if we lack one, we will soon lack the others. Let us cling to our faith, our hope, and our charity, remembering that upon this trio hangs our well-being, now and forever." ("A Perfect Brightness of Hope," Ensign, Mar. 1992, 12)
Russell M. Nelson
"Hope and faith are commonly connected to charity. Why? Because hope is essential to faith; faith is essential to hope; faith and hope are essential to charity. They support one another like legs on a three-legged stool. All three relate to our Redeemer." ("A More Excellent Hope," Ensign, Feb. 1997, 61)
M. Russell Ballard
"The Apostle Paul taught that three divine principles form a foundation upon which we can build the structure of our lives. They are faith, hope, and charity. (See 1 Cor. 13:13.) Together they give us a base of support like the legs of a three-legged stool. Each principle is significant within itself, but each also plays an important supporting role. Each is incomplete without the others. Hope helps faith develop. Likewise true faith gives birth to hope. When we begin to lose hope, we are faltering also in our measure of faith. The principles of faith and hope working together must be accompanied by charity, which is the greatest of all. According to Mormon, 'charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever.' (Moro. 7:47.) It is the perfect manifestation of our faith and hope.
"Working together, these three eternal principles will help give us the broad eternal perspective we need to face life's toughest challenges, including the prophesied ordeals of the last days. Real faith fosters hope for the future; it allows us to look beyond ourselves and our present cares. Fortified by hope, we are moved to demonstrate the pure love of Christ through daily acts of obedience and Christian service." (M. Russell Ballard, "The Joy of Hope Fulfilled," Ensign, Nov. 1992, 33)
1 Cor. 13:13 the greatest of these is charity
Bruce R. McConkie
"Above all the attributes of godliness and perfection, charity is the one most devoutly to be desired. Charity is more than love, far more; it is everlasting love, perfect love, the pure love of Christ which endureth forever. It is love so centered in righteousness that the possessor has no aim or desire except for the eternal welfare of his own soul and for the souls of those around him. (2 Ne. 26:30; Moro. 7:47; 8:25-26.)" (Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], 121.)