Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2012, January 30

“Book of Mormon; Doctrine and Covenants: Which is the Greatest Gift of God? (1 Nephi 15:36; Mosiah 8:16; 1 Nephi 26:30; Ether 12:34; Moroni 10:21; DC 6:13; DC14:7; DC 12:8)” by grego

“Book of Mormon; Doctrine and Covenants: Which is the Greatest Gift of God?” by grego


When it is asked, “Which is the greatest gift of God?”, some wise soul will usually quote this:
Doctrine and Covenants 14:7 And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.

But, what about this?
Doctrine and Covenants 6:13 If thou wilt do good, yea, and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God; for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation.

Or this?
1 Nephi 15:36 Wherefore, the wicked are rejected from the righteous, and also from that tree of life, whose fruit is most precious and most desirable above all other fruits; yea, and it is the greatest of all the gifts of God. And thus I spake unto my brethren. Amen.

Then there’s this:
Mosiah 8:16 And Ammon said that a seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can; yet a man may have great power given him from God.

And this:
1 Nephi 26:30 Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing. Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish.

Ether 12:34 And now I know that this love which thou hast had for the children of men is charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father.

Moroni 10:21 And except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God; neither can ye be saved in the kingdom of God if ye have not faith; neither can ye if ye have no hope.

And even this:
Doctrine and Covenants 12:8 And no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care.

More than one right answer?? I guess it has to do with context, timing, and sequence. So next time that happens, have fun!


  1. Interesting post. I explored similar ideas when I wrote the following on my blog, Telemoonfa Time.

    Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said to young LDS women in November 2005, “Everything Christ taught He taught to women as well as men.” When I read that I thought: That’s not literally true. Christ had secret meetings with his twelve male apostles, you know. Christ taught Joseph Smith stuff that Joseph Smith couldn’t tell anybody else, men or women.

    So why did Elder Holland have to talk in absolutes like that? Well, I think we all agree that the spirit of what Elder Holland was something like, God loves women just as much as he loves men, and even though the leadership of the Church has a patriarchal structure, that doesn’t mean… well, you know what I’m saying. There’s no need for me to re-write what has already been adequately expressed. Read the Family, A Proclamation to the World for further insight on LDS gender roles.

    Again from the Nov. 2005 Holland talk, we read, “Fathers and mothers, prophets and apostles have no motive except to bless your life and to spare you every possible heartache we can spare you.” That’s not literally true either. Sometimes parents, like abusive parents, have very bad motives. Holland doesn’t say, “all fathers and mothers” but when there is no qualifier, no “some” or “most,” then “all” is assumed.

    I mean, what do you think when you read the sentence, “Male lions sleep twenty hours a day.”

    Do you think that that statement means that a few male lions sleep 20 hours a day now and then? Or do you assume that the statement means that all male lions typically sleep 20 hours a day? That’s what I assume. I mean, as long as their slumber isn’t interrupted by something out of the ordinary like a volcano erupting nearby, you know, then the meaning that I get from “male lions sleep 20 hours a day” is “all male lions typically sleep 20 hours a day.”

    Why is Holland leading us to believe that all parents everywhere have righteous motives for everything they do?

    A good way to think about why Holland worded his talk the way he did is to think of his alternative. Imagine the absurdity that would abound if absolutes were strictly avoided and everything would have to be qualified, qualified, qualified! Like, instead of saying the powerful statement, “Fathers and mothers, prophets and apostles have no motive except to bless your life and to spare you every possible heartache we can spare you,” Holland would have had to say something like, “Many fathers and mothers, and many true prophets and apostles, mostly want to bless your life and to spare you many trials and heartaches. Some parents are bad, though, so you’ve got to watch out for them. And some prophets are false, too, but I think most of them are pretty good. I think I’m pretty good anyway.”

    I’ve thought a lot about this stuff before. Here’s something I wrote a while ago, on the absolutes and exaggerated language in scripture topic: (It’s copied and pasted from a comment I made on Telemoonfa Time after the “Seeking Utopia” post)

    I know the scriptures say, “With God all things are possible.” (Mark 10: 27) But… I guess I don’t take that Scripture literally. Because in another scripture, D + C 82:10, it says, “I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” So, it is not possible for God to deny his word when people keep up their end of the bargain- that’s at least one thing he can’t do. I don’t think God could just stop existing, either. And God cannot give an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom to somebody who is unfit for it. (I’m reminded of this funny/ dumb riddle thing: could God create a rock that was so heavy that he couldn’t pick it up?) I believe, and I’ve heard it expressed by Mormons before, that God is governed by certain eternal principles, like mercy and justice. God has to follow rules, too. God can’t make 2 plus 2 equal 5.

    But doesn’t “With god all things are possible” have more oomph than “With God many unlikely things are possible?”

    In conclusion, we live in a fallen world, and humans use a fallen means of communication: spoken and written language. I believe in a transcendent, heavenly communication- I believe in telepathy, the Holy Ghost, and other metaphysical/spiritual forms of communication that cannot be subjected to current scientific or logical scrutiny.

    Communication will be so much cooler in the Celestial Kingdom. “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 Corinthians 13:12)

    Comment by telemoonfa — 2012, January 31 @ 6:32 am

  2. telemoonfa,

    Yes, lots of great examples! Earthly communication can too often cause misunderstanding and contention. One day it will be better. :)

    Best wishes,

    Comment by grego — 2012, February 2 @ 9:30 pm

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