As I was sitting down to study this afternoon I realized why it is that I'm never on top of the Divinity articles: I'm reading other articles! I'm trying to get pregnant again, and as part of that process in a blessing I was told to study Charity. So whenever I'm reading articles about the gospel they have to do with either Charity or my Sunday School lesson. (I feel much better about myself, having figured out that I'm studying something else, not "slacking," LOL.)
So to choose my Charity articles, I go to scriptures.byu.edu, and look up Conference Talks (and things) that have quoted the verse that I'm currently mulling over. Right now that verse is 1 Cor. 13:4. And one of the talks they link to is a talk Brother Eyring gave in 1998 called, "That We May Be One." I was pretty surprised to find a talk about unity, in my study of Chrity. And further surprised that he started out by talking about marriage. The more I think about this the more sense it makes to me though. Charity. You need it to have unity. President Hinckley said, "Let your first interest be in your home." Of course Charity and unity have to start in the marriage that creates my home!
The more that I study Charity the more that I think that the gospel is like one of those big puzzels. The ones with a lot of pieces that it takes you a while to put together. We used to do that a lot when I worked at a home for troubled kids. We often kept a table in the hallway, strategicly located for supervising several locations at once, where the girls could come and sit and work and chat with us. We'd start with the edges, of course, the easy stuff. But then each person that would come and work on it would have something that would interest them the most. Sky pieces, or bright flowers, or what have you. Whenever someone worked the puzzle they'd always gravitate toward some particular type of piece. You couldn't get anywhere at all if you tried to do it all, all at once. There was just too much to take in. The pieces themselves, in a good puzzle, would be beautiful and fun to look at. And you'd study your piece, take in the exact shade of blue, the particular cut of the edges, and then study the rest of the pile you were working with, along with the related areas of the puzzle, to see if you could find a match. But once you placed a piece in the puzzle, even though it was, individually, beautiful, it ceased to be an individual. The individual pieces, as they became a unified whole, almost stopped being individually important. You didn't notice the exact shade anymore, much less the shape. Though they didn't entirely loose their individual importance: if one was missing it left a jarring hole.
The gospel is like that. We study tithing, the Word of Wisdom, the Resurrection, the Plan of Happiness, temple work. And individually, they are wonderful and good. Individually any one of those principles enriches our life. But once you start to put them together into the whole picture, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, those individual pieces become much more, and the lines that separate one piece from another become a lot less distinct. I study Charity, and realize that unity requires Charity; that Charity creates unity. That those things start, eminate from, the home and bless the ward, the city, the nation, the family of Adam.
I'm excited. When you put together a puzzle, there comes a point where the picture starts to take shape. Although not all the pieces are in place yet, you start to be able to connect this blob of pieces with that bunch, and to the frame around the edge. All the sudden pieces that didn't make sense before start to fall into place. The pace at which you find places for the pieces starts to pick up. I think that I'm starting to get to that place in my understanding of the Gospel. The picture that I see emerging is excitig and wonderful. Truly, I do "Stand All Amazed!"
Here are some of my favorite quotes from Elder Eyring's talk:
"The requirement that we be one is not for this life alone. It is to be without end. The first marriage was performed by God in the garden when Adam and Eve were immortal. He placed in men and women from the beginning a desire to be joined together as man and wife forever to dwell in families in a perfect, righteous union. He placed in His children a desire to live at peace with all those around them."
"Where people have [the Holy Ghost] with them, we may expect harmony. The Spirit puts the testimony of truth in our hearts, which unifies those who share that testimony. The Spirit of God never generates contention (see 3 Ne. 11:29). It never generates the feelings of distinctions between people which lead to strife (see Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 13th ed. , 131). It leads to personal peace and a feeling of union with others. It unifies souls. A unified family, a unified Church, and a world at peace depend on unified souls."
"There are some commandments which, when broken, destroy unity. Some have to do with what we say and some with how we react to what others say. We must speak no ill of anyone. We must see the good in each other and speak well of each other whenever we can (see David O. McKay, in Conference Report, Oct. 1967, 4–11)."