‘Come, Follow Me’ for Oct. 2-8: What have Church leaders and scholars said about Ephesians?

This week’s study guide includes the apostle Paul’s writings on ‘corrupt communication’ and gathering in Christ.

This week’s “Come, Follow Me” study guide covers Ephesians, which includes the apostle Paul’s writings on “corrupt communication” and gathering in Christ.

Church News recently dug through archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn what leaders and scholars have said about these chapters.

Ephesians 1

“The prophetic mantle is all about revelation. ‘The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World,’ given in the April 2020 general conference, emphasizes that the Lord is directing this work. In this proclamation, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles state: ‘We gladly declare that the promised Restoration goes forward through continuing revelation. The earth will never again be the same, as God will “gather together in one all things in Christ” (Ephesians 1:10).’

“‘All things in Christ’ (Ephesians 1:10) and ‘the things of my soul’ (2 Nephi 4:15) are what this Church, this gospel and this people are all about.”

Elder Ronald A. Rasband, October 2021 general conference, “The Things of My Soul”

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is uniquely empowered and commissioned to accomplish the necessary preparations for the Lord’s Second Coming; indeed, it was restored for that purpose. Can you find anywhere else a people who embrace the present era as the prophesied ‘dispensation of the fulness of times,’ in which God has purposed to ‘gather together in one all things in Christ’ (Ephesians 1:10)? If you don’t find here a community intent on accomplishing what needs to be accomplished for both the living and the dead to prepare for that day, if you don’t find here an organization willing to commit vast amounts of time and funds to the gathering and preparation of a covenant people ready to receive the Lord, you won’t find it anywhere.”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, April 2019 general conference, “Preparing for the Lord’s Return”

“There are now many people who have accepted baptism in the spirit world because of the work done by the youth, and they are waiting for other ordinances that only adults can perform in temples in this world. The work of gathering Heavenly Father’s family is not just for young people, and it is not just for grandparents. It is for everyone. We are all gatherers.

“This is the work of our generation, what the apostle Paul called ‘the dispensation of the fulness of times,’ when he said God would ‘gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him’ (Ephesians 1:10). This is made possible through the atoning work of God’s Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Because of Him, our family members, ‘who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us’ (Ephesians 2:13–14). You have felt this, as I have, when you have experienced an increase of love as you looked at the picture of an ancestor. You have felt it in the temple when the name on a card seemed like more than a name, and you couldn’t help but sense that this person was aware of you and felt your love.”

President Henry B. Eyring, April 2017 general conference, “Gathering the Family of God”

Replicas of Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen’s Christus and 12 apostle statues are on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Rome, Italy, on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Ephesians 2

“Many years ago I spoke in an ancient theater in Ephesus. Bright sunlight flooded the ground where the apostle Paul had stood to preach. My topic was Paul, the apostle called of God.

“The audience was hundreds of Latter-day Saints. They were arranged on the rows of stone benches the Ephesians had sat upon more than a millennium before. …

“Later Elder [James E.] Faust took me aside and … said that I could have told the people that if the Saints who heard Paul had possessed a testimony of the value and the power of the keys he held, perhaps the Apostles would not have had to be taken from the earth.

“That sent me back to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. I could see that Paul wanted the people to feel the value of the chain of priesthood keys reaching from the Lord through His Apostles to them, the members of the Lord’s Church. Paul was trying to build a testimony of those keys.

“Paul testified to the Ephesians that Christ was at the head of His Church. And he taught that the Savior built His Church on a foundation of apostles and prophets, who hold all the keys of the priesthood on earth at this time (see Ephesians 2:19–20).

“Despite the clarity and the power of his teaching and his example, Paul knew that an apostasy would come (see Acts 20:29–30; 2 Thessalonians 2:2–3). He knew that apostles and prophets would be taken from the earth. And he knew that they would, in some great, future day, be restored. ...

“Paul looked forward to the ministry of the Prophet Joseph Smith, when the heavens would be opened again. It happened. John the Baptist came and conferred on mortals the Priesthood of Aaron and the keys of the ministering of angels and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins (see Doctrine and Covenants 13). …

“But just as in the time of Paul, the power of those priesthood keys for us requires our faith. We have to know by inspiration that the priesthood keys are held by those who lead and serve us. That requires the witness of the Spirit.

“And that depends upon our testimony that Jesus is the Christ and that He lives and leads His Church. We must also know for ourselves that the Lord restored His Church and the priesthood keys through the Prophet Joseph Smith. And we must have an assurance through the Holy Ghost, refreshed often, that those keys have been passed without interruption to the living prophet and that the Lord blesses and directs His people through the line of priesthood keys which reaches down through presidents of stakes and of districts and through bishops and branch presidents to us, wherever we are and no matter how far from the prophet and the apostles. …

“If enough of us exercise that faith and receive those assurances, God will lift up those who lead us and so bless our lives and our families. We will become what Paul so wanted for those he served: ‘built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone’ (Ephesians 2:20).”

President Henry B. Eyring in the June 2017 Liahona article, “The Restoration of Priesthood Keys”

A smooth cornerstone in a stone wall.
A cornerstone in a stone wall. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“Jesus Christ is the rock upon which we must build our foundation. …

“Paul spoke of apostles and prophets as the foundation of the Church, with ‘Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone’ (Ephesians 2:20).

“This is not new doctrine. In one form or another, all of us understand it. Why, then, is it so difficult for many of us to live it?

“Well, simply stated, it needs to get from our minds to our hearts and to our souls. It needs to be more than what we sometimes think or even what we sometimes feel — it must become who we are. Our connection with God the Father and His eternal plan, and with Jesus Christ, His Son and our Rock, needs to be so firmly established that it truly becomes the cornerstone of our foundation. Our identity then becomes first that of an eternal being — a son or a daughter of God — and of a grateful receiver of the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

“We can then securely build other righteous identities upon that foundation because we will know which are eternal and which are temporary and how to prioritize them. We will even choose to discard other identities and their accompanying practices — some highly valued by the world.”

— Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, now General Authority emeritus, in the April 2016 Ensign article, “Jesus Christ: Our Firm Foundation”

A panorama view of the of amphitheater, or coliseum, ruins in ancient city Ephesus, Turkey.
A panorama view of the of amphitheater, or coliseum, ruins in ancient city Ephesus, Turkey. | Sergii Figurnyi -

Ephesians 3

“When I was newly called as an Area Seventy, I participated in a radio interview in Puerto Rico with different ecclesiastical leaders of various religions. Among them was a leader who held a doctoral degree in theology. He asked me why Mormons, referring to members of the Church, believe that in heaven we will be married. He indicated that our belief of eternal families was incorrect since the Holy Bible, in the book of Matthew 22:30 indicated that, ‘For in the resurrection, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.’

“I answered clearly, simply and with love. I explained that at that moment Jesus Christ was answering people who did not even believe in the Resurrection, let alone all the saving truths as indicated in the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon, another witness of Jesus Christ. Those who live according to the way of the world, if they do not repent and come to the truth, will not be worthy of obtaining the fullness of the reward in the hereafter. I explained that in the same Holy Bible, the Lord through the Apostle Paul teaches us in Ephesians 3:14-15, that there are families in heaven and on earth, ‘For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

“‘Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.’

“No doubt there are families in heaven.”

— Elder Tomas G. Roman in the August 2023 Liahona article, “The Eternal Family and the Plan of Happiness”

Ephesians 4

“Paul warned, ‘Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but [only] that which is good [and] edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers’ (Ephesians 4:29). His words resonate with a certain purity.

“What does the phrase ‘no corrupt communication’ mean to you? We all regularly experience highly charged feelings of anger — our own and others’. We have seen unchecked anger erupt in public places. We have experienced it as a sort of emotional ‘electrical short’ at sporting events, in the political arena and even in our own homes. ...

“There exists today a great need for men and women to cultivate respect for each other across wide distances of belief and behavior and across deep canyons of conflicting agendas. It is impossible to know all that informs our minds and hearts or even to fully understand the context for the trials and choices we each face.

“Nevertheless, what would happen to the ‘corrupt communication’ Paul spoke about if our own position included empathy for another’s experience first? Fully owning the limits of my own imperfections and rough edges, I plead with you to practice asking this question, with tender regard for another’s experience: ‘What are you thinking?’”

— Elder W. Craig Zwick, now General Authority emeritus, April 2014 general conference, “What Are You Thinking?”

“Paul taught the Saints in Ephesus that the Savior established His Church ‘for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

“‘Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ’ (Ephesians 4:12–13).

“Please note the use of the active word perfecting. … the Church is a learning laboratory and a workshop in which we gain experience as we practice on each other in the ongoing process of ‘perfecting the Saints.’”

Elder David A. Bednar, October 2006 general conference, “And Nothing Shall Offend Them”

Primary children in Madagascar during sharing time.
Primary children in Madagascar during sharing time. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“The Greek word eirene (peace) in the New Testament contains the meaning unity or harmony, and it is used to translate the whole semantic range of Hebrew shalom. That which is not peace lacks unity or concord. This sense is apparent, for example, in Ephesians 4:3 in which the saints are urged to ‘keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace’ (italics added) and in 1 Corinthians 14:33: ‘For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.’

“I believe that Paul, who uses the word ‘peace’ more than twice as often as it is used in the four Gospels and Acts together, had a profound perception of Christ’s peace. The apostle sees the atonement as the great peace offering, as the real fruition of the Old Testament covenant of peace.”

— George S. Tate, associate professor of comparative literature at Brigham Young University, in the April 1978 Ensign article, “The Peace of Christ”

Ephesians 5

“Misunderstandings and differences of opinion are normal in marriage; they are not a sign that a marriage is in trouble. The real issue is how a husband and wife respond to the natural stress and strain. Our attitude about what happens is far more important than what happens. The key element in those attitudes is commitment — a commitment to wait, to listen, to live with imperfection, to ‘nourish and cherish’ as Paul wrote in his beautiful passage on marriage in Ephesians 5:28-29. This is a commitment never to leave, literally or figuratively, temporarily or permanently.”

— Elder Bruce C. Hafen, now General Authority emeritus, in the December 1978 Ensign article, “Individual Liberty, Commitment, and Marriage”

A family studies the “Come, Follow Me” curriculum at home.
“Come, Follow Me” for Oct. 2-8 includes the apostle Paul’s writings on “corrupt communication” and gathering in Christ. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Ephesians 6

“Spiritual warnings should lead to increasingly vigilant watching. You and I live in ‘a day of warning’ (Doctrine and Covenants 63:58). And because we have been and will be warned, we need to be, as the Apostle Paul admonished, ‘watching … with all perseverance’ (Ephesians 6:18). …

“I bear witness that parents who consistently read and talk about the Book of Mormon with their children, who share testimony spontaneously with their children, and who invite children as gospel learners to act and not merely be acted upon will be blessed with eyes that can see afar off (see Moses 6:27) and with ears that can hear the sound of the trumpet (see Ezekiel 33:2–16). The spiritual discernment and inspiration you will receive from the combination of these three holy habits will enable you to stand as watchmen on the tower for your families — ‘watching … with all perseverance’ (Ephesians 6:18) — to the blessing of your immediate family and your future posterity.”

Elder David A. Bednar, April 2010 general conference, “Watching with All Perseverance”

Evelyn Wagner, Ann Peterson and Jeff Rogers sing during the Saturday morning session of October 2023 general conference.
Evelyn Wagner, Ann Peterson and Jeff Rogers sing during the 193rd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

“To nurture is to teach, to foster development, to promote growth, to feed and to nourish. Who would not shout for joy at being given such a blessed role?

“The scriptures use the word ‘nurture’ only twice and in both cases speak of the responsibility of parents to raise their children ‘in the nurture and admonition of the Lord’ (Ephesians 6:4; Enos 1:1).”

— Sister Susan W. Tanner, April 2008 general conference, “My Soul Delighteth in the Things of the Lord”

“The responsibility mothers have today has never required more vigilance. More than at any time in the history of the world, we need mothers who know. Children are being born into a world where they ‘wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places’ (Ephesians 6:12). However, mothers need not fear. When mothers know who they are and who God is and have made covenants with Him, they will have great power and influence for good on their children.”

— Sister Julie B. Beck, October 2007 general conference, “Mothers Who Know”

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