Except for a slight change in punctuation, the scripture in 1 Cor. 7:14 and the scripture recorded in D&C 74:1 are the same: For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now they are holy.
The verse in the Doctrine and Covenants came through revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith. The heading of Section 74 contains an explanation given by the Prophet: "Upon the reception of the foregoing word of the Lord
D&C 73T, I recommenced the translation of the Scriptures, and labored diligently until just before the conference, which was to convene on the 25th of January . During this period I also received the following, as an explanation of 1 Corinthians 7:14."In Sacred Truths of the Doctrine and Covenants, Leaun G. Otten and C. Max Caldwell, note that the problems the apostle Paul was addressing in his letter to the Corinthian saints and his counsel to them can be categorized into three topics:
- Part-Member Families
Brothers Otten and Caldwell explain that Paul was trying to convince the Corinthian saints that the converted member ought not to forsake the non-member spouse.
"In the Corinthian Church, some evidently held that when the husband, or wife, had been converted, he, or she, ought to abandon the unconverted partner as unclean and contaminating. Not at all! St. Paul says, in substance, that the conversion of one of the partners has brought a sanctifying influence into the family. . . .
Else,' the Apostle argues,were your children unclean.' If the wife - this is the argument - must abandon a husband because he is not a Church member, she would also be obliged to abandon her children. But this is not required."
- Marriage Within the Church
"Paul continued his counsel to the saints and specifically addressed the question of the importance of marrying within the church. The problems of religious conflicts that arise within the part-member families can be avoided when the decision is made to marry within the church." (See D&C 74:2-6; see also 2 Cor. 6:14.)
- Salvation of Children
Brothers Otten and Caldwell wrote: "A child is innocent because of the sanctifying power of the Savior's atonement until he begins to become accountable for his own actions. (See D&C 74:7.) The restoration of the gospel has provided abundant insight to the status of children. . . . (See D&C 29:46-47; D&C 68:27; D&C 93:38; Moroni 8:5; Mosiah 3:16.)
"We learn from this revelation that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not a divisive influence in the lives of members of families. Rather, the gospel is a unifying element and solidifies families both in mortality and in eternity."
Articles on this page may be used in conjunction with the Sunday School course of study on the New Testament, lesson No. 32.
Information compiled by Gerry Avant
Sources: Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness; Neal A. Maxwell, Meek and Lowly; and Leaun G. Otten and C. Max Caldwell, Sacred Truths of the Doctrine and Covenants.