D&C 86 Wheat & Tares
In this section the class examined the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13. In Matthew, the Lord gives the interpretation of much of this parable. The field is the world (Matt 13:38), the sower is the Savior (Matt 13:37), and the tares are the children of the wicked one (Matt 13:38).
Section 86 opens up the idea that the tares overran the church and led Christianity into apostasy in the first and second centuries. D&C 86:3 says that the apostles “fell asleep” and that the tares choked the wheat and drove the church into the wilderness. This section ends with the Lord telling us that He has waited until this day and age to send us into the world so that we can be “a savior unto my people Israel.” (D&C 86:11)
Once we have outlined the basic meaning of section 86, we moved into a practical understanding of what is being taught. There were essentially three ideas we examined. The first is the idea that sometimes tares just need some time to “wheaten up” as it were. We might look like tares right now, but with a little work and with some teaching and patience, the Lord can make us wheat. This truth will make us be a little more patient with one another as the phrase “Lord isn’t finished with me yet” reminds us that all of us are a work in progress.
A second idea we discussed is the thought that when a tare is surrounded by wheat, it is difficult to not become wheat in the process. The reverse is also true. Wheat surrounded by tares can get “choked out” (see verse 3)!
Tares also serve as a powerful reminder of our place in the Lord’s Kingdom. Sometimes the tares exist in the field to remind us where we once were. Perhaps they are there so that we may continue in our path of discipleship through service. The Lord clearly wants “both to grow together” (verse 7) until He says the time has come.
Some of the youth were able to identify situations in the scriptures where individuals “wheatened up”. Alma the Younger, the Apostle Paul, and Zeezrom all came to mind in many of our classes. The Lamanites often served as a reminder to the Nephites that God lives. One of their purposes was to “stir them (the Nephites) up in remembrance of me (the Lord)” (2 Nephi 5:25).
At the end of the section the Lord applies the parable. 86:8-11 Therefore (means I am going to apply the parable) you are lawful heirs according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God… hold true! Stay strong – you are awesome ones – I have hid you for this day and age!
I used the following story to illustrate the idea that sometimes out of tare-like situations come tremendous wheatie people.
Wheat & Tares
There were many heroes in World War II. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to an aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific.
One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet. As he was returning to the carrier, he saw something that turned his blood cold. A squadron of Japanese bombers were speeding their way toward the American fleet. The American fighters were gone on a sortie and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn’t reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert Japanese planes from the fleet.
Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber’s blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch weaved in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until finally all his ammunition was spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to at least clip off a wing or tail, in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly. He was desperate to do anything he could to keep them from reaching the American ships. Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O’Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. Upon arrival he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch’s daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had destroyed five enemy bombers. That was on February 20, 1942, and for that action he became the Navy’s first Ace of WWII and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. A year later he was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His home town would not allow the memory of that heroic action to die. And today, O’Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man. So the next time you’re in O’Hare visit his memorial with his statue and Medal of Honor. It is located between terminal 1 and 2.
Some years earlier there was a man in Chicago called Easy Eddie. At that time, Al Capone virtually owned the city. Capone wasn’t famous for anything heroic. His exploits were anything but praiseworthy. He was, however, notorious for enmeshing the city of Chicago in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder. Easy Eddie was Capone’s lawyer and for a good reason. He was very good! In fact, his skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time. To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big; Eddie got special dividends. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago city block. Yes, Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him. Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had the best of everything; clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object. And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Yes, Eddie tried to teach his son to rise above his own sordid life. He wanted him to be a better man than he was. Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things that Eddie couldn’t give his son. Two things that Eddie sacrificed to the Capone mob that he could not pass on to his beloved son: a good name and a good example.
One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Offering his son a good name was far more important than all the riches he could lavish on him. He had to rectify all the wrong that he had done. He would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al Capone. He would try to clean up his tarnished name and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this he must testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. But more than anything, he wanted to be an example to his son. He wanted to do his best to make restoration and hopefully have a good name to leave his son. So, he testified. Within the year, Easy Eddie’s life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago street. He had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer at the greatest price he would ever pay.
I know what you’re thinking.
What do these two stories have to do with one another?
Well, you see, Butch O’Hare was Easy Eddie’s son.