Paul opens his letter in 1 Corinthians with a call for Christians to be united. “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren… that there be no divisions among you… for it hath been declared… that there are contentions among you… Is Christ divided?” (1 Corinthians 1:9-13)
Every teenager can think of a circumstance where something great happened because people were united in a common cause. We can also think of a time when, due to selfishness, neglect, or lack of focus, a group was damaged or unsuccessful due to lack of unity. I like to encourage all of the students in our class to all be together on the same page when we read the scriptures. I believe we tap into the divine when we do this. The Lord has said, “where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold, there will I be in the midst of them – even so am I in the midst of you.” (D&C 6:32)
Paul explains that the wisdom of the world is not match for the Spirit. The Greeks “seek after wisdom,” Paul writes, “but we preach Christ crucified”… in other words, the things of God will always be foolishness to the world and the worldly. Only by humbly seeking the will of the Lord will anyone come to a knowledge of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We certainly cannot get there by arguing our way to the truth (see D&C 50:13-20).
Paul mentions that the Lord has chosen the “base things of the world, and things which are despised” to bring about his truth. In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord said, “Wherefore, I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thrash the nations by the power of my Spirit” (D&C 35:13). When I think of the work the Lord has called us to do, to share his gospel throughout all nations, it amazes me how he accomplishes this work. Part of this work requires a great deal of sacrifice from our young people. To think that young men and women give of their time, money, and talent to build his kingdom is remarkable. That they are successful indicates the workings of the Spirit of God. Paul truly understood that the Lord’s word would be spread by those whom the world would deem inadequate, yet whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies.
Some great quotes on becoming united
I suppose each one of us is fond of having his own way. I know I am…. But I do not like my own way well enough to want it in opposition to my brethren’s way. That is our duty as the First Presidency of the Church. It is the duty of every presidency throughout the Church….
Suppose that one man has more wisdom than another; it is better to carry out a plan that is not so wise, if you are united on it. Speaking generally, a plan or policy that may be inferior in some respects is more effective if men are united upon it than a better plan would be upon which they were divided. 1
The greatest temporal and spiritual blessings which always come from faithfulness and concentrated effort, never attended individual exertion or enterprise. 2
In thus emphasizing individual effort, I am not unmindful of the necessity of cooperation. A single, struggling individual may be stalled with his heavy load even as he begins to climb the hill before him. To reach the top unaided is an impossibility. With a little help from fellow travelers he makes the grade and goes on his way in gratitude and rejoicing. 3
In these perilous times we need the cooperative effort of men and women officers in the Church because absolute vigilance is required on the part of all who have been entrusted to help watch over the kingdom. We each have large individual responsibilities, but just as important is the responsibility we share with others to come together in council in a united effort to solve problems and bless all of our Church members. When we act in a united effort, we create spiritual synergism, which is increased effectiveness or achievement as a result of combined action or cooperation, the result of which is greater than the sum of the individual parts. 4
1. George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth, sel. Jerreld L. Newquist, 2 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1957], 1:207.
2. Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 183.
3. Marvin J. Ashton, in Conference Report, Apr. 1988, 74—75; or Ensign,
May 1988, 64.
4. M. Russell Ballard, in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 103; or Ensign. Nov. 1993, 77.