“A Chosen Generation”
Live in faith and holiness as a chosen generation.
Follow the Savior's example in enduring trials and persecution.
Partake of the divine nature and strive to make your calling and election
Resist false teachers and those who deny the Second Calling.
A study of this lesson will help live in holiness and be a chosen generation.
Scripture references for study:
and 2 Peter;
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 43 Handout (PDF)
Written by Peter, the chief apostle, probably at Rome, prior to 62 or 63 A.D.
Rome generally showed tolerance toward all religion as long as it posed
no threat to the empire.
Christianity was also shown tolerance until the message began to penetrate
many parts of the empire, a message that proclaimed a risen Christ,
a coming judgment, and an eventual return of Christ to establish his universal
kingdom on earth.
The change from tolerance to hostility toward the church provoked apprehension
among the saints throughout Asia. What should be their attitude toward
the state? How ought they to regard this unjust persecution?
Theme of Peter's first letter.
How the saints ought to react to suffering and persecution. It constituted
a warning and a preparation for ominous days ahead.
In this epistle Peter exhorted the Saints to make their calling and election
sure. He also testified of the divine origin of scripture.
Joseph Smith said that "Peter penned the most
sublime language of any of the apostles." (TPJS, p301)
- Jude was the brother of Jesus and James.
- "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother
of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in
Jesus Christ" (Jude 1:1).
- Eusebius wrote, "Of the family of the Lord
there were still living the grandchildren of Jude, who is said to have been
the Lord's brother according to the flesh" (Ecclesiastical
History, Chapter 20). Eusebius Pamphili was the Bishop of Cæsarea in
Palestine, living from about 260 A.D. to about 341 A.D. His major work
was his History of the Church, a massive piece of research that preserves
quotations from many older writers that would otherwise have been lost.
- We have no indication of Jude's office or calling.
- "The epistle is addressed to certain people in
danger, owing to the presence among them of professing Christians who were
giving themselves up to the immorality of pagan worship and claiming to be
above the moral law. Jude wishes to rouse his 'beloved' to a sense of
their danger, and also to help them through it by bidding them keep close to
the 'faith once committed to the saints'." (Bible Dictionary)
"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to
the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and
Bithynia, Elect according to the
foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit,
unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto
you, and peace, be multiplied." (1 Peter 1:1-2)
In this epistle, Peter is addressing himself to the church in many lands.
WHAT DOES PETER MEAN BY THE "ELECT ACCORDING TO THE FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD"?
Bruce R. McConkie: "This election to a chosen
lineage is based on pre-existent worthiness and is thus made 'according
to the foreknowledge of God.' (1 Pet. 1:2.) Those so grouped
together during their mortal probation have more abundant opportunities
to make and keep the covenants of salvation, a right which they earned
by pre-existent devotion to the cause of righteousness. As part of
this election, Abraham and others of the noble and great spirits were chosen
before they were born for the particular missions assigned them in this
life. (Abra. 3:22-24; Rom. 9.)" (Mormon Doctrine, p216)
- WHAT DOES THIS KNOWLEDGE MEAN TO YOU? HOW DOES IT IMPACT YOUR LIFE?
We are blessed in knowing of our faithfulness in the pre-existent realm,
but all of those eons of living valiantly will be for naught if we do not
follow up on these "abundant opportunities to make and keep the covenants
"Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now
for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your
faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it
be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at
the appearing of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 1:6-7)
Moroni taught that "ye receive no witness until
after the trial of your faith" (Ether 12:6).
Peter recognizes the difficulties and challenges the Saints are
beginning to suffer throughout the empire.
Faith that has been refined through trial, even fire, is more precious
- HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS "TRIAL BY FAITH" OR "REFINER'S FIRE"? IS THIS
SOMETHING WE ALL MUST GO THROUGH?
James E. Faust: "In the pain, the agony, and the
heroic endeavors of life, we pass through the refiner's fire, and the insignificant
and the unimportant in our lives can melt away like dross and make our
faith bright, intact, and strong.... This change comes about through
a refining process which often seems cruel and hard. In this way the soul
can become like soft clay in the hands of the Master." (Ensign,
May 1979, p53)
1 PETER 1:22-23. Purification of the soul.
WHAT DID PETER TEACH ABOUT HOW WE CAN PURIFY OUR HEARTS AND SOULS?
Obedience to the Spirit, which leads to "unfeigned" love for others.
As we seek to obey the Lord, as guided by the Spirit,
our hearts become purified in the process.
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal
priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth
the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous
light." (1 Peter 2:9)
Each of these terms or titles was formerly used to refer to the covenant
people, the house of Israel.
Peter is telling the early Saints, and it certainly applies to us today, that
by accepting the gospel they are the new Israel.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO BE A PECULIAR PEOPLE?
- During the 1964-65 television season, NBC aired a remarkable series,
Profiles in Courage, based on the book by John F. Kennedy. Among the
stories told in one of the one-hour episodes was that of Alexander Doniphan's
courage in refusing to obey an order to execute Joseph Smith and other Mormon
leaders. I recall seeing this episode and how the Mormon's were portrayed,
very conservative in their dress, possibly like the Amish or Quakers. Is
this what peculiar means, to stand out of the crowd as strange or odd?
Neal A. Maxwell: "Peculiar, of course, in
the Greek rendition should denote not eccentricity but 'purchased, preserved,
treasured, rare.' 'Purchased' denotes being 'bought' and freed by Jesus'
atonement." (Sermons Not Spoken, p96)
Joseph Fielding Smith: "And we will be peculiar
because we will not be like other people who do not live up to these standards."
(CR, Apr 1971)
Harold B. Lee: "In your business life, in
your social contacts, and in your public service, remember always to say
to yourself as did the young British officer who was asked why he had shunned
a drinking, riotous party at his officer's club. 'Because, he replied,
"I am a member of the Royal Household of England.'
"You who belong to
God's holy priesthood must say to yourselves, 'Neither can I stoop to engage
in the wickedness of the world, because I (as the apostle Peter declared)
am of the chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, and of
a peculiar people.' (See 1 Peter 2:9.) Or to paraphrase the British officer's
reply, 'I cannot because I am a member of the Royal Household of God'."
(Stand Ye In Holy Places, p256)
Neal A. Maxwell: "Furthermore, where 'much
is given much is required' (D&C 82:3). Note that the word is not expected
but required. For any people favored of God (see 2 Nephi 1:19), it is obligatory
for them to favor God's way of life and to keep His stern but sweet commandments.
Thus they can then be a much-needed 'light unto the Gentiles' (D&C
86:11). Ways in which they are to be peculiar will include their purity
(see D&C 100:16), as this quality, too, comprises a standard for other
people (see D&C 115:5)." (Sermons Not Spoken, pp96-97)
As the world increases in wickedness, we become
even more peculiar as compared to the rest of the world. And, as Elder
Maxwell states above, we become a much needed light to the world.
In a sense, as members of this "chosen generation"
and "peculiar people" we might be compared to a flashlight. We use
flashlights as guides in times of darkness. In this modern world,
we are flooded with light
at night because of electricity. There are times when we
lose power or go camping and a flashlight becomes indispensable. In the brightness of day or when the lights are on, the light from a flashlight
doesn't make much impact. As night falls and power fails, the flashlight
seems to grow brighter. As members of the Lord's kingdom, we are
as flashlights in a world growing increasingly dark. The light that
we shine, as we live righteously, is essential to guide those who would
seek to do right.
1 PETER 2:13-14. Submit yourselves to the ordinance
WHAT COUNSEL DID PETER GIVE ABOUT THE LAWS OF THE LAND?
We are to submit to and obey those laws laid down by government..
"Let no man break the laws of
the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the
laws of the land. Wherefore, be subject
to the powers that be, until he reigns whose right it is to reign, and
subdues all enemies under his feet." (D&C 58:21-22)
Bruce R. McConkie: "While man dwells in this temporal
sphere, and as an essential part of working out his salvation, he must
obey the laws of the land in which he lives. The perfect system of government
is a theocracy in which God governs in both civil and ecclesiastical fields. Such was the case among the saints from Adam to Noah.
"But with the rise of other
governments, and the birth of religious climates in which church members
were a minority portion of the population of the earth, sharp divisions
between the operation of church and state came into being. Abraham, Jacob,
Joseph, and Moses were all subject to the Pharaohs while in Egypt. The
children of Israel were subject to a partially theocratic governmental
arrangement during much of their history.
"But in Peter's day, and
in ours, the saints are subject to two wholly separate and independent
systems of direction -- the Church which directs in ecclesiastical matters
and the state which governs in civil affairs. And experience gained through
conformity to both systems of government is essential to the perfecting
of the human soul. Hence Peter's categorical statement that it is the will
of the Lord for his saints to submit to civil governments, for the Lord
truly renders 'unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's.' (D. & C.
63:26.)" (DNTC 3:297-298)
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS PRINCIPLE?
WHAT IF EVIL OR PERNICIOUS LAWS ARE ENACTED? WHAT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY?
Several years ago I was interviewed by a particular agency of the
U.S. government for a position (not my current employer). The interviewer
noted on my resume that I had served a mission for the Church. He then asked me that if a situation came up where I had to choose between
obeying the words of President Kimball (president of the Church at that
time) or the will of the government, which would I choose? As I considered
the question, the interviewer interrupted and said that I did not have
to answer the question. Clearly, he was looking for some kind of
reaction to a provocation.
It is a good question for each of us. In those
few seconds before the interviewer withdrew the question, I thought that
I would recite the 12th Article of Faith, "We believe in being subject
to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and
sustaining the law." If this lesson had been fresh in my mind,
I might also have cited Peter's counsel and the words from D&C 58.
Bruce R. McConkie: "In such cases, when God so
reveals and commands, his people are expected to reject the civil law and
follow the course announced from on high. Otherwise his saints are expected
to conform to the civil law, and they are never justified in opposing it
unless such a course is marked out for them by revelation."
- A QUESTION TO PONDER: IS THERE EVER JUSTIFICATION FOR FAILING TO OBEY THE
LAW OF THE LAND?
1 PETER 3:8-16. How we respond to evil.
HOW DID PETER SUGGEST WE RESPOND TO GRIEF OR SUFFERING THAT COMES WRONGFULLY?
Do not render evil for evil (9). No revenge.
Do not speak evil (10).
Turn away from evil, do good, and seek peace (11).
If we suffer for righteousness sake, we should be happy, not afraid, or
Sanctify the Lord in our hearts (15).
Be ready always to give an answer about our hope in the gospel (15).
HOW HAVE YOU BEEN BLESSED WHEN YOU RESPONDED THIS WAY?
HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STRENGTHENED BY THE EXAMPLES OF JESUS AND OTHERS WHO HAVE
In our time, the life of Joseph Smith serves as an incredible example of
Peter's counsel. Recall the incident when Joseph and Sidney Rigdon
were tarred and feathered. Did he seek revenge? Did he speak
evil of the perpetrators? No. He turned away from that and
continued to do good and build up the kingdom of God. The following
day, said the Prophet, "With my flesh all scarified
and defaced, I preached to the congregation as usual, and in the afternoon
of the same day baptized three individuals." (History of the Church, 1:264)
J. Golden Kimball, one of the presidents of the Seventy, related
an incident that occurred with two missionaries in the South: "An
incident happened in the Southern States mission, which I will relate. It transpired in the days of President John Morgan, and occurred at a time
when the State of Tennessee passed a law that any man who advocated or
preached polygamy was to be arrested and punished. Enemies to the Elders
entrapped the brethren into a discussion on this most unpopular subject,
and the Elders defended the principle from a Biblical standpoint. A complaint
was filed, and the Elders were arrested. They were short of room inside
the jail, so the brethren, two in number, were confined in two steel cages
on the outside, near to each other. The imprisoned servants of the Lord
were not orators or singers. The people far and near, hearing of Mormon
Elders being under arrest, gathered to see these peculiar individuals. The brethren sang hymns and testified of the truth of the Gospel, etc. It is claimed they had congregations of 300, and I have been told that
the people had never heard such wonderful preaching and singing. The Elders
almost regretted receiving their freedom. So I am almost inclined to advocate
putting our Elders in jail once in a while, when they are unable to get
a hearing in any other way." (CR, Apr 1906)
Though this incident is humorous, it is a wonderful
example of how true Saints act in the face of evil. Rather than cower
in the face of their persecutors, these Elders exemplified Peter's teaching. They did not return evil for evil, nor did they speak evil. They
suffered for righteousness sake. They seemed to not be troubled or
afraid. And certainly they were ready to give an answer about their
hope in the gospel.
"Wives, be in subjection to your own husbands."
(1 Peter 3:1)
- WHAT DO YOU THINK
WHAT MUST HUSBANDS DO TO BE WORTHY OF SUCH TRUST?
"Husbands, love your wives, even
as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." (Ephesians
This is the key and the challenge. Christ was a type for kind
of husbands we should be. His life teaches men how to be good husbands. We could probably pick out any story or teaching from
his life and learn
something from it about being a better husband.
"Nevertheless let every one of
you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that
she reverence her husband." (Ephesians 5:33)
Joseph Smith: "It is the duty of a husband to love,
cherish, and nourish his wife, and cleave unto her and none else. He ought to
honor her as himself, and he ought to regard her feelings with tenderness, for
she is his flesh and his bone, designed to be an help unto him, both in temporal
and spiritual things, one into whose bosom he can pour all his complaints
without reserve, who is willing (being designed) to take part of his burden, to
soothe and encourage his feelings by her gentle voice.
"It is the place of the man to stand at the head of
his family and be lord of his own house, not to rule over his wife as a tyrant,
neither as one who is fearful or jealous that his wife will get out of her place
and prevent him from exercising his authority. It is his duty to be a man of
God—for a man of God is a man of wisdom—ready at all times to obtain from the
scriptures, the revelations, and from on high, such instructions as are
necessary for the edification and salvation of his household."
(Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible, p200)
1 PETER 5:2-7. Humble yourselves.
WHAT DID PETER TEACH ABOUT BEING HUMBLE?
We are to serve and feed the Lord's flock.
Be clothed with humility.
God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO BE HUMBLE?
If we are humble and submissive to God, he will "exalt" us "in due time."
Ezra Taft Benson: "Humility is an acknowledged
recognition of our dependence on a higher power." (Teachings
of Ezra Taft Benson, p369)
How can we have faith in God if we are not sufficiently humble?
How can we learn to be like God, if we are not willing to be submissive to him?
President Benson: "Pride is characterized by 'What
do I want out of life?' rather than by 'what would God have me do with
my life?' It is self-will as opposed to God's will. It is the
fear of man over the fear of God." (Ibid., p435)
"And above all things have fervent charity
among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins."
The Joseph Smith Translation reads,: "And above all things have fervent charity
among yourselves; for charity preventeth a multitude of sins."
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THESE TWO TRANSLATIONS?
HOW HAVE YOU FOUND THIS PRINCIPLE TO BE TRUE?
"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence
to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall
never fall". (2 Peter 1:10)
PETER EXHORTED THE SAINTS TO MAKE THEIR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION MADE SURE?
"Wherefore, I now send upon you
another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your
hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same
that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John. This Comforter is the
promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial
kingdom." (D&C 88:3-4)
"The more sure word of prophecy
means a man's knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation
and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood."
IS IT REASONABLE FOR US TO STRIVE FOR SUCH IN THING IN THIS LIFE?
Joseph Smith: "After a person has faith in Christ,
repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and
receives the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands), which is the first
Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering
and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and
the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shall be exalted. When
the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined
to serve him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and election
made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter."
The Lord said, "And this is life
eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ,
whom thou hast sent." (see John 17:3)
2 PETER 1:4-8. Becoming partakers of the divine
HOW DOES DEVELOPING THE QUALITIES LISTED IN THESE VERSES HELP US
TO COME TO KNOW THE LORD JESUS CHRIST?
These are qualities exemplified by Jesus Christ. As we learn to perfect
ourselves in these areas, we come to know of the Lord, what he is like,
and we are blessed with his spirit.
Spencer W. Kimball: "When we move away from
the Lord there seems to grow upon us a film of worldliness, which insulates
us from his influence. But when we scrape that film away and humble ourselves
with naked soul and sincere supplication and cleansed life, our prayers
are answered. We can, as Peter said: '...be partakers of the divine nature,
having escaped the corruption that is in the world'." (Faith Precedes the Miracle, p209)
"For the prophecy came not
in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were
moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Peter 1:21)
WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF SCRIPTURE?
Men of God as moved upon by the Holy Ghost.
"And whatsoever they shall speak
when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will
of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord,
shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation."
KNOWING THIS, HOW SHOULD WE TREAT THE SCRIPTURES?
Do we cherish them as living waters and spiritual food? Or do we
treat them as dry old reading?
In his second epistle, Peter taught the characteristics of false
"But there were false prophets also among
the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily
shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them,
and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth
shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness
shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now
of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." (2
Peter teaches that there will be false prophets and teachers among the
WHAT KINDS OF "DAMNABLE HERESIES" MIGHT WE FIND BE TAUGHT WITHIN THE CHURCH?
The precepts of men.
That which denies the Lord.
That which denies the divine calling of the Lord's anointed.
"But chiefly them that walk after
the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous
are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing
accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural
brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things
that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; And shall receive the
reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the
day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with
their own deceivings while they feast with you;
Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable
souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children". (2 Peter
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHARACTERISTICS OF FALSE TEACHERS?
Walk after the flesh of lust (10).
Having eyes full of adultery (14).
Despise government (10).
WHAT DO YOU SUPPOSE THIS MEANS?
They hate that which creates restrictions.
Self-willed (10). In contrast to humility which we discussed earlier.
Not afraid to speak evil of dignities (10).
Speak evil of things that they understand not (12).
Make light that which is sacred.
Pleasure to riot in the daytime (13).
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Riot - taken from the Greek word "truphay" which means to "live delicately,
live luxuriously, be given to a soft and luxurious life."
As natural brute beasts (12). They are "natural men".
They cannot cease from sin (14).
Beguile unstable souls (14).
An heart they have exercised with covetous practices (14).
"For when they speak great swelling
words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much
wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption:
for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage." (2 Peter
Rather living in liberty (which was their goal), they have become servants
of corruption and live in bondage.
HOW CAN WE PROTECT OURSELVES FROM THESE FALSE TEACHERS (SOMETIMES WOLVES
DRESSED IN LAMBS CLOTHING)?
MORONI 7:12-17. All things good come from God.
"But my disciples shall stand in
holy places, and shall not be moved." (D&C 45:32)
D&C 46:7-8: Seek earnestly he best
2 PETER 2:20-22.
WHAT IS PETER TALKING ABOUT HERE?
Spencer W. Kimball: "It is important for all men
that they do not even approach the tragic point of the unpardonable sin. Numerous people have lost the Spirit through immorality and through rebellion
brought about by the sophistry and philosophy of men, and sometimes through
fancied offenses. Bitterness has a way of poisoning the mind and
killing the spirit. One should take no chances of permitting such
situations to become sore and gangrenous, for who can tell when one might
slip across the line? To do so rather than enduring to the end is perhaps
to be in the category Peter described". (Miracle of Forgiveness,
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Record your thoughts on the teachings of Peter to the early
saints. What principles can you apply to your life? How?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Conference Reports (CR).
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary by Bruce R. McConkie (DNTC).
Ecclesiastical History by Eusebius of Caesarea.
Faith Precedes the Miracle by Spencer W. Kimball.
History of the Church by Joseph Smith.
Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible compiled and edited by Kent P. Jackson.
Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball.
Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie.
New Testament Apostles Testify of Christ by D. Kelly Ogden and Andrew C.
Sermons Not Spoken by Neal A. Maxwell.
Stand Ye In Holy Places by Harold B. Lee.
Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (TPJS).
The Catholic Encyclopedia -
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
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