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The Joseph Smith Translation of Mark 9:40-48 has our Lord describing the high price which sometimes must be paid for salvation. In extreme circumstances, it is better to lose limbs and even precious sight in order to spare a life. Could you please give me your interpretation of these scripture verses?



Dear Beverly,

The prophet’s inspired version illuminates the King James text by explaining the metaphor as various people that a person may look up to. If your brother in the faith, or your Disassociationexample, or even your overseer is leading you astray, it is better to disassociate with that person then to join him on the path to hell.

I have a friend who fought an addiction. As part of his recovery, he knew that he needed to change his surroundings. He made his home a place that it would no longer be a place of temptation. He made sure any jobs he worked in the future would equally be upstanding. With home and work in order, he then had to put a check on recreation. I gave him a call and got the following message, “I’m making some changes in my life and you may be one of them. Leave a message and we’ll see if I call you.” For the sake of his sobriety, he had to sacrifice his association with some loved ones. I find his courage inspiring.

This passage in Mark also belongs in a larger context of Church discipline. You can find examples of it practiced in The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and again in the New Testament. A case similar to those mentioned by Jesus was reported to Paul. Not only were some saints committing some horrendous sins, some of the saints found the vices praiseworthy! “Put away from yourselves that wicked person,” Paul commands, with a reminder “not to keep company” with such, for “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” “Purge out … the old leaven” he adds, and “deliver such an one unto Satan” with the hopes that such suffering will help the sinner reconcile to God (1 Cor. 5).


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