Topic Study: Diversity

(September 2003 TG Unity)

Overview

This entry deals with thoughts gathered in August and September 2003 about the importance of diversity, unity, and charity.

Summary

This entry explains Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians chapters 12 and 13.

I             Importance of Different Skills and Abilities

The Lord is the creator of this world.  In creating this world, he established the laws governing it.  As we look at the tremendous diversity in the world, it would seem the Lord values our differences.  If he wished us to all be the same, he could certainly have created us that way.  But I believe the great diversity in the world demonstrates that he values our differences.

As I have thought about this, I have pondered how this world would be poorer if there were no diversity.

I.A            If We All Were Like Me

For example, suppose for a moment everyone in the world was like me.  Now at times I think I am a pretty good guy, and there are times when I wish others would see things my way more.  I usually feel like that when I “know” I am right.  I would rather not admit how many times I later learned how wrong I was.

But putting aside that issue for a moment, how would the world be poorer if everyone were just like me?  I am pretty good with computer systems.  I can’t put them together, but I am pretty good at figuring out how to make the software do what I want it to do.  I rarely have to do a lot of formal training or use the help facilities very much.  I think if everyone was like me, there might be less formal computer training needs.

However, I am not naturally very detailed oriented.  For that reason and others, I think I would find it difficult to be an electrical engineer.  I think if everyone were like me, we might not even have computer systems because I don’t have all the skills necessary to make them.

Now this analysis doesn’t even take into account all my other weaknesses and short-comings.  I think you can clearly see why the Lord has created us all with different talents and abilities.

Paul understood this when he said.

18  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

19  And if they were all one member, where were the body?

20  But now are they many members, yet but one body.

21  And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

22  Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

23  And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

1 Cor. 12:18 – 23

I.B            If We Spoke One Language

I went to Japan on my mission, and learning Japanese gave me new appreciation for English, my native tongue.  Yet there are Japanese words which I love, and for which there is no adequate English word.  For example, “natsukashii” is translated as “dear, beloved, sweet, sweet memories, affectionately.”  Yet all those words do not adequately convey the meaning of this word.  The smells of cooking a particular candy can make a person relive the childhood wonder of Christmas; that would be “natsukashii.”  Seeing a dear friend after years of separation can be “natsukashii.”  The full breath of meaning cannot be conveyed in English.

Another Japanese word that I love is “O tsukarisama deshita”.  This would literally translate as “You are an honorifically tired person” which makes no sense.  But the real intent is that someone who says this is thanking another person, usually someone doing manual labor of some sort such as delivering a package or cleaning, for working so hard for his or her benefit.  It is a wonderfully polite word acknowledging the service of others.

I suspect there are those in congregation whose native language is not English.  They could also give similar examples of phrases from those languages that cannot be expressed in English.  The world would be a poorer place if these ideas were lost.

As Paul said:

14  For the body is not one member, but many.

15  If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

16  And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

17  If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing?  If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

18  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

1 Cor. 12:14 – 18

II            “There Is No Space …”

One day while studying D&C section 88, I read the following verse.

37 And there are many kingdoms; for there is no space in the which there is no kingdom; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or a lesser kingdom.

D&C 88:37

This verse is discussing our heavenly homes, whether they are the telestial, terrestrial, or celestial kingdoms.  But I think a broader meaning could be applied to this scripture.  I think, in the same way that spiritual things “are in the likeness of that which is temporal; and that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual” (D&C 77:2), I think this scripture speaks of great diversity.

The Lord has created a place on this earth that is perfectly suited to every person’s needs.  For every talent that I have, to my left is someone that has a very closely related talent, with very little shades of gray between them, and on my right is someone else. My talent may be unique, but just barely unique.  When looked at all of humanity, in every realm of life, a great continuum may be formed, one without a break.  “There is no space in the which there is not kingdom; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or lesser kingdom.”

We can take this thought even further than just our talents.  The Lord has created an environment perfectly suited to every one of his children’s needs in mortality.  Think of the varied living environments that exist on the earth just today, let alone in ages past.  The Lord has created a world ranging from the most primitive of existences, to people that experience living in space.  The great diversity in life means that the Lord has a perfect home for each of us to experience life.

23  And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

24  For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:

25  That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

26  And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

27  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

1 Cor. 12:23 – 27

This great mass of humanity creates one body of perfection when all the talents and abilities are combined.  And yet there is One who is Perfect.

6  He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth;

D&C 88:6

I think this idea gives new meaning to the scripture:

16  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Rom. 8:16 – 17

I think it also teaches us about this scripture.

27 … I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.

D&C 38:27

III           Getting to Know Someone

If God created this great diversity, why is it that we are wont to associate with people that are like us?  It seems to me there are at least two reasons.

First, it is easier to get to know someone if you have a common language.  Anyone that has tried to make friends with someone who does not speak your language well knows that the relationship is usually about as deep as the words that can be expressed.

It is also easier to get to know someone the more common experiences you have.  A common experience base provides a context in which to converse.

So the universe supports great diversity.  There are different talents and abilities, capacities, strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, subject and much more.  The Lord has created children capable of filling this great diversity.  But he requires us to be unified.  However, gaining unity depends on being the same.  Perhaps that is why the Lord created “a more excellent way.”

28  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

29  Are all apostles?  are all prophets?  are all teachers?  are all workers of miracles?

30  Have all the gifts of healing?  do all speak with tongues?  do all interpret?

31  But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

1 Cor. 12:28 – 31

IV          The Lord’s Answer:  Charity

The Lord’s answer to this problem is a special spiritual gift, called Charity.

Continue At

This would be a great place to continue to talk about Charity.

(Initial writing finished December 2004)

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