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The Book of Galatians is little known among us.  It’s only 6 chapters, in 149 verses and a total of 3,084 words.  Can we glean some eternal lessons from this brief letter of the Apostle Paul?  We certainly can!  In today’s lesson we will draw out some of Paul’s teachings that we think will bless all of our lives.

You can also find it on any of these platforms by searching for Meridian Magazine-Come Follow Me.

Maurine and Scot Proctor have spent extensive time in the Holy Land, researching the life of Christ. They have taught the New Testament in the Institute program for many years and have written books and numerous articles on the life of the Savior.

Join our study group and let’s delve into the scriptures in a way that is inspiring, expanding and joyful.

Scot

The Book of Galatians is little known among us.  It’s only 6 chapters, in 149 verses and a total of 3,084 words.  Can we glean some eternal lessons from this brief letter of the Apostle Paul?  We certainly can!  In today’s lesson we will draw out some of Paul’s teachings that we think will bless all of our lives.

Maurine

Welcome to Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me Podcast.  We’re Scot and Maurine Proctor and we truly love being with you each week.  Can you believe we’ve already done this 38 times together and this week will mark one million downloads of this Podcast thanks to you, our amazing listeners.

Scot

Maurine, I have to say something at the outset here before we get into the heart of this lesson.  We have been so overwhelmed with gratitude this past week as you listeners and Meridian readers have so generously jumped into action to help us fund the building of a school in Bihar, India for the children of the leprosy-affected.  Our time in India was truly one of the most heart-rending we have ever had in our developing world experience.  These precious people, who are considered even beneath the untouchables in India, are truly the least of all of our Heavenly Father’s children.

Maurine

They certainly are, and we felt so much love for them and so much compassion for their plight as we spent ten days there among them.  It was amazing to see what loving them and yes, touching them did to awaken their hope and their eternal spirits.  Many people to this day think you cannot touch a person with leprosy—that just isn’t true.  But because there is a powerful stigma around these humble ones, they don’t get any touch from other human beings.  We could tell when we reached out and held their faces in our hands, and put our arms around them and hugged them and stroked their hair and gently patted their backs, well, we felt like we were the recipients of the blessings of touch more than they were.

Scot

So, at the preparation of this podcast, you have already given more than $66,000 towards our goal of $200,000.  And do you realize that this $200,000 will be matched by a very generous anonymous donor to make $400,000!  Will you please join us and others in helping with our Meridian Cares annual Humanitarian project and give generously to the building of this school for the children of the leprosy-affected.  You can go to: risingstaroutreach.org/meridian and just follow the various prompts to give.  We suggested last week that if each of you who is listening would give $25, we could raise the entire amount needed.  Many of you have given $100, $250, $500 or even $1000.  THANK YOU SO MUCH!  We have done two stories on Meridian now to give you the background and context of this project.  Again, please go to:  risingstaroutreach.org/meridian to help.  And know that not one penny of this goes anywhere but Rising Star Outreach to then build this school.  Every penny.  Blessings to each one of you for your generous spirits!

Maurine

Let’s now talk about the Book of Galatians—and more importantly, the teachings of Paul to the Galatians.  Who were the Galatians and where is Galatia?

The Galatians were made up of no less than three tribes, one of which was comprised of ancient Gauls who had been there since about 278 B.C.  The Gauls were a Celtic tribe from what would now be modern-day France and small parts of Belgium, western Germany and northern Italy.  As a Celtic race, the Gauls lived an agrarian society and certainly had a landed class.  The Celts were known for their believing in a higher power and many of them in Galatia had been converted by Paul in his first mission through this area.

Scot

And I have to tell you where Galatia is located–because I lived in the heart of Galatia for two years!  It’s in north-central Turkey, much of which is the Anatolian Plateau, and the heart and capital of Galatia was Ankara—the very city where we lived as a family.  This is the capital city of modern Turkey.  It would seem natural that the enormous city of Istanbul with her 15 million citizens would be the capital of Turkey, but after Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was instrumental in the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and then began serving as the first president of the Republic of Turkey in 1923—he immediately moved the capital to Ankara, more in the heart of the country—and right in the heart of ancient Galatia.

Maurine

Paul wrote this letter from Rome to the Galatians as early as AD 48 but more likely around AD 58.  So this was now nearly a generation, as much as 25 years, since the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The letter that Paul wrote was to a scattered group of Christian converts living in this remote region who needed counsel from this apostle on unity and coming to understand and recognize the fruits of the Spirit.  And again, remember that most of these Saints were Paul’s converts from his first mission through this very area.

These letters that Paul was writing to various peoples and regions remind us how very difficult it was in those early days to keep all the converts held together in one Lord, one Church, and one doctrine (see Ephesians 4:5).  It’s amazing that Christianity grew so fast and so well in those early days, but it is also no wonder with the geographical setting that the doctrines and beliefs changed over time because of a sheer struggle to have communications from the central leadership of the Church.

Scot

Paul says in the first chapter of Galatians, verses 6-9:

6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

In other words, ‘you have already strayed from your Father in Heaven and are far from the atonement of Jesus Christ.’ Then Paul goes on:

7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

So, there were already those who were perverting the pure gospel and teachings of Jesus Christ that Paul had preached to them and began leading these tender converts away from those pure truths. And Paul emphasized again:

9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1: 6-9)

Maurine

Scot, I’ve always marveled that in the early Church, in the days of the original apostles and the apostle Paul, they could retain any semblance of unity of doctrine or unity of understanding.  I think how blessed we are today to live in an age of instant communications—with cell phones, email, Internet, satellites, simultaneous broadcasting of General Conference in scores of languages—how truly blessed we are.  And yet, with all that, there are still those who come among us, by these same means of communication, and try to pervert the gospel of Christ, and to lead us astray from the pure doctrine of Jesus Christ.

I love what President Russell M. Nelson said this past Tuesday, September 17: 

“Truth is truth.  Some things are simply true. The arbiter of truth is God—not your favorite social media news feed, not Google, and certainly not those who are disaffected from the Church.

President Spencer W. Kimball taught that absolute truth cannot be “altered by the opinions of men. . . . If men are really humble, they will realize that they discover, but do not create, truth.”


“Many now claim that truth is relative and that there is no such thing as divine law or a divine plan. Such a claim is simply not true. There is a difference between right and wrong. Truth is based upon the laws God has established for the dependability, protection, and nurturing of His children. Eternal laws operate in and affect each of our lives, whether we believe them or not.” (Russell M. Nelson, From an address given at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, on September 17, 2019).  This is the same thing Paul was trying to teach his converts in AD 58! 

Scot

In chapter 5, verse 1 of Galatians Paul admonishes us:

1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

This reminds me of Lehi’s teachings in 2 Nephi, chapter 2:

27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man.  And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

28 And…I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit.

I have to say that we can be so easily brought into spiritual bondage by embracing false ideas or false paradigms.  And it can work on a macro or micro level in our lives. 

Maurine

It can work in our hearts on a daily basis if we are not careful.  We’ve briefly talked about this in another podcast, but we need to offer you the tool that Scot and I use all the time that helps us so much.

When one of us feels a little down, or discouraged or anxious or uneasy or just plain feels blue, we ask this question:  What is it that you are believing right now that isn’t true?  Now that may sound facile, but on the contrary it is very powerful.

Again, when one of us notices the other is not being himself or herself, the other lovingly asks:  What is it that you are believing right now that isn’t true.

See, lies and falsehoods are bondage and they can come in all shapes and sizes.  Truth is light.  Truth is reason.  Truth is eternal and the truth makes us free.  Let’s talk about how lies can bring us into bondage.

Scot

“You can passionately and powerfully believe something that is completely false. False ideas do not always announce themselves as being counterfeit. If they did, we certainly could be wiser.

“Perhaps if each of our false assumptions was dressed as a wolf, baring its teeth, we’d identify it faster. Then, we’d run from assumptions that really hurt us. But they don’t and we don’t.

“We embrace them, because we don’t know better.

“This means you can cling to an assumption that really hurts you. What makes it worse is not only that you believe it, but that you begin to shore it up with evidence—sometimes a whole array of evidence—from your life. You unwittingly pile up examples to prove your false assumptions, until they seem to be a part of your outlook. They become burrowed into your soul as if they are reality.

“Some false assumptions may have a minor affect on you, barely disturbing your wholeness. But some false assumptions are much more dangerous. It really matters if you assume a bridge across a ravine is secure, and you have misunderstood, not seeing that wooden slats have rotted through. (Maurine Proctor, Five Assumptions that Hurt Your Spirituality, Meridian Magazine: https://latterdaysaintmag.com/five-false-assumptions-that-hurt-your-spirituality/)

Maurine

Bondage can come upon us subtly and catch us unaware.  And this tool of exposing our false ideas and lies that we embrace is so handy to pull out and use as often as needed:  What is it that I’m believing right now that isn’t true?

Scot, I remember many years ago we had a massive project to do.  We had all these little children completely dependent upon our support.  We got this very large contract to produce 37 training videos on—do you remember—on IV Catheters!  We also had to produce training manuals and all the materials that went with this for a major medical devices corporation.  We were so grateful for the work, but it was a bit daunting.  I remember, Scot, that at the outset of this project you got a bit overwhelmed and were looking pretty blue.  I came to you and said: 

“Scot, what’s wrong?”

Scot

“Nothing,” I said.  “I’m just fine.”

Maurine

“You’re not fine.  I can see it all about you.  Your body language tells me otherwise.”

Scot

“Maurine, I’m fine.  I need to keep working.”

Maurine

“Scot, what is it you’re believing right now that isn’t true?”

Scot

“Nothing.  I’m truly fine.  Really, I just need to keep working.”

Maurine

“Scot.  Look at me.  Darling, what is it you’re believing right now that isn’t true?”

Scot

“I hate it when you look at me that way, Maurine.  I feel myself melting…I believe that I’m not up to the task of this project.  I think it’s bigger than me.  I’m not sure I have the skills to pull this off.  I think I will fail.”

See, I had already embraced a number of lies and was building an entire case around them and it had brought me to the point of real bondage—a place where I could not move forward because of these self-imposed chains I had put all around me.  Anytime we embrace a lie or believe something that just isn’t true—it is bondage.

Maurine

That’s right.  And we see it in the little things of life, like this enormous job we had to do of producing all those training video—and that was little in perspective—to the big things of life, like finding something in a Google search about the Church or something we’ve never heard of before about Joseph Smith—that isn’t true—and we immediately embrace it and bam! We begin to be fettered with the chains of bondage.

Scot

We saw it so often in our interviews with our precious young single adults we served, where someone would embrace a lie like, “I have to be perfect or I will not measure up.” Or they would often say, “I don’t think the Lord is there for me because He has not answered my prayer that I just wanted to be married before I graduated.” Or another common lie was:  “I really don’t think I’m good enough and I have proof because no one ever asks me out on a date.”  The lies came in many shapes and sizes and a whole array of colors and flavors.  And this simple tool of asking a question:  “What is it that I’m believing right now that just isn’t true?” is so critically important!

Again:  Paul taught, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”  This is a critical teaching and we’ve tried to make it a bit more practical for you as you are barraged with lies on a daily basis.

Maurine

And in Paul’s day, the Galatians were also dealing with what to them seemed like very serious truths that were really falsehoods and were bringing them into bondage.  The Law of Moses had been fulfilled in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, yet many of the Jews who had converted still felt that anyone who embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ should also submit themselves to the law of circumcision.  This may seem like a small or insignificant thing to us in our day, but in those days, this could bring people to apostasy—and certainly to bondage.

Paul explained:

Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

For I testify again to every man that is acircumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

Scot

Paul is saying that if a new convert has to subject himself to circumcision, he will then be obligated to live the whole Law of Moses, all of which was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

Paul made it clear to the Galatians and to us in chapter 3:

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

You have to understand that there was a huge paradigm in those days that bloodlines and tribes played a critical role in your state and standing with men and society and with God.  It was everything to be the children of Abraham—you see it all through the New Testament—and many felt that this elite group could only be joined through the law of circumcision which pre-dated the Law of Moses.’


Maurine

Paul was teaching them two things here: That circumcision was not necessary any more AND that to become a member of the family of Jesus Christ required faith and that this was the ultimate lineage to be a part of.

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

In other words, we have taken upon ourselves the name of Christ—just as we do every week when we partake of the sacrament.  Then Paul continues:

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3: 24-29)

Scot

So, just as the Law of Moses was a schoolmaster to bring them to Christ, so, now, in our day, the Book of Mormon is our schoolmaster to bring us to Jesus Christ. (See Faust, James E., The Keystone of our Religion, October 1983)  In the Church we have the Priesthood keys and the sacred and saving ordinances that bring us to Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice.  And after all is said and done, we learn that the true Schoolmaster IS Jesus Christ Himself.

The trials and challenges of this life and the things we face, coupled with our knowledge of the Gospel, are to bring us to THE Schoolmaster.

Maurine

And as we learn to embrace truth and shed the lies that place us in bondage, our experience here in mortality will be so much easier and so much more effective.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught:

“There are many who suffer so much more than the rest of us: some go agonizingly; some go quickly; some are healed; some are given more time; some seem to linger. There are variations in our trials but no immunities. Thus, the scriptures cite the fiery furnace and fiery trials (see Dan. 3:6–261 Pet. 4:12). Those who emerge successfully from their varied and fiery furnaces have experienced the grace of the Lord, which He says is sufficient (see Ether 12:27). Even so, brothers and sisters, such emerging individuals do not rush to line up in front of another fiery furnace in order to get an extra turn! However, since the mortal school is of such short duration, our tutoring Lord can be the Schoolmaster of the compressed curriculum.” (Maxwell, Neal A., From Whom All Blessings Flow, April 1997)

Scot

Just as he had written in his letter to the Romans, Paul talks again to the Galatians about the faith of Abraham in chapter 3, verse 6 through 9:

6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

We learn here that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached to and given to Abraham. That kind of blows the paradigms of millions of Christians who thought that the gospel was first preached at the time of Christ’s earthly ministry only.  In the Church of Jesus Christ we know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached from the very beginning of time and was given to Adam and Eve (See Moses 6:51-68) and the great plan of salvation was known by Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek, Lehi, Nephi, Jacob and all the holy prophets and their wives from the beginning.

Maurine

I love how Isaiah tells us to look not only unto righteous Abraham, but also unto faithful Sarah. (See Isaiah 51: 1-2 and 2 Nephi 8: 1-2)  The covenant could not have been made without a man and a woman.

Our friend and author, Doug Clark spent more than three decades studying and researching all the ancient sources about Abraham and Sarah and wrote an amazing book called: The Blessings of Abraham: Becoming a Zion People.

We learn much about Sarah from ancient sources:

“Abraham’s love encompassed also those whom he led, beginning most ardently with his own wife.  Speaking of Abraham taking Sarah out of Haran, the Zohar comments that “it was by persuasion and not by compulsion [that] he induced Sara to go with him.”  Abraham’s priesthood leadership was the model of what the Lord commands concerning latter-day priesthood leadership: never by “compulsion” but “only by persuasion” and the similar attributes of gentleness, meekness, kindness, and love unfeigned—qualifications for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and the presence of God (D&C 121:37, 41–42, 45–46).

“And if Abraham so qualified, so did his beloved Sarah, whose faith at least matched that of Abraham. He had heard the command to leave directly from God, she only from Abraham. Yet she went without argument and with full purpose of heart, qualifying for the continuous presence and protection of the Almighty… ‘Following the leadings of divine Providence with the one supreme motive to honor and obey God, he carried with him the presence of the Lord.’

Scot

“As did Sarah. Jewish tradition tells of a visible “cloud of holiness” that hovered over her tent as ‘God’s testimony to what went on within.’ Sarah constantly ‘brought . . . holiness into her home,’ which was imbued with the divine presence, a light that spread over the rest of the camp as well…It was perhaps this visible divine protection to which Abraham alluded when he wrote, as recorded in the Book of Abraham, “we . . . came forth in the way to the land of Canaan, and dwelt in tents as we came on our way; therefore, eternity was our covering and our rock and our salvation” (Abr. 2:15–16). For both Abraham and Sarah, this “was a journey that transformed them both.” (Clark, E. Douglas, The Blessings of Abraham: Becoming a Zion People, ePages 325-327)

I love that image of the ‘cloud of holiness’ that hovered over Sarah’s tent.  I bet if we had eyes to see there would also be clouds of holiness hovering over the homes of our righteous women throughout the earth.  Women are scarcely coming to know their power and their influence—and I love this invitation from Isaiah and from Paul to look unto both Abraham and unto Sarah.

Maurine

Let’s turn in closing to the contrast Paul draws in Galatians chapter 5 between the works of the flesh or the natural man and the fruits of the Spirit or the man or woman of Christ.

In verses 16 through 23 we read:

16 …Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

In other words, as we have the Holy Ghost with us all the time—in our daily walk—we are not be tempted by the things of this world.

17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh…

18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

So, as we are led by the Spirit in all things, we really have no need to be constrained by or be under the law—we will be led to follow all things the Lord would have us do.

Scot

Then Paul enumerates and contrasts the things of the flesh:

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, [Even these words tend to grate upon our spirits, don’t they?]

21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Maurine

Then, with a breath of fresh air, Paul teaches us of the works and fruits of the Spirit:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

These qualities give us a litmus test of when the Spirit is present and guiding our lives. This is how Moroni says it:

“But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him is inspired of God.” Everything. If goodness and love is present, God is the author. We do not come up with these things of our own power, but by the Spirit.

The reverse is also true. Contention, envy, anger, self-centeredness is not of the Lord and does not come from him.

“Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil” (Moroni 7: 13, 14).

Scot

I love all those descriptive words of the fruits of the Spirit.  These should be qualities and attributes that abound in our homes and our relationships.  They should work in us in our Church callings and ministering.  They should be a part of our feelings towards our friends and associates and in our associations and communications in social media.

What timely teachings from more than 19 centuries ago for our day!

We’ve so loved being with you again this week.  Don’t forget about helping us fund and build this school for the children of the leprosy-affected in Bihar, India.  You can go to risingstaroutreach.org/meridian and every dollar, every penny of your donation will go to building that school.  Thank you in advance for your generous support for our Meridian Cares humanitarian project this year.

And thanks to Paul Cardall for providing the music that begins and ends this podcast.

Next week we’ll be studying the Book of Ephesians together and the lesson is entitled:  “For the Perfecting of the Saints.” Have a wonderful week and see you next time.