Sign up for Meridian’s Free Newsletter, please CLICK HERE

We know so much about the apostle Peter.  He is a hero to many of us. He is the one who stepped so quickly forward to action.  He is the one who boldly testified that Jesus is the Christ. He is the one who healed the sick and the lame and raised the dead. But how much do we know about the two epistles that he wrote before his martyrdom?  Let’s do some exploring this week and see what we can learn together.

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.


We know so much about the apostle Peter.  He is a hero to many of us. He is the one who stepped so quickly forward to action.  He is the one who boldly testified that Jesus is the Christ. He is the one who healed the sick and the lame and raised the dead. But how much do we know about the two epistles that he wrote before his martyrdom?  Let’s do some exploring this week and see what we can learn together.


Welcome to Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me Podcast.  We’re so glad to be with you again. This week’s lesson is called “Rejoice with Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory” and covers both 1st and 2nd Peter.

We just want to remind you of the First Vision Bicentennial Calendars still available to celebrate this coming special year.  We’ve made this beautiful calendar as an affordable Christmas gift at just $15—and if you buy more than 10 we’ll include the shipping and handling costs for free.  Many are ordering 10, 15, 20, 25 and even 40 calendars to use as their neighborhood or friend gifts. This will be a constant and lovely reminder on your wall of the First Vision, the Sacred Grove, the Prophet Joseph and his family.  Shop for them today at that’s 

Now, Scot, as you know, Peter is one of my great heroes.  I’ve always loved him. I’ve always felt close to him. I always love to teach about him when we go to Israel.  I think I love him so much because he feels so approachable, so real, so normal—and yet so impressive, so strong and so bold.


I feel the same way, Maurine.  This Peter was one of the first to see the Promised Messiah as Jesus began His ministry.  He was privileged to witness the raising of the daughter of Jairus from the dead. He was on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus. He was the only mortal we know of who actually walked on water.  He drew his sword at Gethsemane to protect the Lord Jesus from the mob who had come to take Him. He was there nearby at the trial of Jesus. He was one of the first to witness His resurrection. He was the first to take the gospel to the Gentiles. And he willingly gave his life and was crucified upside down in Rome.  What an apostle! What a man to look up to.


And Peter played a critical role in the Restoration of the Gospel and bringing the keys of the priesthood in these latter days.  He, with James and John, came to the Prophet Joseph and Oliver Cowdery on the banks of the Susquehanna River and gave them the keys of apostleship.  Peter attended the Kirtland Temple dedication and was noted as coming and sitting down near Frederick G. Williams and Joseph Smith, Sr. Peter will be at the great gathering at Adam-ondi-Ahman.  Peter has played a special role in the whole history of the earth. And today we get to study some of his teachings


You know, Maurine, it seems off that Peter played such a role in the meridian of time and was such a leader and yet we only have 11 or 12 pages of canon attributed to Peter.  Dr. Nicholas Frederick of BYU wrote of this:

“[People] wonder why Peter, such an integral figure in the Gospels and the head of the church following Jesus’ death, could have left such a minute accounting of his post-Ascension activity, especially compared to Paul, a latecomer to the church. At this point, I attempt to assuage some of their frustration by pointing out that Peter, while he may be somewhat underrepresented or marginalized in the New Testament epistles, is actually a popular figure in the non-canonical literature that arises during the second and third centuries of Christianity. Whereas 1 and 2 Peter represent the sum total of Peter’s canonical work (with the possible addition of [his influence on] the Gospel of Mark), there are at least fourteen different noncanonical, or apocryphal, works that either claim Petrine authorship or attribute a major role to Peter.” 


There are many things we could bring out from the apocryphal material, we only bring one.  This takes place in Caesarea.

“The image of Peter as the staunch defender of truth can be seen in one key theme depicted in the narrative—namely, Peter’s disputation with a man named Simon, likely the same Simon who was from Samaria and who had attempted to buy the priesthood from Peter in Acts 8.

“Upon his arrival in Caesarea to meet Simon:

There then Peter entered; and when he had looked on the multitude, every eye in which was fixed upon him in breathless stillness, and on the magician Simon, who stood in the midst, he began to discourse as follows. “Peace be with you all who are ready to commit yourselves to the truth of God, this his great and incomparable gift to our world! He who has sent us, the true prophet of good principle, has commissioned us, by way of salutation and before any instruction, to speak to you of this truth.” (Ps.-Clem. Hom. 3.30.1–2; NTA 2:514–515)


This certainly reminds us of Peter on the day of Pentecost in Acts Chapter 3 and the boldness with which he called the multitude to repentance.


It certainly does.


Let’s go right to one of my favorite scriptures in the very first chapter of 1 Peter, verses 6 through 9


Hey, that’s one of our faith scriptures!


It certainly is.

6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:


7 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:


8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable [I love that—JOY UNSPEAKABLE] and full of glory:


9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Don’t you just love Peter’s admonition and his beautiful language?!  And there is so much to learn there about trials in this life.

It reminds me of that sister in Missouri, Elizabeth Haven, who said of the Saints’ persecution there: “God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform.  Many have been sifted out of the church, while others have been rooted … in love and are the salt of the earth … We are to be tried (every one who inhabits the celestial kingdom) like gold seven times purified.”

We sometimes forget that our trials and tribulations and challenges play a critical role in our development.  We spend much of our time avoiding hard things and dodging difficult trials, hoping to have a smooth ride as much of the time as possible in this life.


I know I like smooth!


So do I!  But it just isn’t always that way in this life—and, in fact, seldom that way.


Maurine, I have to interject a story here—one of the great trials of my early life.  I was assigned my second city on my mission in Germany which was Mannheim, and I had some trepidation as I heard who my companion was going to be.  Of course, for purposes of this Podcast, I will change his name. So, I was assigned to work with this Elder Collins. He had quite the reputation. He was 27 years old.  He was 6 feet 4 inches tall and 240 lbs of solid muscle. He did not like being on a mission and by the time I got to Elder Collins he had already been through 17 companions.  I got off the train at the Hauptbahnhof in Mannheim and there he was with a number of other missionaries to greet me. The first thing he said was, “Look at this kid (pointing at me), he must have a perfect digestive system, he’s probably never had a zit in his life.”  He said some other things to berate me in front of the others and then we got on our Strassenbahn and headed to our apartment. Not a word was spoken all the way home.

When we got there, he said, “SIT DOWN!”  I did so. He then said, “Look kid, I’m 27 years old and I’m not going to take anything from a 19 year old!  You got that?” This was all in our first hour together.

Within days I found out he pushed and bucked against every rule of the mission.  He bought and sold used cars and actually used them to make his transfers—driving between cities.  He said negative things and even blasphemous things against the Church and against the Brethren and really against all that was sacred.  He would oftentimes lie in bed until 9:30 or 10:00 in the morning after I had been ready to go for many hours and then he would bound out and literally throw on his suit and run to the bus stop and jump on the bus and leave me behind as I was getting our tracts and materials and I would run after the bus and he would be waving at me through the window with a smirk on his face and a pointing finger of scorn.  I would have to catch the next bus and hope I could find him somewhere in the city.


Oh Scot, What did you do?


I prayed. I prayed, and then I prayed some more.  I was looking in my journal last night reading up on those first days with Elder Collins and I recorded, “Today I prayed all day long.  No matter where we went I was praying trying to understand my companion. I’ve never prayed so much in my life.”

Elder Collins loved to work out and do lots of running.  The mission president told me that he could be gone from me up to one hour—but no longer or I was to call him. Every day he would push that right to the edge, sometimes arriving back in 58 minutes or even 62 or 65 minutes.  Then he would laugh at me and make fun of me. “Did you call the President?” he would ask sarcastically.

He went out of his way to break every rule, to push every envelope, to live on the edge or even over the edge. I know, in today’s missions he would have been sent home, but there I was with him.  Of course, I’m not giving you a hundredth part of the experience and the severe trial this was for me.

Three weeks into this we had zone conference and with that came mission president interviews.  As soon as I came into the office I staggered in and said, “President, I just have one question:  Why did you put me with Elder Collins?” “Well, Elder Proctor, I figured if you got in a fist fight, you could hold your own.”  And then he didn’t say anything more about it—he was serious.

I ended up being with Elder Collins for three months.  I continued to pray for strength and pray for him every day all day long—and pray that I wouldn’t kill him.

Now remember what Peter said, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire…” well, the Lord started working with me—especially with my heart.  And what happened was that I really came to love Elder Collins. I could see his strength. I could see his desires beneath all the show. I really came to feel blessed by being with him. Practically everything he did grated against my soul—but the Lord softened my heart and strengthened me in this severe trial and I was filled with love for this extremely difficult companion.  He became like a real brother to me.

And we started teaching!  And we even were able to have a baptism (which was a rare thing in Germany).  The Lord really blessed me—and I learned how to pray as never before.


Scot this all reminds me of something Elder Neil Andersen taught:

“Although the details will differ, the tragedies, the unanticipated tests and trials, both physical and spiritual, come to each of us because this is mortality…

“We search for happiness. We long for peace. We hope for love. And the Lord showers us with an amazing abundance of blessings. But intermingled with the joy and happiness, one thing is certain: there will be moments, hours, days, sometimes years when your soul will be wounded.

“The scriptures teach that we will taste the bitter and the sweet and that there will be “opposition in all things.” Jesus said, “[Your Father] maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

“Wounds of the soul are not unique to the rich or the poor, to one culture, one nation, or one generation. They come to all and are part of the learning we receive from this mortal experience.

“Our wounds may come from a natural disaster or an unfortunate accident. They may come from an unfaithful husband or wife, turning life upside down for a righteous spouse and children. The wounds may come from the darkness and gloom of depression, from an unanticipated illness, from the suffering or premature death of someone we love, from the sadness of a family member dismissing his or her faith, from the loneliness when circumstances do not bring an eternal companion, or from a hundred other heart-wrenching, painful “[sorrows] that the eye can’t see.”

“We each understand that difficulties are part of life, but when they come to us personally, they can take our breath away. Without being alarmed, we need to be ready. The Apostle Peter said, “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.”7 Along with the bright colors of happiness and joy, the darker-colored threads of trial and tragedy are woven deeply into the fabric of our Father’s plan. These struggles, although difficult, often become our greatest teachers.” (Andersen, Neil L. Wounded, October 2018)


That insight from Elder Andersen is priceless—and you know, Maurine, as I look back on my mission, those experiences with Elder Collins have become so sweet to me—they really were the “greatest teachers” of my whole mission and I’m forever grateful for those three months with him.

And I love what Peter says in that same chapter, chapter 1, verse 13:

Wherefore, gird up the loins of your mind…(1 Peter 1:23)

Isn’t that great counsel!  We often sing, “Gird up your loins, fresh courage take…” and I think Peter says further—Make sure your minds are firm.  Immerse yourself in truth. Have correct ideas. Hold fast to the teachings of the Savior. Trials will come—adversity will strike—challenges will try to swamp you—but in all of this: Gird up the loins of your mind!  I’m going to remember that counsel from Peter.


This brings us to a verse in Chapter 2 of First Peter—verse 9:

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 marvelous light.

That word peculiar always jumps out at me.  In our modern language do we really want to be peculiar?  President Nelson teaches us here:

“The adjectives chosen, royal, and holy we recognize as elevating. But what about peculiar? A modern dictionary defines peculiar as “unusual,” “eccentric,” or “strange.” What kind of compliment is that?

“But the term peculiar as used in the scriptures is quite different. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew term from which peculiar was translated is segullah, which means “valued property,” or “treasure.” In the New Testament, the Greek term from which peculiar was translated is peripoiesis [peri-poi-Asis], which means “possession,” or “an obtaining.”

“Thus, we see that the scriptural term peculiar signifies “valued treasure,” “made” or “selected by God.” For us to be identified by servants of the Lord as his peculiar people is a compliment of the highest order.” (Nelson, Russell M., Children of the Covenant, April 1995)


So, I want to be peculiar.  I really want to be God’s royal possession—his valued treasure.  That is certainly a worthy goal.

Now let’s turn to another passage from Peter, a very important one that led President Joseph F. Smith to one of the greatest revelations in this dispensation.

This is in 1 Peter 4: 18-20:

18 For Christ also hath once asuffered for sins, the just for the bunjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to cdeath in the flesh, but quickened by the dSpirit:

19 By which also he went and apreached unto the bspirits in cprison;

20 aWhich sometime were bdisobedient, when once the clongsuffering of God waited in the days of dNoah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were esaved by fwater.

This is an amazing part of the Father’s Plan—that not one of His sons or daughters will be excluded from receiving the opportunity to hear and accept the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Imagine the vast number of people who are in the Spirit World—untold billions—and the great majority of them never were able to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this life.  What then—if there is an eternal law that no unclean thing can enter the presence of the Father; and if sacred ordinances are required to make us clean and give us full access to the Atonement of Jesus Christ—what about all those who never had this chance in this life?


This is one of my favorite parts of the merciful Plan of the Father that He sent His Son into the world of spirits—between the time of His crucifixion and His resurrection to organize His work in this, the largest of the missionary fields of labor.  Joseph F. Smith learned:

28 And I wondered at the words of Peter—wherein he said that the Son of God preached unto the aspirits in prison…and how it was possible for him to preach to those spirits and perform the necessary labor among them in so short a time.

29 And as I wondered, my eyes were opened, and my understanding aquickened, and I perceived that the Lord went not in person among the bwicked and the disobedient who had rejected the truth, to teach them;


But behold, from among the righteous, he aorganized his forces and appointed bmessengerscclothed with power and authority, and dcommissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in edarkness, even to fall the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.

31 And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the aacceptable day of the Lord and proclaim bliberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would crepent of their sins and receive the gospel.


Thus was the gospel preached to those who had adied in their sins, without a bknowledge of the truth, or in ctransgression, having drejected the prophets.

33 These were taught afaith in God, repentance from sin, bvicarious baptism for the cremission of sins, the dgift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands,

34 And all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be ajudged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

Now that is truly a most beautiful part of the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  President Nelson these days often refers to this as the Gathering of Israel on both sides of the veil.  And so it is.


This all reminds me, Scot, of our journey many years ago to one of your ancestral villages in England:  Old Langho. We went to visit the church there—a beautiful little building. It was locked tight and no longer in use.  We found out from the locals that the key to the church was at the Pub. So, we went there and got the key and opened the ancient door. The old wooden benches where your people had attended church for generations were so ornate and lovely.  The dates were carved right into the pews—1688 on one, other dates on others.

We rang the bell of the church.  We sang hymns in this empty chapel.  But then we went outside to look around in the cemetery that surrounded the church. 


One man looked over the fence and said, “Top of the morning to you.  What you doing here?” “We’re looking for ancestors.” “What’s your last name?”  “Proctor.” “Well everyone’s a Proctor around here.”

And sure enough, we found scores of Proctors in this little cemetery.  But no gravestone was more significant to me than the large one nearest the door of the Church:  David Proctor. He was my fifth great uncle and was born in 1800. He was only 4 years older than my great great grandfather James Bertwistle Proctor.  They knew each other well. They must have played together as boys, had common friends, worked in the same cotton mills together in Lancashire. They had a gaggle of cousins they both knew and loved.  But there was one stark difference:

When the missionaries came into this River Ribble Valley, James Bertwistle Proctor and his wife Lettis heard and accepted the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and David did not.  I don’t know all the particulars—we have not found a record to document David’s feelings or interactions—but there he was, his grave just outside this dead, abandoned church—a church closed for generations—and there was my Great Great Grandfather who went to America for the Gospel—was in Nauvoo, crossed the plains with the Saints and has a vast posterity who are all in the living Church of Jesus Christ!


And in the kindness and merciful and great Plan of the Father, David Proctor, and all those scores of Proctors in that Old Langho cemetery and millions of cemeteries like that, were not forgotten.  They were among the vast assemblage in the world of spirits who had not had the full opportunity to hear and accept the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. That just makes me so happy to worship a God who cares about each one of His children in every age and time of the earth.


Maurine, one of the most difficult things about spending 30 or 35 minutes together discussing some ideas and topics from the week’s lesson is that we feel like we are leaving out hours and hours of material.  That’s why this is a home-centered, church-supported program. We can, as individuals, couples and families study this material in detail and extensively at home.

Let’s talk briefly about the divine attributes that Peter discusses in his second epistle, chapter 1, verses 3-8.

According as his divine power hath given unto us aall things that pertain unto blife and cgodliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us dto glory and evirtue:

So, first, God has called us—each one of us—to glory and virtue.  We are to do everything in our power to be holy, as Peter taught earlier:  It is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1 Peter 1:16) This is a process, not an event:  Line upon line, precept upon precept.


“For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence,” we read in Doctrine and Covenants 88:40, “wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own…” 

That’s the process for each of us.

And Peter goes on:

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious apromises: that by these ye might be bpartakers of the cdivine dnature

What does it mean to be a partaker of the divine nature? 


We practice virtue and holiness before the Lord.  We feast upon His words. We attend the temple and do our duties in our families and in the church. We ponder and meditate upon gospel principles and doctrine. We seek to have the Holy Ghost as our constant companion and grow into the spirit of revelation. We strive to keep all His commandments. And by and by, we begin to become like Him who is the Savior and Redeemer of the world.


“I give unto you these sayings,” explained the Savior concerning His condescension to come to this earth, “that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness. For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace” (D&C 93:19–20).


And I love the additional truths taught by the Prophet Mormon in Moroni 7:

Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love [which is charity], which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that y may become the sons [and daughters] of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is…” (Moroni 7:48)

All this is part of becoming partakers of the divine nature.

And Peter continues:

And beside this, giving all adiligence, add to your faith bvirtue; and to virtue cknowledge;


And to knowledge atemperance; and to temperance bpatience; and to patience cgodliness;

And to godliness abrotherly bkindness; and to brotherly kindness ccharity.

And don’t forget humility!

For if these things be in you, [Peter continues] and aabound, they make you that ye shall neither be bbarren nor cunfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So, striving to obtain the godly attributes will make us more capable and more able to receive communications from the heavens—personal revelation.  As we attain these attributes, we are a purer vessel to receive light from the celestial world.


And Maurine, you can see this in people’s countenances.  You can tell when people are striving to stay close to the Lord and are striving to keep His commandments.  There is a light about their faces. There is a light that shines from within. There is something that is clearly written upon their faces and you can pick it out in a crowd.  We see it in Jerusalem all the time, don’t we?


We sure do.  You can be in the Old City and you can spot those BYU Jerusalem kids a mile away.  When the Jerusalem Center was approved contingent upon a no-proselyting rule for the students at the Jerusalem Center, Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek said, “But what will we do about the light in their eyes?”  He was right. It is a physical characteristic of those who are striving to become like the Savior Jesus Christ.  


And that’s what the Apostle Peter is inviting us to do, to become devoted disciples of the Master Jesus Christ, whom Peter personally knew and followed, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” (2 Peter 1:16)

We are being taught in this week’s study by a close personal friend of the Savior Jesus Christ, an eyewitness of His earthly ministry, an eyewitness of his Resurrection and glory—and this Peter, as did Paul and James and John and Matthew and others—invites each one of us to come unto this Holy One of Israel—the true Messiah—even Jesus Christ.


We’re Scot and Maurine Proctor and this has been Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me Podcast.  Don’t forget about Christmas shopping on Meridian for the beautiful First Vision Bicentennial Calendars for 2020—they’re perfectly priced at $15 and are available right now for you to add to your list.  Order them today at That’s


Next week’s lesson is entitled “God is Love” in includes the books of first, second and third John and the book of Jude.  Have a great week and see you next time!