As my brother pointed out to me, in the Book of Mormon, there’s three distinct sections in which the Gospel (or doctrine) of Jesus Christ is defined with intros and outros as clearly as if wrapped in HTML <gospel></gospel> tags. One of these sections is declared by the Prophet Nephi, two are from the mouth of Jesus Christ himself. See for yourself:
2 Nephi 31:2 “Wherefore, the things which I have written sufficeth me, save it be a few words
which I must speak concerning the doctrine of Christ…”
2 Nephi 31:21 “…And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ…”
3 Nephi 11:31 “Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.”
3 Nephi 11:39 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon
this buildeth upon my rock…”
3 Nephi 27:13 “Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have
given unto you…”
3 Nephi 27:21 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, this [that] is my gospel…”
After reading these sections, here’s my notes on what, exactly, the Gospel of Christ is:
- God gives light to the understanding of men, speaking to them in ways they can understand. The Gospel was given to Jesus Christ by the Father, and the Holy Ghost confirms its truth and the reality of the Father and Son to all of us.
- Jesus Christ was sent by the Father to be lifted up on the cross as an example before all the world. In the name of justice, the Father will cause all of us to be lifted up as if on crosses, before Christ, our judge, that our works and lives will also be seen in plain sight.
- To receive a good judgement, all men everywhere need to humble themselves before God and be obedient to all his commandments, which include:
- Following Jesus Christ and doing what he did, with no hypocrisy or deception, as there is no other way or name by which men can be saved.
- Repentance, becoming as a little child, and purification, made possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ, as no unclean thing can enter the kingdom of heaven.
- Sanctification through baptism, because the way to God is not broad and open to interpretation but a straight path and narrow gate, and God has prescribed this method as a way of humbling and unifying people into his church.
- Becoming a part of Jesus Christ’s church
- Those who will not follow these commandments will be damned. Those who will follow them will receive further sanctification through the Holy Ghost, who testifies of the Father and the Son, empowering one with increased faith and understanding.
- All men must press forward in faith by:
- Being steadfast in keeping the commandments
- Having a bright hope
- Having a love for God and all men
- Feasting upon the words of Christ.
- After receiving the Holy Ghost comes a baptism of fire, enabling a person to speak with the tongue of angels. This could possibly be the state known as the second anointing or the second comforter in which faith turns into knowledge. To deny Christ after receiving this knowledge can seriously jeopardize one’s soul.
- All men must endure to the end of they will be damned.
- Whoever follows these steps will build upon the rock of Christ, and the gates of hell will not prevail against them. Whoever declares more or less than this Gospel is building upon a sandy foundation and will fall.
Interesting to me, in addition to all the stress and repetition on repentance and baptism, in 3 Nephi 11, Christ repeats twice, “Ye must … become as a little child.” Childlike purity. That’s what it all comes down to. Children are naturally of the kingdom of heaven, but we naturally lose this purity and perfect love with age. This is why I’ve devoted my life to the pursuit of never growing up. For me it’s not merely a repulsion of all things grown-up but a religious mandate.