1. Nephi teaches of the doctrine of Christ.
2 Nephi 31:2 The doctrine of Christ
“Although a phrase like ‘the doctrine of Christ’ could appropriately be used to describe any or all of the Master’s teachings, nevertheless those magnificently broad and beautiful expressions spread throughout the Book of Mormon, New Testament, and latter-day scriptures might more properly be called ‘the doctrines of Christ.’ Note that the phrase Nephi used is distinctly singular. In Nephi’s concluding testimony, and later in the Savior’s own declaration to the Nephites at his appearance to them, the emphasis is on a precise, focused, singular sense of Christ’s doctrine, specifically that which the Prophet Joseph Smith declared to be ‘the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel’” (Jeffrey R Holland, Christ and the New Covenant, 49).
2 Nephi 31:4-9 Baptism of Jesus
‘Born of a mortal mother, Jesus was baptized to fulfill His Father’s commandment that sons and daughters of God should be baptized. He set the example for all of us to humble ourselves before our Heavenly Father. We are all welcome to come into the waters of baptism. He was baptized to witness to His Father that He would be obedient in keeping His commandments. He was baptized to show us that we should receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.’ (Robert D Hales, General Conference, October 2000)
2 Nephi 31:13 Receive the Holy Ghost
‘Now I am going to say something that maybe I could not prove, but I believe is true, that we have a great many members of this Church who have never received a manifestation through the Holy Ghost. Why? Because they have not made their lives conform to the truth. And the Holy Ghost will not dwell in unclean tabernacles or disobedient tabernacles.
The Holy Ghost will not dwell with that person who is unwilling to obey and keep the commandments of God or who violates those commandments willfully. In such a soul the spirit of the Holy Ghost cannot enter. That great gift comes to us only through humility and faith and obedience. Therefore, a great many members of the Church do not have that guidance.
Then some cunning, crafty individual will come along teaching that which is not true, and without guidance which is promised to us through our faithfulness, people are unable to discern and are led astray. It depends on our faithfulness and our obedience to the commandments of the Lord if we have the teachings, the enlightening instruction, that comes from the Holy Ghost.
When we are disobedient, when our minds are set upon the things of this world rather than on the things of the kingdom of God, we cannot have the manifestations of the Holy Ghost. Did you ever stop to think what a great privilege it is for us to have the companionship of one of the members of the Godhead? Have you thought of it that way? That is our privilege, if we keep the commandments the Lord has given us.’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, We Are Here to Be Tried, Tested, Proved, pp. 4–5)
2 Nephi 31 :17 The gate by which ye should enter
‘The ordinance of baptism by water and fire is described as a gate by Nephi (see 2 Nephi 31:17 Why is baptism a gate? Because it is an ordinance denoting entry into a sacred and binding covenant between God and man. Men promise to forsake the world, love and serve their fellowmen, visit the fatherless and the widows in their afflictions, proclaim peace, preach the gospel, serve the Lord, and keep His commandments. The Lord promises to “pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon [us]” Mosiah 18:10 redeem His Saints both temporally and spiritually, number them with those of the First Resurrection, and offer life eternal. Baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost are the prescribed ways to enter the strait and narrow path to eternal life.’ (L Tom Perry, General Conference, April 2008)
2. Nephi teaches that we must press forward and endure to the end.
2 Nephi 31:19 I would ask if all is done
“Sometimes someone will say: ‘Well, I have been baptized into the Church; I am a member of the Church; I am a member of the Church; I’ll just go along and live an ordinary sort of life; I won’t commit any great crimes; I’ll live a reasonably good Christian life; and eventually I will gain the kingdom of God.’
“I don’t understand it that way. I think that baptism is a gate. It is a gate which puts us on a path; and the name of the path is the straight and narrow path. The straight and narrow path leads upward from the gate of baptism to the celestial kingdom of heaven. After a person has entered the gate of baptism, he has to press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, as Nephi expresses it, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men; and if he endures to the end, then he gains the promised reward.” (Bruce R McConkie, Conference Report, Oct. 1950)
2 Nephi 31:20 Press forward with a steadfastness in Christ
‘Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them. A long history of inspired voices, including those you will hear in this conference and the voice you just heard in the person of President Thomas S. Monson, point you toward the path of Christian discipleship. It is a strait path, and it is a narrow path without a great deal of latitude at some points, but it can be thrillingly and successfully traveled, “with … steadfastness in Christ, … a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.” 2 Nephi 31:20 In courageously pursuing such a course, you will forge unshakable faith, you will find safety against ill winds that blow, even shafts in the whirlwind, and you will feel the rock-like strength of our Redeemer, upon whom if you build your unflagging discipleship, you cannot fall.[See Helaman 5:12 In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.’ (Jeffrey R Holland, General Conference, April 2014)
3. Nephi speaks of the importance of feasting on the words of Christ.
2 Nephi 32:2 The tongue of angels
“Nephi explained that angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost, and you can speak with the tongue of angels, which simply means that you can speak with the power of the Holy Ghost. It will be quiet. It will be invisible. There will not be a dove. There will not be cloven tongues of fire. But the power will be there” (Boyd K Packer, “The Gift of the Holy Ghost: What Every Member Should Know,” Ensign, Aug. 2006, 49–50).
2 Nephi 32:3 Feast upon the words of Christ
‘As important as it is to leave home every day with a full charge on your cell phone, it is far more important to be fully charged spiritually. Every time you plug in your phone, use it as a reminder to ask yourself if you have plugged in to the most important source of spiritual power—prayer and scripture study, which will charge you with inspiration through the Holy Ghost (see D&C 11:12–14 It will help you know the mind and will of the Lord to make the small but important daily choices that determine your direction. Many of us immediately stop whatever we are doing to read a text message—should we not place even more importance on messages from the Lord? Neglecting to connect to this power should be unthinkable to us (see 2 Nephi 32:3)’ (Randall L Ridd, General Conference, April 2014)
2 Nephi 32:7-9 Personal revelation
‘Revelation is promised us through our faithfulness; so, also, is knowledge pertaining to the mysteries and government of the Church. The Lord withholds much that he would otherwise reveal if the members of the Church were prepared to receive it. When they will not live in accordance with the revelations he has given, how are they entitled to receive more? The people in the Church are not living in full accord with the commandments the Lord has already required of them.
We find ourselves, therefore, much like the Nephites when Nephi spoke of revelation: ‘And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.’
We have little occasion to clamor for more revelation when we refuse to heed what the Lord has revealed for our salvation. However, the authorities are directed by revelation, and this is apparent to all who have the spirit of discernment. The Lord has not forsaken his people, although they have not always put their trust in him.’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:283)
4. Nephi declares that people will believe his words if they believe in Christ.
2 Nephi 33:4 It persuadeth them to do good
‘It is about the Book of Mormon I want to talk today. I do so with just one objective in mind: To get you to read it.
I have read it a little, I believe in it, and I love it. I recommend that every person within the sound of my voice read the Book of Mormon. I can testify, as did Nephi, that the things written therein persuadeth all men to do good 2 Ne. 33:4 It will enrich the life of every person who will read it, unless he is in rebellion against the truth; and in that event it will advise him of his awful fate unless he changes his ways.’ (Marion G Romney, General Conference, April 1949)
2 Nephi 33:5-6 He shall be of the spirit of the devil
‘Nephi’s final testimony reprises themes he has already taught. In chapter 31, he reiterated his love of plainness. He has also denounced anger against Yahweh’s word (2 Ne. 1:26, 28:28). He foresees the reaction to his words and spells out the contrast between the righteous and the wicked. Those with the Spirit will accept his words; those who are “of the devil” will be angry. Nephi continues to use Yahweh and Satan as opposites, and their opposition models antithetical themes. In this case, acceptance of the gospel stands in contrast to anger with and rejection of the gospel. Nevertheless, Nephi affirms the gospel’s truthfulness, bearing testimony of his own salvation.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Cultural Commentary on the Book of Mormon)
2 Nephi 33:10 If ye believe in Christ ye will believe in these words
“The Book of Mormon is the most Christ-centered scriptural record ever published. Every doctrine within its covers is but an appendage to as central theme- the testimony that Jesus is the Christ. All who believe in Christ will believe the words of this book. One cannot truly believe in the Bible and at the same time not believe in the Book of Mormon. ‘There is not that person on the face of the earth,’Brigham Young said, ‘who has had the privilege of learning the Gospel of Jesus Christ from these two books [the Bible and the Book of Mormon], that can say that one is true, and the other is false. No Latter-day Saint, no man or woman, can say the Book of Mormon is true, and at the same time say that the Bible is untrue. If one be true, both are; and if one be false, both are false.’ (JD 1:38.) To believe the words of one is to believe the words of both (see Mormon 7:9).” (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 1, p. 375)