Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Faith, Gospel Doctrine 2017, Jesus Christ

Gospel Doctrine 2017 -Lesson 7: “The First Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel”

1. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel.

D&C 19:23 Learn of me, and listen to my words

‘These words give me the feeling of such closeness to, such intimacy with the Savior, looking at him, listening to him, learning from him, walking with him, and feeling his peace like his very arms around me. Within each of us is an intense hunger for this intimacy with and closeness to him. I think we all want to feel his spirit around us.’ (Chieko N Okazaki, Lighten Up! [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1993], 199.)

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D&C 88:118 By study and also by faith

‘As a partial self-appraisal of our spiritual-procrastination standing, what is our attitude when we attend the meetings of the Church? Is it to learn “by study and also by faith”  D&C 88:118 which seamlessly translates what we learn into what we do? Or do we have an “I’ve heard it all before” mentality that immediately blocks the Spirit’s access to our minds and our hearts and enables procrastination to become a major part of our character?’ (Donald L Hallstrom, General Conference, October 2007)

D&C 20:69 By a godly walk and conversation

“The call to discipleship is a call to a higher righteousness. The Saints are asked to put off the natural man, put away the toys of a telestial world, and grow up in the Lord. They are summoned to be obedient, to keep the commandments, to manifest ‘by a godly walk and conversation that they are worthy’ of membership in the Church and kingdom of God (D&C 20:69). They covenant to take upon them the sacred name of Jesus Christ, to bear the same with fidelity and devotion, and to behave as becomes Christians. In short, they covenant before God and man to see to it that their actions evidence their Christian commitment. Disciples are expected to have clean hands.” (Robert L. Millet, An Eye Single to the Glory of God: Reflections on the Cost of Discipleship [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 55.)

D&C 8:10 Faith

“As I think about faith, this principle of power, I am obliged to believe that it is an intelligent force. Of what kind, I do not know. But it is superior to and overrules all other forces of which we know. …

“[We] have had this great power given unto us, this power of faith. What are we doing about it? Can you, can we, do the mighty things that the Savior did? Yes. They have been done by the members of the Church who had the faith and the righteousness so to do. Think of what is within your power if you but live the Gospel, if you but live so that you may invoke the power which is within you.” (J Reuben Clark Jr, In Conference Report, Apr. 1960, p. 21.)

D&C 35:9 Healing the sick

“The need of faith is often underestimated. The ill one and the family often seem to depend wholly on the power of the priesthood and the gift of healing that they hope the administering brethren may have, whereas the greater responsibility is with him who is blessed. … The major element is the faith of the individual when that person is conscious and accountable. ‘Thy faith hath made thee whole’  Matthew 9:22 was repeated so often by the Master that it almost became a chorus.”[“President Kimball Speaks Out on Administration to the Sick,” Tambuli, Aug. 1982, 36–37; New Era, Oct. 1981, 47.]

D&C 63:9 Faith cometh not by signs

‘If the purpose of miracles is to convert, then Jesus wasted his miracles all on believers…To impress people with miracles is one thing; to give them a testimony of the gospel another. As the experience of the Apostles showed, if people will not accept the gospel by the word without miracles, they will not accept it with miracles: ‘If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead’ (Luke 16:31). ‘ (Hugh Nibley, The World and the Prophets, p. 140-1)

2. Through sincere repentance, we can partake of the blessings of the Atonement.

D&C 58:42, D&C 1:32 Repentance and forgiveness

‘Where would we be, in fact, without God’s long-suffering? Given the divine sorrow each of us has caused our God and our Savior, what a divine comfort to know that “he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more” (D&C 58:42). No more reassuring and important words could be said to any of us.

What ineffable love! What stunning patience! How wrenching it would otherwise be to be resurrected and forever wincing over having displeased Him. Oh, the marvel of His divine mercy and His plan of happiness!’ (Neal A Maxwell, “Becoming a Disciple,” Ensign, June 1996, 17-18)

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D&C 18:11 He suffered the pains of all men

‘Jesus Christ suffered the pains of all men who have ever lived, or ever will live, upon the earth. This concept is incomprehensible to the mortal mind. Comprehending it is like trying to conceptualize the never-ending expanse of the universe:

How can we begin to comprehend the cumulative suffering of all mankind, or as taught by Elder Orson F. Whitney, “the piled up agony of the human race”? What is thrown on the scale of remorse, as observed by Truman Madsen, when we aggregate “the cumulative impact of our vicious thoughts, motives, and acts”? What, as Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone inquired, is the “weight and immensity of the penalties of all broken laws crying from the dust and from the future-an incomprehensible tidal wave of guilt”? How many searing consciences has this world produced and to what depths of depravity has this earthly sphere sunk? Can anyone possibly fathom the horrendous consequences of such sin? Not only did the Savior fathom it-he felt it, and he suffered it.’ (Tad R. Callister, The Infinite Atonement, 134)

D&C 19:16-19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father

‘The wondrous and glorious Atonement was the central act in all of human history. It was the hinge on which all else that finally matters turned. But it turned upon Jesus’ spiritual submissiveness!’ (Neal A Maxwell, “Willing to Submit,” Ensign, May 1985, p.70)

D&C 1:33 My Spirit shall not always strive with man

“Now the Lord has withdrawn His Spirit from the world. Do not let this thought become confused in your minds. The Spirit He has withdrawn from the world is not the Holy Ghost (for they never had that!), but it is the light of truth, spoken of in our scriptures as the Spirit of Christ, which is given to every man that cometh into the world, as you find recorded in Section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants.

“Now because of the wickedness of the world, that Spirit has been withdrawn, and when the Spirit of the Lord is not striving with men, the spirit of Satan is. Therefore, we may be sure that the time has come spoken of in Section 1 of the Doctrine and Covenants. … Peace has been taken from the earth. The devil has power over his own dominion. The Spirit of the Lord has been withdrawn. Not because the Lord desires to withdraw that Spirit, but because of the wickedness of mankind, it becomes necessary that this Spirit of the Lord be withdrawn.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, The Predicted Judgments, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [Provo, 21 Mar. 1967], pp. 5–6.)

D&C 29:17 My blood shall not cleanse them if they hear me not

‘If we do not repent, then the Lord clearly lets us know that there will be discipline and a denial of blessings and advancement. The Lord teaches that he cannot forgive people in their sins; he can only save them from their abandoned sins. The Lord clearly says, “My blood shall not cleanse them if they hear me not.” (D&C 29:17.) Hear in this instance means to accept and abide his teachings.’ (Spencer W Kimball, “The Gospel of Repentance,” Ensign, Oct. 1982, 5)

3. Baptism is an essential ordinance.

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D&C 20:37 Requirements for baptism

‘Mankind everywhere must subscribe to these conditions. There are no other conditions prescribed by the Lord by which we may obtain entrance into his kingdom and obtain salvation. These requirements are very plain, simple, and easy to be understood.'(George F Richards, Conference Report, October 1934, Afternoon Meeting 73.)

D&C 76:51 A testimony of Jesus

‘A most priceless blessing available to every member of the Church is a testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ and His church. A testimony is one of the few possessions we may take with us when we leave this life.

To have a testimony of Jesus is to possess knowledge through the Holy Ghost of the divine mission of Jesus Christ.

A testimony of Jesus is to know the divine nature of our Lord’s birth–that He is indeed the Only Begotten Son in the flesh.

A testimony of Jesus is to know that He was the promised Messiah and that while He sojourned among men He accomplished many mighty miracles.

A testimony of Jesus is to know that the laws which He prescribed as His doctrine are true and then to abide by these laws and ordinances.

To possess a testimony of Jesus is to know that He voluntarily took upon Himself the sins of all mankind in the Garden of Gethsemane, which caused Him to suffer in both body and spirit and to bleed from every pore. All this He did so that we would not have to suffer if we would repent. (See D&C 19:16, 18.)

To possess a testimony of Jesus is to know that He came forth triumphantly from the grave with a physical, resurrected body. And because He lives, so shall all mankind.

To possess a testimony of Jesus is to know that God the Father and Jesus Christ did indeed appear to the Prophet Joseph Smith to establish a new dispensation of His gospel so that salvation may be preached to all nations before He comes.

To possess a testimony of Jesus is to know that the Church, which He established in the meridian of time and restored in modern times is, as the Lord has declared, “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth.” (D&C 1:30.)

Having such a testimony is vital.’ [Ezra Taft Benson, “Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus,” Ensign, Feb. 1987, pp. 1-2]

D&C 20:72-74 Baptism by immersion

‘…the world had lost sight of the fact that baptism was for the remission of sins, and they had changed the mode instituted by the Savior and His apostles. They were practicing different kinds of baptism. Instead of immersing the whole body in water, as we do, some practiced baptism by sprinkling or pouring water upon the head, and none believed that baptism was anything more than “the outward sign of an inward grace.” It was not regarded as necessary to salvation, and as having been instituted for the remission of sins. But the Book of Mormon, like the Bible, declared this to be its purpose, and Joseph and Oliver, while translating the plates, when they came upon this doctrine, which was new to them also, marveled over it, and they went into the woods and prayed, asking the Lord for light upon the subject.’ (Orson F Whitney, Conference Report, April 1909, First Day-Morning Session. 14 – 15.)

D&C 20:71 Accountability

“Baptism is for the remission of sins, and no man can repent of a sin until he is accountable before God” (Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:50).

4. Through the ordinance of confirmation, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

D&C 130:22 A personage of Spirit

‘The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead, and, as such, like God the Father and Jesus Christ, He knows our thoughts and the intents of our hearts. See  Alma 12:7  18:16–18  Doctrine and Covenants 6:15–16 The Holy Ghost loves us and wants us to be happy. Since He knows the challenges we will face, He can guide us and teach us all things we must do to return and live with our Heavenly Father once again.[See  2 Nephi 32:5

Unlike Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, who have glorified bodies of flesh and bones, the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit who communicates to our spirits through feelings and impressions. See  Doctrine and Covenants 130:22 As a spirit being, He has the unique responsibility of being an agent through which personal revelation is received. In scripture, the Holy Ghost is often referred to as the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit of Promise, or simply the Spirit.’ (Craig C Christensen, General Conference, October 2012)

D&C 33:15 The gift of the Holy Ghost

‘We have the right to the guidance of the Holy Ghost, but we can’t have that guidance if we wilfully refuse to consider the revelations that have been given to help us to understand and to guide us in the light and truth of the everlasting gospel. We can’t hope to have that guidance when we refuse to consider these great revelations which mean so much to us both temporally and spiritually. Now if we find ourselves in this condition of unbelief or unwillingness to seek for the light and the knowledge which the Lord has placed within our reach, then we are liable or in danger of being deceived by evil spirits, the doctrines of devils, and the teachings of men. And when these false influences are presented before us, we will not have the distinguishing understanding by which we can segregate them and know that they are not of the Lord. And so we may become prey unto the ungodly, to the vicious, to the cunning, to the craftiness of men.’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, General Conference, October 1952)

D&C 35:5-6 By the laying on of hands

‘So far we are agreed with other Christian denominations. They all preach faith and repentance. The gospel requires baptism by immersion for the remission of sins…But I further believe in the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. Evidence by Peter’s preaching on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:38. You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half-that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost.’ (Joseph Smith,History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5: 499.)

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D&C 20:41 Baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost

“To gain salvation every accountable person must receive two baptisms. They are the baptism of water and of the Spirit. (John 3:3–5.) The baptism of the Spirit is called the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. (Matt. 3:11; Luke 3:16; 2 Ne. 31:13–14; 3 Ne. 11:35; 12:1–2; Morm. 7:10; D. & C. 20:41; 33:11; 39:6.) By the power of the Holy Ghost—who is the Sanctifier (3 Ne. 27:19–21)—dross, iniquity, carnality, sensuality, and every evil thing is burned out of the repentant soul as if by fire; the cleansed person becomes literally a new creature of the Holy Ghost. (Mosiah 27:24–26.) He is born again.

“The baptism of fire is not something in addition to the receipt of the Holy Ghost; rather, it is the actual enjoyment of the gift which is offered by the laying on of hands at the time of baptism. ‘Remission of sins,’ the Lord says, comes ‘by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost.’ (D. & C. 19:31; 2 Ne. 31:17.) Those who receive the baptism of fire are ‘filled as if with fire.’ (Hela. 5:45.)” (Bruce R McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 73.)

D&C 20:77 Always have his Spirit to be with them

‘I have had a lifetime of building faith in Christ, and hearing the promise in the sacrament prayer: “that they may always have his Spirit to be with them.” That prayer is very personal to me now. I need the Spirit of Christ through the Holy Ghost to be with me more now than I ever have, and I feel that promise being literally fulfilled, week by week. You cannot imagine the gratitude I feel, each Sabbath, as I partake of the sacrament, renew the promises I made at baptism, and feel the Savior making an answering promise to me. I cannot find words to tell you how strong and how comforting that sense of companionship is as I go about my duties.’ (Chieko N Okazaki, Lighten Up! [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1993], 221.)

D&C 39:6 The peaceable things of the kingdom

‘Feelings of peace are promptings and proof that the Spirit is bearing witness to us in response to our petitions. The Lord said to Oliver Cowdery through the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?” (D&C 6:23).’ (L Lionel Kendrick, “Personal Revelation,” Ensign, Sept. 1999, 13)

D&C 42:14 If ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach

‘This means that even if you use all the right teaching techniques and what you are teaching is true, without the Spirit real learning is not going to take place.’ (David M McConkie, General Conference, October 2010)

D&C 11:13 Enlighten your mind

“There is a way by which persons can keep their consciences clear before God and man, and that is to preserve within them the spirit of God, which is the spirit of revelation to every man and woman. It will reveal to them, even in the simplest of matters, what they shall do, by making suggestions to them. We should try to learn the nature of this spirit, that we may understand its suggestions, and then we will always be able to do right. This is the grand privilege of every Latter-day Saint. We know that it is our right to have the manifestations of the spirit every day of our lives. … From the time we receive the Gospel, go down into the waters of baptism and have hands laid upon us afterwards for the gift of the Holy Ghost, we have a friend, if we do not drive it from us by doing wrong. That friend is the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, which partakes of the things of God and shows them unto us. This is a grand means that the Lord has provided for us, that we may know the light, and not be groveling continually in the dark.” (Lorenzo Snow, In Conference Report, Apr. 1899, p. 52.)

D&C 84:33 Unto the renewing of their bodies

‘Brethren, I bear testimony to the fact that that promise has been realized in the lives of many of us. I know that it has been realized in the life of President David O. McKay, that he has been sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of his body, and some of the rest of us are better off today than we were many years ago so far as physical health is concerned-and we attribute that fact to his blessing.’ (Hugh B Brown, Conference Report, April 1963, General Priesthood Meeting 90.)

5. We must endure to the end in faith to receive eternal life.

D&C 14:7 The greatest of all the gifts of God

‘There is a distinction between immortality, or eternal existence, and eternal life, which is to have a place in the presence of God. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, immortality comes to all men, just or unjust, righteous or wicked. However, eternal life is “the greatest of all the gifts of God.” (D&C 14:7.) We obtain this great gift, according to the Lord, “if you keep my commandments and endure to the end.” If we so endure, the promise is, “you shall have eternal life.” (D&C 14:7.)’ (James E Faust, “The Supernal Gift of the Atonement,” Ensign, Nov. 1988, 12)

D&C 24:8 Be patient in afflictions

‘God does not deny us the experience we came here to have. He does not insulate us from tribulation or guarantee immunity from trouble.

Much of the pain we suffer and inevitably impose upon others is self-induced through our own bad judgment, through poor choices.

And for that, help is offered. To the penitent sinner comes the assurance that God will forgive, forget, and never mention our sins of which we have truly repented.

But much that happens to us in this life we cannot control; we only respond. Knowing what God has promised can provide the courage and faith we need. We are assured in the scriptures that we may know of a surety that the Lord does visit his people in their afflictions. (See  Mosiah 24:13–14 ) And that “whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.”  (Alma 36:3)

Jesus said to those who mourned the loss of a loved one, “And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” ( John 16:22).’ (Marion D Hanks, General Conference, October 1992).

 

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