I know, I know–why all the sudden and even significant changes to the Doctrine of Christ Study Guide? It is hard to explain in a sentence or two. However, suffice it to say these changes are driven by the Lord. I can tell you I can relate to Nephi a bit:
“Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.” (2 Nephi 4:23)
He does hear my petitions and He wakes me in the night and He keeps the lamp on at my bedside into the wee hours, studying His word and soaking up the wisdom He is willing to share at that time. He shares only what I need at that time or how much I can receive, comprehend or make sense of.
I also feel like others when they declare their weakness and insecurity in writing (Ether 12:23,40-41; 1 Nephi 19:6; 2 Nephi 3:21). You would think that in a document that sources so much of the written word that it would be easier. But in my personal weakness, I have so much of a problem trying to convert the Lord’s wisdom, as it is revealed to me, into good literature or even something that makes sense to others. See! Case in point, I don’t think I even explained that right.
For this reason, and a couple others, I really believe the Lord continues to shape and reshape this Doctrine of Christ Study Guide. While many things make sense to me personally and many dots have been connected for me, my weakness in writing does not convey those same important truths and points of doctrine to other readers.
So humbly, I ask for your forgiveness and I will praise the Lord for His patience, His willingness to work with weak things, His wisdom and His love. God truly is so good 🙂
Relationship Patterns of History
The Doctrine of Christ is the good news (gospel) of complete redemption being sanctified and able to return to the presence of the Savior, Jesus Christ, while in mortality. The Doctrine of Christ is an eternal principle. It was introduced with Adam. The invitation to receive redemption and return to His presence has existed and will exist in every dispensation–making the invitation “everlasting.”
There have always been apostasies where people turn away from or reject the gospel covenant including the children of Israel, the Jews at the time of Christ, the Christians after Christ, peoples in the Book of Mormon, the continued unbelief or rejection in the latter days (D&C 84:53-58), and many more.
So, if you can understand the origin of the Doctrine of Christ you will then understand the importance of learning, believing and living it today.
For this reason, additional sections have been added to the beginning of the Study Guide. These new sections should help you develop background and context before leading you into a more detailed study of the Doctrine of Christ:
- The Gospel Covenant Originated with Adam
- A Covenant Path to Redemption (Gospel) is Given to Adam (Us)
- Israel’s Apostasy
- Israel Provokes the Lord
- The Old Covenant (Mosaic Law) is Introduced
- Some of Israel Received Complete Redemption
- A New Covenant Was Prophesied
- The New Covenant is a Fulfillment of the Old
- Christ, Himself, Mediates the New Covenant
- Restoration of the Original Gospel Covenant in the Latter Days
- As with Israel & Moses, Latter Day Church Received Condemnation
- The Latter Day Temple Symbolically Points Us to Receive a Complete Redemption
From these new sections, hopefully you are seeing that throughout history that there are patterns in the relationship between the Lord and the children of God.
“The Way” Is Always Personal
This Covenant and promise from God to Adam is the Gospel (‘Good News’) of Jesus Christ. It is “the way” referred to in the scriptures (2 Nephi 31-33).
Since Adam, the Lord, through prophets have tried to help peoples even cities to journey on “the way” and receive a complete redemption by sanctifying themselves and return to His presence. Moses tried it. The Savior among the Jews tried it. Joseph Smith tried it. Enoch might be the only exception we know of that tried it and was successful. However, because of opposition in all things and the workings of the adversary, almost always it did not succeed only because the people as a whole rejected or refused the invitation due to unbelief.
“Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you—yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel” (Ether 4:15).
However, the Lord has always kept his invitation open to any individual that desires to receive a complete redemption. The scriptures are filled with the exceptions to these unbelieving groups and peoples whereby individuals did personally receive their baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost and return to the presence of the Savior, Jesus Christ, to be a personal witness of Him. So as individuals, we do not have to live under any condemnation if we so choose to seek and follow “the way.”
The Good News is Still Good
These patterns in history help us understand why the Doctrine of Christ is so relevant to you, even all of us, right now. I encourage you to figure out where we are, both as a people and personally, in history among these patterns.
I also hope you see that since delivering the “good news” (gospel) and covenant to Adam and Eve, the Lord has been consistent in inviting individuals to receive a complete redemption while in mortality–being sanctified and return to the presence of the Lord. He is the great Promise Keeper and has never defaulted on His covenants. The “good news” originally delivered to Adam is equally relevant today and His invitation is everlasting. This is His doctrine, yes, even the Doctrine of Christ.