The Doctrine of Christ

It is often said that the Book of Mormon is a second witness of Christ and is an ancient record comparable to the Bible. It is also believed that the Bible and Book of Mormon both contain the fullness of the gospel. However, it should also be pointed out that the Book of Mormon contains a much more detailed description of the fullness of the Gospel than the Bible does.

The passages that detail the saving ordinances and actions necessary to be saved are also referred in the Book of Mormon as the “Doctrine of Christ”. Interestingly, any time the term “doctrines” (plural) is used in the Book of Mormon, it is referring to false doctrines[1].

Although the Bible quotes John the Baptist as saying that he only baptized with water and that one greater than himself would come after him and baptize with fire and the Holy Ghost, there is no other reference to the “baptism of water fire and the Holy Ghost” in the New Testament nor is there a detailed protocol for how to perform a baptism.

Additionally, the New Testament does not provide much clarity about priesthood authority relative to administering the saving ordinances of the gospel. This is perhaps at least in part, why the book of Mormon declares that many of the plain and precious parts of the gospel and many covenants were taken out of the Bible by the great and abominable church:

And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away. [2]

Conversely, the Book of Mormon provides detailed explanations and multiple examples of what the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is. It provides the exact verbiage for performing baptisms and it makes clear the necessity of the administrator being called of God with the proper authority.

Does the Bible really contain the fullness of the gospel?

In section 42 which contains the law of the gospel it says-

“And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel[3]

The wording in the above passage is interesting and perhaps a little confusing. It can be interpreted two different ways. One could surmise that both the Bible and the Book of Mormon each contain the fullness of the gospel independently, or one could deduct from the passage that they jointly contain the fullness of the gospel, or one could reason from this verse that the Book of Mormon alone contains the fullness of the gospel.

While the D&C clearly states at least four times that the Book of Mormon independently contains the fullness of the gospel, it NEVER states that the Bible contains the fullness of the gospel by itself. (20:9, 27:5, 35:12 & 17, 135:3 See also JS History 1:34) 

1981 Introduction to the Book of Mormon

In the 1981 introduction to the Book of Mormon, it claimed that both the Bible and the Book of Mormon independently contained the fullness of the gospel.

introduction 1981
However, an acquaintance of mine disagreed with the supposition that the Bible contains the fullness of the Gospel so he met with a member of his Ward who was on the church Missionary Committee and explained to him why he disagreed with the claim that the Bible contains the fulness of the Gospel.  The Missionary Committee alerted the Scriptures Committee, setting in motion eventual approval to correct the first paragraph in the Introduction page of the Book of Mormon.

2004 Introduction to the Book of Mormon

introduction 2004

The subtle changes that were made in the introduction would probably never be noticed by the casual reader unless they knew what they were looking for, however once it is noticed, the change is quite significant.

Understanding that the Bible does not clearly contain the fullness of the gospel helps us to better appreciate the huge significance of what the angel was telling Joseph Smith about the importance of the Book of Mormon and how it is differentiated from the Bible with regard to providing the fullness of the Gospel:

“He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;”[4]

Clearly, the Book of Mormon was not being brought forth by the gift and power of God simply to be a second witness with the Bible of the birth, ministry, crucifixion, and atonement of Jesus Christ. It was critical in explaining what the fullness of the gospel is and how a person can become a saved being in the kingdom of God.

What good is it to know what Christ did for us if we do not understand the doctrine of Christ that enables us to “come unto Christ” through the merits of his atonement?

Obviously, the church wanted to be low-key about this doctrinal correction since they did not want to incur the wrath of the Christian world by making the declaration that the Book of Mormon is necessary as a companion to the Bible in clearly documenting what the doctrine of Christ and the fullness of the gospel is.

Can Anything Good Come out of Education Week?

In 2008 a fellow by the name of Richard N. Holzapfel, who is arguably the most published LDS scholar living today, gave an astounding, if not revolutionary talk at BYU Education Week in which he spoke about the above mentioned changes in the introduction of the Book of Mormon.

He also presented several ground breaking observations regarding the doctrine of Christ as contained in the Book of Mormon including what the true and very simple definition of the Doctrine of Christ is.

I have been told by someone very close to Brother Holzapfel that several General Authorities contacted Brother Holzapfel after his presentation and thanked him for his inspired talk and the way he clarified the meaning of the fulness of the Gospel and the true Doctrine of Christ, as contained in the Book of Mormon.

Sadly, nothing has been done to correct the apostate teaching curriculum of the Church. Nothing has been done with regard to weeding out all of the false doctrines. Nor have the heretical ceremonies that have crept into the church since the restoration of the New Testament Church took place in Kirtland been removed and acknowledged to be fraudulent.

In his provocative presentation, I believe Brother Holzapfel unwittingly proved that the LDS temple endowment is not part of the doctrine of Christ or the fullness of the gospel and in fact, it represents “another gospel” than the gospel of Christ.

The apostle Paul had warned about those in his day who had perverted the simple gospel of Christ and were teaching another gospel:

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”[5]

It truly is a marvel that the latter day apostate church has replaced parts of the gospel of Christ with the gospel of Lucifer.

I have previously documented how the restored church broke the everlasting covenant and changed the ordinance. In that article I noted the following statement in the original publication of the Doctrine and Covenants Commentary by Smith and Sjodahl:

“That great and abominable church; A Church which has discarded the principles of church government established by our Lord and adopted those of Lucifer.”[6]

One of the most prolific and plain explanations on the Doctrine of Christ is contained in 2nd Nephi 31. In that chapter Nephi actually shares the words of the Father and the words of the Son that came to him and taught him the doctrine of Christ, and about the baptism of water, fire and the Holy Ghost.

In that chapter he explains that repentance and baptism of water represents the “strait gate” that we must pass through and that the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost represent the “narrow path” that we must enter.

The gate

“For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water..”

The strait and narrow path
(is the reception of the promise of the Father)

“..and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.”.. And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive..”[7]

He then explains that the only thing required for salvation after we enter into the narrow path is to ENDURE TO THE END.

Endure means to “continue in the same state

This means that no other ordinances of salvation or required to change or enhance or further sanctify the state of our soul.

The only thing necessary for salvation after entering into the strait gate is to ENDURE TO THE END.

The admonition to ENDURE TO THE END is very significant because the definition of endure is to continue in the same state… to remain.

1828 Websters Dictionary

endure

ENDU’RE, v.t. [L. durus, duro.]

1. To last; to continue in the same state without perishing; to remain; to abide.

After the carnal, natural man has exercised faith and repented and become a new creature of the Holy Ghost through the spiritual rebirth, all they need to do is to remain in the sanctified state that they are in.

The D&C warns that even those who are justified and sanctified can fall from grace which is why the Book of Mormon warns us that we must “retain a remission of our sins”.

“And we know that justification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true;

 And we know also, that sanctification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true, to all those who love and serve God with all their mights, minds, and strength.

 But there is a possibility that man may fall from grace and depart from the living God;

 Therefore let the church take heed and pray always, lest they fall into temptation;

 Yea, and even let those who are sanctified take heed also.[8]

In other words, the principles and ordinances of the gospel that enable the saints of God to enter into the strait gate and become sanctified and endure to the end, are all that are needed to enter into the highest kingdom of God as long as we retain a remission of our sins and continue in our sanctified state.

After we have exercised faith, repented of our sins, followed the proper baptismal protocol and been baptized by water, fire and the Holy Ghost, all we need to do is endure to the end by remaining sanctified.

Why is this important to understand?

Because there are those that teach that we need to go through additional saving and sanctifying temple ordinances of salvation to become something greater and more sanctified than a sanctified being.

The apostate modern corporate church is currently teaching that the doctrine of Christ and the baptism of water, fire and the Holy Ghost is not enough to be saved in the highest kingdom of God.

It is teaching that additional saving ordinances in the temple are necessary to be saved.

There are church leaders, scholars and apologists that are teaching that you do not get the Holy Ghost after baptism until you get your temple endowments.

There are church leaders that are teaching that you cannot fully take upon yourself the name of Christ through the spiritual rebirth of baptism and that you need to go to the temple to fully take upon yourself the name of Christ.

In a recent article posted at the MormonInterpreter an LDS apologist made the following claims in an attempt to justify the Mormon Temple endowment-

  • We need secret ordinances of salvation that are provided within the LDS temples in addition to the doctrine of Christ that is provided in the Book of Mormon.
  • We cannot fully take upon us the name of Christ through baptism and therefore we need the addition temple endowments and the secret signs, and tokens, and secret ways of taking life, and washings and anointings, etc., etc., etc.
  • The secret ordinances of salvation in the temple endowment was part of a secret doctrine of Christ that was never meant to be published.

The author quoted Elder Dallin H. Oaks as claiming that the name of Christ “is not fully taken upon us by baptism alone”. It is almost beyond my comprehension that someone claiming to be an apostle could make such a declaration.

I began my rebuttal to the heresies with the following statement:

“Perhaps one of the most difficult issues that Latter day Saints have to address with mainstream Christianity is the fact that so much of Modern Mormonism is based on non-biblical teachings, ceremonies and ordinances.

To complicate things, even the Doctrine and Covenant and Book of Mormon provide no scriptural justification for the sealing ordinances and ceremonies in current LDS temple worship.”

I then challenged all of the suppositions in the article and pointed out that Joseph and others became sanctified and obtained their calling and election in Kirtland, over a decade BEFORE the masonic temple endowment emerged in Nauvoo. To my surprise, a believing Mormon who has apparently been a temple worker for many years made the following admission:

“Guys I have had the same set of experiences that Ted has [officiating in temple sealings for many years] but must say watcher wins this round Anyone who claims that the temple ordinances are essential must deal with the historical fact that Joseph and many others in the early church received their calling and election and the Second Comforter w/o those ordinances. They had the reality we are left the symbol” (link)

I had also challenged the absurd notion that we cannot fully take on the name of Christ and get a complete remission of sins through baptism.

The author of the article responded thusly:

“Of course we believe that remission of sins is complete at baptism. The issue is whether our journey ends at that point. If you accept Nephi’s words, then you should understand the need to press forward on the strait and narrow path after baptism. It’s not just Nephi, either. Peter, for example, in 2 Peter 1:3-10 speaks of many further steps we need to take before our calling and election is made sure. God’s work with us involves much beyond baptism.”[9]

I agree with the author that our “journey” does not end after getting a remission of our sins after baptism. The fact that we need to endure to the end proves that the journey continues after we get into the strait gate. The is one of the profound points made in the dream Lehi had of the iron rod and the Tree of Life.

I think that what we disagree on has to do with the nature of the journey. He seems to think that the journey includes additional ordinances of salvation that are obtained in the Mormon Temple.

The passages of scriptures that the author provided above to support the necessity of the need for yet additional ordinances of salvation, including the temple endowment are clearly not referring to additional saving ordinances.

It is important to understand the difference between the Godly attributes Paul says we need to receive through the grace of God as we endure to the end, as opposed to the Temple ceremony and endowment that is being promoted by the corporate church as a required saving ordinance of the gospel:

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall..”[10]

I absolutely love and agree with Pauls council and observations in the above passages. I can see in the above passages the need to take upon ourselves the divine nature of God and the Godly attributes listed therein.

Thank goodness for the fullness of the gospel and the Doctrine of Christ in the Book of Mormon that explains the mystical baptism of water, fire and the Holy Ghost which enables us to take upon ourselves the divine nature of God by the sanctifying power of the blood of Christ and by the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.

However, I did not see one thing in the words of Paul that would justify the need for an outward temple ordinance that has the power to sanctify us more than the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost!

endowment 1

There is not one shred of evidence in the four standard works that suggests that ceremonial clothing, and rituals, and secrets signs and tokens and swearing by ones neck, can provide a greater sanctification or further enlightenment than the spiritual rebirth documented in the holy word of God.

endowment 2

It is truly shocking that Latter day Saints seldom ever talk about the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost in their own lives because they have been duped into thinking that the temple endowment ritual somehow replaces or supersedes it.

pentecost 2
They read about the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost that took place on the day of Pentecost but do not yearn to have it themselves. It is all theory to them. They seem content with with the pomp and ceremony of an outward ritual.

pentecost 1

 

When Christ visited the Nephites and taught them the very simple, plain and pure doctrine of Christ which we will outline and analyze in part two of this series, he warned them that those that perverted the doctrine of Christ and added more to it, would be received by the gates of hell when the time of judgment comes:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.

And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.

Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.”[11]

It seems to me that those that deviate from the pure and simple doctrine of Christ as contained in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants and think they can purchase salvation for money via a corrupt form of tithing, and put their trust in additional ceremonies and endowments that contain methods of taking life and secret oaths and secret handshakes, etc., are truly deceived and in the very “Gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity”.

I fear they will be children of wrath if they don’t speedily repent and return to the true doctrine of Christ when the servants return during the final restoration spoken of in the scriptures.

The interesting thing about Nephi’s pontification of the Doctrine of Christ in 2nd Nephi 31-32 is that after detailing the Doctrine of Christ, he informed them that there is indeed additional doctrine that would be revealed to the Nephites once Christ appeared to them in the flesh:

“Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine [of Christ] given UNTIL after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.”[12]

What other doctrine of Christ could possibly be needed than what is described by Nephi in those chapters. Nephi had already said that all you need to do is endure to the end after receiving a remission of our sins and entering into the narrow gate.

The Purpose of the Sacrament is Spiritual ENDURANCE

The answer of course is found in 3rd Nephi when Christ visited them in the flesh. At that time, Christ provided the Lord’s supper for the express purpose of helping those that had entered into the strait gate and the narrow path to endure to the end and retain a remission of their sins.

The Lord’s supper appears to be an ordinance provided for the express purpose of helping believers to endure to the end by always having God’s spirit to be with them and to always keep his commandments.

Notice that the sacrament prayer is essentially a reiteration of the public confession that Section 20:37 requires us to make at the time of baptism. It is my belief that the public confession represents the front side of the  oath and covenant of the priesthood.[13] The candidate publicly WITNESSES to the Father before the church that they have repented of their sins and are willing to take upon them the name of Christ and to keep Gods Commandments and serve him to the end. Upon faithfulness, the Father then makes his Oath and Covenant in return which can be reviewed in Section 84:39-40.

What is being introduced in this ordinance is the ingesting of the blood and flesh of Christ. The desired result of the sacrament ordinance is to “always have his spirit to be with them” which is how one retains a remission of their sins and endures to the end:

“O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen”[14]

The sacrament ordinance is specifically devised to enable a person to stay in the narrow path by retaining a remission of their sins and to enduring to the end.

That is not the only other doctrine of Christ that was introduced by Christ when he came to the Nephites in the flesh. There is another one that helps to keep us in the narrow way and to endure to the end.

During our journey in the narrow path we are to obey every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God”.[15]

 

To be continued…

 

[1] Some of the content and ideas for this article is taken from the 2008 Education Week talk by Richard N. Holzapfel titled “The Book of Mormon; An Ancient book with a Modern Message”   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dUPWlyS384

[2] 1 Nephi 13:26

[3] D&C 42:12

[4] Joseph Smith History 1;34

[5] Galations 1:6-8

[6] Pg 202

[7] 2nd Nephi 31: 17-18

[8] D&C 20:30-34

[9] http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/the-yoke-of-christ-a-light-burden-heavy-with-meaning/#comment-19041

[10] 2 Peter 1:3-10

[11] 3rd Nephi 11:39-41

[12] 2 Nephi 32:6

[13] “And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism—All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.” D&C 20:37 this passage will be discussed in more detail in part two of the series.

[14] Moroni 4:3

[15] D&C 84:44 see also Matt 4:4

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