This year (2020) I was invited to share my thoughts in Sunstone's "Why I Stay" plenary session for their co...
Sometimes there’s debate on what the gospel of Christ is. We often attach a lot of unnecessary and even inappropriate things to it. But it’s important to understand that Christ does command us to build on it (see Helaman 5:12, Doctrine and Covenants 11:24, 6:34, 18:5, 21:2, 3 Nephi 18:12, Jacob 4:17, Hebrew 11:10, Ephesians 2:20, 1 Corinthians 3:10, and Luke 6:48). We’re not just to dig down to the foundation then simply admire it. We need to build on it especially as guided through revelation.
But in discovering and rediscovering what the gospel is, fortunately Christ has been very explicit in this. Several places in LDS scripture the Lord uses the phrase “this is my gospel” or “this is the plan of salvation”.
Moses 6:58-62 (God to Enoch)
58 Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying:
59 That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;
60 For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;
61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.
62 And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.
D&C 33:11-12 (revelations to Joseph Smith):
11 Yea, repent and be baptized, every one of you, for a remission of your sins; yea, be baptized even by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.
12 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and remember that they shall have faith in me or they can in nowise be saved;
D&C 39:6 (another revelation to Joseph Smith)
6 And this is my gospel—repentance and baptism by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom.
3 Ne. 27:13, 15-16, 20-21 (Christ when He appeared to the Nephites)
13 Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.
16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.
20 Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.
21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do;
From this we can see that it boils down to faith, repentance, baptism, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
Doctrine and Covenants 11-12 (from above) distills this down nicely. Verse 11 is what the “this” in verse 12 is referring to. If we take out the redundant words (without getting too aggressive about it) we get:
Repent and be baptized for a remission of your sins; be baptized even by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.
Which is 139 characters which leaves room for one hashtag. My vote is to put it on #Repent which is the continuous, self-correcting principle for the whole process.
So we have the tweet:
#Repent and be baptized for a remission of your sins; be baptized even by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.
Now, unpacking what each of those mean, precisely, in the infinite diversity of human souls is the task for a lifetime. I think that’s by-design. The gospel of Jesus Christ certainly is simple, but its application is complex and robust enough to address the diversity of everyone who applies it.
(Tweet image source here – used under Creative Commons)