Sunday, August 12, 2012

GCBC Week 20: The Doctrine of Christ

(Don't forget to enter the Katherine Nelson CD giveaway! The giveaway closes tomorrow at midnight, so make sure you go get your entry in! I'll have another CD giveaway up tomorrow as well, so come by tomorrow, too. The Katherine Nelson CD is amazing, so you really don't want to miss out. What are you waiting for? Go ENTER!!)

Well, General Conference Book Club participation has definitely been slow this summer - and I will blame it on just that - summer. Hopefully with school getting back in session you will all come back out and participate! I love General Conference, I love GCBC, and I love all of you who come and participate! The discussion is always fantastic. It's like Teachings for our Times every week. And with the ease of the internet. And unlimited participation time. And if you don't want to listen to someone yak on and on about what they think, you can just skip past that comment!

Why wouldn't you want to join us!?

The Doctrine of Christ - by Elder D. Todd Christofferson

I loved this talk. I always love talks that focus on the basics. That's the most important part of the gospel anyway - the basics. And Elder Christrofferson does a pretty good job of being clear about it.
“This is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. 
“And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. 
“And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned. 
“… And whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost. … 
“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” . 
This is our message, the rock upon which we build, the foundation of everything else in the Church. Like all that comes from God, this doctrine is pure, it is clear, it is easy to understand—even for a child. With glad hearts, we invite all to receive it.
Isn't that perfectly put. Definitely simple enough for a child to understand. And the greatest thing is - that's it. The gospel really is that simple. Everything else is, as the prophet Joseph Smith said, an appendage to the fundamental doctrine of the plan of salvation - the atonement of Jesus Christ, our Savior.

As far as understanding what else is doctrine, Elder Christofferson gives us a little bit of a guideline -
At the same time it should be remembered that not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. It is commonly understood in the Church that a statement made by one leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, not meant to be official or binding for the whole Church.
A friend of mine put it this way - if one of the General Authorities or the Apostles says something, or makes an isolated comment, you can take it as good counsel, personal opinion, whatever you want to. If most or all of the apostles have taught the same thing on the subject, it is probably a good bet that that is actual doctrine. An example that comes to mind is teachings about Heavenly Mother. In a recent BYU Studies paper that was published, the authors combed through several hundred teachings by apostles and prophets about Heavenly Mother. Most of the apostles and prophets taught openly about Her, and taught many really inspiring things. There have only been a handful of apostles and prophets who have said we shouldn't talk about her, or that she had no role in our creation or that she's isn't important.

I think that principle - that not everything a prophet or apostles says is doctrine is an important one to understand and keep in mind. A lot of judging goes on in the Church because of people who think they know what the doctrine is, but are really just taking one man's statement and turning it into their own false doctrine (anything that isn't truly doctrine is false doctrine). We should be careful to focus on the true doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we do that, we will never go wrong.

What did you get out of Elder Christofferson's talk?

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  1. This really is an important topic! And I LOVE the scripture that was used to define Christ's doctrine, as stated by Christ himself. It is simple. Have faith in Jesus Christ. Believe in Him and in His words. Repent of that which is not in harmony with His teachings. Be baptized as a witness that you do follow Jesus Christ, and so you may have his Holy Spirit (the Holy Ghost) to be with you, to guide, strengthen, and protect you... to help you to obey the commandments. Endure to the end - by following His teachings (even through the Holy Ghost) every day for the rest of your life - even when it is most challenging to do so (continually repenting each time we stumble). If an idea can not be tied to one of these pieces of the gospel foundation, it is probably not part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is simple. We need not seek for mysterious secrets.

  2. I just want to say that I am finally caught up with the past talks. Hopefully I can stay up to date and start commenting more often here. Thanks again for doing this.

  3. One of the footnotes to this talk says "In this way, the Church becomes a body of committed, spiritually mature individuals whose faith is not blind but seeing - informed and confirmed by the Holy Spirit. ...[Every member] can receive divine guidance in dealing with the challenges and opportunities of his or her life." What a blessing to know about this gospel and to have the gift of the Holy Ghost which gives us such a foundation. The Holy Ghost confirms truths of the gospel to us, as well as guides us in each of our lives!


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