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So – I love how things work out sometimes. I’ve been working on the Book of Mormon Forum throughout the month of October. I love sharing my testimony of the Book of Mormon – as I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon. It has brought me closer to Christ, and continually strengthens my faith in Him and inspires me to be a better disciple. A lot has been going on in the world around us (here in the U.S.) with the various Republican candidates for president. Mitt Romney is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so much is being said about the Mormons. One thing that is being said is that we are not Christian. I actually find this kind of hilarious.
I have a testimony that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior. I have felt His love. I understand my need for a Savior. I have come to know about Him – and His nature – through The Book of Mormon and words of the prophets. This knowledge has motivated me to follow Him.
What the Book of Mormon teaches us about discipleship – through covenant making – is what today’s post is all about.
I love this quote by Elder Anderson:
” Faith in Jesus Christ, when solidly anchored in our souls, brings true conversion, and in its wake come repentance, honest discipleship, miracles, spiritual gifts, and enduring righteousness. This is an important part of the divine mission of the Book of Mormon.” – Neil L. Anderson, member of the quorum of the twelve apostles
Faith is more than mere believing it is an action word. When we have faith in Christ, we are moved. As Elder Anderson teaches, next comes repentance and honest discipleship. What exactly is honest discipleship? It can be a lot of things, but one way that we become disciples of Christ is through following Him. This is the doctrine of Christ.
We learn in the New Testament that we need to come unto Christ and be baptized. Christ teaches:
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” – Mark 16:16
He taught Nicodemus:
” 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” – John 3:5
We know that we need to be baptized. But why? Christ pleads with us:
” 28 ¶Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
As much as I love the references and truths taught in the New Testament, none of them are as direct as what we learn in the Book of Mormon.
As we read in the Book of Mormon, we understand our need for a Savior. Our faith grows, and a natural result is that we desire to come unto Christ because we know that He is our salvation. We learn how through Christ, we can covenant with Heavenly Father, and overcome the plight of mortality: physical and spiritual death.
Nephi teaches the doctrine of Christ in 2 Nephi 31. I encourage you to read it yourself. But for now, here are a few highlights.
- In order to fulfill all righteousness, Christ, himself was baptized. Christ was holy, yet he needed to covenant with Heavenly Father in order to fulfill all righteousness. Because Christ was holy, he was able to covenant with Heavenly Father directly – he didn’t need a mediator. Nephi also explains:
” 7 Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments.
8 Wherefore, after he was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove.” – 2 Nephi 31:7-8
Christ was humble and kept every single commandment of God with exactness.
- The gate into the Kingdom of God is strait and narrow. Remember strait is another word for narrow (think Bering Strait or Strait of Gibraltar). Strait not straight. Because the gate into God’s Kingdom is strait and narrow, this connotes that exactness is required. There are not many ways into God’s kingdom. There is only one way, and it is quite precise. Christ’s own baptism illustrates this precision.
- Christ commanded us to follow him. – How can we possible follow Him if we refuse to follow Him into the waters of baptism? We must follow Him into the waters of Baptism. We must be willing to covenant with the father.
- We are commanded to repent and be baptized – in Christ’s name. – So, it is required of us to repent and then be baptized. Interestingly enough, we must be baptized in Christ’s name. It was essential for Him to be baptized – so we can be baptized. Because we are unholy, we cannot covenant directly with Heavenly Father. We need Jesus Christ to be our Mediator. Jesus Christ saves us! Jesus Christ enables us to covenant with Heavenly Father and enter into that strait and narrow gate.
- When we covenant with God, through Jesus Christ, then Heavenly Father will bless us with the Gift of the Holy Ghost. – Recall Christ’s experience – He was baptized, then the Spirit fell on Him like a dove. We can receive this blessing of the gift of the Holy Ghost as well.
- The Gift of the Holy Ghost will sanctify us. – While baptism cleans us, it is the gift of the Holy Ghost that makes us pure and holy. Then, we are changed beings, and we can speak with “the tongue of angels,” (2 Nephi 31:13). Another example of this is taught to us by Isaiah.
- We must endure to the end. Nephi teaches:
” 14 But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me.
15 And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.
16 And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.” – 2 Nephi 31:14-16
Endurance is crucial in our progression. After entering into the gates of God’s Kingdom through baptism, we are not done! Instead, we need to, “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life,” (2 Nephi 31:20).
- If we do all of this, then we will receive eternal life.
This is the way it is the only way – the true doctrine of Christ.
We must believe in Him and be His disciples by following Him. Christ also teaches His doctrine, personally, in the Book of Mormon.
I’m so grateful that I understand the need for my Savior. I’m grateful to have an understanding of his nature and attributes. I’m especially grateful that I have had the opportunity to covenant with Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ. I know that He is my advocate with Heavenly Father. I know that He pleads my cause. This brings me so much humility and gratitude. I know that on my own, I am nothing, but because of Christ, I am made whole.
I encourage you, if you haven’t read the Book of Mormon, give it a try! Read it. You can find it online here. You can also order a free copy here. If you would like to read other testimonies of the Book of Mormon, check out the Book of Mormon Forum.