doctrine of Christ
Scheduled for study March 2-8. The doctrine of Christ sets us on the covenant path. But living on that path requires us to follow his example, listen to the Spirit, believe in his teachings, and always remember him. It is easier said than done. Conceptually it is easy. Practice in life shows us it can be complicated.

Day 1

2 Nephi 31-32 – Jesus Christ and His doctrine are the only way to eternal life.

The most important things you’ll learn in your study will come from the whisperings of the Spirit. Seek this guidance, and record the promptings that come.

I will only try to make a couple of points in this lesson. The path to eternal life is easy to understand. It may be difficult to execute over the course of a lifetime, but the concept is simple enough that anyone can do it.  The manual describes the doctrine of Christ this way – “faith in Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.” I would modify the last part of the sentence this way: “enduring [with faith in Christ] to the end.”

The second point is that once we step onto this covenant path we spend the rest of our lives learning how to love and serve as does Christ. That is where it becomes difficult. I have mentioned before that serving others is not generally an easy thing to do. Try as we might to have the best of motives and behaviors, we still end up insulting people, offending people, making them feel insecure or bad about themselves, etc. It takes a lifetime of practice to learn how and when to serve another the right way. This means we have to rely on the Spirit in all things. The Spirit will teach us what to fix and when to fix it if we will listen to His counsel.

Day 2

2 Nephi 31:4-13 – Jesus Christ set the perfect example of obedience when He was baptized.

The most important things you’ll learn in your study will come from the whisperings of the Spirit. Seek this guidance, and record the promptings that come.

I always wondered how Jesus fulfilled all righteousness by getting baptized. I have finally decided that what makes sense to me is that baptism is our expression and the sign of our commitment to God to yield ourselves to Him in all things for the rest of our lives. It is our announcement to the the universe that we want to become like He is, and to return home to be with God forever.

It is in the making of sacred covenants to learn how to behave and act like a celestial citizen that we receive the Holy Ghost, our celestial tutor who teaches us about the celestial life. His time and talents are only given to those who are willing to do things the Father’s way and submit themselves to God’s priesthood authority and to the Spirit’s direction. The Spirit is working with the rest of the world all the time, trying to bring them to the waters of baptism. But His personal instruction is given only to those who make those sacred covenants that they are willing to submit to God in all things for the rest of their lives.

Day 3

2 Nephi 31:17-20; 32 – The Holy Ghost will show me what I should do.

The most important things you’ll learn in your study will come from the whisperings of the Spirit. Seek this guidance, and record the promptings that come.

Getting baptized and becoming a member of the Church is the easy part, as difficult as it may have been for the convert. The hard part is the lifelong “enduring” that now has to take place. Even those who were baptized at the age of eight have to learn how to endure to the end. Think of it like someone telling you that all you have to do to endure to the end is to walk across this taught rope to the far side and all will be well. Easier said than done. Learning to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost really is a balancing act that takes practice and effort.

In addition to learning to listen to the Spirit’s promptings and urgings, we need to learn how to pray more earnestly, be more sincere in our worship of our God, and learn what it means to be selfless in our service of others. There is so much to learn and to become in the process of enduring. We just need to never lose sight of the fact that enduring to the end is not an exercise in stagnation, but a lifelong process of change as we seek to be more and better today than we were yesterday. It is a good thing we have the Holy Ghost to guide us and teach us the way, for we couldn’t possibly do what is necessary on our own.

Elder Bednar gave a talk entitled, Receive the Holy Ghost in October of 2010. In that talk he states how we receive the Holy Ghost into our lives so he can help us and teach us what we need to do to return to our heavenly home.

Let me suggest that we need to (1) sincerely desire to receive the Holy Ghost, (2) appropriately invite the Holy Ghost into our lives, and (3) faithfully obey God’s commandments.

Baptism doesn’t just entitle us to being lead by the Spirit. The Lord never forces Himself on us in any way. We must always seek it and ask for it. Only then will His help come to us through the Spirit. Do a quick search in your scriptures under the word “ask.” Focus on latter-day scriptures. We are often told by the Lord to ask in the name of Jesus and it will be given us. The Lord doesn’t just hand out “candy” to all who want some, He waits until we have made an effort to bring our lives into line with his commandments then ask for it. Only then can we expect to be answered positively.

Nephi says in 2 Nephi 31:19 that we must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ.

20 Wherefore, ye must 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.

What is this steadfastness he refers to. If you read the previous verse he mentions that the convert has only gotten as far as baptism by relying on their faith in Christ. I believe the steadfastness he refers to in verse 20 is to continue to exercise faith in Christ every day for the rest of our lives. Our hope in Christ grows as our faith grows, and our faith grows as we practice what we have chosen to believe in. This practicing every day the teachings of Christ is what it means to press forward. It means we are trying continually to be more like Christ. This state of belief and practice is how we endure to the end. It is this perpetual effort we make to live as God would have us live that gets us eternal life come judgment day.

Day 4

2 Nephi 33 – The Book of Mormon persuades all to believe in Christ.

The most important things you’ll learn in your study will come from the whisperings of the Spirit. Seek this guidance, and record the promptings that come.

The manual makes the following invitation, and I strongly encourage you to accept this invitation.

Reflect on what you’ve read so far in 1 Nephi and 2 Nephi and notes you may have taken. How have the stories and teachings accomplished Nephi’s purposes for you?

Nephi opens the Book of Mormon record with this verse in 1 Nephi 6:4 that details the purpose of his record for each person who reads it.

For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved.

As many times as I have read the Book of Mormon in the past, never before have I seen Christ made manifest in so many places and in so many ways than I have with this last reading of the book. For example, within the first two pages of the book Nephi is already relating a vision of Christ by his father. And it doesn’t stop there. Christ is mentioned and talked openly about, his mercies, his coming, his future reign on the earth, over and over again on almost every page of the book.

I encourage you to go back and look at each page of the first two books of the Book of Mormon. Don’t look for the story line. Look instead for the doctrine that is being taught on each page. Just skim with your eyes through the verses and look for mentions of Savior, Christ, Jesus, Lord, Redeemer, etc. Suddenly you will notice that he is mentioned and discussed in one way or another all over the place. I believe that Nephi’s personal record accomplished what he set out to do, to convince us the Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. He convincingly makes his case that we need him, and that the Spirit can lead us to him.

Once you have skimmed through these chapters, I suggest you find someone to talk to about it. Once the prevalence of the Christ references in these chapters is made more clear, it can be quite overwhelming.

Scripture Study and Family Home Evening

2 Nephi 32:8-9 – Pray always.

I suggest associating the following two phrases: “pray always” and “always remember him.” How close are they to meaning the same thing? Or perhaps I should say, how close are they to accomplishing the same thing?

The manual suggests considering circumstances in which we can pray. Is there really any circumstance where some form of communication with God would be inappropriate or unwanted? The sacrament prayer says we must always remember him, meaning the Savior. How would you describe the result of always remembering the Savior? What happens when we pray to him always?

Do we have to be on our knees to pray? What about a prayer in our hearts? Most of us have a running monologue going on in our heads. We are thinking to ourselves about what is going on, deliberating on choices, wrestling with temptations, and seeking to make sense of life. What happens when we start including conversations with our Father in Heaven in that mental monologue. I submit that it will quickly turn from a monologue into a dialogue.

I tried to find ways to talk to God as part of my efforts to make choices, deal with temptations, understand things that were difficult, etc. I discovered that by doing so, instead of remembering the Savior mainly on Sundays when the sacrament came around, I was thinking of him more often during the week. I now had a group conversation going on – I spoke to my Heavenly Father, discussed things His Son had told me to do in the scriptures and from directives over the pulpit, and was listening to the Spirit as I sought for answers. Suddenly, through the act of “always remembering him” I was involved with the whole Godhead on a daily, hourly basis. I began to see things differently, understand spiritual things more quickly, and feel more comfortable praying to Him.

If you haven’t done so yet, I recommend trying this process. It has made a big difference for me. By trying to always remember him in my thoughts, the whole Godhead became far more real to me, because I became an active participant in my own life with them. I wasn’t expecting answers to everything I asked about, at least not when I asked the questions. My main goal was to let my Father in Heaven know I was thinking about Him and trying to show Him my thought processes. The exercise was more for me than for Him. Try it. I would love to hear your experiences trying to pray always and always remember Him.

Here is a PDF of this week’s study material.
Print it out for greater convenience in your studies.

BoM Week 10

(2 Nephi 31-33)