Main Point Up Front: We are responsible for choosing the right and living accordingly.
Key Doctrines: The Godhead and Plan of Salvation
Key Principles: Agency, Repentance, Seeking Exaltation
Many people in contemporary and past societies preach we are free to do as we wish with little to no consequence. Either God does not exist, we have already been saved or will be saved in our sins. As the anti-Christs of the Book of Mormon teach, there is no crime nor justice and in the end, all shall have eternal life. These teachings are false and will not lead to exaltation nor happiness as Alma the Younger taught.
The gospel is often taught in pairs. Justice accompanies mercy, agency comes with accountability, and faith goes with works. The adversary will often try to separate one from the other in order to deceive God’s children. He claims we only need to believe and not worry about works. The devil may also claim God does not exist so there is no need for works. God is only merciful and is love, so He will love and save us no matter what we do. Or on the contrary, the devil leads some to believe God is all justice and none are worthy of His love or mercy. Either way, the result is choosing whatever we want because there is no sin nor consequence.
We know from the scriptures that these concepts are false. James in the Bible and Nephi in the Book of Mormon teach that faith without works is dead and we are saved after doing our part. God does love His children but cannot save us in our sins. The scriptures teach that God loved us so much that He sent His only begotten son to take upon himself our afflictions and it truly is God’s intent to give us the tools to return to Him. Regarding the last pair, the scriptures truly testify that we are free to choose and we must choose now who we will serve.
In order to understand the pairs of the gospel and how to live the gospel, we must understand the doctrines of the gospel and the principles that follow. A doctrine is an eternal truth that does not change. Principles stem from doctrine and teach us how to live, such as having faith in Jesus Christ. For example, understanding the Atonement of Jesus Christ leads us to the principle of faith where faith without works is dead. If we do not act upon our faith, then the Atonement of Jesus Christ can have no saving power over us.
This last weekend, we had the marvelous opportunity to listen to Christ’s prophets and apostles. As we study our notes and the talks, let us look for the basic doctrines of Christ that will teach us the correct principles in order to live a celestial life. We are free to act for ourselves and not be acted upon and to choose eternal life. As we do so, we will be blessed and “divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil.”
- “The Great Plan” -President Dallin H. Oaks, April 2020
- “The Plan of Salvation” -Elder L. Tom Perry, October 2006
- “‘If Ye Had Known Me’” -Elder David A. Bednar, October 2016
You can follow Levi on Twitter @AnAmericanAbro2.