Monday, September 22, 2008


I'm really confused. On Sunday, we were talking about 3 Nephi 11, where Christ comes to the Americas. He says very clearly what his doctrine is: believe in Him, repent, and be baptized, then you'll receive the Holy Ghost. This sounds like the 4th article of faith, right? Well, then later in the chapter, Christ says that anyone who adds to this doctrine or takes away from it is not of me.

So here's my confusion: as we were discussing this in Sunday School, people kept talking about other doctrines that didn't seem to be related to what Christ says is his doctrine. For example, someone brought up food storage as a doctrine that teaches us self-reliance, which is something that this person claimed Christ taught about. I don't exactly see how self-reliance relates to faith, repentance, and baptism.

Helen and I discussed it afterward and she said that perhaps Christ doesn't want us to call anything else "His doctrine" except these three things. I thought that was interesting and we explored it for a little bit, but I'm still not quite sure I know what Christ is saying there. Any suggestions?

1 comment:

Nathan said...

That's something I've wondered about, too. It's answered in a couple different Church manuals. I think part of the answer, though, is clear just from thinking about the text.

If Christ meant, "The only three teachings in my gospel are have faith, repent, and be baptized," that raises a question: "What do I repent of?" As soon as we give an answer, we're talking about additional teachings beside those three.

Those three doctrines implicitly refer to other teachings. So whatever it is the Lord intended when he said not to "declare more or less than this," it clearly wasn't the idea that he has no teachings beyond those three.

For one thing, it could have been a time-limited instruction to that particular group, until further notice. But I think it's more likely that his main intent was that we focus on those doctrines and the requirements for salvation, as opposed to interesting hobby doctrines.