President's Message - September 2009Summer is ending and the weather is beautiful. This is a wonderful time of year to be out talking with everyone about the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ!
In Preach My Gospel, we are taught by President Packer that “true doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behaviors”. To bring people unto to Christ, which is our purpose as missionaries, we need to help people make changes in their lives. This is done by helping them make and keep commitments that lead them to a life in harmony with the laws and ordinances of the gospel and the commandments of God. We help people make and keep commitments by Preaching the Gospel and teaching them the Doctrines of Christ.
In the Book of Mormon the Savior clearly declares His Gospel in 3 Nephi 27.
“behold I have given unto my gospel, and this is gospel which I have given unto you- that I came into the world to do the will of my Father...that I might be lifted up upon the cross...that I might draw all men unto me...” (see 3 Nephi 27:13-15)
The Gospel of Christ, what we preach, is the good news. The good news is that all men have been redeemed from the fall and given the gift of eternal life. The wonderful news is that Christ lives! He is our Savior and there is plan for us to return home and obtain exaltation. This is the message we share. Within the gospel can be found the Doctrines of Christ. A doctrine is a statement of belief, an eternal truth or teaching. Doctrines are supported by principles. Principles are natural laws that govern the outcome of our actions and choices. Understanding the Doctrines of Christ and living according to gospel principles will lead us back to our Heavenly Father.
Below are three Doctrines of Christ that are critical to our work as missionaries.
1) Christ, in 3 Nephi 11, declares His doctrine. This was the first thing He taught the people after His appearance. Standing before Nephi, He gives him the authority to baptize the people and commands him to do so after He ascends to heaven.
“...I will declare unto you my doctrine...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 shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (See 3 Nephi 11:31-34)
All men must be baptized to be saved. There is no other way to exaltation. We must be bold in our invitations to come unto Christ and be baptized!
2) The prophet Alma as he leaves for his mission to the Zoramites, (who were formerly Nephites and members of the church) shares with us another doctrine of Christ. I call it “the doctrine of the less-actives”. In his pre-mission prayer Alma prays for “power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee.” He says, “Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren...” (See Alma 31:34-35) Bringing souls unto Christ and preaching the gospel includes bringing back our brethren that have strayed. We must work closely with the members to help them bring the less-active members back to Christ.
3) Lastly, in Jacob 5 we have the wonderful allegory of the wild and tame olive tree. This represents the doctrine of the gathering of Israel and the restoration of the gospel in these last days. This Doctrine of Christ, which states the elect will be gathered, is the work we are engaged in. We read in D&C 29:7
“And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of my elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts.”
As we gather the elect, we graft back in the natural branches. Elders and sisters, it is my prayer we learn these doctrines and become bold in teaching them to the people of Japan. Liken the following verses unto yourselves.
"...call servants, that we may labor diligently with all our might in the vineyard...that I may bring forth again the natural fruit, which natural fruit is good and the most precious above all other fruit...let us go to and labor with our might this last time, for behold the end draweth nigh, and this is the last time I shall prune my vineyard.” (Jacob 5: 61-62)
May we go forth and teach the Doctrines of Christ as we serve in the Lord’s vineyard!