As we conclude our year-long study of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants declares that the Book of Mormon contains “the fulness of the gospel.” (D&C 20:9)
How can that be? The Book of Mormon does not contain many wonderful doctrines, like:
- Premortal council in heaven
- Degrees of glory
- Temple ordinances for the dead
- Eternal marriage and families
- Exaltation and deification
The Doctrine and Covenants proclaims that the Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the “gospel.” However, it does not say that the book contains the all of the “doctrines.”
The word “gospel” comes from the Old English word for “good” and “spel” meaning “news or story.” Thus, the gospel means the “good news of Jesus Christ.” In other words, the birth, death, resurrection, and atonement of our Savior and Redeemer.
The Prophet Joseph Smith also observed: “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 121).
There is no better scriptural explanation of “the gospel,” “the good news of Jesus Christ,” than in the Book of Mormon.
Birth of Jesus, Coming of the Redeemer
Dozens of passages in the Book of Mormon foretell and confirm the birth of the Messiah.
1 Nephi 11:18—20
“Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.
“ … the angel spake unto me, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.”
2 Nephi 25:19
“For according to the words of the prophets, the Messiah cometh in six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem; and according to the words of the prophets, and also the word of the angel of God, his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
“… God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people.”
“And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, … and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.”
“Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; … nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born.”
3 Nephi 1:13
“Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.”
Death and Resurrection of Jesus and Mankind (Overcoming Physical Death)
Scores of passages discuss the death of Jesus.
2 Nephi 9:5
“Yea, I know that ye know that in the body he shall show himself unto those at Jerusalem, from whence we came; for it is expedient that it should be among them; for it behooveth the great Creator that he suffereth himself to become subject unto man in the flesh, and die for all men, that all men might become subject unto him.”
“Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.”
“… there could be no redemption for mankind save it were through the death and sufferings of Christ, and the atonement of his blood.”
“And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.”
“The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form.”
“The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame.”
“Now behold, it was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from this temporal death, for that would destroy the great plan of happiness.”
“And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.”
Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus (Overcoming Spiritual Death)
There is no better explanation of the atonement of Jesus, overcoming both physical death and spiritual death. Entire chapters analyze this essential doctrine. (See: 2 Nephi 2; Jacob 9; Alma 39-40)
2 Nephi 2: 6-7
“Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.
“Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.”
2 Nephi 2: 25-27
“Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
“And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall….
“Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.”
Jacob 9: 6-13
“For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord.
“ Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.
“ … For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.
“ And our spirits must have become alike unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; ….
“O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.
“And because of the way of deliverance of our God, the Holy One of Israel, this death, of which I have spoken, which is the temporal, shall deliver up its dead; which death is the grave.
“And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.
“O how great the plan of our God! For on the other hand, the paradise of God must deliver up the spirits of the righteous, and the grave deliver up the body of the righteous; and the spirit and the body is restores to itself again, and all men become incorruptible, and immortal, and they are living souls ….”
Mosiah 3: 17
“… there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.”
Alma 34: 8-10, 14
“For it is expedient that an atonement should be made … or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea … all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement …
“For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, … but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.”
“For behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice, and that great and last sacrifice will be the son of God, yea, infinite and eternal.”
Alma 42: 7-15
“And now, ye see by this that our first parents were cut off both temporally and spiritually from the presence of the Lord . . .
“Now behold, it was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from this temporal death, for that would destroy the great plan of happiness.
“Therefore, as the soul could never die, and the fall had brought upon all mankind a spiritual death as well as a temporal, that is, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord, it was expedient that mankind should be reclaimed from this spiritual death. . . .
“And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence.
“And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.”
“But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God.
“But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works, according to the law and justice.
“For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved.”
“This is my gospel”
Finally, the Book of Mormon defines the “gospel” and the “fulness.”
3 Nephi 27: 13-21
“[T]his is the gospel which I have given unto you‑‑that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
“And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; … that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father …
“… I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works….
“And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.
“And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.
“Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel ….
Because of the fullness of the gospel in the Book of Mormon:
- We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
- We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
- We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved …
- We believe that the first principles of the Gospel are: first Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ …
- We believe Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer
- We believe the Bible to be the word of God …
Moses 1:39 – “This is my work and my glory”
“For behold, this is my work and my glory–to bring to pass the immortality [resurrection] and eternal life [exaltation] of man.”
(Other “Sunday Sermons” at: londonedition.home.blog or http://www.londonedition.net)