Often when we discuss controversial topics and deep doctrine, all we reap are vastly differing opinions and interpretations, criticisms of others’ ideas, and overall confusion. Such discussions do nothing to aid our testimonies of the gospel, only bringing out doubts and questions.
I strongly believe in focusing on the basics of the gospel. Without a very firm foundation in “the first principles and ordinances of the gospel” (Article of Faith 4), we cannot have a strong testimony of higher doctrine. We must first start with the ABC blocks of the gospel and build “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little” (2 Nephi 28:30) for deeper understandings.
Just like babies, we must start with milk before we get meat (See 1 Corinthians 3:2, D&C 19:22). Timothy further clarified, “For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:13–14). Babies who nurse receive their mother’s immune system. Similarly, the milk of the gospel gives us immunity to doubt, sin, and deception by giving us strong testimonies. Once we have exercised our faith and proven our testimonies and understanding, we can receive greater knowledge, or meat. When questions and confusion arise over these higher principles, we will have our testimonies to fall back on. Otherwise, with a weak foundation, we will completely fall away from the gospel. Christ gave us another analogy in the parable of the sower: the seeds that fell upon stony places scorched and withered away when the sun came because they had no deep roots (See Matthew 13: 1–23).
It is best to remember that the gospel is simple; we should not try to make it complex. The Jews did and lost their understanding (See Jacob 4:13–15). Also, all that we need to know to reach exaltation has been given us: “And for this cause, that men might be made partakers of the glories which were to be revealed, the Lord sent forth the fullness of his gospel, his everlasting covenant, reasoning in plainness and simplicity” (D&C 133:57). Even in the temple, the highest place of learning, the focus is the plan of salvation.
Have faith: the mysteries of heaven will be revealed in due time, and probably not until we need to know them—when we are exalted. For now, let us put our energy into learning the fundamentals of the gospel and keeping our covenants so that we can return to Heavenly Father.
Challenge: Next Sunday, attend your ward’s Gospel Essentials class to strengthen your foundation in the ABCs of the gospel.
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