Here are some ideas to supplement your study of the Gospel Doctrine lesson. I hope you find them helpful! I will try to get these posted a little faster in the future.
2 Nephi 31
1-3 – “I must speak concerning the doctrine of Christ”
The doctrine of Christ is summarized in Article of Faith 4 – Faith in Christ, repentance, baptism, and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Also included in the doctrine of Christ is enduring to the end (see verse 16). If you will began watching for the doctrine of Christ as you read the Book of Mormon, it may surprise you. It’s everywhere! Especially the first two principles, “faith and repentance.” In this chapter, you’ll see:
- Faith in Christ (verse 19)
- Repentance (verse 11)
- Baptism (verse11)
- Receive the Holy Ghost (verse 12)
- Endure to the end (verse 16; see also footnote 16a, Mark 13:13)
4 – “That prophet…which should baptize the lamb of God:” In Luke 7:28, Jesus said “there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.”
Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet: The ministry of John the Baptist was of such importance that many of the ancient prophets had visionary views of it. Among their number were Isaiah (Isaiah 40:3-4; JST, Luke 3:4-11) and Malachi (Malachi 3:1) in the Old World, and Lehi (1 Nephi 10:7-10) and Nephi in the New World (1 Nephi 11:27). (Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 4 vols. [Bookcraft, 1987-1992], 1: 360.)
10-12 – “Follow thou me” Here is the Savior’s invitation to be baptized
15-16 – “endure to the end” Again, note footnote to Mark 13:13. Our friends may ask us, “have you been saved?” Sometimes we hesitate to answer because we know we must “endure to the end.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught: I have suggested that the short answer to the question of whether a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints has been saved or born again must be a fervent “yes.” Our covenant relationship with our Savior puts us in that “saved” or “born again” condition meant by those who ask this question. – Ensign, May 1998, 55.
17 – “For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water” The strait and narrow path is a metaphor used by Christians signifying the path back to God – the Book of Mormon adds the idea of baptism being the gate to the path.
19-20 – “this strait and narrow path”
Joseph Fielding Smith: Mark you, this word strait is spelled s-t-r-a-i-t and not s-t-r-a-i-g-h-t. While no doubt, that path which leads into the presence of God is straight, it is also strait, which means that those who enter into it will find it restricted; it is narrow; they cannot take with them that which does not apply, or which does not belong to the kingdom of God. All such things must be left behind when we enter into this narrow way which leads into the presence of God, where we can receive life eternal. “Few there be that find it.” – Doctrines of Salvation, p.13.
20 – “ye must press forward”
2 Nephi 31:20 is the theme for the Youth in 2016. Here’s an excerpt from my CD, “Forward, Pressing Forward:”
How do we press forward when the whole world thinks we are backward? Dr. Stephen Covey in his seminars used to ask his audiences to close their eyes and point north. Then he invited them to open their eyes and look around. People would be pointing in every direction, including up. Then Dr. Covey would suggest, “should we vote on it? Should we say that north is subject to popular opinion? Or should we say north is relative, so just decide what north is for you? No. North is an external reality, not subject to popular opinion. In the same way, there are ‘true north principles’ that never change, they just are.” How do we know true north? We need a compass.
What about “forward?” Is forward relative? If those sitting on the stand point forward, and those sitting in the congregation point forward, they are pointing in opposite directions! Nephi solves the problem for us when he finishes his sentence — “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ” Jesus is our true north! Forward, is toward Christ! Forward is Christ-ward.
2 Nephi 32
1 – “after ye have entered in by the way” (I love this verse and verse 5 for obvious reasons. It’s easy to liken the scriptures to yourself when it sounds like they are calling you by name. 🙂
3 – “the words of Christ will tell you” What a blessing to have the scriptures! But in the restored Church, we have “personal scripture” as well. We call them patriarchal blessings:
President Ezra Taft Benson: “I would encourage you young sisters, as you approach your teenage years, to receive a patriarchal blessing. Study it carefully and regard it as personal scripture to you—for that indeed is what it is” (Ensign, Nov. 1986, 82).
Sister Elaine Jack: Have you had a patriarchal blessing? Are you preparing to get one soon? Think of this—what does a patriarchal blessing say? Have you ever heard of one which says, “I am sorry—you’re a loser. Do the best you can on earth, and we’ll see you in about seventy years. “Of course not! And you never will, because of the divine qualities each of God’s children has inherited. A patriarchal blessing is like a road map, a guide, directing you in your walk through life. It identifies your talents and the good things that can be yours. (Ensign, November 1989, 86).
3-5 – “the words of Christ will tell you” and “the Holy Ghost … will show you”
We use the phrase “show and tell” to describe a grade school activity of bringing and object from home to show your classmates. Sometimes you may find yourself in a situation where you need immediate answers, a situation where a decision must be made in an instant with no time to go and peruse your scriptures – that’s when the Holy Ghost can show you what to do.
One of my favorite illustrations of this type of situation is the story of Tad Derrick, the pilot of an F-100 fighter jet called “The Mormon Meteor.” During a mission in Vietnam, a fellow F-100 pilot had to eject, and parachuted to the Mekong River below. As soon as he hit the water, four boats turned and started moving toward the downed pilot. Brother Derrick called Command, and said “What should I do?” Their response was not helpful: “Use your discretion.” Brother Derrick did not want to kill innocent fisherman, but he had to save his comrade floating in the water. What if they were not innocent fisherman? What if they were the enemy? What if they were moving in to kill the downed pilot? Reading the scriptures at this point was not an option. Here is Brother Derrick’s own account from the book Supersonic Saints:
I needed an answer immediately, and it came immediately. The still, small voice said, “You don’t need to destroy them. You can scare them into stopping.”I remember smiling to myself. A fighter plane can be pretty intimidating without firing a shot. I pushed the throttle up full bore, and the aircraft accelerated quickly to 500 knots (approximately 575 mph). I dropped down just above the ocean, using the height of the mast on the nearest boat for gauging my distance above the water. I ran at the boat a little lower than mast height, and just as I got to the boat, I pulled up abruptly and lit the afterburner. KA- BOOM! I don’t know if I blew the sail down with jet-wash or if the fisher men dropped the sail. The boat was still afloat, but it had stopped still in the water. I used the same tactic on the other three boats. All sat motionless. Whew! A prayer of thanks: I thank Thee, Father!
Elder Bruce C. Hafen: The key to spiritual guidance is not how long you pray, or what steps of prayer you follow, or what words you say. The key to spiritual guidance is found in one word: worthiness (Ensign, Oct. 1982, p. 68).
8 – “the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray” If you ever have the feeling that you cannot pray, now you know where it came from. It reminds me of the little rhyme, “Satan trembles when he sees, the weakest saint upon his/her knees.”
Brigham Young: If the devil says you cannot pray when you are angry, tell him it is none of his business, and pray until that species of insanity is dispelled and serenity is restored to the mind. – Discourses of Brigham Young, 10:175.
President Thomas S. Monson: Prayer can solve more problems, alleviate more suffering, prevent more transgression, and bring about greater peace and contentment in the human soul than can be obtained in any other way (Ensign, June 1986, p.4).
2 Nephi 33
1 – “the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the heart” notice the footnote to D&C 50:21-22
7, 11 – “I shall meet many souls spotless” Three of the four major Book of Mormon writers, all mention that they will meet us at the judgment seat. But not only does Nephi want to meet us, we wants to meet us “spotless.” (Jacob says “I shall meet you” in Jacob 6:13, and Moroni says “ye shall see me” in Moroni 10:27). For other references on being “spotless” or “unspotted” or “without spot,” see the Book of Mormon Title Page, James 1:27, D&C 59:9, and Moroni 10:33.
15 – “I must obey. Amen.”
President Russell M. Nelson: Nephi was a multifaceted genius. Endowed with great physical stature, he was a prophet, teacher, ruler, colonizer, builder, craftsman, scholar, writer, poet, military leader, and father of nations. Nephi had a sincere desire to know the mysteries of God. He became a special witness and trusted prophet of the Lord. Nephi lived an adventurous life and faced numerous difficulties. Some of the challenges he faced included fleeing Jerusalem, building a ship, crossing the waters to the promised land, colonizing, withstanding persecution, fulfilling family and leadership responsibilities, and keeping records. Toward the end of his inspiring life Nephi wrote his concluding testimony and bore witness of the doctrine of Christ, the power of the Holy Ghost, and the truthfulness of the words he had written. Appropriately, his final testimony closed with the words that could be known as his signature: “I must obey.” (Heroes From the Book of Mormon, [Bookcraft, 1995], 15.