Since Christ stated that there shall be no more doctrine until you see Him in the flesh, I find it important to address the doctrine of Christ. The ancient prophets, published within the Book of Mormon, saw and wrote for our day, and feared the damage of wresting the scriptures. The ability to use the scriptures to see through traditions of unbelief, to identify the light being offered, will be what separates the wheat from the tares in our church.
Doctrine of Christ: As simple as it may sound, the doctrine of Christ is Faith, Repentance, and Ordinances. If we oversimplify these words, it’ll be difficult to recognize the way Moroni describes it:
“27. And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humblethemselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weakthings become strong unto them.”
Pick this verse apart and you might be able to see the Doctrine of Christ. Faith is connected to “if men come unto me…” That’s always what faith is founded upon, will they come to Christ? Joseph Smith stated that the foundation of faith is that men know the correct perfections, attributes, and characteristics of God. That is what it means to know Him. We must study Him. Therefore, faith is directly tied to the study of the words of Christ, to know Christ, and thus come unto Christ.
Repentance is what immediately follows faith. When men come to Christ, …Christ shows them their weakness. I used to think that this is cruel, to show men their weakness when they come to Christ. I wrestled with it, until I realized that in order for my weakness to become strength, I must identify and root that weakness out of me. Therefore, identifying weakness is an initial necessary part of the repentance process. Failure to see weakness, results in a failure to repent.
In the end, no matter what you do in faith and repentance, it is by Christ’s grace that all men are saved. In Ephesians 2:8 it says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” Grace is the gift of God, and men have no power to save themselves. Through the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest unto men in the flesh (D&C 84:19). God’s grace comes after the process of men showing proper faith and repentance. It is no surprise that only then are men offered covenants through the process of ordinances, specifically baptism and sacrament.
Etymology: Etymology is the study of the root of words. The ancient prophets were concerned that the latter-day saints would “WREST” the scriptures. The root for “wrest” is the same as the word “wrestle.” It means to twist and force into submission. The fear of the ancient prophets were that the modern saint would twist and force into submission the scriptures, and miss the truth within them.
“63. And this I do that I may establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention; yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them.”
It was wresting the scriptures that produced in the saints the lack of understanding. In the condition of misunderstanding the scriptures, Satan mingles philosophies of men with scripture, and the people suffer contention concerning the points of Christ’s doctrine. This is a pattern throughout the scriptures. In 2 Nephi baptism needed to be retaught, so that there wasn’t so much contention. In 3 Nephi Christ had to correct the points of His doctrine among them, because they too had strayed from the ordinances (3 Nephi 24:6-7).
In April 1829 Christ reveals to Joseph Smith His concern about the points of Christ’s doctrine being corrupted if the saints wrest the scriptures (D&C 10:63 above). Currently, among the modern saints, we have mistakenly fallen into Satan’s trap, thinking that since the church is true, the scriptures have not been wrested. Yet we mistakenly allow people to teach the children to sing about faith being a little seed, and to follow men, who symbolically represent Christ (graven images). Alma 13:20 warns us that, “…if ye will wrest them it shall be to your own destruction.” This fact ought to get the attention of the modern saint. That’s no small thing.
The Separation: The tool the Lord uses to separate the wheat from the tares, to separate the bitter fruit from the sweet fruit, to identify those virgins with oil in their lamps, is the understanding of the words of Christ. Those who understand the words of Christ will produce works, and by their works you shall know them.
The marvelous work about to come forth among the children of men will incorporate the simplest of ordinances, and laws. But what it will produce is two things unheard of throughout the world: No Poor Among Them, and Abundance. And all of this is found in the scriptures that have been twisted and forced into submission (wrested) by the modern saints, according to prophesy.
Conclusion: Faith is tied to knowing Christ, which requires the study of the words of Christ. If we wrest the words of Christ, we will have twisted and removed the ability of the words of Christ to offer any foundation of salvation in the times ahead. Faith naturally leads to repentance, …and that is not a bad thing. Repentance makes room for receiving light. And finally, through the ordinances, the power of godliness will be made manifest to man, there will be no poor among us, and we will have abundance.
This is the doctrine of Christ, and there shall be no more doctrine, until you shall see Christ in the flesh. Then whatsoever He says to you shall you observe to do, because you will be of a higher kingdom, and will abide a higher law, even though you reside on earth. Feast upon the words of Christ. The words of Christ will tell you all things what you should do.