In this new Series, we'll be looking at the Doctrine of Christ and contrasting it with the ways we have covered it up with all the barnacles that have clustered on the bottom of the Good Ship Zion, impeding our spiritual progress and weighing us down in the bloated-mess-of-a-bureaucracy we have created.
The title of this Series comes from D&C 10, where the Lord says:
If they will come, they may, and partake of the waters of life freely.
Behold, this is my doctrine― whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.
Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.
I think this Series is really needed today because the Church continues to cultivate traditions that are "more or less than this," to our collective spiritual impoverishment.
Let's Return to Primary
In Primary, the children sing the song "Our Primary Colors."
Our Primary colors are one, two, three― Red, yellow, and blue. Each one has a message for you and me. Each is a symbol true.
But what happens when you take a primary color and mix it something else?
If we combine blue and yellow, we get green. Red and blue make purple.
a. Red b. Yellow c. Blue
2. Secondary Colors
a. Green b. Orange c. Purple
Okay, so far so good. But what happens if we keep throwing different paint colors on the wall?
Well, we get Tertiary Colors.
3. Tertiary Colors
a. Chartreuse b. Teal c. Violet d. Magenta e. Vermillion f. Amber
Get the idea? Okay, now let's create a company to sell colors.
Do you think our customers will be happy with just 3, or 6, or 12 colors? Of course not!
We need 50 shades of grey to make our business competitive.
Enter Sherwin Williams. Here are some of my favorite color names:
Potentially Purple (for philosophers, I guess)
Dragons blood (as if they actually knew)
Song of Summer (this year's shade of Song of Solomon?)
Lauren's Surprise (who's Lauren?)
Spirit Whisper (now we're getting somewhere)
. . . and my favorite . . .
Divine Pleasure (now, let's not get sacrilegious, Brother Brigham)
So what does all this have with the Doctrine of Christ?
I am glad you asked!
Pop Quiz Time
What are the "primary colors" of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
1. Primary Gospel
a. Faith in Christ b. Hope in Christ c. Charity, or "the Pure Love of Christ"
That was easy. So let's make this one a little harder. What are the "secondary colors" of the gospel?
2. Secondary Gospel
a. _______________ b. _______________ c. _______________
Was that harder? How about the "tertiary colors" of the gospel?
3. Tertiary Gospel
a. ______________ b. ______________ c. ______________
Now, let's have some fun. What are the Sherwin Williams colors of the gospel?
4. Sherwin Williams Gospel Colors
a. Adam-God Doctrine b. Polygamy c. Ensign Peak Advisors d. Tithing e. Word of Wisdom f. Ministering / Home Teaching g. Denial of Priesthood to Blacks h. Lying for the Lord i. BYU-sanctioned conversion shock therapy for gay students j. Regulations of energy healings, vasectomies, candles in churches, use of audio-visual materials in sacrament meeting, etc.
You see? We take the purity of the gospel and then we mix it with all of our worldliness, with the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches, with our insurance liability concerns, our tax deductions, our false traditions, our cultural prejudices . . . and then what are we left with?
According to the Lord: not his gospel.
What is the "Pure" Gospel?
Something is "pure," by definition, when it is “free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind.”
Water is pure when it is free from bugs and germs and dirt, etc.
Our hearts are pure when they are stripped of things like “jealousies and fears” (D&C 67:10).
The gospel is pure when it is "established upon my rock," the Lord said (D&C 10:69).
The Lord, like a master chemist, knows what will strengthen our faith in Him and what will destroy it.
For example, if you mix iron and oxygen, you create rust; but if you combine iron with carbon, you form steel.
In the same way, the gospel “rusts” when we mix it with "the law" or legalistic practices (which makes us trust in the law, rather than in Christ, for our salvation).
So what is the "pure" gospel?
According to the scriptures, it is the law of love, or what James calls the "royal law."
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
The gospel of Christ is not about us. It is not about you or me.
We are such narcissists!
The gospel of Christ is about . . . spoiler alert . . . Christ!
This is how the Lord Himself defines the gospel:
This 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; and after that I had been 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.
(3 Nephi 27:13-14)
And what was the crowning work of our Savior? It was the beautiful outpouring of celestial charity in which He died for our sins and rose again so we may also.
And we want to mix His perfect atonement, his pure gospel, his Doctrine . . . with minutiae like whether Sunday School teachers should give candy to their students at church, or whether the chapel doors should be open or closed during the sacrament, or whether open-toed sandals are modest for young women?