The Path to Eternal Life – Part 1
By Elliaison (Elliaison.org)
The Apostle Peter councils the early church to diligently seek to “make their calling and election sure”. He tells us that if we do, we will never fall and because this blessing is so important, even though they already know it, he will continue to remind them so that he is not found negligent.
“10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.” – 2 Peter 1:10-12
While serving a mission in Ireland I, Philip (Elliaison Contributor), was blessed to witness an amazing experience. I had gotten very sick with what felt like a flu. I had been sick so much that I began to feel like I was wasting my time as a missionary and determined to go out regardless of my condition. I looked like hell, with bloodshot eyes, excessive sneezing, running nose, etc., but my determination to serve the Lord outweighed my reasons to rest. Door after door we knocked. When someone was home, they took one look at me and closed the door, hoping to avoid the plague.
I at some point, I noticed a VERY strange sensation of air blowing in my eye when I blew my nose. I later learned about the nasolacrimal duct which is a small channel leading from your eye to your nose. It is this channel that allows tears to move from your eye to your nose when you cry which causes a runny nose. This is why people often need to blow their nose when they are crying.
“That is the nasolacrimal duct that drains tears from your eyes into your nose. When you peel onions, your eyes will water and your nose will run. When you cry, your nose will run.
This duct goes two ways, so it is possible to have air come through when you blow your nose." - Rod Moser, PA, PhD
After we were knocking doors for what seemed like a miserable hour, it happened. I began a sneezing fit that I will never forget. I covered my nose and mouth as I sneezed, again and again, one after another until I sneezed one great last sneeze. I sneezed so hard that a large, gooey snot was forced up through my nasolacrimal duct and out of the corner of my eye landing about 3 feet in front of me on the ground…
We stood in shock for a moment staring at the ground where the snot lay mocking me. I finally conceded that I was too sick to continue and we went home. I went straight to bed and passed out. My companion stayed up, tidied the flat (apartment), got a little food, and studied. After a while, my companion, (who was going through a spiritual awakening), decided that he wanted to know how to make his calling and election sure. He knelt in the center of the room and poured his heart out to God in sincere prayer. The answer came strong and sure in dot point form. He was given a list of about ten things that he needed to do to make his calling and election sure.
As soon as the revelation began, he grabbed his note book and pen and began writing feverishly. The information came so quickly, he was not able to capture all the points. He prayed again and pondered but just could not remember the missing points.
Eventually he gave up.
He puttered around a bit, went to the bathroom, went to the kitchen to put away his things, and prepared the house to go to bed. He walked up the stairs, got into his pajamas, opened the door to our bedroom, and walked in.
I was still completely unconscious, lying on the bed. Even though I was unconscious, as soon as he entered the room, I began to speak to him saying, “That was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard!”
Curious, he asked, “What?”
I responded, “Someone’s prayer was just answered and it was so beautiful!”
Naturally, having just received an answer to his own prayer, he was curious and asked, “What was the answer?”
Still unconscious, I responded by repeating the answer to his prayer exactly as I had heard it, point for point…
He was shocked as I repeated to him the answers he had received from God only a short while before. He quickly opened his notebook, sat down on his bed and read with me as I covered each point he had written. When I got to the points he was missing, he wrote them down until he had recorded them all.
At some point, I woke, jumped up in bed, and having forgotten everything, said, “What’s up?”
He looked at me and asked, “You don’t remember, do you?”
I paused a moment and thought, remember what? As I did, a flood of memories rushed into my mind. I remembered laying in my bed, physically asleep, but spiritually awake and aware. Using my spiritual eyes, I saw through the floor below me and watched my companion as he made a snack, studied and eventually knelt on the floor in the center of the room. I saw him praying as a light appeared a few feet outside of our flat hovering about twenty five feet in the air. The light was brilliant. I could see that the light was radiating from a being but was so bright I could not make out any specific features beyond the shape of a human. I was somehow aware that it was a glorified man.
While the man stood there in the air, a large pillar or conduit of light began to extend from this man, through the walls of our apartment, past me, through the floor until it surrounded my companion. I assume that being touched by the light was what enabled me to hear the answer to his prayer as the message was conveyed through the conduit of light to my companion.
I heard every word as it was spoken and felt the love, wisdom and power emanating from this glorious being. While I was aware of the message at the time it was given, it was taken from me so that I could not remember it once I woke up.
Once the message was delivered, I saw the light withdraw and the being seemed to disappear as if walking through a portal or round door that closed from every side causing the light to fade into nothing.
I then watched through the floor while my companion struggled to write the revelation, and eventually came up the stairs. In a very innocent way, I saw him change into his pajamas and come in the door. Even now, 20 years later, I remember so clearly as if in slow motion, watching his hand reaching for the door knob, quietly turning it to not disturb my rest, and the feeling of his presence as I watched him open the door and enter the room.
I remembered saying to him, “That was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard.” I remember telling him from my unconscious state, “Someone’s prayer was just answered and it was the most beautiful thing I’ve even heard!” And, I remember a discussion following, although cannot remember the details of that discussion.
I was sitting up in the bed as all this flooded back to my memory. I was shocked.
As I sat there processing the information, he asked me, “How do you feel?” It hadn’t until that moment occurred to me that I felt absolutely brilliant. I told him I felt great! Not even so much as a sniffle. He then told me that he prayed I would be healed and was told I would be.
We had a short discussion and then retreated to our own minds as we pondered on the events and fell asleep.
About a week or two after that night as I slept, he was awoken by a light in our bedroom which grew bright and brilliant. In the light, he saw the Savior. A wonderful experience followed. He made his calling and election sure and received the Second Comforter while only 20 years old, serving a mission.
Over the years, I’ve marveled at this. I’ve wondered how it could be that he would ask how to make his calling and election sure and be given such clear and detailed information that he was able to apply it within a few weeks. How is it that he gained such clear information that he obtained the promise and the second comforter so quickly and at such a young age? Sure, he was already a good and honest man, but still, there are lots of good and honest men and women who have not yet received their promise nor the Second Comforter. What’s the difference?
As I read the scriptures, I find countless stories of others who likewise have been redeemed and brought back into the presence of Christ, almost instantly. One story stands out to me more than the rest. It’s the story of a murderer. This murderer had recently killed “many” innocent people and would have killed several more if a prophet had not intervened. This prophet taught the murderer “the plan of redemption” from a position of firsthand experience. The murderer applied what he was taught and he was redeemed back into the presence of God and saw his savior that very day! (Alma 17-19). This is the story of king Lamoni who woke from his experience, exclaiming,
“For as sure as thou livest, behold, I have seen my Redeemer; and he shall come forth, and be born of a woman, and he shall redeem all mankind who believe on his name.” – Alma 19:13
The scriptures are full of these types of experiences including Lamoni’s wife and entire household, Alma the Younger, King Lamonhi’s Father, the Lamanite Prison Guards and so on.
Why were these people able to receive these blessings and experience such great change in so short a time? More importantly, how can we experience the same?
When you finish reading this article, you will understand exactly what these people did, why they did it and why we must all do the same if we are to receive the same blessings.
Why This IS Important
To make your calling and election sure means to receive the promise of eternal life. This promise is given from God to each individual who meets the requirements for the Celestial Kingdom. D&C 76:50-70 tells us that only those who receive this special promise will be resurrected with the just when Christ comes and only they qualify for the Celestial kingdom.
Our calling and election is made sure when we are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise or in other words, given the promise from God that we will have eternal life in the Celestial kingdom.
“3 Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John.
4 This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom;
5 Which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son—” – D&C 88:3-5
When we are “sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise” we are sealed up to eternal life in the Celestial kingdom. Those who receive this promise, become members of a spiritual church called, “the Church of the Firstborn” because they have received the promise that they will inherit everything God has as if they were the Firstborn of God.
Without this promise, the scriptures tell us two things:
- We will not go to the Celestial Kingdom
- We will not be resurrected with the just when Christ comes
Those who do not receive this promise will be resurrected at the end of the millennium with the unjust and will qualify for either the Terrestrial or Telestial kingdoms.
D&C 76:50-53 tells us the requirements that we must meet if we are to be part of the first resurrection with the just and eventually inherit the Celestial Kingdom. The last requirement is given in verse 53 which is that we must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. Verses 54-70 tell us all the blessings given to those who are sealed in this way.
“50 And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just—
51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—
52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;
53 And who overcome by faith and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.
54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.
65 These are they who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just.
70 These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.” – D&C 76:50-70
Being sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise is how we make our calling and election sure which literally means that you received the promise of eternal life sealed by the power of the Holy Ghost to receive the blessings of the Firstborn. It is how we know that we have finally qualified for the blessings of eternal life including the resurrection of the Just and the Celestial Kingdom, (See D&C 76:50-70). If we have not been sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, then we have not yet qualified for the Celestial Kingdom, eternal life or all the blessings that God has prepared for their Children.
Those who have accepted Christ and repented of their sins but are not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise which makes them “the church of the Firstborn”, are terrestrial.
“71 And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo, these are they who are of the terrestrial, whose glory differs from that of the church of the Firstborn who have received the fulness of the Father, even as that of the moon differs from the sun in the firmament.
78 Wherefore, they are bodies terrestrial, and not bodies celestial, and differ in glory as the moon differs from the sun.
79 These are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus; wherefore, they obtain not the crown over the kingdom of our God.” – D&C 76:71-80
Both the Terrestrial and the Telestial people will be resurrected with the unjust at the end of the millennium.
Just as baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost are available to everyone who meets the requirements for those blessings, so too, the blessings of eternal life are available to everyone who meets the requirements for eternal life. This means that the blessings are not limited to a few, but available to everyone.
The prophet Joseph Smith taught,
“This principle (Calling and election and the Second Comforter) ought to be taught, for God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them, for the day must come when no man need say to his neighbor, Know ye the Lord; for all shall know Him (who remain) from the least to the greatest. How is this to be done? It is to be done by this sealing power, and the other Comforter spoken of, which will be manifest by revelation.
There are two Comforters spoken of. One is the Holy Ghost, the same as given on the day of Pentecost, and that all Saints receive after faith, repentance, and baptism. This first Comforter or Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure intelligence…
The other Comforter spoken of is a subject of great interest, and perhaps understood by few of this generation. After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will SOON say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted…
Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when ANY MAN obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God;” – Joseph Smith, History of the Church volume 3 pages 380-381
It is clear in this quote that just as anyone can meet the requirements and received the Holy Ghost, anyone can continue on and meet the requirements for the Second Comforter.
Also notice that Joseph points out that if we do the right things, then “the Lord will SOON say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted”. If you follow the process correctly, the blessings will come, soon. It doesn’t take your entire life.
The blessings we seek are given when we obey the law on which they are predicated.
“20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” – D&C 130:20-21
In this article, we will teach you the laws on which these blessings are predicated and how to apply these laws to receive your calling and election made sure and the Second Comforter.
This is not intended to bypass any part of the process. It is intended to point out the exact process so that anyone can see it, understand it, and intentionally walk the path that leads to eternal life. We hope that regardless of whether you are a murder like King Lamonhi or just an average sinner like most people, this article will teach you everything you need to know and do to quickly experience the blessing so many have received through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Walking in Darkness
The scriptures tell us that God is no respecter of persons, (Acts 10:34, Moroni 8:12, D&C 1:35 & 38:16). If God does not respect the missionary companion or King Lamoni more than he respects us, then all the gifts and blessings of God are just as available to us as they were to them. If you have not yet received these blessings, then we ask, “Do you know why?”
Take a moment and ask yourself,
- Do I know exactly what I must do to obtain the promise of eternal life and the second comforter?
Everyone who receives these blessings, both modern and ancient, followed the exact same path. They met the exact same requirements, just like we all must meet the same requirements to be baptized. If you do not know the requirements then you are playing the most important game of your life not knowing the rules, and you are sure to lose. If you don’t know the path, you are walking in darkness. If you think you know the path and the requirements and have been walking the path for years and still haven’t yet received the blessings, please be open to the possibility that you’re either wrong about the requirements, or you are not willing to do what it takes.
In the next few pages, we will use the scriptures to spell out for you exactly what everyone must do to qualify for eternal life and why this is the ONLY way to reach the eternal goal.
The Path that Leads to Eternal Life
Nearly all of us have been taught about the gate by which we should enter, the path that leads to eternal life and the promise that if we endure to the end, we will obtain eternal life. These concepts are repeated throughout the scriptures.
“O then, my beloved brethren, repent ye, and enter in at the strait gate, and continue in the way which is narrow, until ye shall obtain eternal life.” – Jacob 6:11
These concepts are fundamentally dependent upon the atonement of Jesus Christ. Without the atonement, we could not enter in at the gate, we could not walk the path and we could not gain eternal life.
The Goal is to come to know God and Jesus Christ, for this is life eternal. Knowing about God is not the same as knowing God. To know God, we must interact with God as you would a friend. When we know God, then and only then, do we know how to be like God.
"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." - John 17:3
God’s name is Eternal, so Eternal life means God’s life. To gain eternal life (Calling and election made sure) and the Second Comforter, (the presence of Christ), requires us to be like God. We cannot be like God if we do not know God. And He will not appear to us until we are like Him and have overcome sin.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him." - 1 John 3:2 & 6
There is a process or a path that we MUST walk to come to know God. If we do not walk the path, then we’ll never know God and we’ll never receive our calling and election made sure nor the Second Comforter. To know God, we MUST walk the path, there is no other way. Eternal life is the result of knowing God, knowing God is the result of walking the path.
In addition, we cannot walk the path that leads to eternal life and knowing God unless we first enter in at the Gate. Why? Because without entering in at the gate, we are not equipped to walk the path or even find it. When we look at the meaning of these symbols, we will understand exactly what we must do to enter in at the gate, walk the path that leads to eternal life, and finally you will understand why walking the path results in knowing God and gaining Eternal life.
To know God, there are only 3 things we must do. They are:
Things we must do to know God/gain Eternal Life
- Enter in at the Gate
- Walk the path that leads to eternal life
- Keep walking along the path until we obtain the promise of Eternal Life (make our calling and election sure)
As far as a check list, that’s it. If you do these things, the Father has promised us that we will have eternal life. (That promise is found in 2Ne. 31:17-20 and we will review these verses in detail.)
Enter in at the Gate
The gate that we must enter is difficult to find, even if you know what it is. Add to that the fact that few know what it is and you will understand why Christ said that only a few find the gate;
“And it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings he said unto his disciples: Enter ye in at the strait gate; for strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad the way which leads to death, and many there be that travel therein, until the night cometh, wherein no man can work.” - 3Ne. 27:33
Before we can begin walking the path that leads to eternal life, we MUST find the gate. Few find the gate and even fewer walk the path once they pass through the gate.
Most members know that the gate is repentance and baptism. But this does not adequately describe the qualifications. In addition, there are many examples given in the scriptures of people who have “entered in at the gate” without even being baptized by water.
How can we say such a thing? Because there is a way to tell when a person has entered in at the gate and when they have not. If you have not entered in at the gate, then you aren’t even on the path that leads to eternal life. You cannot possibly be on the path that leads to eternal life unless you have entered in at the gate because when you enter in at the gate, you receive a map that shows you the path that leads to eternal life. Without this map, you can’t walk the path and you don’t get the map unless you enter in at the gate. It is therefore essential for each of us to know for certain that we have entered in at the gate and received the map which is a gift from God. This is the first step to obtaining your calling and election made sure and receiving the Second Comforter.
Everyone who enters in at the gate receives this gift from God that maps the path for us. For this reason, we know that the gift is a confirmation that you have successfully found and entered in at the gate. If you have not received this gift, then you have not entered in at the gate and you are not on the path that leads to eternal life. Here’s how Nephi says it:
“17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and THEN cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
18 And THEN are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that IF ye entered in by the way ye should receive.” – 2Ne. 31-17-18
God has promised that if we enter in at the gate, we will receive the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. It is our sign that we found and entered the gate. The Gate is true repentance. When we truly repent, we receive a remission of our sins as if we were purified by fire. Once we are clean of our sins, we then qualify to have the Holy Ghost who does not dwell in unholy temples.
Notice in verse 17 above, we are told that the remission of sins does not come by the baptism of water, but “by fire and by the Holy Ghost”. Without the baptism of fire which gives us the remission of our sins, we are not worthy of the Holy Ghost. This is reiterated in D&C 22:2 which tell us that the baptism by water itself is a dead work and part of the Law of Moses. Baptism is not the gate by which we enter.
“Wherefore, although a man should be baptized an hundred times it availeth him nothing, for you cannot enter in at the strait gate by the law of Moses, neither by your dead works.” – D&C 22:2
Additional support for the concept that baptism by water is not the gate which we must enter, comes from the many instances in which people have entered in at the gate and received a remission of their sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost without being baptized. There are so many examples of this throughout the scriptures. One such example is found in Acts 10 when Peter preached the Gospel to the Gentiles. While they heard the word, they were converted to Christ and the repentant life and were immediately baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost. After they had received a remission of their sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost, Peter invites them to be baptized by water.
“43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
44 ¶ While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the GIFT of the Holy Ghost.
46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.” – Acts 10:43-48
This is the exact same pattern followed by Nephi in the Book of Mormon who would baptize people into the church AFTER they had repented and received a remission of sins by fire and the Holy Ghost.
“Therefore, there were ordained of Nephi, men unto this ministry, that all such as should come unto them should be baptized with water, and this as a witness and a testimony before God, and unto the people, that they had repented and received a remission of their sins.” – 3Ne. 7:25
Once they had received a remission of their sins by fire and the Holy Ghost, then they would be baptized as an outward witness of their internal experience. Baptism, like all physical ordinances, is an outward physical symbol of something spiritual and more important, the real living work.
The conversion process which is the true qualifier for the remission of sins by fire and the Holy Ghost is a major teaching of all the prophets throughout history. It is the key by which we gain the gift of the Holy Ghost because an unconverted person who receives the physical ordinances will not receive the spiritual blessings.
Jesus tells us through the ancient Nephites in the book of Mormon exactly what is required to receive the baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost.
“And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.” – 3 Ne. 9:20
The qualification for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, that brings a remission of sins, is a broken heart and a contrite spirit, which cannot be faked. We will look into what that means in just a moment, but first, take a look at the second half of that verse.
Notice that Jesus references the Lamanites who were baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost “at the time of their conversion”. He was referencing the event recorded in Helaman 5 which is a third example of people entering in at the gate by repenting of their sins and receiving the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost without being baptized with water.
“41 And Aminadab said unto them: You must repent, and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Christ, who was taught unto you by Alma, and Amulek, and Zeezrom; and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you.
42 And it came to pass that they all did begin to cry unto the voice of him who had shaken the earth; yea, they did cry even until the cloud of darkness was dispersed.
… and they were filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory.
45 And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words.” - Helaman 5:28-47
This pattern is important to understand and follow because we will each be baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost at the time of our conversion. Not our conversion to the Book of Mormon, or to the church or to the Prophet, but our decision to repent and follow Christ.
This conversion is not simply accepting a belief or an idea or a doctrine. It is a conversion that happens within us when we make true and real change in the direction of our lives. At this conversion, we chose to leave our old lives of selfish sin and commit to learning from God how to be righteous. It is the moment that we choose to dedicate ourselves to doing good.
Just as Jesus taught the Nephites, the qualification for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is that we come to Christ with “a broken heart and a contrite spirit”, (3 Ne. 9:20). This is what defines true “repentance”. Repentance is not about changing our actions, but changing our heart. Let’s consider the terms Broken heart and Contrite spirit…
A Broken Heart
Having a broken heart is a feeling and an experience. It is born of humility the instance in which our pride is destroyed when we can finally see and accept our errors. Until pride is gone, we are unable to learn or progress. A broken heart is what happens when we break through our pride with humble sincerity accepting that we make mistakes and need to see our mistakes to correct them.
It doesn’t mean beating yourself up with guilt and shame in a disabling way. That is an unhealthy reaction that does more damage to us than good. It is an emotional experience, but rather than the guilt and shame of the damned, it creates “godly sorrow”.
“9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” – 2 Cor. 7:9-10
Sorrow of the damned causes the people to be angrier, blaming others for their pain and suffering. The damned are not humble and repentant. They are not willing to stop doing evil that causes their pain, they are just upset that they are in pain. The sorrow of the damned is born of selfishness and pride. It may also be centered around guilt or shame which are both the result of focus on one’s self in a critical and condemning way.
Self-pity comes when we see our error but have no desire, intention or hope of being able to correct or change it. It does not come by hope in Christ or faith and it does not motivate us to repent. None of these are considered the broken heart which the Lord requires of us.
Consider the following two examples, illustrating the sorrow of the damned. Notice how self-focused they are in morning and lamenting about what has been done to them. They take no thought of the evil they are doing to others.
“10 And it came to pass that the Nephites began to repent of their iniquity, and began to cry even as had been prophesied by Samuel the prophet; for behold no man could keep that which was his own, for the thieves, and the robbers, and the murderers, and the magic art, and the witchcraft which was in the land.
11 Thus there began to be a mourning and a lamentation in all the land because of these things, and more especially among the people of Nephi.
12 And it came to pass that when I, Mormon, saw their lamentation and their mourning and their sorrow before the Lord, my heart did begin to rejoice within me, knowing the mercies and the long-suffering of the Lord, therefore supposing that he would be merciful unto them that they would again become a righteous people.
13 But behold this my joy was vain, for their sorrowing was not unto repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin.
14 And they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God, and wish to die. Nevertheless they would struggle with the sword for their lives.” – Morm. 2:11-14
Godly Sorrow, creates repentance. It is born of humility. Two people can be in the same circumstances and one chooses to experience the sorrow of the damned and the other chooses to see their own fault and experiences godly sorrow. In the following verses, we see Coriantumr is in the same experience as above and as his own people and rather than becoming more upset with his enemy, he accepts his role in the problem and allows his sorrow to cause him to repent. So great was his repentance caused by his sorrow that he was willing to give away his entire kingdom to stop the war and save his people and bring about peace. This is an example of Godly sorrow.
“1 And it came to pass when Coriantumr had recovered of his wounds, he began to remember the words which Ether had spoken unto him.
2 He saw that there had been slain by the sword already nearly two millions of his people, and he began to sorrow in his heart; yea, there had been slain two millions of mighty men, and also their wives and their children.
3 He began to repent of the evil which he had done; he began to remember the words which had been spoken by the mouth of all the prophets, and he saw them that they were fulfilled thus far, every whit; and his soul mourned and refused to be comforted.
4 And it came to pass that he wrote an epistle unto Shiz, desiring him that he would spare the people, and he would give up the kingdom for the sake of the lives of the people.” – Ether 15:1-4
A broken heart is caused by finally seeing and accepting the harm that others are suffering as a result of your actions. When you have a broken heart, you are able to look around and see the pain others are suffering and feel for their struggle. It is born of selflessness and love for others and matures when you are humble enough to accept your role in their pain. Your heart breaks as you witness the evil in the world and the evil in you. The opposite of the broken heart is pride, self-justification, blame and criticism.
If you are worried about yourself and what happens to you, then you are experiencing the sorrow of the damned. If you are worried about others and what you are doing or have done to others, then you are experiencing godly sorrow and a broken heart. Another example of a broken heart is provided by Alma the Younger who had seen an angel and realized that he had been responsible for so much damage and pain suffered by others. He was not worried about himself, but rather he was worried about what he had done to others.
"13 Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell; yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments.
14 Yea, and I had murdered many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction; yea, and in fine so great had been my iniquities, that the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror.
15 Oh, thought I, that I could be banished and become extinct both soul and body, that I might not be brought to stand in the presence of my God, to be judged of my deeds." - Alma 36:13-14
A broken heart comes only when we selflessly understanding how we have harmed others by our mistakes or sins. Do not falling into the trap of guilt and shame which stop true repentant change.
Think about your own experiences with repentance. Are you repenting because of the fear of punishment and the damage that you have or will experience or are you focused on the damage and harm you have done to others?
A Contrite Spirit
The definition of “contrite” is:
- caused by or showing sincere remorse.
- filled with a sense of guilt and the desire for atonement; penitent:
Synonyms include: remorseful, repentant, regretful, sorry, apologetic, conscience-stricken - Dictionary.com “Contrite”
A contrite spirit is not just a spirit or feeling of remorse or regret, it is that desire to change, fix and correct the problem. It is that moment when self-pity turns into corrective action. It is the offering we bring to the Lord, the desire to atone for or correct our past. It is different from the broken heart, (which is saddened by the circumstances), in that it’s moved to take corrective action. It is that magic moment when the broken heart motivates the person to change, repent, or atone, (make amends or reparation), for their past.
Sometimes this decision for change is made in faith as part of a bargain or agreement. For example, King Lamonhi who was willing to give away all his sins IF God existed and was able to make Himself known to the king. Like his son Lamoni, he was overpowered by the Spirit and carried away in God.
“O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day. And now when the king had said these words, he was struck as if he were dead." - Alma 22:18
In other instances the decision was subtle and possibly unnoticed in the moment of repentance, however the change was made and the individual is driven with desire to do good. This is what happened with Alma the Younger who explained how his moment of change impacted his life.
“23 But behold, my limbs did receive their strength again, and I stood upon my feet, and did manifest unto the people that I had been born of God.
24 Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.” - Alma 36:23-24
There is one more piece to this puzzle… People see their mistakes and change all the time and do not receive the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. Having a broken heart and a contrite spirit is not enough. The promise tells us that if we do a specific thing, then we will receive a specific blessing. Read the promise again and look at what we must do with our broken heart and contrite spirit.
“And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.” – 3 Ne. 9:20, see also D&C 59:8
We must come to Christ with our broken heart and contrite spirit. Making our covenant with God is the final component of this promise. In each instance throughout the scriptures, the individuals come to God with the promise of change and the hope of forgiveness. And so it is with us. If we will come to Christ with a broken heart and contrite spirit, he has promised to baptize us with fire and the Holy Ghost just as he did with the Lamanites at the time of their conversion.
This is how we enter in at the gate. When we enter in at the gate, we receive the promised blessings. If we have not experienced the baptism of fire and the gift of the Holy Ghost, then we have not entered in at the gate. Until we enter in at the gate, we are not on the path that leads to eternal life. We cannot reach eternal life unless we enter in at the gate and walk the path to its end.
More Examples of People Entering in at the Gate
The following are examples of people entering in at the gate. Notice that the moment they truly repent of their sins, they are baptized with fire having received a remission of their sins and they are filled with the Holy Ghost which is the promised blessing for all those who have entered in at the gate. Each of these is an example of what we all must do to enter in at the gate.
Example 1: The People of King Benjamin
King Benjamin taught his people the words he received from an angel. When he finished his teaching, he looked around to see how it had been received. The people had a broken heart and a contrite spirit and came to Christ seeking “forgiveness of their sins”, and they were baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost at that moment when they were converted.
“1 And now, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had made an end of speaking the words which had been delivered unto him by the angel of the Lord, that he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and behold they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them.
2 And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.
3 And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which king Benjamin had spoken unto them.” – Mosiah 4:1-3
King Benjamin then explains what caused them to have a broken heart and a contrite spirit. It was that they realized how good God is, His kindness, love, patience, and longsuffering toward the children of men as compared with the cruelty, harshness, hate, and impatience of man. Realizing and remembering the contrast between how you treat others and how God treats you can create a broken heart and a contrite spirit which will help us to continually retain a remission of our sins.
“11 And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.
12 And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.” – Mosiah 4:11-12
Retaining a remission of our sins is important to receiving the Second Comforter. Previously, we quoted the following verse that applies,
Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him." - 1 John 3:6
Before we can see Christ, we must overcome sin. Having the Holy Ghost as our constant companion means that we are constantly worthy of its presence because we retain a remission of our sins. Notice how King Benjamin teaches the people that if they continually remember the Goodness of God as compared with their own unworthiness, that they would retain a remission of their sins and that this thought will cause them to grow in the knowledge of God and of that which is just and true, or in other words, they would come to know God which is eternal life.
Example 2: Alma the Younger
Another example of someone truly repenting with a broken heart and a contrite spirit is Alma the Younger. He was awakened to the reality of God by an angel and realized how much pain and misery he has caused others. Here is how he described the process of entering in at the gate.
“13 Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell; yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments.
14 Yea, and I had murdered many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction; yea, and in fine so great had been my iniquities, that the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror.
17 And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
18 Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.
19 And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.” – Alma 36:13-19
“24 For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit.
25 And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;
26 And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.” – Mosiah 27:24-26
The scriptures are full of examples of people entering in at the gate. We know when they enter in at the gate because they receive a remission of their sins through the baptism of fire and they are filled with the gift of the Holy Ghost.
This is the first requirement or step we must take toward receiving our calling and election made sure and subsequently the second comforter. It is how we know we have entered in at the gate.
Until we receive a remission of our sins and the Gift of The Holy Ghost, we have not entered in at the gate. The path that leads to eternal life cannot be known or walked without the Holy Ghost guiding us. We’ll explain why in the next chapter.
The Voice and Mind of God
First off, we would like to point out that the Holy Ghost literally IS the voice and mind of God.
"35 For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you; for they are given by my Spirit unto you, ...
36 Wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words." - D&C 18:35-36
"1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I who speak even by the voice of my Spirit, even Alpha and Omega, your Lord and your God—" - D&C 75:1
"1 Verily I say unto you my friends, I speak unto you with my voice, even the voice of my Spirit, that I may show unto you my will..." - D&C 97:1
"66 Behold, that which you hear is as the voice of one crying in the wilderness—in the wilderness, because you cannot see him—my voice, because my voice is Spirit; my Spirit is truth; truth abideth and hath no end; and if it be in you it shall abound." - D&C 88: 66
"3 And this is the ensample unto them, that they shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost.
4 And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation." - D&C 68:3-4
The Holy Ghost is our map or our guide. If we listen to it, it will teach us the words of Christ and tell us all things what we should do. In short, it is God’s voice that points out the path that leads to eternal life.
“5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do." - 2 Nephi 32:5
"7 But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils." - D&C 46:7
“2 Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?
3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.” - 2 Nephi 32:2-3
Many times, in scripture, Christ likens his people to sheep and himself as the good shepherd. Just as sheep learn to recognize and follow the voice of their shepherd, his people learn to recognize and follow his voice. His voice that we learn to recognize and follow is the spirit. If we learn to recognize and hearken to that voice then he brings us into his fold and we become his sheep.
"60 And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; and he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed." - Alma 5:60
Hearkening to the Holy Ghost not only means that we need to learn to correctly hear His voice, but also to trust it. Believing God is just as important as hearing God. If God gives you a promise of a blessing through the spirit, and you do not recognize, trust or believe the voice, then the blessing is not received.
In Helaman 10, Nephi was given the sealing power by the voice of God “in his mind”. What would happen if Nephi didn’t recognize it as God or didn’t believe it? He would not have received the sealing power or been able to use it as a result of his lack of faith.
How to recognize the promptings. revelations and instructions of the Holy Ghost and discern them from your own thoughts and other voices is outside the scope of this document, but we will provide a number of helpful exercises for those who desire to practice and perfect their communication with God through the spirit.
Receiving the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is essential to being Christ’s sheep because if we don’t have the Holy Ghost with us, then we can’t hear his voice. If we can’t hear his voice, then we are not his sheep. Being able to hear the voice of the spirit is essential, it is required if we want to belong to Christ’s church. If we do not have the gift of the Holy Ghost and cannot hear his voice which tells us all things that we should do, we do not belong to his church, and we are considered wicked.
"21 And he that will hear my voice shall be my sheep; and him shall ye receive into the church, and him will I also receive.
28 Therefore I say unto you, that he that will not hear my voice, the same shall ye not receive into my church, for him I will not receive at the last day." - Mosiah 26:21 & 28
"52 And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me.
53 And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked..." - D&C 84:52-53
His sheep know his voice, the spirit, and they follow him. Those who are not his sheep do not hear his voice and can’t follow him. If we follow his voice, it will lead us to eternal life.
"27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." - John 10:27-28
When we enter in at the gate, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost which becomes our companion and guide. It and it alone can show us the path that leads to eternal life.
Not only do we need to learn to recognize and obey the spirit as the voice of God, doing all things it tells us to do, but it is also our teacher. It will teach us all things. This is so much the case that the Lord says that if we receive the word of truth by any means other than the spirit, then we have not received it of God.
“26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” - John 14:26
“19 And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
20 If it be some other way it is not of God.” - D&C 50:19-20
Only God can show you the path that leads to eternal life. If you receive the Holy Ghost, then you can hear the Lord’s voice and if you listen to that voice, then you are his sheep and a member of his church. If you have not entered in at the gate, then you have not received the Holy Ghost, you cannot hear his voice, you are not a member of his church and you are not on the path that leads to eternal life.
Walking the path to eternal life literally means “following the spirit”. To walk the path that leads to eternal life, we must recognize God’s voice is the spirit and listen to the spirit knowing it is the voice of God. Because it is God’s voice, it supersedes ALL other voices of authority regardless of whether those voices are social, political or even religious leaders. Just as God’s authority trumps all other authorities, God’s voice trumps all other voices. If we obey any other voice above the voice of God, then we have essentially placed another voice on the throne of God in our lives and we are not walking the path that leads to eternal life.
Endure to the End
Once we have entered the gate by receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and we are following the Holy Ghost, recognizing it as the voice of God, we are finally walking the path that leads to eternal life. Now, we must continue to walk that path, enduring the challenges of that path until the end. What is the end?
The path leads to eternal life, or in other words the end of the path is eternal life. We must continue to walk this path until we receive eternal life which comes in the form of the blessings known as our calling and election made sure and the Second Comforter. By listening to and following God’s voice, we come to know God and God’s will. We learn from God directly as a son or daughter would from their father. Revelation through the Holy Ghost is the only way to know God and the things of God.
“8 Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God.” - Jacob 4:8
“10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but (by) the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” - 1 Cor. 2:10-14
We learn who God is because God is telling us directly via His own voice. God is literally telling us what to do and why in each situation. The natural result of this direct one-on-one instruction is that we come to know God and the ways of God. When God appears, we will be like Him because we have learned from him.
“2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” - 1 John 3:2
In short, we speak with the Lord through the veil via the Holy Ghost. After we learn to trust in His voice enough to know that the voice we hear is God’s voice, then we are ready to enter into His presence. The process can be summed up in this way: “Adam having conversed with the Lord through the veil, via the spirit, now desires to enter into His presence.” The Lord says to him, “Let him enter…”
"47 And EVERY ONE that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God, even the Father." - D&C 84:47
This is the way and there is no other way to know God than to follow his spirit. No other path or process leads to eternal life. Now, we can fully understand the words recorded by Nephi and the promise made by God that if we follow this simple plan to the end, we will have eternal life.
"17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
18 And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.
19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, THUS SAITH THE FATHER: YE SHALL HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.
21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, THIS IS THE WAY; AND THERE IS NONE OTHER WAY nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen." – 2 Nephi 31:17-21
This is the pattern that all of the holy prophets have followed and taught from the beginning. It is the answer to all the parables taught by Christ concerning the kingdom of heaven, who goes and who does not. It was even this simple process that would have saved the world from the flood.
“23 And it came to pass that Noah continued his preaching unto the people, saying: Hearken, and give heed unto my words;
24 Believe and repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, even as our fathers, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost, that ye may have all things made manifest; and if ye do not this, the floods will come in upon you; nevertheless they hearkened not.” - Moses 8:23-24
Anciently, the world was cleansed by the baptism of water. All those who did not receive and follow the Holy Ghost were destroyed by water. Today, we give the warning that the world is preparing for a new cleansing, the baptism of fire. During this baptism of fire, all the wicked will be burned.
“1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” - Malachi 4:1
“10 For the time speedily cometh that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy; and he will spare his people, yea, even if it so be that he must destroy the wicked by fire.” - 2 Nephi 30:10
“24 For after today cometh the burning—this is speaking after the manner of the Lord—for verily I say, tomorrow all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble; and I will burn them up, for I am the Lord of Hosts; and I will not spare any that remain in Babylon.” - D&C 64:24
Moses warned the people that the flood would come and unless they repented and received the Holy Ghost which manifested to them all things that they should do, they would be considered wicked and destroyed. The prophets have told us that the wicked are all those who do not hear the voice of the lord.
“52 And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me.
53 And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked…” - D&C 84:52-53
“6 And even so will I cause the wicked to be kept, that will not hear my voice but harden their hearts, and wo, wo, wo, is their doom…
8 But the day soon cometh that ye shall see me, and know that I am; for the veil of darkness shall soon be rent, and he that is not purified shall not abide the day.” - D&C 38:6-8
“2 And then shall the wicked be cast out, and they shall have cause to howl, and weep, and wail, and gnash their teeth; and this because they would not hearken unto the voice of the Lord; therefore the Lord redeemeth them not.” - Mosiah 16:2
We give to you our warning, just as Moses did to the people of his day,
“If you do not know and follow the voice of the lord which tells you all things that ye should do, then you are not his sheep and the fire will consume you at his coming. Therefore, come unto Christ with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and you will be baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost. If you do not this, then the fire will come upon you and you will not abide his coming.”
We hope that you see and understand this pattern where you may have missed it previously. Earlier in this article, we quoted Joseph Smith teaching exactly what we have taught, but few would have understood and recognized what he was really saying. Here is his quote once again. Notice the pattern that he provides with the promise that if we follow this pattern, the lord will SOON promise us exaltation.
“The other Comforter spoken of is a subject of great interest, and perhaps understood by few of this generation. After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost… which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, (spoken by the voice of God), and the Lord will SOON say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted…” – Joseph Smith, History of the Church volume 3 pages 380-381
You cannot walk the path that leads to eternal life by following any other person, group or thing. You must follow the Holy Ghost that speaks the words of Christ because it is the voice of God. This bring us to the final point of this article, the Only and True doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Ghost.
The Only and True Doctrine
As members of the church, we use the term doctrine very loosely. We give the special title of doctrine to so many things. We suppose that all these doctrines of the church are also the doctrines of God and Jesus Christ. However, this not the case. The scriptures are very clear that there are only a few doctrines that God accepts as true. This entire article has been focused around the principles taught by Nephi regarding the gate that we should enter, the path that we should walk and the promise of eternal life if we followed his revealed counsel. The last thing he teaches in conclusion of these principles is that there is no other way AND that this is the ONLY doctrine accepted and taught by God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. He explains,
“21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, THIS IS THE WAY; AND THERE IS NONE OTHER WAY nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and THE ONLY AND TRUE DOCTRINE OF THE FATHER, and of the SON and of the HOLY GHOST, which is one God, without end. Amen." – 2 Nephi 31:17-21
If Nephi is correct, then the only doctrines espoused by God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are:
- Be Baptized,
- Receive the baptism of Fire (True remission of sins), and
- the Holy Ghost (Gift of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter)
- The Holy Ghost will tell you all things that you should do.
A similar statement is made by the Savior himself in 3 Nephi 11, which reads;
“31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.
32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.
35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.
37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
40 And WHOSO SHALL DECLARE MORE OR LESS THAN THIS, AND ESTABLISH IT FOR MY DOCTRINE, THE SAME COMETH OF EVIL, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and THE GATES OF HELL STAND OPEN TO RECEIVE SUCH when the floods come and the winds beat upon them." – 3 Nephi 11:31-40
One might wonder how it could possibly be that of all the doctrines taught and accepted by the church, God the Father and Jesus Christ accept ONLY these few principles as their TRUE doctrines. The reason is simple.
The term “doctrine” is special. It doesn’t mean teaching, truth, or principles. Christ had many teachings and taught many truths which are not considered part of his doctrine. Doctrine is special. It is the core principles and truths on which our entire religious experience is founded. Only these few principles, teachings and truths are considered “doctrine”.
The reason that these points are considered the only accepted doctrine of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost is because they are everything needed to enable a person to be directed by God personally. If a person repents, is baptized and receives the remission of sins as if by fire and the Gift of the Holy Ghost which literally is the voice of God, then that person will be told all things that they should do by God directly. They are literally communicating with God who is now enabled to instruct them personally in every aspect of their lives. They no longer need to follow any other source because all other sources are subject to and overwritten by the voice of God to the individual directly. God will literally tell the person ALL things that they should do and they will attempt to do nothing unless God through the spirit has either authorized, instructed or approved it.
If we teach people to do anything more or less than receive and obey the spirit of God, then we are taking them off the path that leads to eternal life. We are leading them astray and opening the gates of hell to receive them.
Once a person receives the Holy Ghost, they are enabled to follow God directly, just as Jesus did. This means that more than anything, we should seek to receive and follow the Spirit or Voice of God. This is ultimately the point and purpose of the only doctrine authorized and accepted by God and Jesus Christ. It is everything that a person needs to do to be led by God directly through the veil until the veil is parted and they enter back into God’s presence.
"5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.
6 Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and THERE WILL BE NO MORE DOCTRINE GIVEN UNTIL AFTER HE SHALL MANIFEST HIMSELF UNTO YOU IN THE FLESH. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do." - 2 Nephi 32:5-6
It just so happens that these few doctrines together make up what is called the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we receive and follow the gospel, then we will receive and follow Christ.
"5 And verily, verily, I say unto you, he that receiveth my gospel receiveth me; and he that receiveth not my gospel receiveth not me.
6 And THIS IS MY GOSPEL—repentance and baptism by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom." - D&C 39:5-6
"11 Yea, repent and be baptized, every one of you, for a remission of your sins; yea, be baptized even by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.
12 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, THIS IS MY GOSPEL; and remember that they shall have faith in me or they can in nowise be saved;" - D&C 33:11-12
"20 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.
21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, THIS IS MY GOSPEL;" - 3Ne. 27:20-21
This principle is so important that we are taught that the only unpardonable sin is to commit blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. Even blasphemy against Jesus Christ who is “the Son of Man”, is forgivable, but to speak against the Holy Ghost is the unpardonable sin.
"31 ¶ Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." – Matt. 12:31-32
“28 Verily I say unto you, all sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith so ever they shall blaspheme:
29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:” – Mark 3:28-29
Some prophets have even pointed out that murder is not easy to be forgiven of, but it is still forgivable, wherein denying the Holy Ghost is a sin that cannot be pardoned.
“6 For behold, if ye deny the Holy Ghost when it once has had place in you, and ye know that ye deny it, behold, this is a sin which is unpardonable; yea, and whosoever murdereth against the light and knowledge of God, it is not easy for him to obtain forgiveness; yea, I say unto you, my son, that it is not easy for him to obtain a forgiveness.” – Alma 39:6
“14 But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me.” – 2 Nephi 31:14
When a person rejects the spirit so that it no longer strives with them, then they are ready for destruction.
“For the Spirit of the Lord will not always strive with man. And when the Spirit ceaseth to strive with man then cometh speedy destruction, and this grieveth my soul.” – 2 Nephi 26:11
In conclusion, we would like to add our own personal witness to the many found in the scriptures. If your heart’s desire is to return to God, receive the promise and gift of eternal life and to receive the Second Comforter as a firsthand witness of Jesus Christ, then you must accept only as doctrine those doctrines accepted by God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost which are true. You must repent of your sins, not just going through the motions, but true sincere repentance with full purpose of heart. You will know when you have truly repented because you will receive a remission of sins by fire and the Holy Ghost will be given to you as a guide and companion to direct you along the path that leads to eternal life.
If you will learn to receive and recognize the voice of the God, then it and it alone will lead you back to God. If you accept any other authority as your spiritual guide than the authority of the Holy Ghost, you will not be walking the path that leads to eternal life and you are committing the sin of blasphemy which means to place someone or something else on the throne of God in your life, (in other words, you have replaced God with someone or somethings else as your king).
Only by accepting and applying the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the doctrines of Christ can we come to know Christ. If we know Christ, then we know God. There is no other way to reach eternal life. His sheep hear his voice and know him. If you are to be his sheep, then you must also hear his voice and know him.
We give you our solemn witness that Christ lives. We speak from firsthand experience having walked this exact path for ourselves and received all the blessings that come to us at the end of that path. We bear our witness of Christ having personally met him. He desires all to enter his presence. It is our witness that only by living the doctrines of Christ can we do so. There is no other path that can be followed to return to His presence and enjoy the blessings of His peace. There is no man nor set of men that can guide our steps along the path that leads to eternal life. In the name of our dear friend, Jesus Christ, amen.