The Fullness of the Gospel
by J.J. Dewey
Did not Nephi warn, “Wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion! Wo be unto him that crieth all is well ... Wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more.” (2 Nephi 28:25 & 27)
Church members like to think that this scripture applies to the non-Mormons who reject the Book of Mormon, but who is “at ease in Zion”? If we keep in mind the fact that it could only be the Latter-Day Saints that are at ease in Zion, then we must face the fact that the rest of the prophecy applies to them.
Of course, the devotee would argue the belief that God will yet reveal many great and important things and believe in modern revelation. Yes, this is true in theory in the Church, but not in practice; for how many times do we hear people in the Church say things like, “Leave the mysteries alone. Do not delve into them.” “We have more than we can handle with what we have.” “Stay with the basics.” “You don’t even know all there is to know about faith yet; why do you want to delve into deeper things?”
Then when one talks about receiving more of the word of God, they will say that it pertains to the future when we are ready, but not now. We forget that, while most are content with the status quo, there are many in the Church and world who are ready for more of the word of God. Anyone who would call the present conference reports modern-day scripture is obviously not prepared for real scripture, for how can the quoting of old scripture be new scripture?
Let us follow Nephi a little further:
“And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall.” (Verse 28)This prophecy shall be fulfilled in our day. Many will be angry when they receive the revelations and teachings of real modern prophets and others which are to come, but the righteous will receive them with joy for the time is verily coming when the words of Isaiah will be fulfilled:
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isa. 52:7)I would hope to be counted among those who bring you good tidings of good and declare that God does reign and that Zion will yet be built by the power of God. Indeed, since the Church has been driven in the wilderness again, it has almost appeared that God does not reign, for the Church has had to give up many of its basic principles mentioned earlier, but this is because of the folly of man. God does reign over His inner Church and soon it will again come out of the wilderness with great glory and power and after a manner which ye know not.
In the next verse, Nephi repeats his warning:
“Wo be unto him that shall say, We have received the word of God [meaning the Bible and LDS scriptures], and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!” (Verse 29)In practice is this not the cry of the Church today: “We have enough!” If you do not believe it, just try and expound on a deep doctrine or mystery in Sunday School. As I said the excommunication of my nephew and I began with the simple exploration of progression from lower to higher kingdoms.
Nephi ends his chapter with, “Wo be unto the Gentiles saith the Lord of hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out my arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me.” (Verse 32)
Do the Latter-Day Saints deny God? Do they deny revelations given by the Spirit of God to various people in and out of the church? Yes, they do because of the mistaken notion that God will only reveal mysteries through the president of the church. If they do not come through him they are to be rejected.
When Jesus was speaking before the multitudes in Jerusalem, he warned them, “Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under the foot of men.” (Matt. 5:13)
What did Jesus mean by this? He told the followers of Moses that they were the salt of the earth. To help us understand a little better let us use the ancient Jews as a correspondence to salt and the earth as a correspondence to a steak. The percentage of the steak that is salt is very small, yet its influence is so strong that it will greatly enhance the flavor of the whole thing. Yet we find that the sea salt that the Jews used, if left to stagnate, will lose its flavoring ability and become completely tasteless. If this were to happen to the salt, who in the world would want to put it on a steak? It would become worthless. The Master would then seek for other salt with taste, for the first salt is, “thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under the foot of men.”
Did the ancient Jews heed this warning? No! They lost their savor and the Master sought for other salt in the Gentiles. Consequently, the Jews were trodden under foot by the Romans and great were their lamentations.
Does the Lord promise members today that they are salt that cannot lose their savor? No, verily we see that the Lord speaks to the Church today the same as He did yesterday: “But inasmuch as they keep not my commandments, and hearken not to observe all my words, the kingdoms of the world shall prevail against them [the Church]. For they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be saviors of men; and inasmuch as they are not saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.” (D&C 103:8- 10)
Ask yourself: Has the Church lost its savor? Are they being the saviors of men as required to keep this savor? Some may answer yes, but we forget that the kingdom was set up for the temporal salvation of men as well as the spiritual. Of course, all religions argue that they are the spiritual saviors. Anyone who preaches about Jesus can claim that, but have they followed the course set out by Joseph Smith to be the physical saviors of mankind and preserve the freedoms of the world?
No! The Council of Fifty has been completely abandoned as well as all other efforts to preserve the principles of freedom in the Constitution.
Other groups outside the Church are being much better salt than the LDS are because some of them do not fear the criticism of the world.
Thus the Lord said, “Verily, I say unto you, that after all this and I have caused my people who are of the house of Israel to be smitten and to be afflicted, and to be slain, and to be cast out from among them, and to become hated by them, and to become a hiss and a byword among them -And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fullness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I WILL BRING THE FULLNESS OF MY GOSPEL FROM AMONG THEM.” (3 Nephi 16:9-10)
Have we reached a time that the fullness of the Gospel has been taken from the church?
Before this question can be answered we must ask another question:
What is the Fullness of the Gospel?
If we know not what the fullness of the gospel is then we have no way of knowing if it has been taken away or not.
Many members believe the fullness of the Gospel includes all the laws and ordinances of the current church. The Fundamentalists go a step further and claim it includes plural marriage, the united order and other items, and no member has a fullness unless he is incorporating every item introduced by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.
Both of these ideas miss the mark. Is it possible that after all these years and examination of the scriptures that no one has clearly explained what a fullness of the Gospel is?
Perhaps. The scriptures clearly reveal what the fullness of the Gospel is not.
For instance, the Lord said: “And I have sent forth the fulness of my gospel by the hand of my servant Joseph; and in weakness I have blessed him.” (D&C 35:17)
This revelation was given in 1830, long before plural marriage, the United Order, temple work and many other items that both groups of believers maintain is a part of the fullness. Consider this:
“And gave him power from on high, by the means which were before prepared, to translate the Book of Mormon; Which contains a record of a fallen people, and the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles and to the Jews also.” (D&C 20:8)Conclusion: The Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the gospel.
And consider this:
“And the angel of the Lord said unto me: Thou hast beheld that the book proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew; and when it proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew it contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord, of whom the twelve apostles bear record; and they bear record according to the truth which is in the Lamb of God.” I Nephi 13:24Conclusion: The Bible as it was written contains the fullness of the gospel.
“And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in which is the fullness of the gospel.” D&C 42:12Conclusion – both the Bible and the book of Mormon have the fullness of the gospel.
Is the Book of Mormon and the Bible, as a whole, representative of the fullness of the gospel or is it some teaching or principle within them that is the true fullness? Since we are told that a fullness is in both of them, then that which is a fullness must be something which is common to both books.
The next few verses give a clue:
“And they shall observe the covenants and church articles to do them, and these shall be their teachings, as they shall be directed by the Spirit. And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.” (D&C 42:13-14)How shall the fullness be taught?
Answer: By the Spirit, for without the Spirit, the fullness cannot be taught.
A couple sections later we read:
“And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the FULNESS of my gospel; But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men.” (D&C 45:28-29)Here we are clearly told that the fullness of the gospel came to the Gentiles (those who receive the Book of Mormon) and that this fullness is a “light” which is not perceived, but rejected “because of the precepts of men.”
What is that light? Another clue is given in a revelation where the gospel is actually defined:
“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 teaches the peaceable things of the Kingdom. Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on my name, and you shall receive my Spirit, and a blessing so great as you never have known.”(D&C 39:6&10)In addition to speaking of the fullness of the gospel, the scriptures also speak of “the fullness of time,” “the fullness of the Gentiles,” and “the fullness of the wrath of God.”
Does the “fullness of time” mean that everything in time is included? No. Neither does the fullness of the Gospel imply that all the teachings of the prophets are included.
A fullness implies a maximum quality or attainment. Which of these is greater and brings more fullness of joy:
To have the fire of the Holy Spirit, or to have an office in the church?
To have the Spirit, or to live the United Order?
To have the Spirit, or to have more than one wife?
To have the Spirit, or to visit the temple?
The great mystery which should not be a mystery is this: To have the fullness of the Gospel is to have the fire of the Holy Spirit, the end product of the first and basic principles of the gospel. This is the underlying principle taught in the Bible and Book of Mormon and the reason they are said to contain the fullness.
He who has the Spirit has what?
Answer: The power of revelation and thus the current Will of God is manifest to him.
This is the “Rock” upon which the true church of Christ has been, is, and will be built and this is also one of the “stones” the builders rejected.
Is this Rock upon which the church is built anything less than a fullness?
Without revelation through the gift of the Holy Spirit, there is no fullness of the Gospel; and since the Church excommunicates those who have claimed to receive the revelation of the Spirit, then we have a church which receives not of the fullness of the gospel as predicted in D&C 45:28-29, previously quoted.
Verily, the Spirit does testify to all: “Come up higher and drink freely of the waters of the Spirit that you may remain always in the fullness of the bosom of the Eternal God, that your work will be a fullness of your potential, being God working in you and speaking to the souls of humanity.”
Copyright J.J. Dewey, used with permission.
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