Friday, January 8, 2010

Mosiah - Chapter 18


When I was on my mission in the Philippines, Elder Bruce R. McConkie toured the mission.  In a conference with the Elders and Sisters he quoted this verse:
20 Yea, even he commanded them that they should preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord, who had redeemed his people.
Elder McConkie made it plain that the brethren still endorse that commandment.  We were called to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to teach nothing but faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance, baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  It was a tough concept for our young minds to comprehend.  I remember thinking, "But what about Temple Work, or genealogy, or ancient landing strips in Nazca, Peru?"

I never did really get the message until I began to recover from addiction.  I had tried and tried and tried to repent of my misbehavior and I had failed and failed and failed and failed.  I had not learned that I was seeking a miracle and that Faith precedes the miracle.  I was attempting to stop sinning, without applying faith in Christ.  I guess people stop sinning all the time.  People stop smoking, stop beating their wives, all kinds of things.  That is not repentance.  Repentance requires faith in Christ.  It requires a remission of sins that only He can offer.  It requires application of His redeeming blood.  I don't know if it was me or my teachers who were to blame, perhaps both, but I did not get that concept.  In church we were taught the five steps of repentance.  Those five step perhaps assumed, but did not include faith in my Savior.  I was going about the process completely backwards and that is the reason I failed.  The 12 Steps include Faith as the absolute prerequisite to successful repentance.  What a blessing to have finally made the discovery that Alma, and Bruce R. McConkie, insisted was the foundation of a successful probation on earth.

5 comments:

di said...

After sitting through hundreds of Sunday School classes, where We teach and learn the same basic things over and over, I get very excited when a ‘new’ concept comes up, or an idea, or even a fact is revealed that I had never heard or considered. But I also know that building on a firm foundation of the basic truths will be what holds me and protects me through the hard times.

D1Warbler said...

Candleman,

The Church actually has a "Four Step Program." It is called the Forth Article of Faith!

Had your Primary teachers been able to impress upon your mind the principles in the Forth Article of Faith (i.e., "We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentence; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; forth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost -- which you should have learned in Primary -- you should have at least understood that "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ" is the first saving principle of the gospel.) Had you been able to begin to internalize that when you prepared for your baptism at the age of eight, you might have been spared years of sin and torment. The fact that you didn't learn and internalize that lets me know -- as a Primary President -- how important good Primary teachers and leaders are!

Candleman said...

D1Warbler,

You are absolutely right. I'm not really blaming my teachers or parents. Maybe I'm just dense. I will say though that I'm not the only one who came out of those years with the wrong notion.

That problem and solution are best described by Stephen E. Robinson in his book Believing Christ in which he explains to us dummies that having faith in Christ is not so much believing IN Him as it is believing Him. In other words I grew up accepting Him as God and Redeemer. I just never understood how to actually let Him redeem me.

D1Warbler said...

And that's exactly what needs to be taught! I'm going to put those two sentences on my refrigerator where I can see them every day and try to think of ways to help the children in my Primary learn just that. I'm also going to share them with my teachers and with my Stake Primary Presidency.

(I think part of that begins with understanding exactly what Christ took upon himself during his atonement, and it was so much more than just our sins!)

Love Life and Learning said...

I appreciate all that was shared in the discussion today. I attend the Gospel Principles class with a newly baptized member of our ward. We have spent the last four weeks studying, indepth, the first two principles of the gospel. It has been an amazing few weeks. It gives me a witness to the inspiration of the brethren to have the "Gospel Principles" book be the Priesthood and Relief Society manual for 2010. The brethren know.

I was also amazed as Alma describes the church I belong to. Thousands of years ago the teachings, purposes, and everyday activities are the same. This is not anything new to all of us, just so comforting and true.