Our Most Distinguishing Feature

I was really struck by Tom Stringham’s guest post on The Millenial Star speaking about the importance of testifying about the foundational truths of the Restored Gospel. As I read it , it just so happened that I was finishing to read Elder Holland’s wonderful collection of conference talks, Broken Things to Mend. The last section of the book focused on the restoration and those essential truths that Tom also spoke about in the post. I was especially struck by a quote from President David O. Mckay

“If at this moment each one [of you] were asked to state in one sentence . . . the most distinguishing feature of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, what would be your answer?

 

“My answer,” he replied, “would be . . . divine authority by direct revelation.”

Holland, Jeffrey R. (2008-01-01). Broken Things to Mend (Kindle Locations 1685-1687). Deseret Book Company. Kindle Edition.

Divine authority by direct revelation encapsulates so much of what makes our church special and worth testifying about.

For instance, it is by direct revelation through a prophet (actually a series of prophets) that we have the Book of Mormon and it’s incomparable witness of Jesus Christ. As I have been reading and thinking about the Old Testament this year, I have been especially grateful for the revelation that came to us through the Prophet Joseph Smith that helps us to understand the continuity of the Gospel of Christ. 

In another talk in the book, Elder Holland expresses this thought very powerfully 

“[O]ne of the remarkable contributions of the Book of Mormon is its seamless, perfectly consistent view of divinity throughout that majestic book. Here there is no Malachi-to-Matthew gap, no pause while we shift theological gears, no misreading the God who is urgently, lovingly, faithfully at work on every page of that record from its Old Testament beginning to its New Testament end. Yes, in an effort to give the world back its Bible and a correct view of Deity with it, what we have in the Book of Mormon is a uniform view of God in all His glory and goodness, all His richness and complexity—including and especially as again demonstrated through a personal appearance of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. How grateful we are for all the scriptures, especially the scriptures of the Restoration, that teach us the majesty of each member of the Godhead.

Holland, Jeffrey R. (2008-01-01). Broken Things to Mend (Kindle Locations 2082-2088). Deseret Book Company. Kindle Edition.

 

Likewise, each of the doctrines that make us unique are rooted in the understanding that we are a living church led by a living prophet. Temple ordinances, knowledge of the plan of salvation, the sealing ordinances, the eternal significance of the atonement, and many more doctrines are known and more importantly understood thanks to divine revelation by proper authority.

As a missionary, I often repeated the missionary purpose: To invite others “to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.” I often focused on the elements of the Gospel of Christ such as repentance and baptism, but the restored gospel plays a key role in that process. I believe this is because it is only through the fruits of the restored gospel, namely continuing revelation through divine authority that we fully come to understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I bear my witnesses that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Thanks to him I am able to fully appreciate the atonement and all facets of God’s plan of salvation. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for restoring his Church to the earth.  

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