What is the Gospel? Part I: Simple Understanding

3 Oct

In all my years on the various blogs that exist this question seems to be frequently asked: What is the gospel according to the LDS church?
Many have tried to claim that it is complex and confusing; that there is no logic to it. Others will say that it all depends on which Mormon you ask. So, to clear up the confusion, I have decided to explain here what the gospel is; it’s simplicity and logic.

If you go to LDS.org, under gospel topics, looking under the word gospel, you will read the following.
“The gospel is our Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness…In its fullness, the gospel includes all the doctrines, principles, laws, ordinances, and covenants necessary for us to be exalted in the celestial kingdom.”

This is a very simple definition of the gospel, and is not confusing. The gospel is the plan set by our Heavenly Father, in which certain ordinances and commandments must be followed, to bring us to exaltation and eternal happiness.
You will also read that “The central doctrine of the gospel is the Atonement of Jesus Christ.” So, the entire plan hinges on this event. It is because of the atonement that “The Savior has promised that if we endure to the end, faithfully living the gospel, He will hold us guiltless before the Father at the Final Judgment (see 3 Nephi 27:16).”

One last thing must be mentioned concerning the Gospel. It is universal, in that it applies to all men who accept and live it. Regarding this, the Apostle Peter said, “I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:34–35).
President N. Eldon Tanner, who was a member of the First Presidency, taught: “Regardless of country, clime, or condition, the gospel of Jesus Christ applies to every individual just the same. It is a way of life that each can accept, and if lived, will bring greater joy, success, and happiness than anything else in the world” (“Christ’s Worldwide Church,” Ensign, July 1974, 6).
The power and effects of the Atonement touch not only those who have lived since the time of Christ, but all those who have ever lived from the time of Adam, allowing all men the same opportunity of salvation. Truly its power is remarkable, for Peter tells us that Christ “went and preached unto the spirits in prison” (1 Peter 3: 19) so that “they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4: 6)
This universal application of the gospel is one of its most glorious aspects, and one that should not be ignored or misunderstood. The mercy of a great and loving God allows all men the same opportunity to accept and live the gospel.

So, the gospel is the plan by which all men, no matter where or when they lived, may come back into the presence of our Heavenly Father, if they fulfill the required ordinances and are obedient to his laws. This is all well and good, but unless we know what the plan of happiness is, and what ordinances and commandments it requires, then this definition does us no good. So, let us look at this plan, and understand what it includes.
In my next two blogs I will give a brief description of what the Plan of Happiness is, and what are the required ordinances of the Gospel.

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