Wednesday, September 1, 2010
2 Nephi 32: 6
2 Nephi 32: 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."
This is the totality of the matter: the doctrine of Christ.
Receive the Comforter and it will tell you what you must do.
It will in turn lead you to the Second Comforter. He will then take you further still.
What does it mean that Christ "shall manifest Himself unto you in the flesh?" Is this speaking of the time when Christ appeared to the Nephites (3 Nephi 11: 1-41, where He did declare doctrine)? Or is this speaking of Him appearing to each individual? (John 14: 23 and D&C 130: 3) Is it both?
What does it mean that "the things which He shall say unto you shall ye observe to do?" What takes primacy - your culture, respected peers, leaders of society or government or church, or the Lord and His sayings? Why?
What does it mean that "no more doctrine" will be given until Christ "shall manifest Himself unto you in the flesh?" Was there more doctrine given to later Nephite prophets before Christ appeared in 3rd Nephi? What about the very next writer-prophet of the Book of Mormon and his testimony of revelation from Christ? (See Jacob 1: 4, 6; Jacob 4: 6; Jacob 7: 5) Was his ministry one that included the Lord "manifesting Himself unto [Jacob] in the flesh?" (See 2 Nephi 11: 3)
How and what is to be revealed? Although you may receive Christ "in the flesh," does it mean you may tell others all things you learn as a result? Or are you constrained and limited in what and how you measure to others? Who decides what is appropriate to include in your testimony, you or the Lord? (Alma 12: 9-10)
If "what He shall say unto you shall ye observe to do," then what of criticism? What of those who will not accept your testimony? What if your testimony of Christ is dismissed as merely your "claims?" What if things done in meekness and humility are misconstrued and said instead to be done to get notice and popularity? Should you expect to be without criticism?
What does it mean that "the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do?" Does it mean others will even understand why you do what you do? Does it mean it will be welcomed? Does it mean you will have some credential the world will recognize? Or will only those who hear the Master's voice respond? (John 10: 27) If it is the Master's voice which should be heard, then how do you avoid introducing your own voice in His place? What if the words are a rebuke or warning? Should you hesitate? (3 Nephi 30: 1-2)
If you only have your testimony to offer, how likely is it to be persuasive in this world where rank, position, acclaim and popularity define influence? What if, as Bob Dylan penned: "All I got is this red guitar, three chords and the truth." What then? Is the truth resilient enough to endure in this hurricane of deceit and worldliness? It will, even if only with a few.
At your core, you love and respect Jesus Christ. When given the choice before your were born, you accepted and agreed to follow Him. That is why you are here. If you followed Him then, you ought to be willing to follow Him now. If you can find Him. I believe that anyone who can find the Master's words, no matter how unlikely a source by which they come, will follow them. The only means authorized to declare them is through persuasion, gentleness, meekness, love and pure knowledge. (D&C 121: 41.) As it turns out, that is enough. Those who have kept the Light of Christ shining within them will recognize His voice. (John 10: 27.)