October 2021 General Conference presented us with much blessing and revelation. Twice a year members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are blessed with inspiring messages, wise counsel, guidance, and direction. These messages provide a foundation to our growing faith, understanding, and enlightenment of Christ, the plan of salvation, and the infinite atonement. Specifically, these messages come in a time where there is growing upheaval and chaos in our lives. Those whom I have spoken with in private conversations all seem to agree – there is a great sifting occurring in the hearts of men. And for me that sifting begins with deep personal reflection and seeking divine revelation in these difficult and trying times.
In his opening conference address, President Russell M. Nelson shared these words:
During recent weeks I have prayed intently that this conference would be a time of revelation and reflection for all who seek those blessings.Pure Truth, Pure Doctrine, Pure Revelation – Russell M. Nelson, October 2021 General Conference
One of the greatest counsel’s I have ever recalled is that of seeking after personal revelation from our Heavenly Father. Not just a testimony of Christ, the truthfulness of the Restored Gospel, and the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. A much deeper and rich revelation that goes beyond a simple testimony. A revelation that impacts us deeply to move closer to our Heavenly Father.
President Nelson encourages such an understanding with these words:
There has never been a time in the history of the world when the knowledge of our Savior is more personally vital and relevant to every human soul. Imagine how quickly the devastating conflicts throughout the world – and those in our individual lives – would be resolved if we all chose to follow Jesus Christ and His teachings.Ibid
President Nelson followed up with this challenge:
In that spirit, I invite you to listen for three things during this conference: pure truth, the pure doctrine of Christ, and pure revelation.Ibid
He then shares that contrary to the doubts of some, there really is such a thing as right and wrong. And the problem he observes, despite that there really is absolute truth – eternal truth, is a plague where too few people know where to turn for truth.
In the Doctrine and Covenants Section 123:12 we read the following:
For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.
What is this pure truth, pure doctrine of Christ, and pure revelation President Russell M. Nelson is referring too?
The answer is found in The Great High Priestly Prayer of John 17.
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.John 17:1-3, KJV
The pure truth, pure doctrine of Christ, and pure revelation is based on each one of us to come to know Jesus Christ, our Heavenly Father, and the depth and richness of the infinite atonement. This is the blessing of our reflection and personal revelation – eternal life. All other blessings are appendages to this one truth.
In one of my favorite translations, one reads the same passage as follows:
After Yeshua had said these things, he looked up toward heaven and said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that the Son may Glorify you – just as you gave him authority over all mankind, so that he might give eternal life to all those whom you have given him. And eternal life is this: to know you, the one true God, and him whom you sent, Yeshua the MessiahJohn 17:1-3, CJB (Complete Jewish Study Bible)
Pure truth, pure doctrine of Christ, and pure revelation is the foundation of the Church. There is no other foundation to build upon. It is the basis for all blessings that are bestowed upon us from our Heavenly Father. Pure truth, pure doctrine of Christ, and pure revelation is that which leads us toward the kingdom of God and riches of our eternities (see, D&C 78:17-18, and D&C 84:38) . And these principles are found when we come unto Christ (see, Ether 4:14).
Jesus is the Christ – Son of the Living God
The Prophet Joseph Smith made this observation:
The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it. But in connection with these, we believe in the gift of the Holy Ghost, the power of faith, the enjoyment of the spiritual gifts according to the will of God, the restoration of the house of Israel, and the final triumph of truthTeachings of Presidents of the Church – Joseph Smith
Throughout Joseph Smith’s life, he had experienced multiple visions and revelations of Jesus Christ (See, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church – Joseph Smith; Chapter 3: Jesus Christ, The Divine Redeemer of the World). These visions often included personal and divine revelation that mirror many of the Old Testament and New Testament descriptions of those individuals experiencing theophanies – or Christophanies – and witness to the divine council.
Restoration of the pure teaching, pure doctrine of Christ, and pure revelation formulated the early and young Church of Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith, himself, became acquainted with the truth of what God revealed. Today, we are blessed to receive our own knowledge and truthfulness of who Christ is, what his purpose and mission was, and how it relates to our eternal happiness and well-being.
One may ask themselves, who is Jesus Christ? A question the Savior himself asked of his disciples:
And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou Simon Barjona: For flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and up on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.Matthew 16:16-18, KJV
Turning to the same passage in the Complete Jewish Study Bible we read:
Shim’on Kefa answered, “You are the Mashiach, the Son of the Living God.” “Shim’on Bar-Yochanan,” Yeshua said to him, “how blessed you are! for no human being revealed this to you, no, it was my Father in heaven. I also tell you this: you are Kefa,” [which means ‘Rock’] “and on this rock I will build my Community and the gates of Sh’ol will not overcome it.Matthew 16:16-18, CJB
Hebrew for Sheol is death and the grave. What we read here is that Peter’s confession came by divine revelation. It is the same divine revelation and knowledge that Christ will build his Church upon. Revelation that even death and the grave will not hold power over. Simply put, it is the pure teaching, pure doctrine of Christ, and pure revelation that Jesus is the Christ, redeemer of humanity, and the Resurrection and the life (see, John 11:25).
In these latter-days, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is restored with the pure teaching, pure doctrine of Christ, and pure revelation given unto humanity as a blessing toward eternal life.
When we read Matthew 16:19, we find something else interesting:
And I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Here, Christ is talking about divine authority by which he empowers the disciples. Keys of the kingdom of Heaven is the priesthood authority and power of God to administer within the Church. It is fitting that after Christ pronounced blessings upon Peter, he confers upon them the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Regarding these keys of the kingdom of Heaven, Wilford Woodruff shares the experience he had with Brigham Young. Recollecting the last meeting they had with Joseph Smith. Woodruff says this:
I say to the Latter-day Saints the keys of the kingdom of God are here, and they are going to stay here, too, until the coming of the Son of Man. Let all Israel understand that. They may not rest upon my head but a short time, but they will then rest on the head of another Apostle, and another after him, and so continue until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds of heaven to “reward every man according to the deeds done in the bodyThe Keys of the Kingdom – July 2004 Ensign
In The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, we find the following teaching as well:
What is the priesthood for? It is to administer the ordinances of the gospel, even the gospel of our Father in heaven, the eternal God, the Eloheim of the Jews and the God of the Gentiles, and all he has ever done from the beginning has been performed by and through the power of that priesthood, which is “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life,” and the administration of his servants holding this priesthood is binding, being the savior of life unto life or death unto death.Teaching Concerning Priesthood Keys
Thus, we see how the Keys of the Kingdom of God correlate with the pure teaching, pure doctrine, and pure revelation of Jesus Christ. All power and authority has been restored in these last days to assist us in drawing closer to our Heavenly Father, to come to know Jesus Christ, and to be blessed to have revelation on the infinite atonement that leads us back to our Heavenly abode.
Pure Doctrine of Christ is Powerful and Life Changing
Russell M. Nelson addresses the power associated with the pure doctrine of Christ. He remarks how it changes the life of everyone who understands it and seeks to implement it in his or her life. He further observes that:
The doctrine of Christ helps us find and stay on the covenant path. Staying on that narrow but well-defined path will ultimately qualify us to receive all that God has. Nothing could be worth more than all our Father has!Pure Truth, Pure Doctrine, and Pure Revelation – October 2021 General Conference
What is the pure doctrine of Christ? Brian K. Ashton shares his thoughts on what the scriptures reveal:
The scriptures define the doctrine of Christ as exercising faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repenting, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.The Doctrine of Christ – Ensign, November 2016
One of those scriptures is 3 Nephi 11:21-39. In this passage we find Christ giving authority and teaching on the administration of Baptism by immersion. It is when we come to verses 32-33 that we find Christ saying to the inhabitants:
And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of men, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.3 Nephi 11:32-33
And this doctrine of Christ … is the means – the only means – by which we can obtain all of the blessings made available to us through Jesus’s Atonement. Furthermore, it is the power that allows us to access the spiritual power that will lift us from our current spiritual state to a state where we can become perfected like the Savior (See, 3 Nephi 27:13-21).
What I love about Brian K. Ashton’s message is how he breaks down the doctrine of Christ:
- First, faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement
- Second, Repentance
- Third, baptism and the sacrament
- Fourth, the gift of the Holy Ghost
- Fifth, enduring to the end
He expounds on each of these principle truths. Not only are they important, and powerful, in our own lives – we are admonished to apply these principles. It is by applying the doctrine of Christ in our lives where we experience temporal and spiritual blessings. Even blessings that come because of adversity. And the important reason we must apply the doctrine of Christ in our own lives?
But more importantly, we must apply the doctrine of Christ in our lives because it provides the only path back to our Heavenly Father. It is the only way to receive the Savior and become His sons and daughters. In fact, the only way to be redeemed from sin and progress spiritually is to apply the doctrine of Christ in our lives.Ibid.
Those who do not abide in the doctrine of Christ do not have God. They are spiritually bankrupt, lost, confused, and lack any direction (see, 2 John 1:9).
Pure Revelation comes through the ministering of the Holy Spirit
Since the pure truth establishes that Jesus is the Christ. And pure doctrine of Christ involves our faith in him, humble and sincere repentance, and our willingness to be baptized for the remission of sins. Pure revelation comes through the ministering and witness of the Holy Spirit.
President Russell M. Nelson says this:
If you have not yet sought for the ministering of the Holy Ghost to help you hear what the Lord would have you hear … I invite you to do so now.
There are three distinct ways we receive the ministering of the Holy Spirit.
- Reflection and prayerful meditation upon the scriptures
- Reflection and meditation on messages delivered through the Leaders of our faith
- Personal ministry and fellowship with others
John 16:13 gives us this insight about the ministering power and authority of the Holy Spirit:
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.John 16:13, KJV
The ministering authority of the Holy Spirit is to reveal unto us Jesus Christ. Convict us of our need to repent. Assist and guide us toward all truth. By the ministering of the Holy Spirit, we are comforted in times of sorrow and distress. Because of the ministering of the Holy Spirit, we are guided in times of confusion and stand in need of direction. And it is because of the ministering of the Holy Spirit that we are able to receive our own personal revelation of who Jesus Christ is, and the pure doctrine of Christ and how it impacts and influences our lives for the better. Through the ministering of the Holy Spirit, we are able to endure to the end.
As the days seem to grow more and more tumultuous, let our hearts not fail us. Let us root ourselves in the pure truth that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the Living God. For it is on that firm foundation we are built up in resilient and bold faith. Let us lay hold and apply the pure doctrine of Christ that leads us toward a broken heart and contrite spirit (see Psalm 51:17, Acts 2:37-39, and 3 Nephi 9:20). For when we do this, we are blessed and receive pure revelation concerning Jesus Christ, the divine plan of salvation, and the authority and empowerment to endure to the end.
Meditate and Reflect on Today’s Message – Share your Thoughts in the Comment Section Below
As President Russell M. Nelson provided his opening remarks to the October 2021 General Conference – we learn that the focus of our attention is to understand three things: Pure Teaching, Pure Doctrine of Christ, and Pure Revelation. Reflecting on this message, how have you come to understand these three principle truths? What are you struggling with when it comes to your faith in Christ? Faith in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ? and where do you feel lacking when it comes to revelation and the ministering of the Holy Spirit? Knowing that personal revelation comes through our daily commitment to scripture study, prayerfully reflecting and meditating on teachings from Church Leaders and those within our own community, and through personal fellowship and service toward others: how does this help build up your faith and testimony? Please share your comments, thoughts, and feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below. Share this with others through your social media platforms as well.
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Apologia of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a volunteer based website that believes each one of us is on our own spiritual path and journey. The goal is to encourage personal revelation from God in order to produce a rule of faith and conduct, and a superior spiritual mindset and conscience and reason. It is also a means to respond, refute, and correct misleading and false understanding of the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint faith.