Handbook 2:
Administering the Church

 

1.2 Returning to the Father

 1.2.1

The Gospel of Jesus Christ

The plan of salvation is the fulness of the gospel. It includes the Creation, the Fall, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and all the laws, ordinances, and doctrines of the gospel. It provides the way for us to experience joy in mortality (see 2 Nephi 2:25) as well as the blessing of eternal life.

Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be cleansed and sanctified from sin and prepare to enter again into the presence of our Eternal Father. To receive this blessing, we must follow the principles and ordinances of the gospel (see Articles of Faith 1:3). We must:

  1. 1.

    Exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God.

  2. 2.

    Turn to God through sincere repentance, having a change of heart and confessing and forsaking sins.

  3. 3.

    Receive the saving ordinance of baptism for the remission of sins.

  4. 4.

    Be confirmed a member of the Church and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.

  5. 5.

    Endure to the end by keeping sacred covenants.

These principles have been taught since the days of Adam. As we come to understand and believe these truths and gain a firm testimony of Jesus Christ, we strive to obey His commandments and want to share our blessings with our family and others (see 1 Nephi 8:9–37). With this secure foundation of testimony, other elements of Church activity follow naturally.

Personal spiritual growth takes place as we draw close to God through prayer, scripture study, pondering, and obedience. Nephi taught:

“After ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:19–20).

Each of us is accountable before God to learn and keep His commandments and to live the gospel. We will be judged according to our actions, the desires of our hearts, and the kind of people we have become. As we become true followers of Jesus Christ, we experience a mighty change of heart and “have no more disposition to do evil” (Mosiah 5:2; see also Alma 5:12–15; Moroni 10:32–33). As we live the gospel of Jesus Christ, we grow line upon line, becoming more like the Savior in loving and serving others.

 1.2.2

The Role of Church Leaders and Teachers

Priesthood and auxiliary leaders and teachers strive to help others become true followers of Jesus Christ (see Mosiah 18:18–30). To assist individuals and families in this effort, they:

  1. 1.

    Teach and testify of the pure doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  2. 2.

    Strengthen individuals and families in their efforts to keep their sacred covenants.

  3. 3.

    Provide counsel, support, and opportunities for service.

In addition, certain priesthood leaders have the authority to oversee the performance of the saving priesthood ordinances.