Chapter 1: Divine Truth

Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual, (2000), 2–3


Introduction

Discovering what truth is and applying it in our lives are the most important things we can do while on earth. Only by gaining a knowledge of the truth are we able to build the kingdom of God and prepare for eternal life.

Doctrinal Outline

Supporting Statements

  • A.

    Divine truth is absolute reality.

    • “It is vital to know that there really is a God, that there really is a Savior, Jesus Christ, that there really is impending immortality for all men, that there really will be a judgment with genuine personal accountability, and that there really is purpose in life and a divine plan of happiness for man.

      “When we know such basic truths as these, then we know what really matters, how to approach life and how to view man in the universe. There is great power in perspective. Therefore, the adverb ‘really,’ as used by Jacob [Jacob 4:13], is deeply significant” (Neal A. Maxwell, Things As They Really Are, 4).

    • “We are willing to receive all truth, from whatever source it may come; for truth will stand, truth will endure. … Truth is at the foundation, at the bottom and top of, and it entirely permeates this great work of the Lord that was established through the instrumentality of Joseph Smith, the prophet” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 1).

    • “This true way of life [the gospel] is not a matter of opinion. There are absolute truths and relative truths. … There are many ideas advanced to the world that have been changed to meet the needs of the truth as it has been discovered. There are relative truths, and there are also absolute truths which are the same yesterday, today, and forever—never changing. These absolute truths are not altered by the opinions of men. As science has expanded our understanding of the physical world, certain accepted ideas of science have had to be abandoned in the interest of truth. Some of these seeming truths were stoutly maintained for centuries. The sincere searching of science often rests only on the threshold of truth, whereas revealed facts give us certain absolute truths as a beginning point so we may come to understand the nature of man and the purpose of his life. …

      “We learn about these absolute truths by being taught by the Spirit. These truths are ‘independent’ in their spiritual sphere and are to be discovered spiritually, though they may be confirmed by experience and intellect. (See D&C 93:30.) …

      “God, our Heavenly Father—Elohim—lives. That is an absolute truth. … All the people on the earth might deny him and disbelieve, but he lives in spite of them. … In short, opinion alone has no power in the matter of an absolute truth. He still lives. And Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Almighty, the Creator, the Master of the only true way of life—the gospel of Jesus Christ. The intellectual may rationalize him out of existence and the unbeliever may scoff, but Christ still lives and guides the destinies of his people. That is an absolute truth; there is no gainsaying. …

      “The Gods organized and gave life to man and placed him on the earth. This is absolute. It cannot be disproved. A million brilliant minds might conjecture otherwise, but it is still true” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Absolute Truth,” Ensign, Sept. 1978, 3–4).

  • B.

    All divine truth is possessed by God and imparted by Him to His children.

    • “The Father, Son and Holy Ghost, as one God, are the fountain of truth. From this fountain all the ancient learned philosophers have received their inspiration and wisdom—from it they have received all their knowledge. If we find truth in broken fragments through the ages, it may be set down as an incontrovertible fact that it originated at the fountain, and was given to philosophers, inventors, patriots, reformers, and prophets by the inspiration of God. It came from him through his Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost, in the first place, and from no other source. It is eternal” (Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 30).

    • “The philosophy of the heavens and the earth of the worlds that are, that were, and that are yet to come into existence, is all the Gospel that we have embraced. Every true philosopher, so far as he understands the principles of truth, has so much of the Gospel, and so far he is a Latter-day Saint, whether he knows it or not. Our Father, the great God, is the author of the sciences, he is the great mechanic, he is the systematizer of all things, he plans and devises all things, and every particle of knowledge which man has in his possession is the gift of God” (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, 2–3).

    • “What is this knowledge, intelligence, and light and truth that our Heavenly Father would have us receive? Does it consist solely of the truths God has revealed through his prophets? What place does knowledge gleaned from secular sources and with secular means have in the scheme of eternal progression?

      “In considering these questions, we must recognize that secular knowledge alone can never save a soul nor open the celestial kingdom to anyone.

      Secular knowledge alone saves no one.

      “The Apostles Peter and John, for example, had little secular learning—being termed ignorant, in fact. But Peter and John knew the vital things of life, that God lives and that the crucified, resurrected Lord is the Son of God. They knew the path to eternal life. They learned that mortality is the time to learn first of God and his gospel and to receive the saving priesthood ordinances.

      “Yet secular knowledge can be most helpful to the children of our Father in Heaven who, having placed first things first, have found and are living those truths which lead one to eternal life. These are they who have the balance and perspective to seek all knowledge—revealed and secular—as a tool and servant for the blessing of themselves and others” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Seek Learning, Even by Study and Also by Faith,” Ensign, Sept. 1983, 3).

  • C.

    Adherence to revealed truth brings great blessings and, ultimately, salvation.

    • “Much of really living consists of acquiring perspective about everlasting things so that we can successfully manage the transitory factual things, for tactical choices do crowd in upon us all hour by hour. Knowing the facts about a bus schedule, for instance, is helpful, but such facts are clearly not the lasting or emancipating truths Jesus spoke of as being necessary to experience real freedom, for ‘the truth shall make you free.’ (John 8:32.)” (Maxwell, Things As They Really Are, 2).

    • “We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 51).