As has been demonstrated here on Mormon Coffee, it is difficult to pin-down LDS doctrine with references to LDS scriptures or quotes from LDS authority figures. Because of “continuing revelation”, what was true before is not necessarily true now.
Thankfully, the LDS church has an official website, www.mormon.org, where a person can find accurate, consolidated, up-to-date, LDS doctrine (at least, that part which is okay for public viewing).
I went to the website in search of the current Mormon “gospel”, as published by the church, officially. Here is the given definition:
The Gospel: “The ‘good news’ of God’s plan for the salvation of mankind. At the center of His plan is the Atoning sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ, in whom alone salvation is possible. In its fulness, the gospel includes all of the commandments, principles, ordinances, and covenants whereby human beings can be forgiven of sin, overcome the world, and attain immortality and eternal life in the kingdom of God.”
Mormon salvation is not the same as Christian salvation. The website says LDS salvation is “deliverance from sin and death”, and that “… everyone will be given the gift of resurrection, the righteous and the wicked alike.”
So salvation is not what a faithful LDS hopes to achieve. Rather, the aim is “eternal life in the kingdom of God”, which, as you can see above, requires Joseph Smith’s restored “fulness of the gospel”.
Now, the fulness of the gospel includes all of the commandments, principles, ordinances, and covenants. What are all of those? It took some digging around on the website, but I did find many of these requirements. The following is an overview of what I found, together with a brief description of each term, and some material I quoted because I thought it was interesting. Emphasis is mine.
Ready? Here we go…
1- “Obedience to God’s Commandments” — (you must obey the Ten Commandments)
2- “Pray Often”
3- “Study the Scriptures” — (you must study the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price).
4- “Keep the Sabbath Day Holy”– (you must attend church and take the sacrament to renew your covenants and show “that you are willing to repent of your sins and mistakes”).
5- “Baptism and Confirmation” — (you must repent of your sins, be baptized into and confirmed a member of the LDS church).
6- “Follow the Prophet” — (you must “…have faith in God’s chosen prophet, gain conviction of his divine calling, and follow his teachings. You must prepare yourself so that when the prophets and apostles speak, the Holy Ghost can confirm the truths they teach and you can then determine to follow the counsel they give you.” Sustaining new church leaders is also part of following the prophet).
7- “Live the Law of Chastity” — (“You are to keep your thoughts clean and be modest in your dress, speech, and actions. You must avoid pornography… and treat the God-given procreative power and your body as sacred gifts. You are not to participate in abortions or homosexual or lesbian relations… those who are married to more than one person at a time may not be baptized.”)
8- “Obey the Word of Wisdom” — (“In addition to emphasizing the benefits of proper eating and physical and spiritual health, God has spoken against the use of tobacco, alcohol, coffee and tea, harmful, habit-forming drugs.”)
9- “Live the Law of Tithing” — (“A commandment from the Lord to pay one tenth of one’s annual increase or income for the building of His Church on the earth.” “Tithes and offerings are paid voluntarily and privately”).
10- “Observe the Law of the Fast” — (you must skip two meals once per month and make a “fast offering”).
11- “Obey and Honor the Law” — (you must obey “the laws of the country… to be good citizens, to participate in civil government and the political process, and to render community service as concerned citizens.”)
12- “Endure to the End” — (“If you endure to the end of your life and stay true to your covenants, you will receive eternal life.”)
“… include faith in Jesus Christ, prayer, repentance*, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities”, Word of Wisdom, tithing, etc.
*(Repentance is defined as “the process of experiencing sincere regret or sorrow for wrongdoing, confessing one’s sin and asking for forgiveness, making restitution for any damage done, and committing not to repeat the sin”).
An ordinance is “a sacred rite or ceremony” such as baptism, confirmation, administering to the sick, baptism for the dead, marriage in the temple, endowments, sealings. “Some ordinances, such as baptism, are essential for salvation”.
A covenant is “a binding and solemn agreement, contract, or promise between God and a person or group of persons upon which eternal blessings are based.”
In Baptism and Confirmation, you “covenant with God to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, to follow Him, and to keep His commandments. In return, He promises to forgive your sins and let you return to live with Him, provided you keep your covenants”.
Mormon.org did not give a full list of covenants. Some that were not included are listed below.
During the endowment ceremony, you “solemnly covenant and promise before God, angels, and [the] witnesses at the altar that you will…”
1 – “…observe and keep the Law of the Lord and to hearken to the counsel of your husband as he hearkens unto the counsel of the Father.” (if female) or “…obey the Law of God and keep his commandments.” (if male). (“The Law of Obedience”).
2 – “…sacrifice all that you possess, even your own life if necessary, in sustaining and defending the Kingdom of God.” ( “The Law of Sacrifice”).
3 – “…avoid all lightmindedness, loud laughter, evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed, the taking of the name of God in vain, and every other unholy and impure practice.” (“The Law of the Gospel”).
4 – “…have no sexual relations except with your husband to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded.” (“The Law of Chastity”).
5 – “…consecrate yourselves, your time, talents and everything which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.” (“The Law of Consecration”).
The New Year’s Resolution list looks pretty big again this year.
Latter-day “saint”, will you be able to live “the gospel” this year? Will you next year? How about your family, friends, loved-ones?
Remember, Jesus promises to forgive your sins and let you return to live with Him, “provided you keep your covenants”.
Please consider what I have pieced together for you, above. Will you ignore it? If so, why? Do you honestly think you are doing all of what is required of you, or do you think that you don’t really have to?
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)