This may seem like a silly question, but can anyone tell me what comprises “the Gospel” according to Mormonism?
I ask because I recently came across a video on You Tube titled “Sharing the Gospel with Elder Hartman Rector Jr., A Missionary Tool.” In this video Mr. Rector, emeritus General Authority of the LDS Church, talks about Doctrine & Covenants 33:7-10 wherein readers are told that the field is white and ready to harvest, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Mr. Rector explains that Latter-day Saints are “their access in” to the kingdom of heaven for people not yet members of the Church. Mormons must “open their mouths” to reap the harvest. “[I]t doesn’t make any difference [what you say],” Mr. Rector instructs, “as long as you talk about the Church.”
From there Mr. Rector provides some ideas of what Latter-day Saints might say when they open their mouths. He says to ask questions: “By the way, do you like to read? If I would send you a book that contains the actual account of the visit of the Lord Jesus Christ to America, would you read it?” Ostensibly, 97.5 percent of the people who are asked this question say yes.
Mr. Rector suggests another technique that involves the use of a coin imprinted with the images of the prophet Moroni on one side and Joseph Smith on the other. Again, Latter-day Saints are to ask if the person they’re talking with would be willing to receive and read the Book of Mormon (though Mr. Rector does not say to call the book by its title). Using this approach, 90 percent agree to receive the Book of Mormon and willingly provide their names and addresses to a complete stranger.
Latter-day Saints are told to write in the book before they send it, “Something simple like…If you will read this book and apply the promise on page 529 it will change your life, as it has changed mine.”
Okay, well it could be that the person who posted this video attached a poorly chosen title to it, yet at least to that Mormon’s understanding, Mr. Rector is explaining how to share the Gospel. In the entire 6 minutes and 55 seconds that the video runs, the death, burial and resurrection of Christ is never mentioned. The Atonement of Christ is never mentioned. Man’s need of a Savior is never mentioned. In fact, Jesus Christ Himself is only mentioned in relation to being a main character in the Book of Mormon. Exactly what “Gospel” are these people sharing? Not the Gospel Paul preached, at least not directly.
The “Gospel” is “The central message of the Christian church to the world, centered on God’s provision of salvation for the world in Jesus Christ” (Donald K. McKim, Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms).
A “Gospel” without Christ at its center is foreign to me. What is this Mormon “Gospel” that Latter-day Saints are told to share without even talking about salvation and what Christ has done for us?