Fundamentals Of The Fullness Of The Gospel
By President James A.Vun Cannon
Volume 19, Number 1, Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr 2018, Issue No. 74
The Second Component of One Endeavor
As a young man in the church in the eighties, I remember the priesthood struggling to describe the “fullness of the gospel.” As I became older and Restoration branches formed, the explanations of what the fullness of the gospel meant became more varied and somewhat nebulous. Priesthood simply could not quantify the fullness of the gospel. There are some of us who can think back to when we have seen friends and loved ones leave the faith and join other faiths which taught only a small portion of the truth. It seemed inconceivable to me that someone could join another church, denounce the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, and believe doctrines like “Once Saved, Always Saved,” “Doctrine of Election,” or that a man could forgive your sins.
It was when I started creating a comprehensive church school curriculum I realized one of the primary reasons we were losing our young adults was due to their lack of knowledge and understanding of the faith. When I thought back on all these experiences, I realized that most of the losses were due to a lack of understanding of the fullness of the everlasting gospel. Since that time, I have undertaken to study out and document as carefully as I can a clear definition of the fullness so there might be no question in the minds of the saints as to this wonderful, life-saving doctrine.
Early in the Remnant Church we were given prophetic direction regarding the fullness of the gospel. “The Spirit says further: ‘Continue, my faithful Remnant, in the spirit of unity, to strengthen your faith, to spread the love of Christ to a sin-sick world, to study to understand the fullness of my gospel, and if you do, you will be blessed beyond measure. The kingdom of God awaits your response. Make ready for the Bridegroom.’ Amen” (D&C R-145:7a-b).
This revelation from God should thrill every saint because of the promise: “study to understand the fullness of my gospel, and if you do, you will be blessed beyond measure” (emphasis added). Who doesn’t want to be blessed beyond measure?
Our mission statement states that understanding the fullness is a precursor to building the kingdom: “The Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has been called into renewal to preach the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to all who will listen, and to prepare and gather a righteous people for the building of the Kingdom of God on earth, Zion” (emphasis added).
Gathering and preparing a righteous people requires us to follow the commandments which are given, to remember the Bible and Book of Mormon which contain the fullness of the everlasting gospel (see D&C 42:5a), and that we “shall observe the covenants and church articles …” (D&C 42:5b).
We cannot teach righteousness if we are not righteous. There is a level of humility and holiness required, not only in our lives, but in the lives of those we lead and those who gather. By studying and attempting to live the fullness, we can begin to reach a level of commitment that helps us to find our way out of Babylon, rise above the secular world, and become sanctified.
So simply, what is the fullness of the gospel? Some of the first principles of the doctrine of salvation can be found in almost every religion of the 1800s. They are of course faith, repentance, baptism, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgement. However, the understanding of those principles, and the application of them, is widely misunderstood. This is where the fullness of the gospel restores the “plain and precious things …” (1 Nephi 3:171) that were missing at that time and adds greater light to those principles, both missing and not missing.
The fullness of the gospel refers to the doctrine of redemption taught by Jesus Christ, our mediator. This doctrine enables us to obtain life unto salvation which brings us back into the presence of God to live as citizens of the kingdom. It consists of the covenants, laws, doctrines, ordinances, holy works, and sacrifice of all things needed to accomplish this salvation. The foundational scriptures for the fullness of the gospel are contained in Hebrews 6:1-2. However, the explanation of these requires the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. As a proof of the fullness of the gospel, none of its six principles, if defined properly, can change the attributes of God.
May we be blessed beyond measure as we study and live the fullness of the everlasting gospel.