As I again read the story of the 2060 sons of Helaman, I was lead to ponder an aspect to the story I hadn’t considered before. We read in verse 21:
“Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them.”
What does it mean to ‘perform every word of command with exactness’ and what is the message to us?
As I pondered this question, I came to the idea that the Lord expects us to be exact in our performance also. It is what He expects from those who wish to be called by His name. We are given direction and are expected to do no more and no less.
There are a number of places in the scriptures where the Lord tells us to be exact in our performance. One of the examples can be found in Third Nephi, chapter 18, where Christ institutes the ordinance of the sacrament among the Nephites. The Lord lays out specific aspects as to the administration and performance of this sacred ordinance and then states:
“12 And I give unto you a commandment that ye shall do these things. And if ye shall
always do these things blessed are ye, for ye are built upon my rock.
13 But whoso among you shall do more or less than these are not built upon my rock, but are built upon a sandy foundation; and when the rain descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow, and beat upon them, they shall fall, and the gates of hell are ready open to receive them.”
Do we, in the church, perform this ordinance with exactness? Do we ‘do these things’ as directed by the Lord? The Lord designated one of the disciples who would be responsible for the administration of this ordinance. Do we follow this or pass it on to any number of teenagers in the church? Did He in this passage give us a pass card on using wine, even if we have the ability to produce our own? If we want to be built on the ‘rock of Christ,’ the passage above tells us we must be precise in our treatment of the sacrament.
In His first visit among the Nephites, the Lord reasserted His doctrine. In the eleventh chapter of Third Nephi, beginning in verse 31, Christ states, ‘I will declare unto you my doctrine.’ He then proceeds to lay out a treatment of His doctrine, which, in my opinion, is a summary of the same doctrine of Christ found in Second Nephi, chapters 31 and 32. This presents a doctrine that one must be baptized and be visited ‘with fire and with the Holy
Ghost.’ It teaches us that we must become as a little child to inherit the kingdom of God. Christ completes the instruction on His doctrine with these words:
“39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.”
Again, the message is that to be built upon His rock, we must not do more or less than what is defined here as His doctrine. Do we find ourselves today ‘built upon His rock?’ Do the doctrines of the church called by his name stick to this simple formula, or have we added many other things to the mix? What would you consider as doctrine that goes above and beyond this straightforward definition of His doctrine?
Another place where the Lord declares His doctrine is found in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 10:
“67 Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.
68 Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.
69 And now, behold, whosoever is of my church, and endureth of my church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.”
In this scripture, the Lord defines His church as those who repent and come unto Him. Again, he states that we are to follow this ‘with exactness.’ No more and no less. Do we follow this today? Do we expect members of the church to follow the word of wisdom? Do we prescribe that members must sustain men as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do we task them with paying fast offerings and tithing as conditions of full membership? Has the church that bears His name broadened its focus to include insurance companies, real estate development, and other works of men? Are we following this direction from the Lord with exactness?
Do we fill our spiritual lives today with things that go beyond what the Lord prescribes? Each of us must make our own way and find our own answers to these questions. Our spiritual foundation should not be built upon the sandy soil of going beyond the mark. We, individually and collectively, need to assess our compliance, with exactness, to the commandments of the Lord.
What think ye?