What does it mean to live the gospel? I would encourage the reader to pause and consider how you would answer this question. Here is what one would typically find in a web search based on a search of that phrase:

Living His gospel is more about treating others with as much love as I can, and less about, say…getting my Visiting Teaching done on time.

(Feminist Mormon Housewives by Emily S., Sept. 29, 2009)

This line of reasoning aligns with the comment from a Mormon missionary once gave me in response to the question: What is the gospel? His answer was: “The gospel is love.”

More broadly, though, it seems to me that this phrase “living the gospel” usually equates to “living the standards of the church”

I’m Mormon but I dont live the gospel…Help me!!!!!!?

I’m a mormon, and i have been all my life. I believe in the truthfulness of it but i do not live it on a normal basis. I don’t pray, read my scriptures, and i’ve committed some big sins.
I have been touched inappropriately with and without clothes, and i have touched him as well.. I still am a virgin.
I drink coffee.
I only drank a couple of times and stopped because i realized it compromises myself and decisions.
I have a bellybutton ring.
I swear all the time..

These are all sins, if you are not a mormon you probably think it’s ridiculous. And you would think by the things I do.. I have kicked my religion out the window. but I HAVEN’T. I can’t stand being a hypocrite so i Dont pray anymore. I dont know what to do…because I don’t know how to seek forgiveness.. my father is the bishop as well..so i dont have any where to turn

My parents do not know any of this

Im so lost, i want to be married in gods temple one day but i dont even know how to fix it or maybe i’m just too lazy to.. I have no idea.

I feel like when i pray God does not want to talk to me because i’m inconsistent…I dont know how to stay on one side without swaying.


Is living the gospel equate to the Word of Wisdom? To avoid sexual sin?

Gramps provided a different perspective:

Dear Gramps,

What does “Living the Gospel to the fullest” mean?

Joan, from Frazier Park, CA

Dear Joan,

The commandment given in the Mormon scripture, The Doctrine and Covenants, section 84, verse 44 says,

For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.

.In other words, in our daily lives we would do, say or think nothing that would be contrary to God’s will.

The problem is that we live in the most wicked of all the worlds in the universe (see Pearl of Great Price, Moses 7:36), and severe temptations to violate God’s word are all around us. So, in practice, we WILL do, say and think things that are contrary to the will of God. However, God is not a harsh taskmaster, but rather a Loving Father. He judges us not so much by our actions as by the intents of our hearts, as He told Samuel in 1 Sam. 16:7

But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

Therefore, “if our hearts are right,” in other words if we continually try to be as obedient to God’s word as possible, and if when we succumb to any temptation we are truly remorseful, and make a firm resolve to be stronger in the future, God will forgive us of our improprieties, the Holy Spirit will strengthen our resolve and we will be better prepared to meet and overcome such temptations in the future.



Here we are presented with the concept that living the gospel is to live in accordance with every inspired word that has come from the Lord, by scripture and by the inspired words of his leaders.

In support of this perspective, Joseph F. Smith noted that:

There is no fundamental principle, or truth, anywhere in the universe, that is not embraced in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is not confined to the simple first principles, such as faith in God, repentance from sin, baptism for the remission of sins, and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, although these are absolutely essential to the salvation and exaltation in the kingdom of God.

The laws known to man as the “laws of nature,” through which the earth and all things on it are governed, as well as the laws which prevail throughout the entire universe, through which heavenly bodies are controlled and to which they are obedient in all things, are all circumscribed and included in the gospel

(Gospel Doctrine, pp 85-86)

So… what is living the gospel to you?

How do you live the gospel? By attending your meetings, fulfilling your callings, doing you Home/Visiting Teaching, paying tithing, and attending the temple? Are these actions the essence of living a gospel-centered life?

From my perspective, before one can understand what is meant by this phrase, one must understand how the gospel is defined. Does the gospel mean living based on the golden rule – love they neighbor? Does the gospel mean don’t drink, don’t smoke, and don’t engage in immorality? Does the gospel mean performing a set of regular tasks that are perceived to be of value to the church?

How important is it to maintain a strict understanding of the meaning of the gospel? Paul told the Galatians:

6  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

7  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

8  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

9  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Should we, as members of the restored church, be concerned with this warning regarding the gospel? What constitutes preaching another gospel?

We all speak of the restoration of the gospel – the Lord saw fit to call a prophet to ‘restore’ that which was lost. We preach that the Book of Mormon contains the ‘fulness of the gospel.’ What is the gospel? Should we pay strict attention to what the Lord has defined as the gospel to ensure that we are not accursed per Paul’s warning?

I would strongly suggest that the answer should be ‘yes.’ We should strive to understand what that gospel is and what it is not. We should not twist the gospel into something else that fits with our worldview.

To me, the best place to go for a definition of the gospel is that book we have been told contains the ‘fulness of the gospel’ – The Book of Mormon. What better source could we have than the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, in telling us what constitutes His gospel?

While the following quote is lengthy, I will place it here. This is how Christ defined His gospel in the twenty-seventh chapter of Third Nephi:

13  Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.

14  And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—

15  And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.

16  And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.

17  And he that endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father.

18  And this is the word which he hath given unto the children of men.  And for this cause he fulfilleth the words which he hath given, and he lieth not, but fulfilleth all his words.

19  And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.

20  Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.

21  Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do;

That, my friends, is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • Christ came that He could draw all to Him

  • We will be judged according to our works

  • Repentance, baptism and enduring to the end

  • We must be cleansed of all our sins by the blood of Christ

In my opinion, verse twenty summarizes the gospel. We must repent and come unto Christ. We are to achieve sanctification through the receipt of the Holy Ghost. That will allow us to present ourselves as clean and free of all sin at judgment day.

Do we preach another gospel? Have we found ourselves cursed because we have accepted another gospel – one that focuses on ritual and the works of men? Does the expansion of the definition of the gospel to include all truth and all the laws of nature constitute ‘another gospel?’

This is the message we should take to the world. We believe that Jesus Christ is our personal Savior – that he died on the cross that we might live. We have restored that plain and precious truth of the gospel that there is a way for us to be sanctified – to be free of sin through the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. This is the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

What think ye?

3 Responses to “Living the Gospel”

  • Well done! The letter from the girl above constitutes what most people consider living the gospel, and of course failure always brings with it guilt and hopelessness.

    Every now and then I come across something I wish I had written. This is one of those times. Again, well done!

  • calimom:

    The letter from the young woman you quoted was heartbreaking to read. Not be cause she was so “mired in sin”, but because she had not embraced the freedom from awful guilt that is available by simply relying and trusting and reaching out to the Lord. I myself could have written that exact same letter 20+ years ago. I remember all too well the heavy burden that she describes. She seems too worried about reporting her sins to church authority, just as I did. But, she simply needs to turn to God in prayer. I did and the peace and relief of repentence from a loving God was miraculous. My faith in Jesus Christ gave me a changed heart and I will never forget how his love and compassion and understanding healed me then and since then many times over.
    Something else that has helped me is understanding what “sin” is is my current understanding: Derived from ancient languages, to sin means to miss the mark – like how a bowsman can miss his mark as he shoots an arrow at a target. Repentence is recognizing that we missed the mark, and vowing to move on and do better. Do we beat ourselves up or hate ourselves or wallow in self pitty because we missed a mark? No, we shouldn’t because of the atonement. We should move on, recognize any lessons we can learn from our mistakes, and try again knowing that we have a loving and understanding God who knows that we will make countless mistakes but that we can also grow and learn from them – what we must all do.

    I love your emphasis on what it truly means to live the gospel. No, that doesn’t mean that we must comply to all the authoritarian laws and regulations of the organization/corporation church, but only to those given us by our Redeemer. Thanks also for giving me something to meditate/ponder over: vs.21 of the scripture from 3rd Nephi as you posted above. I think that “…for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do” might have a deeper meaning than how we normally think and how this relates to our current thinking on what it means to become joint heirs with Christ (sorry, a personal quest that has nothing to do with this post!)
    God bless – I always look forward to your new posts!

  • Thank you both for your comments. If we realize that we are here in mortality to learn and overcome our mistakes, our outlook can be significantly different. I have come to ask God not why is this happening to me but what am I supposed to learn from this situation.

    When you speak of joint heirs with Christ, I am reminded of the result of our covenant with Christ discussed in Mosiah, chapter 5:7. We are, through the process of being born again, born of Him and become his sons and daughters. Is that a step toward joint heirs? I would think so.

    Thanks, again

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