Fullness of the Gospel

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It is not uncommon to hear members of the Church proclaiming that we have all the truth or that within the Mormon Church is found the fullness fo the gospel. This is particularly true when comparing ourselves to other religions and faiths.

I have to wonder though if this is something we can truly claim as a part fo our Church.

For example, only a third of the golden plates was translated into the Book of Mormon. Do the other two thirds contain truths we have not learned? Only a small portion of Jewish and Christina manuscripts ever made it into the Bible. Do the manuscripts that were not included contain truths we have not learned?

If we indeed do have a fullness of the gospel and all truth is found in our Church, what does that say toward our belief in continuing revelation? If the gospel has been fully restored and all truths are present, does that imply God will no longer reveal new truths to our prophet? Does that mean our prophet will be more of a president than a prophet?

17 thoughts on “Fullness of the Gospel

  1. The fullness of the gospel is not the same as the fullness of all truth. The gospel is the “good news,” the atonement and the ordinances associated with it. A fullness of the gospel is a full understanding and restored truth of the atonement and the ordinances that lead to salvation. All truth is so much, much more. So, I would say the church does not possess all truth and knowledge, it would be hubris and prideful to even think so. But the church does humbly proclaim that it contains a restored knowledge of the atonement and ordinances that can lead everyone to salvation. All truth will come in time once we all learn how to repent, forgive, and serve.

  2. I just ran a quick querry on “Fullness of the Gospel”. It looks like this was introduced to the collective vocabulary in Utah. The first reference I found was in 1856 and it was not used again untill 1864. After that it was used more frequently.

    I kind of wonder if it was adapted from the concept of the “fullness of the priesthood”.

  3. “A fullness of the gospel is a full understanding and restored truth of the atonement and the ordinances that lead to salvation.”

    And given that there are so many writings that have yet to be made available to us and potentially further revelations that have yet to be received, how can we state absolutely that we have a ‘full’ understanding of the atonement, or that the truth of the atonement is fully restored?

  4. “The Saints were given the Book of Mormon to read before they were given the revelations outlining such great doctrines as the three degrees of glory, celestial marriage, or work for the dead. It came before priesthood quorums and Church organization.”

    “[T]he Lord Himself has stated that the Book of Mormon contains the ‘fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.’ (D&C 20:9.) That does not mean it contains every teaching, every doctrine ever revealed. Rather, it means that in the Book of Mormon we will find the fulness of those doctrines required for our salvation.”

    from Ezra Taft Benson’s message in the January 1992 Ensign

  5. This has been written about a good bit, since it’s a common evangelical criticism.

    See, for example, Noel B. Reynolds ” The Gospel as Taught by Nephite Prophets.” BYUS 31:3 (1991): 31–50.

    There are multiple references here to other articles on the topic.
    http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai278.html

    Ben S.

  6. to “fudge” on Pres. Benson’s quote, part of the fullness of the gospel that the book of mormon contains is the doctrine of revelation. The gospel contains the basic premise of continuing revelation, so the temple endowment etc. is part of that fullness.

  7. I thought that Mormons believed that all truth was contained in the gospel. I don’t think really have any right to lay claim to a fulness of either.

    To say we have the fulness seems like a somewhat self-righteous motto, more than a declaration of anything.

  8. “part of the fullness of the gospel that the book of mormon contains is the doctrine of revelation.”

    So, is the gospel about revelation (as Don says) or about the atonement (as Dallas says) or about salvation (as John/ETB says)?

  9. are you suggesting then that none of the temple ordinances are necessary for salvation?

    Yes. Is this not Church doctrine. Baptism is the only ordinance required for salvation. The temple is required for exaltation.

  10. By using that quote by Pres. Benson, are you suggesting then that none of the temple ordinances are necessary for salvation?

    As I use the term “salvation,” baptisms for the dead are the only temple ordinances necessary for anybody’s salvation. The rest are necessary for exaltation, which I view as distinct from salvation.

    Incidentally, there is a guy who posts occasionally on Beliefnet by the handle of UBStupit who maintains that all the critical elements of the temple ceremony are contained in the Book of Mormon. He has declined, however, to share any substantial portion of his insight over the internet.

  11. J,

    How does your statement jive with what President Benson said in the April 1988 conference.

    “Understand that temple marriage is essential to your salvation and exaltation.”

  12. I’m not quite sure how to parse that language, but it seems that we have a fairly large body of interpretation that says if you are baptized and endure to the end, you make it into the Celestial Kingdom. No?

  13. Consider the following excerpts from Dallin Oaks’ talk “Have You Been Saved,” given in the April 1998 Conference.

    As Latter-day Saints use the words saved and salvation, there are at least six different meanings.

    [Second,] as to salvation from sin and the consequences of sin, our answer to the question of whether or not we have been saved is “yes, but with conditions” … Relying upon the totality of Bible teachings and upon clarifications received through modern revelation, we testify that being cleansed from sin through Christ’s Atonement is conditioned upon the individual sinner’s faith, which must be manifested by obedience to the Lord’s command to repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Ghost.

    Finally [sixth], in another usage familiar and unique to Latter-day Saints, the words saved and salvation are also used to denote exaltation or eternal life. This is sometimes referred to as the “fulness of salvation.” This salvation requires more than repentance and baptism by appropriate priesthood authority. It also requires the making of sacred covenants, including eternal marriage, in the temples of God, and faithfulness to those covenants by enduring to the end.

    President Benson uses definition #6 in his 1988 address, but definition #2 in his 1992 message. I try always to use definition #2.

  14. Kim,

    Great post. The fulness of the Gospel is tied up in the atonement and the covenants and ordinances that we enter into as we embrace the atonement.
    Do we understand all that is related to the atonement? Not by a long shot. Do the covenants and ordinances we have lead us to exaltation? Absolutely.
    There is a depth to the Gospel that extends far beyond what mortal minds can comprehend on their own. These are gifts that are extended to those who seek and earn the right to know them before they leave this life.
    The most important key we can learn on that path, in my opinion, is how to repent. My concern is that we get so caught up in making sure that people feel horrible for any wrong they have done that we miss the point of turning them to Christ and letting Him nurture and develop them.

  15. “My concern is that we get so caught up in making sure that people feel horrible for any wrong they have done that we miss the point of turning them to Christ and letting Him nurture and develop them.”

    An excellent point, Larry. I think the Church is slowly getting away from this. We no longer announce excommunications from the pulpit and more often than not excommunication is foregone for disfellowshipment.

  16. I have a question about mormonism.
    Mormons claim that that the Bible is the word of God and can be used as long as it is translated correctly. My question is, is where is it mistranslated. Also two other questions.
    1.How does it stand up to the dead sea scrolls because some of the scrolls found were give or take a thousands years older than the oldest scroll that we presently had. they also found with the dead sea scrolls that it was about 95% the same as the copies that we have today. The differences that it has holds no dramatic change in doctrine pr meaning but mainly mispelled words and punctuation problems.
    My other question would be what do the schollars say about the translation.

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