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Highlights for Doctrine and Covenants 29
Section 29 of the Doctrine and Covenants is a powerhouse of a revelation. Perhaps that is why the Church chose to single it out for a whole week’s ‘Come Follow Me’ study? A friend of mine pointed out, more than 20 important doctrines are outlined in just 50 verses.
Today let’s look at verses 1 and 2. They contain an essential gospel truth that seems to get overlooked sometimes – that the Redeemer is highly personable, approachable, and available. And that we should approach Him regularly. This gospel teaching will sound bold or out in the weeds for some of you. However, if you make a diligent study of the Doctrine of Covenants – these seemingly magnificent concepts sound pretty natural. I have found the instructions for a direct relationship with Jesus Christ one of the Doctrine and Covenants’ greatest treasures. Here’s verse 1 and 2:
Dr. Steven Harper, the Church’s managing historian for the new ‘Saints’ book series as well as the ‘Joseph Smith Papers’ project, recently wrote these questions about section 29 on his blog:
“Could you identify the voice of Jesus Christ the way you can quickly identify the voice of one of his living apostles? What does the Savior sound like? Section 29 begins with a command to listen to Christ followed by a reason why.”
I know I could do better with recognizing the Savior’s voice!
There are many verses like 1 and 2 throughout the Doctrine and Covenants. Nonetheless, whenever we bring up scriptures about communicating with Christ directly, we sometimes get indignant reminders that we only pray to Heavenly Father. Any apprehension to talk to Jesus, worship Him or share with Him is a cultural, human understanding rather than a doctrinal truth and not from the Savior himself. You will not find one verse in any standard works that reinforce our unfortunate, prevalent culture of non-direct communication with the Savior.
How grateful I am for prophets like Nephi, President Russell M. Nelson, Brigham Young, and Ezra Taft Benson, who reaffirm and clarify our direct access. And for apostles like James E. Faust and Neil L. Andersen for sharing their wise counsel of making it happen. Most of their quotes are listed on the “Relationship With Christ” page. The link is on the main menu. Here are a few of their stellar quotes to ponder in regards to your direct communication with the Savior.
And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out. (2 Nephi 25:29)
Every day at 2 pm, the alarm goes off on my watch and I take the time to kneel and thank the Savior for all that He is, all that He did for me, and for all He still does. I make pleas for patience and for His help. I have no problems finding words or variations of this gratitude and supplication. The daily practice of worship anchors my soul. I got the idea from James E. Faust. (Please note: this communion with the Savior is in addition to my personal, regular prayers to Heavenly Father.)
James E. Faust
Here are a couple of quotes from his iconic General Conference talk “A Personal Relationship with the Savior” (Oct 1976):
May I suggest five beginning, essential measures which will greatly clear the channel for a daily flow of “living water” from the very source of the spring, even the Redeemer Himself.
First: A daily communion involving prayer [a conversation with Christ]. A fervent, sincere prayer is a two-way communication which will do much to bring His Spirit flowing like healing water to help with the trials, hardships, aches, and pains we all face. What is the quality of our secret prayers when only He [Jesus] listens? As we pray, we should think of Him as being close by, full of knowledge, understanding, love, and compassion, the essence of power, and as having great expectations of each of us.
Fourth: A daily acknowledgment of His divinity. To have a daily, personal relationship with the Master, we must be His disciples. “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” (Mosiah 5:13.)
Russell M. Nelson
President Nelson references the story of the woman who was healed by reaching for the hem of Christ’s robe as he walked through the crowd. He then says:
“Many of us have cried out from the depths of our hearts a variation of this woman’s words: “If I could spiritually stretch enough to draw the Savior’s power into my life, I would know how to handle my heart-wrenching situation. I would know what to do. And I would have the power to do it.”
“When you reach up for the Lord’s power in your life with the same intensity that a drowning person has when grasping and gasping for air, power from Jesus Christ will be yours. When the Savior knows you truly want to reach up to Him—when He can feel that the greatest desire of your heart is to draw His power into your life—you will be led by the Holy Ghost to know exactly what you should do.”President Russell M. Nelson
When you spiritually stretch beyond anything you have ever done before, then His power will flow into you. And then you will understand the deep meaning of words we sing in the hymn “The Spirit of God”:
The Lord is extending the Saints’ understanding. …
The knowledge and power of God are expanding;
The veil o’er the earth is beginning to burst.**
**Author’s note: the veil bursting is in direct reference to all of us witnessing the Savior come again:
22 Behold, it is my will, that all they who call on my name [Christ again], and worship me [Christ] according to mine everlasting gospel, should gather together, and stand in holy places;
23 And prepare for the revelation which is to come, when the veil of the covering of my temple, in my tabernacle, which hideth the earth, shall be taken off, and all flesh shall see me together. (D&C 101:22-23)
“The gospel of Jesus Christ is filled with His power, which is available to every earnestly seeking daughter or son of God. It is my testimony that when we draw His power into our lives, both He and we will rejoice.” (Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ Into Our Lives – April 2017)
The more I learn about the gospel, and the more I read the Doctrine and Covenants – the more I feel compelled to seek this Jesus without any bashfulness or hesitation. For more verses and prophetic quotes, please visit the “Relationship with Christ” page found on the main menu. For additional insights, read “Each Member of the Godhead Talks to Us” (based on Neil L. Andersen’s conference talk.)