Sometimes I become weary of endlessly debating doctrine with Latter-day Saints who either have not read the scriptures and the teachings of the modern prophets, or if they have, they do not believe them. And when I do, I have a fall back position, a place where I can rest from the tumult of online dialogue. I refer to my favorite scripture on doctrine. It is in the 11th chapter of 3 Nephi, and it comes from the mouth of our Savior himself:
33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.
Notice that the second verse is just as important as the first one, and the principle behind the doctrine is not complete without both verses. I am frustrated when I hear an LDS speaker use the first verse without the second one, because I believe it distorts the doctrine of Christ.
This is even easier to understand when a bit more of the context is revealed. Just before these two verses the Savior proclaims:
28 And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.
29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
30 Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.
31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.
32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
Clearly, the Savior does not want us arguing about doctrine. We are to believe him. We are to believe his doctrine. We are to believe his prophets which are our only source of his doctrine. Did not his prophets write all of the scriptures? Do we not have living prophets today?
A few verses later the Savior gets even more specific about this when he teaches:
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.
If we listen to the confirming testimony of the Holy Ghost, we will not dispute the points of the Savior’s doctrine. We will be of one mind and heart concerning his teachings. Truth cannot contradict truth. The only opinion on doctrine that really matters is the Lord’s opinion. And we can find out what his opinion is by reading the Word of God in the Book of Mormon and other scriptures as well as the sermons of his latter-day prophets.