The Pathway: The flow diagram below is my interpretation of the principles and ordinances that lead us to Him. Those in blue are from 2nd Peter chapter 1. This isn’t a step by step for a one time process, but rather a daily and weekly process. Each morning we can choose to act in faith to live His principles. We can choose to invite the spirit to gain knowledge. We can choose to exercise Temperance, Patience, Godliness, Brotherly Kindness and Charity throughout the day.
Blue: Key words (tags)
Orange: What we must do
2nd Peter Chapter 1
1 …to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;
14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
2 Peter Chapter 1:
Faith: Faith is the foundation upon which a godlike character is built. It is a prerequisite for all other virtues.
Mormon taught that a man “cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart.”1 He added that without such attributes, “faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart.”2
Virtue: A priesthood holder is virtuous. Virtuous behavior implies that he has pure thoughts and clean actions. He will not lust in his heart, for to do so is to “deny the faith” and to lose the Spirit D&C 42:23and there is nothing more important in this work than the Spirit. You’ve heard me say that many times. Virtue is akin to holiness, an attribute of godliness. A priesthood holder should actively seek for that which is virtuous and lovely and not that which is debasing or sordid. Virtue will garnish his thoughts unceasingly (see D&C 121:45 How can any man indulge himself in the evils of pornography, profanity, or vulgarity and consider himself totally virtuous? Whenever a priesthood holder departs from the path of virtue in any form or expression, he loses the Spirit and comes under Satan’s power. He then receives the wages of him whom he has chosen to serve. As a result, sometimes the Church must take disciplinary action, for we cannot condone or pardon unvirtuous and unrepentant actions. All priesthood holders must be morally clean to be worthy to bear the authority of Jesus Christ.
Knowledge: The Lord has told us that “it is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance” D&C 131:6 In another place God commanded, “Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith” D&C 88:118 Every priesthood holder should make learning a lifetime pursuit. While any study of truth is of value, the truths of salvation are the most important truths any person can learn. The Lord’s question “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Matt. 16:26 can be applied to educational pursuits as well as the pursuit of worldly goods. The Lord might also have asked, “For what is a man profited, if he shall learn everything in the world and not learn how to be saved?”
A priesthood holder is temperate. This means he is restrained in his emotions and verbal expressions. He does things in moderation and is not given to overindulgence. In a word, he has self-control. He is the master of his emotions, not the other way around. A priesthood holder who would curse his wife, abuse her with words or actions, or do the same to one of his own children is guilty of grievous sin. “Can ye be angry, and not sin?” asked the Apostle Paul JST, Eph. 4:26 If a man does not control his temper, it is a sad admission that he is not in control of his thoughts. He then becomes a victim of his own passions and emotions, which lead him to actions that are totally unfit for civilized behavior, let alone behavior for a priesthood holder.
A priesthood holder is to be patient. Patience is another form of self-control. It is the ability to postpone gratification and to bridle one’s passions. In his relationships with loved ones, a patient man does not engage in impetuous behavior that he will later regret. Patience is composure under stress. A patient man is understanding of others’ faults. A patient man also waits on the Lord. We sometimes read or hear of people who seek a blessing from the Lord, then grow impatient when it does not come swiftly. Part of the divine nature is to trust in the Lord enough to “be still and know that [he is] God” D&C 101:16 A priesthood holder who is patient will be tolerant of the mistakes and failings of his loved ones. Because he loves them, he will not find fault nor criticize nor blame.
A priesthood holder is kind. One who is kind is sympathetic and gentle with others. He is considerate of others’ feelings and courteous in his behavior. He has a helpful nature. Kindness pardons others’ weaknesses and faults. Kindness is extended to all—to the aged and the young, to animals, to those low of station as well as the high.
These are the true attributes of the divine nature. Can you see how we become more Christlike as we are more virtuous, more kind, more patient, and more in control of our emotional feelings?
charity, or the pure love of Christ (see Moro. 7:47 If we would truly seek to be more like our Savior and Master, then learning to love as He loves should be our highest goal. Mormon called charity “the greatest of all” Moro. 7:46
Moroni 7: 43 -48
43 And again, behold I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart.
44 If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.
45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.
So, my beloved brothers and sisters, as we seek to qualify to be members of Christ’s Church—members in the sense in which He uses the term, members who have repented and come unto Him—let us remember these six principles.
- First, the gospel is the Lord’s plan of happiness, and repentance is designed to bring us joy.
- Second, true repentance is based on and flows from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.There is no other way.
- Third, true repentance involves a change of heart and not just a change of behavior.
- Fourth, part of this mighty change of heart is to feel godly sorrow for our sins. This is what is meant by a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
- Fifth, God’s gifts are sufficient to help us overcome every sin and weakness if we will but turn to Him for help.
- Sixth, we must remember that most repentance does not involve sensational or dramatic changes, but rather is a step-by-step, steady, and consistent movement toward godliness.
If we will strive to incorporate these principles into our lives and implement them on a daily basis, we shall then qualify to be more than members of record in the Church of Jesus Christ. As true members, we have claim to His promise: “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.” (D&C 10:69.)