Question: I came upon a verse with Come Follow Me this week in D&C 35:17 which stumped me. I was beginning to believe we didn’t have the fulness of the gospel. But this scripture says we did. Could it be that we did have it, and that something happened to Joseph Smith during his last years which meant the fulness was taken away? Could you point me toward some scriptures or church history for clarification?
Answer: The fulness of the gospel was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith but it hasn’t been lived by Latter-day Saints. If so, we would have mass conversions to the gospel as occurred in the Book of Mormon. That book also contains the fulness of the gospel, but we find it there only in its heroes’ knowing and understanding God’s covenants and living up to their terms. Principal among these is the Davidic Covenant, which Latter-day Saints have not been taught or understand. If we did, we would also have translated beings emerge from among us or those who have power to perform mighty miracles in the name of Jesus.
I am less concerned with how much we have lost since the prophet Joseph Smith—which is more than many people realize—than with what we are doing about it as individuals in the church. Isaiah and the prophets teach that it is all about individuals who remain true in the end-time in spite of being persecuted by the collective body that falls away. These faithful individuals then become a new collective that keeps the terms of the Davidic Covenant, restores the house of Israel, and establishes Zion. See the book, Becoming Kings and Queens of the Gentiles.
Question: I’ll have to think on that response. My concern about this from the beginning is the belief that Gileadi is receiving church-wide inspiration.
Answer: Searching the words of Isaiah is the Lord’s commandment, and those who truly do so gain the kind of understanding of the scriptures that the sons of Mosiah gained who had searched the scriptures diligently—who, as a result, became men of understanding to the degree that they were able to perform the great and marvelous work they did of converting thousands of Lamanites when others were content to stay at home. That kind of understanding is a deliberate challenge by our Savior that is available to all and that allows anyone to answer the most difficult questions facing us entirely from what the scriptures are saying about our day. Our diligently searching the words of Isaiah and all scriptures isn’t the church’s responsibility but entirely our own individually.