The Simplicity of the Gospel (Maxwell)

If then, the gospel is simple, it seems to me it is our individual task in the Church to go to the well for the water of the gospel regularly, because the message of the scriptures will be different depending on the stage of life you and I are in. These scriptures seem to me different than they did five years ago, and ten years ago, and certainly than they did twenty years ago in the mission field. Let the scriptures sing their song to you, the very song you need to hear now, in terms of that part of the gospel that is relevant in your life, so that, in the words of the Book of Mormon Prophet, you and I “feast” upon the word of Christ regularly. It’s not enough for returned missionaries to run on the strength of the few scriptures they may know, because as true as those scriptures are, they may not focus on the building of a marriage. As powerful as Revelations 14:6 is in missionary work, it doesn’t help as young couple on the verge of divorce As significant as the scriptures in Isaiah may be about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, they do not necessarily help one deal with the problems of rearing children. But there are scriptures which do, and we have, in my judgment, an individual obligation in the kingdom to search out what is needed by us and not to assume that general boards can plan fully for a Church of three million people in multiple cultures and write the exact lesson that you and 2,999,999 others needed this morning in Sunday School.

The basic curriculum is sound, but you and I have the obligation to “give place” in our life for some regular involvement with the scriptures, so that that simple message can make it through to us.

If you do, I would witness to you not only that the scriptures will sing to you the fresh kind of symphonies you need to hear, but you will also discover—as many of you no doubt have—the romance, the adventure, and the thrill of orthodoxy. It suddenly becomes clear, even though it ought to have been years ago, that all the doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ are weaved together to give it the necessary strength and totality. Any one of these doctrines by itself could go mad. Love without justice and truth goes wild. And mercy without the elements of the gospel that bring discipline to bear becomes maudlin and sentimental. Each doctrine needs each other doctrine. Just as the people of the Church need each other, the doctrines need each other. And in that sense orthodoxy is a high adventure and one that becomes exciting as we see the interplay of these ideas and concepts in the scriptures.

“The Simplicity of the Gospel,” Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year, May 4, 1969, p. 8. At the time he delivered this speech, Elder Maxwell was Executive Vice-President of the University of Utah.

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