It is easy to find yourself asking just what is doctrine and what is policy. Luckily, the Book of Mormon tells us what is doctrine. It is set forth as what Christ calls “my doctrine” and it is what Christ teaches in 3 Nephi, Chapter 11:
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.
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.”
And, in case there were any questions:
“38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
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.
41 Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.”
The doctrine seems pretty simple if I’m reading it right, though there are a lot of things that look simple to see, but are complex to apply.
So, that brings up whether or not one has understood the message (and the implied commandments) that Christ had to to with the doctrine.
What does the doctrine require of us? How can we, or other people, tell if we have gotten the message that Christ intends his doctrine to bring to us?
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
I think with those three quotes I have the doctrine Christ gives us and the test we can apply to figure out if we have the right understanding of what it means. I think it is consistent with what Christ otherwise had to say. E.g. http://biblehub.com/john/13-34.htm. “I give you a new commandment–to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
I would suggest that everything else is policy.
- What do you think?
- What is doctrine to you, what is policy?
- What do you think is the test of whether or not we are disciples of Christ or not?
- Do you think Christ was serious when he warned us against confusing doctrine and policy and calling things doctrine that are not?