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"Greater Things Than These"

An Insight into Mormon 8:11-12

In Gospel Doctrine yesterday, as we were discussing John chapters 7-10, half of the discussion was about how we don't mix up doctrine and culture. It was discussed how sometimes culture is to our detriment and also how culture is used to create a close-knit community.

Perhaps due to lack of available time, we never discussed how one discerns culture from doctrine; or doctrine from principle or application. It is my intent to discuss one principle that will help us with that.

First, I might point out that we generally think of 'doctrine' in the Church as being some large body of beliefs and tenets. The scriptures make it abundantly clear though that official doctrine is actually a comparatively small body of truths (see 3 Nephi 11:39-40). This isn't the end though.

For example, 2 Nephi 32:6 signals the end of Nephi's teachings about the doctrine of Christ; the same doctrine that Christ teaches in 3 Nephi 11 and says to not teach more or less than it. Interestingly, we should not assume that means we shouldn't worry about anything else. For 2 Nephi 32:6 makes it abundantly clear that more doctrine exists outside of that body of truths we call "the doctrine of Christ".

How does one access that higher body of truths?

3 Nephi 26:8-11 tells us that Christ teaches the Nephites far more light intensive truths than what are recorded in our Book of Mormon. What we have is literally called "the lesser part" in verse 8 in hopes we will reach up with faith and the spirit of revelation to have "greater things be made manifest unto [us]" (verse 9). Verse 10 uses the word condemnation if we don't reach up, which might connect to why the Church is still under condemnation regarding the Book of Mormon as D&C 84:57 plainly says.

Mormon 8:11-12 are interesting because we have Moroni using the exact same wording and teaching the exact same truth found in 3 Nephi 26:9. The difference is the context, but it paints the same picture. In verse 11 we have Moroni reflecting upon when translated beings ministered unto him and his father. Therefore, the context of "greater things than these" in verse 12 is directly referring to the ministrations they received from translated beings. What is greater than that? What greater revelation can we receive?

To come full circle, it is my opinion that gaining an independent spirit of revelation and prophecy will be necessary to navigate what is actually doctrine. In addition to that, it will take an independent spirit of revelation for us to access that doctrine that lies beyond the doctrine of Christ. It is the greater things and truths that lay in wait for those who reach up and desire more light and knowledge. This might give us a different perspective on what President Nelson meant when he recently said:
"If we are to have any hope of sifting through the myriad of voices and the philosophies of men that attack truth, we must learn to receive revelation.
Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will perform some of His mightiest works between now and when He comes again. We will see miraculous indications that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, preside over this Church in majesty and glory. But in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.
My beloved brothers and sisters, I plead with you to increase your spiritual capacity to receive revelation." (1)
The parallels of President Nelson's words to the events of 3 Nephi and Mormon 8 are striking. We are to become vessels of truth and light. The President of the Church will not reveal those truths beyond the Doctrine of Christ. 3 Nephi 26 makes it plain that those truths will only be given as the body of Christ reaches high enough to receive them.


  1. When Alma taught the people of Gideon we are told in Alma 8 that “it came to pass that Alma returned from the land of Gideon, after having taught the people of Gideon many things which cannot be written,”.

    1. We get that in many places in the Book of Mormon. Thanks!


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