Section 1 of the Doctrine and Covenants is the “preface” written by the Lord himself, outlining what the rest of His book is really about. I wrote a previous post that expounds upon several thoughts I have had concerning Section 1 already, but I felt inspired to post the simplicity of the preface once again.
Perhaps the best way to look at the overall layout of the Doctrine and Covenants is by understanding the process or “equation” that is outlined in the preface, for gaining Eternal Life, or life with our Father.
I like to think of this equation as one that is as simple as 1+1=2.
It is as follows:
The New and Everlasting Covenant + Saving Ordinances = Being back in the presence of The Father.
What exactly is the New and Everlasting Covenant?
The New and Everlasting Covenant is the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ (D&C 66: 2). It is new every time it is revealed anew following a period of apostasy. It is everlasting in the sense that it is God’s covenant and has been enjoyed in every gospel dispensation where people have been willing to receive it. The new and everlasting covenant was revealed again to men on earth by Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith. It contains sacred ordinances administered by priesthood authority—such as baptism and temple marriage—that provide for man’s salvation, immortality, and eternal life. When people accept the gospel and promise to keep God’s commandments, God covenants to give them the blessings of his new and everlasting covenant.
The New and Everlasting Covenant contains the vehicle by which we may move forward in our progression on this earth, it is the establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ upon this earth once again in these latter days, and the restoration of the priesthood authority that belongs only to that Church. This priesthood authority, being given in the form of keys, passed to worthy members of His Church through the laying on of hands, is necessary in order to perform the “Saving Ordinances” part of the equation above.
What are the Saving Ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Ordinances are sacred rites and ceremonies. Ordinances consist of acts that have spiritual meanings. Ordinances can also mean God’s laws and statutes.
Ordinances in the Church include administration to the sick (James 5: 14-15), blessing the sacrament (D&C 20: 77, 79), baptism by immersion (Matt. 3: 16; D&C 20: 72-74), blessing of children (D&C 20: 70), conferring the Holy Ghost (D&C 20: 68; 33: 15), conferring the priesthood (D&C 84: 6-16; 107: 41-52), temple ordinances (D&C 124: 39), and marriage in the new and everlasting covenant (D&C 132: 19-20).
Saving Ordinances are ones that are necessary to proceed on our journey or path back to the presence of the Lord. These include Baptism and conferring of the Holy Ghost, conferring of the priesthood, temple ordinances, and sealing ordinances. These ordinances must be performed in this life, so they are done vicariously for those who have not had the opportunity to do them for themselves.
This equation, or path, is the only way there is to return to the Father. This equation is only made possible because of the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ, who supplied the demands of justice to broken law and offers mercy to those who require it, US. That is why He instructs us that He is the way by which we all must pass. Even He had to do it this way as He instructs us in Section 1, “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself;” for there is no other way.
Equation: NEC + SO= POF
It is simply math!