Day 22: Irreducible Truths

Jarom 1:2, 9

I have mentioned before that I love patterns. I also love categorizing things and naming categories. One of my hobby horses is “irreducible truths,” or eternal truths or fundamental/foundational truths. I like using the term “irreducible” because it captures an important aspect of this category: The truths they describe cannot be reduced further; they are foundational to the universe and provide the answer for so many questions rather than being questions themselves.

The prophet Jarom (son of Enos) states a couple of these irreducible truths in his very brief section of the Book of Mormon. In verse two he writes about why his writings are so short, namely that previous prophets covered what he felt were the most essential doctrines. He names the Plan of Salvation as one of these foundational principles that is both essential and already covered in the writings to which he had access, “and this sufficeth me,” he concludes. If I ever wondered what the critical knowledge of the Gospel is, here’s my answer. The Plan of Salvation teaches us where we came from, why we are here on earth, and where we are going after this life; this is reality.

Another fundamental truth Jarom touches on appears in verse nine. He references previous scriptural writings to testify of the fulfillment of God’s word that, “Inasmuch as ye will keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land.” I love how the Book of Mormon references itself, how writers recollect past writings and confirm the fulfillment of prophecies. To me this is a witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, but, even more importantly, it is a testimony of God: It expresses the irreducible truth of God’s existence, His participation in our earthly experience, His role as covenant maker, and the simply stated fact that He fulfills ALL His words and promises. It behooves us to listen and heed His word.

Day 15: Righteous judgment

2 Nephi 21:1-5

This prophecy of Jesus Christ describes just some of the attributes that define His divine nature. Wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and the fear of God (respect and obedience) are all hallmarks of a righteous character.

The defining of Christ by what He is not in verse three invites a comparison between divine nature and mortal conditions. The five senses define mortality’s obvious means of interacting with the physical world, gathering information, and more. Indeed humans rely on the five senses as necessary and indispensable to gaining knowledge and making judgments about the world around us.

But Christ “shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears” (v. 3, emphasis added). Rather than relying on the standard mortal means of observing, knowing, and judging, Christ relies on His divine characteristics.

This suggests to me that mortal means of seeing and hearing are not fully sufficient to comprehend truth nor to make the best judgments. Luckily for us humans, we can access the divine part of ourselves and further foster Christ’s divine attributes in order to “see,” “hear,” and understand truth. Righteous judgment requires godliness—the divine parts of ourselves coupled with refined, godly characteristics.