"Among the glorious doctrines of the Book of Mormon is the assurance that all may know and understand the doctrines of salvation," wrote Joseph Fielding McConkie, an associate professor of ancient scripture at BYU, in Studies in Scripture - 1 Nephi to Alma 29.
"The requisites for such understanding are faith, sincerity, righteousness, and obedience, matters upon which all have equal claim. Thus the hope of salvation, the promise of eternal life, is extended to all on equal grounds."Nephi and his fellow prophets have, for the most part, written with a plainness that far exceeds the clarity of the Bible. Further, the Book of Mormon contains a number of systematic treatments of doctrinal subjects, something noticeably missing in the scripture of the Old World."
Among the doctrinal subjects that Nephi taught was baptism - more specifically that the Savior had to be baptized to "fulfill all righteousness." (2 Ne. 31:5.)
McConkie wrote that Nephi identified four ways in which Christ fulfilled all righteousness through His baptism:
- He humbled Himself before the Father. (2 Ne. 31:7.)
- He entered a covenant relationship with the Father. (2 Ne. 31:7.)
- He opened to Himself the gate to the celestial kingdom. (2 Ne. 31:9.)
- He set a perfect example for all to follow. (2 Ne. 31:10.)
McConkie said: "It was required of Christ as it is required of all people, taught Nephi, that He follow the strait and narrow path. (2 Ne. 31:9.) A straight path is one without deviation, whereas a strait path, as spoken of in this text, is one that is strict, narrow, and rigorous. Both expressions are appropriate descriptions of the path that leads to the presence of God. In this instance, however, the emphasis is on the strictness with which all who would be saved must comply with the ordinances of salvation.
"Salvation is found only in willing obedience to the Father, never in neglect, disobedience, or the pursuit of one's own will. As it was, it was necessary for Christ to be obedient in all things to work out His salvation. It is necessary for all others to do the same."
McConkie emphasized that Christ was not baptized for a remission of sins - He neither had nor would commit any. The "doctrine of Christ" (2 Ne. 31:2, 21) is the plan and system whereby the children of God "fulfill all righteousness" by taking upon themselves the name of Christ in baptism, receiving and obeying the principles and ordinances of the gospel, and then, enduring to the end in faith.