What does the following quote mean, and what are the implications if this sentiment were pervasive in the church (from Cecil O. Samuelson and BYU NewsNet)?

“It is a good thing to know that the gospel is true,” President Samuelson said. “But it is even better to know the gospel.”

Cecil O. Samuelson


  1. adam November 9, 2007 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    “Knowing the gospel is true” often unfortunately results in conflict. It is more of an interpersonal issue I think. “Knowing the gospel” is about personal conversion. That is the most important issue in religion, I think. We are all primarly responsible for ourselves.

    I appreciate his statment. So many of us say “I know this church is true”, but do we really know the church, or the gospel?

  2. vibes November 9, 2007 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    It simply means that in a general way we can know that the gospel is true through the practice and trying of the principles contained therein.
    On the other hand it takes a bit more effort to apply oneself to the actual study and contemplation of why it is true – this takes diligence and discipline to study the words of God contained in the scriptures and connect the dots so to speak in understanding the core doctrine and fitting it all together much like a puzzle.

  3. Kent November 9, 2007 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    I think it is similar to what Hugh Nibley called “zeal without knowledge.” The power of the gospel is not just that it is true but that it provides a paradigm that can bring about happiness when understood and lived. The implication I see from this quote is that many of us are living below the light we have been given.

  4. Chris Rusch November 9, 2007 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    I guess that it depends on what you consider the Gospel. Many have their own interpretation of what this means. For some, the Gospel is everything in the Church, but I don’t see it that way.

    My take on it is that if we more concerned with the implications of Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament, especially those called the Sermon on the Mount, many of the problems in our families, society, and even in the Church, would go away.

    I have concluded that the Gospel is Christ’s teachings and atonement. That is what I focus on, and that is where I have found peace. I think that more people would find the same if they disconnected from Mormon culture and focused on these things.

  5. Stephanie Coleman November 9, 2007 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    I think a lot of people actually THINK that LDS culture is infact the gospel! There is much that is often taught in RS or EQ or in GD that is not doctrine as people interject their own opinions/ideas and thoughts about things or how they think something should be and some of those things have become the “unofficial” doctrine of the church, hence the gospel as many believe it to be.
    I think the above quote is saying that really understanding the “gospel” {which is the Good News of Jesus Christ} is better than knowing that good news is true because if we KNOW it, we will internalize it, we will use it, we will change our lives and our families with it. Just knowing it is true does not mean that we really KNOW what it means or that we have tried it {i equate the gospel to be the same as what Chris said… the good news of Jesus Christ} Ignoring the good news but believing it to be true does not mean it has made a change in your heart.

  6. Batavia November 9, 2007 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    i think it’s a two edges sword.

    Knowing the gospel but not knowing it’s true could also mean that you have a church of people who are very knowledgeable about a potentially meaningless issue. Almost like knowing all the lore about World of Warcraft (a fantasy MMORPG).

    But i think the real value of this statement is that you should know what you’re talking about when talking about the gospel/church doctrines/christ/etc. What you include/exclude in ‘The Gospel’ doesn’t even matter. Following the crowd without knowing there the crowd is going is never a good thing.

  7. Andrew November 9, 2007 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    I love this quote. It says so succinctly something I’ve tried to express to family and friends regarding our testimony meetings.

    I’ve noticed an increasing trend of people offering what I call “pledge of allegiance” testimonies: “I know the church is true, I know the Book of Mormon is true, I know Joseph Smith was a prophet” etc. I’ve expressed frustration that we need to get beyond mere statements of conviction and share with each other our experiences and insights; to share with each other how those sources of truth have been transforming our lives.

    I feel spiritually starved when I hear repeated testimonies that merely assert conviction. But I feel so nourished when I hear testimonies about how those sources of truth are actually changing someone’s life.

  8. David M November 9, 2007 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    How can you know something is true unless you first know it? Or how can you love something that you don’t understand? I think that we as Mormons love to use the work “know” in describing what is really a heartfelt conviction and you can’t feel conviction for vagaries.

  9. Tytus November 9, 2007 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    My guess is the Pres. Samuelson was echoing the admonition in 1 Peter 3:15, which encourages to “be ready always to give…a reason of the hope that is in you.”

    It has been my observation that many young people (pre-mission) genuinely feel a conviction regarding their religion, but often are unable to articulate it or expound it due to general ignorance of the scriptures, the doctrine, and the history.

    Of course, we all know the Pandora’s box that awaits those who get serious about learning about the scriptures, the doctrine, and the history, but that’s a whole other discussion ;)

  10. rtc November 10, 2007 at 4:33 am - Reply

    I am in a row boat, out in the middle of a huge body of water having a wonderful day of solitude as I read a book and float carelessly along without a soul in sight. I realize this is really not very smart of me as I do not swim, but it is a calm day and all is well… Suddenly I realize my boat is taking on a bit of water. I wonder where it is coming in from? I realize that I may have a very serious problem…

    I look around in every direction… I see no one. I look in the corner behind me and there is a life-jacket. I also see a small bucket.

    The water is now at about two inches… I am now starting to panic. I have never worn a life-jacket before. Maybe I should put it on? That pail is so small… I wonder if anyone will come soon?

    I guess I could put on the jacket and try using this bucket until somebody comes?

    Because if I don’t DO what I believe will work, then I will most likely drowned out here…



    When our lives humbly bear witness of Him then others will begin to more clearly see that we truly do know the Gospel .

    This is the place where our lives begin to have power to make a difference…

  11. angrymormonliberal November 10, 2007 at 9:09 am - Reply

    Perhaps he’s talking about zeal with out knowledge, of the sort where people go out of their way to offend people because ‘mines true and yours isn’t.’ Nibley has a great talk on that.

  12. Clark November 11, 2007 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    The meaning seems straightforward to me. I can know that X is true without knowing what is contained in X or the implications of X. To give an example I may know that Quantum Mechanics is true. (And I suspect most you ask that of would say they know QM is true) However I may know next to nothing about QM or what its implications are.

    I think Elder Samuelson is noting the rather common situation where people know the gospel or Church is true but know very little about what that means. Given that the gospel is about changing us, knowing it is true is less important than taking hold of it which demands knowing about the gospel.

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