12 For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it.
13 And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.
14 And it shall come to pass that my people, which are of the house of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions; and my word also shall be gathered in one. And I will show unto them that fight against my word and against my people, who are of the house of Israel, that I am God, and that I covenanted with Abraham that I would remember his seed forever.
(2 Nephi 29:12-14)
When we talk about the gathering of Israel, we tend to think of people being gathered, either to a specific place or to a community of believers. But in the passage above, Nephi prophesies that another kind of gathering will take place in the latter days: a gathering of God’s word, which has been delivered to multiple groups of people.
One of the purposes of the Book of Mormon, as defined on the Title Page, is “to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations.” The book fulfills this purpose in part by its very existence. God spoke to people in the land of Israel over many centuries, and the record of His words is called the Bible. God also spoke to people on the American continent over many centuries, and the result is the Book of Mormon. According to Nephi, other people have also received and written God’s words, including the lost tribes of Israel, who were conquered and scattered by the Assyrian Empire more than 100 years before Nephi’s family left Jerusalem.
If all of these groups of people are receiving revelation from the same God, then the teachings should be consistent and even complementary. Nephi says that, eventually, not only will God’s people be gathered, but His word will also be “gathered in one.”
Elder David A. Bednar recently taught that this process of gathering God’s word in one is not only a global phenomenon but also a personal necessity. If we want to really understand God’s word, we need to see His teachings as united and interconnected.
Sometimes as members of the Church we segment, separate, and apply the gospel in our lives by creating lengthy checklists of individual topics to study and tasks to accomplish. But such an approach potentially can constrain our understanding and vision. We must be careful because pharisaical focus upon checklists can divert us from drawing closer to the Lord.
The purpose and purification, the happiness and joy, and the continuing conversion and protection that come from “yielding [our] hearts unto God” and “[receiving] his image in [our] countenances” cannot be obtained merely by performing and checking off all the spiritual things we are supposed to do. Rather, the power of the Savior’s gospel to transform and bless us flows from discerning and applying the interrelatedness of its doctrine, principles, and practices. Only as we gather together in one all things in Christ, with firm focus upon Him, can gospel truths synergistically enable us to become what God desires us to become and endure valiantly to the end (“Gather Together in One All Things,” General Conference, October 2018).
Today, I will strive to see the gospel as a unified whole, as a set of principles and practices which work in harmony, none of which is complete without the others. I will also take seriously the challenge to gather God’s word in one. I will strive to see how the principles of the gospel work together, and to apply the whole gospel in my life, instead of myopically focusing on one task at a time.