“Believest Thou That There Is a God?”

Joseph F. McConkie, Robert L. Millet

What do you teach a person who has no knowledge of God or the gospel and yet has consented to listen and believe? Where do you start? What principles do you emphasize? The way in which Ammon taught King Lamoni constitutes a classic response to such questions. Ammon taught him what we have come to know as the three pillars of eternity-the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement. These three doctrines, which are inseparably associated one with the other, constitute the foundation upon which all other gospel principles must rest.

Indeed, any principle that cannot comfortably rest on the foundation of these doctrines (or be tied to it) has no place in the teachings in God’s kingdom. To testify that Jesus of Nazareth is our Savior raises the question (particularly to one such as Lamoni), From what do we need to be saved? The answer, of course, is the fall of Adam. This in turn raises the question, From what did Adam fall? The answer is the paradisiacal state in which all things were originally created. Thus the Creation becomes parent to the Fall, and the Fall parent to the Atonement.

Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 3