K.I.S.S – Keep It Simple Saints

In “Simply Beautiful – Beautifully Simple“, Elder Gary E. Stevenson discusses two elements of the restored gospel. They are divinely appointed responsibilities and the gospel is plain, precious, and simple. He goes on to give four accounts of these two elements. As I have stated before, one of the conference themes is around the everyday things we can do to build our relationship with God.

I’m not going to rehash all those things in this post (although some of them are in the featured image). Instead, I’m going to discuss a part of Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life and how moving beyond the simple things and looking beyond the mark can endanger our testimonies.

Lehi’s Dream

In chapter 8 of the First Book of Nephi, Lehi recounts a vision he has of the Tree of Life. One of the main elements in this vision is a rod of iron.

And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.

1 Nephi 8:24

For those who didn’t cling to the Iron Rod “did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost” (1 Nephi 8:23). The Iron Rod represents the word of God. therefore, we see that those who stop studying the scriptures can lose their way.

This is true for the other primary answers, daily prayer, participating in church, fasting, attending the temple, etcetera. When we stop doing those things that build a relationship with God, it’s easier to go down other paths and get lost.

Looking Beyond the Mark

There is one other aspect to keeping things simple. That is to not “look beyond the mark” (Jacob 4: 13-15). It can be easy for us to do this as we try to enhance our understanding of the gospel.

How do we look beyond the mark? In my experience there are two ways this occurs:

  1. Trying to find answers to questions that haven’t been revealed yet
  2. Searching out the imperfections in those called by God to lead His church

In the first case, a person wants to know something like “where exactly in the universe does God live?” The person then goes on a quest using the scriptures and modern science to try and find God’s abode. This is a question for which we don’t have the answer and, in my opinion, isn’t needed for our salvation. After having done the research and not getting an answer, the person can then become disaffected with the gospel and start wandering off and getting lost.

The second case happens when a person has an experience that tries the testimony they have received. It begins with researching the history of the church and finding things that aren’t in harmony with the gospel. Yes, those events are real. We are led by imperfect men and women. Mistakes have been made. However, when this person sees those mistakes they take it as further proof that the church is not Christ’s church. Then they go on and look for more and more things that will reinforce their conclusion. They have wandered off the path and become lost.

Where Can We Find Truth?

There came a time in the life of the Savior where people “went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66). Jesus then turned to the Apostles and asked “Will ye also go away?” (John 6:67) I have always been moved by Peter’s answer:

Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou has the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

John 6:68-69

Our testimonies must be the same as Peter’s. Where would we go? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ’s church. It has the words of eternal life. And we believe that it is Christ, not man, that leads and directs His church.


The gospel is, as Elder Stevenson states, simply beautiful and beautifully simple. If we follow the K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Saints) method, our testimonies will grow, our relationship with God will increase, and we will one day partake of the fruit Lehi saw in his vision. A fruit that “[fills the] soul with exceedingly great joy” (1 Nephi 8:12)

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