Someone asked me if I could briefly tell them what Mormons believe. I sat and thought for a little bit, because the gospel is meant to be simple. On the other hand, there are so many different topics of discussion to get into. And then, I remembered the Articles of Faith. Two years before he died, the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote 13 statements in a letter to a newspaper editor, John Wentworth, who had previously asked him information about the church. Ever since he wrote these 13 statements, they have inspired and directed individuals in the basic principles of the gospel. When somebody asks me a question, I can usually refer back to one of these statements and give them a pretty direct answer. The Articles of Faith are listed directly behind Joseph Smith History in the scriptures. Here they are:
1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
5. We believe that a man must be called of God by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances therof.
6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretations of tongues, and so forth.
8. We believe in the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive in its paradisaical glory.
11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul – We believe in all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
Do YOU have any questions about Mormonism? Email your questions to we(n)serendipity(at)gmail.com and your questions could be answered on future Mormon Monday posts!