My Title of Liberty

     "In Memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children." - Alma 46:12    

The Articles of Faith

of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


 

The Nature of God

Articles of Faith 1:1 - "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost."

In the year 1820, when Joseph Smith was 15 years old, he was pondering over which church he should join.  There were many denominations clamoring for the attentions of his neighborhood.  He read in the Bible, James 1:5, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."  After pondering on this passage for a while, Joseph took God at His word, and went to the woods to be alone with God.  Here is what happened to him in his own words:

"After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

"But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction — not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being — just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

"It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"

"My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong) — and which I should join.

"I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: 'they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.'

"He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home."

     (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith-History 1:15-20)

Among other things, Joseph first learned from this encounter that The Father and the Son both have glorious physical bodies.  The New Testament scriptures describe the Lord's body after His resurrection and ascension to His Father in the same terms.  It does not make Him less God because He has a physical body (flesh and bone).  It should be no surprise to us that His Father also has a physical body.  We understand from modern revelations that the Holy Spirit has a spiritual body of a much 'finer' consistency than a body of flesh, the same as our spirits had before we came to this earth.

There is One God. God is One.  Jesus said that He and His Father were One.  He also prayed that his disciples would be One, even as He and His Father are One. (John 17)  This is not the same as the doctrine of Trinity as declared in so many Christian creeds.  There is One Will and Purpose.  There is One Eternal Plan.  The gods of the heathen (demons, 1 Cor. 10:20) do according to their own wills.  There is no oneness among them.

The Father:

He is referred to in the Old Testament by the Hebrew name Elohim, and is translated as God.  In the New Testament, the Greek term is Theos, translated God.  He is the Father of our spirits.  He has a tabernacle of flesh and bone.

   "Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious [Greek: very religious].
   "For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions [Greek: sacred, venerated objects], I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.  Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
   "God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
   "Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
   "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
   "That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: [The Joseph Smith Translation reads, "if they are willing to find him, for he is not far from every one of us."]
   "For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
   "Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device."  (Acts 17:22-29)

The Son:

He is referred to in the Old Testament Hebrew as Yahweh [Jehovah].  Except in a few instances it is translated as LORD or GOD (all caps) in the King James Version of the Bible.  He is called the Messiah in prophecy (which is left untranslated, but means Anointed One).  In the New Testament he is known by the name Iesous [Jesus], the Greek form of the Hebrew Iehoshua [Joshua], meaning Jehovah is Salvation, and is also called Xristos [Christ], the Greek form of Messiah.

He is the firstborn of our Heavenly Father's spirit children, and the Only-begotten of the Father in the flesh.  Elohim himself was the father of his earthly body, as Mary was his mother.

Before the foundation of the earth was laid, It was He who volunteered to carry out Our Father's plan, come to earth, live a sinless life, suffer for our sins, give up His life on the cross, and rise again to save His Father's children.  He led the spirit children in creating the earth that we live on.

The Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit]:

He is a personage of spirit, not possessing a body of flesh and bones.  The Holy Ghost testifies to men of Jesus Christ, and reveals to men the mind of God.  He comes to men to convict them of sin and to convince them of the truth of the Gospel when it is presented to them.  The Gift of the Holy Ghost is the right to enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and comes only after authorized baptism, is conferred by the laying on of hands, and is received on condition of worthiness.  It also acts as a cleansing agent by which men are purified and sanctified from all sin.

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Sin

Articles of Faith 1:2 - "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression."

 

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The Atonement

Articles of Faith 1:3 - "We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel."

 

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First Principles and Ordinances

Articles of Faith 1:4 - "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."

 

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Priesthood Authority

Articles of Faith 1:5 - "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 thereof."

 

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Church Organization

Articles of Faith 1:6 - "We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth."

 

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Spiritual Gifts

Articles of Faith 1:7 - "We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth."

 

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The Written Word

Articles of Faith 1:8 - "We believe 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."

 

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Revelation

Articles of Faith 1:9 - "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."

 

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The Restoration

Articles of Faith 1:10 - "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 its paradisiacal glory."

 

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Worship

Articles of Faith 1:11 - "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."

 

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Government

Articles of Faith 1:12 - "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."

 

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Virtue

Articles of Faith 1:13 - "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 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."