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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Articles of Faith in the Scriptures

As many of you may know, from my previous posts,  I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In other words, I am a "Mormon." Or so those of my faith have been nicknamed as such. I believe in God, the eternal father, and in His son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.






                                                          

I believe in faith, repentance, and baptism. I believe that it is by grace in Jesus' name that we are saved. I do not believe that I can merit forgiveness, but rather I believe that there are conditions, set by Jesus, that need to be met to qualify as "repentance." In other words, I believe that I will only be saved by Jesus' atonement, if I follow the commandments and stipulations He has set forth.

While I believe that the worth of all souls is great in the sight of God, I do not believe I, of myself, can ever do enough on my own to return to God. Rather, I must count on the grace of God to make up for what I lack, to pay the difference, to make me whole.

It is what I believe. And I am grateful for what I believe. And I will stand up for it. I will share the light, or knowledge, that has been shared with me... the knowledge that has brought me peace, in a world that seems so desperately to lack it.

I do not share my beliefs in an attempt to appear self righteous. I do not share my beliefs in a desire to be controlling. I share what I believe because, if it is true, which I have come to believe through my own experiences that it is, then sharing this truth can only serve to benefit those around me. I share it out of love, because if it is true, it would be the opposite of love to hide it.


This is all a bit long winded, but I swear I'm getting to the point.

A few months ago, my husband and I were asked to give talks in our ward's Sacrament meeting. A ward is a local congregation. And Sacrament meeting is our weekly worship service. The Bishop (similar to a pastor, in a sense) asked if my husband and I could speak on the Articles of Faith. I was assigned the third Article of Faith and my husband, the fourth article.

The Articles of Faith are a set of 13 statements that were written by Joseph Smith, outlining some of our basic teachings and ordinances. In essence, the Articles of Faith are a basic overview of all that we believe and strive to live. If you want to know more about LDS doctrine, a good place to start would be the Articles of Faith


In preparation for our talks, my husband and I spent a lot of time studying the specific articles that we were assigned. We also read many other talks (available on www.LDS.org) given by apostles, prophets, and seers. One of those talks was from Elder L. Tom Perry, given in May of 1998, subsequently titled, "The Articles of Faith."

In this talk, Elder Perry states:




"If you will use them (The Articles of Faith) as a guide to direct your studies of the Savior's doctrine, you will find yourselves prepared to declare your witness of the restored, true church of the Lord." "You will be able to declare with conviction: 'We believe these things.'"  "I reached the conclusion that if I studied the content of each of the Articles of Faith, I could explain and defend every gospel principle I might have the opportunity to expound to someone searching for the restored truth."



I loved these quotes, as I have always desired to be a missionary, but often lacked the courage, or sureness of self to do so. In my preparation for this talk I decided to follow Elder Perry's advice, and searched the scriptures using the Articles of Faith as my guide.

And an interesting thing happened (and continues to happen). As I prepared for my talk, I found, first off, that not only do the Articles of Faith often build off of each other (I was studying the third Article of Faith, and yet the fourth Article of Faith kept tying in and popping up in my study), but they (The Articles of Faith) appear in the scriptures multiple times.


For example, in my study I have so far found four different scriptures where the fourth Article of Faith makes its appearance, but for now I'll just share three of them:



  • Doctrine and Covenants 19:31: "But thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior and remission of sins by baptism and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost."
  • 2 Nephi 31:10-16:
     Verse 10, "And he said unto the child of men: follow thou me (faith required to follow Christ)."
     Verse 11, " And the Father said: repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my beloved son.'
     Verse 12, " He that is baptized in my name to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost."
  • Acts 2:38,41: "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." "Then they that gladly received his word (takes faith to do so) were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."

The fourth article itself, reads "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."

It is there, over and over and over. Faith. Repentance. Baptism. Holy Ghost.  Before I had the opportunity to prepare this talk, I had never noticed how prevalent this pattern was in the scriptures. And last night, like I mentioned before, I found a fourth scripture that listed off the "first principles and ordinances of the gospel." (If you want to look it up yourselves, it is found in 3 Nephi 11:31-39)


At first it was so amazing to me! But I realize, is it terribly surprising? Not at all. The whole point and purpose of the Articles of Faith was to state our doctrine. So, if the Articles of Faith truly are the doctrine of Christ... should it not be found over and over again in the scriptures?

Elder L Tom Perry expressed the following about his study and memorization of the Articles of Faith:




 "This experience has brought a deep conviction to me that they were given by revelation to the prophet Joseph Smith. " "The Articles of Faith were not the work of a team of Scholars but were authored by a single inspired man who declared comprehensively and concisely the essential doctrines of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."


I feel that I most certainly agree with Elder Perry. 
So, I have decided. Preachy, or goody two-shoes aside, I want to share the scriptures that I find that directly relate to the Articles of Faith. Because, to me, it helps strengthen my faith. My faith in the principles of the gospel. My faith in the truthfulness of the gospel. And my determination to do my best to live that gospel.

I will share these scriptures here on my blog, for anyone to search and read for themselves, and I will add them to the bottom of this post so that they are easily searchable, for those who are interested.

I know that God still speaks to the world today, through His mouthpiece, the prophets.  I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, who was called of God, and given the authority to restore the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth.  I am grateful to have that sure direction, to know who I am, where I am from, where I am going, and what I need to do to get there.

There is peace in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And there is stability. And furthermore, despite all the benefits and blessings of living the gospel, more importantly is that it is true. The gospel of Jesus Christ is true.  And I would sincerely invite all of you, what little audience I have, to learn more about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

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