In 1842, Joseph Smith was asked to explain the beliefs of the Church by the editor of the Chicago Democrat newspaper, John Wentworth. From this request we were given what is now referred to as the Articles of Faith. A succinct overview of the core beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
There are thirteen Articles of Faith. As we go through them here, you will, no doubt, find that my beliefs and yours (if you are not LDS) are different in many ways. But I am confident that you will find that in several ways they are not as varied as you may have thought.
This week lets look at the first Article of Faith.
"We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost."Pretty straight forward, eh? I could probably end it right there, and it would be understood fairly well. But lets look at it a bit.
For those who have heard that we do not believe in Jesus Christ, there it is. Joseph Smith, when asked what we believed, the first thing he did was express our belief in God the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
We refer to these three as the Godhead.
We believe that God is the Supreme Ruler of the Universe and the Father of our spirits.
We believe that Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God and the Savior of the world. We believe that He was perfect and sinless and that through His atonement, crucifixion, and resurrection all of us are able to return to live with our Father in Heaven and our families eternally.
We believe that the Holy Ghost testifies of all truth. We believe that it is his influence that leads people to choose the right and follow the example of the Savior. We believe that it is through the influence of the Holy Ghost that we are able to receive guidance and inspiration from a loving Heavenly Father.
We believe that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three seperate and distinct beings. We do not subscribe to the view that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one being. We believe that the Father and Son have seperate, tangible, perfected, bodies. We believe that the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit, but is in the form of a man. (D&C 130:22).
We do believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one, but we believe that they are one in unity and purpose.
I could cite dozens of scriptural examples that lead me to this belief, but allow me to share just a couple.
Before His crucifixion, Christ prayed to the Father. In this intercessory prayer recorded in John 17, He talks about being one with the Father. He says,
"...Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. " John 17:11So, unless Christ was praying that the twelve apostles all become one blob, instead of twelve seperate individuals, we believe that Christ was talking about being one in unity and purpose.
By this we mean that the purposes of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are the same. They all desire the same thing, that we all gain immortality and eternal life (see Moses 1:39).
James E. Talmage, a former member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the 1900's stated in his book, Articles of Faith,
"This unity is a type of completeness; the mind of any one one member of the Trinity is the mind of the others; seeing as each of them does with the eye of perfection, they see and understand alike. Under any given conditions each would act in the same way, guided by the same principles of unerring justice and equity." Chapter 2, "God and the Holy Trinity"In conclusion, we believe in God the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost. We believe they are one in purpose, we believe they are perfect. We believe the Father and the Son have seperate, distinct, perfected bodies. We worship the Father as our Eternal Father and the Ruler of the Universe. We worship the Son as our Savior, Redeemer and the only way whereby a man may be saved (Acts 4:12).
I hope that sharing these core beliefs of my faith will strengthen your faith, as well as increasing that understanding that you and I have about our respective faiths. In doing so we may become better friends, neighbors, and citizens!
As always, if you have a question about Mormons--our beliefs, culture, etc, feel free to leave it in the comments section of the Ask a Mormon page on this blog!
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