Aug 21, 2013

Mormon Articles of Faith Part 1

By Ramona Siddoway


In 1842, John Wentworth, editor of the Chicago Democrat, asked Joseph Smith to provide information about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, explaining the basic beliefs and principles of this newly reorganized religion. In addition to sending information about the history of the church as well as an overview of his own personal religious experiences, Joseph Smith included a summary list of thirteen items or basic points of belief. These points were called “the faith of the Latter-day Saints” and later became known as the Articles of Faith.

Many religions have a creed or articles of faith – a brief, summarized set of beliefs. Like the Jewish faith, Latter-day Saints have thirteen articles of faith. (My understanding is that for members of the Jewish faith it is not necessary to believe all of the 13 articles of faith to be Jewish and they are necessarily adhered to by all members.)
 
For anyone curious about the basic principles followed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the Articles of Faith provide an overarching framework of our beliefs. While the Articles of Faith are not complete in explaining all of our beliefs they are a good summary of LDS scripture and principles that are taught and understood by the members of our faith. 
 
In my next few posts I will be sharing and discussing these Articles of Faith. I encourage you to consider these Articles and join me in realizing that people of faith often have more core beliefs in common than differences.

Article of Faith #1: We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. This first Article of Faith begins with the belief shared by many Christians, that is a belief in a Godhead, comprised of three distinct, individual personages. We also derive this belief from the following scriptures: Acts 7:55-56, 2 Corr. 13:14.

Article of Faith #2: We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression. This speaks to our belief in moral agency and that as individuals we will be held accountable for our own acts. This will also help explain why Latter-day Saints do not practice infant baptism (although we do bless babies). As with Islam, we do not subscribe to the belief of “original sin” or a hereditary sin. We do accept that mankind is living with the consequences of Adam and Eve’s choice of partaking of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, but we do not believe that we will be held accountable for their choice. In my mind this also similar to the Jewish article 1of faith #11, stating, “God will reward the good and punish the wicked.” For instance, in Deuteronomy 24:16 we read: "The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin." If you want to read more about similarities between the Mormons and the Jews, there is a great article by Rabbi Perry Tirschwell in the Jewish Press.

I hope posting these articles will help give you a grasp of some basic beliefs Latter-day Saints, highlight the similarities, and clear up any misconceptions that might be floating around out there. Beware, be aware, and be discerning of what you read on the internet about ANY religion, especially if it has been posted by an “ex” or an individual or group that is not associated with that religion. For more information about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints please visit LDS.org and Mormon.org which are official, correct and authoritative sites about our faith, beliefs, and history. 
 
Ramona Siddoway is a freelance writer and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the Mormons) where she volunteers in the Public Affairs department. The views expressed in this post are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Interfaith Houston.

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