When I was young I remember repeating over and over again in my mind the Articles of Faith as I tried to memorize them. I regret to say my motivation for memorizing the Articles of Faith was mostly for the reward involved. To this day, I can’t think what the reward was, maybe a pin or something; however, for all the Articles of Faith, I still can either recite them by memory or state the belief behind them.
Why has this been an important part of my life? I wish to refer to a talk given by Elder L. Tom Perry in general conference several years ago and emphasize three main points that show how the Articles of Faith have influenced my life.
"What a great blessing it would be if every member of the Church memorized the Articles of Faith and became knowledgeable about the principles contained in each…They contain direct and simple statements of the principles of our religion, and they constitute strong evidence of the divine inspiration that rested upon the Prophet Joseph Smith…If you will use them 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’" (in Conference Report, Apr. 1998, 28, 30; or Ensign, May 1998, 23–24 ).
The Principles of Our Religion
The Articles of Faith plainly state these principles and are a guideline for us as members of the church. If we don’t have a testimony of specific principles found in the Articles of Faith, we might want to focus on strengthening our testimony on those principles.
- God, Jesus Christ, and Holy Ghost as three distinct beings
- Mankind can be saved through the atonement and obedience to the gospel
- Principles and ordinances of the gospel necessary for salvation
- Same organization of the church
Strong Evidence of Divine Inspiration of Joseph Smith
John Wentworth requested a sketch of the rise, progress, persecution, and faith of Latter-day Saints to be published in the Chicago Democrat. They, however, were not published so the church published it in their newspaper, the Times and Seasons. As we become more acquainted with the Articles of Faith we can gain a greater sense of the mission of Joseph Smith.
As a missionary, we would frequently discuss with those we taught about three things being intertwined: The Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and the church. If any of these things was false then all the others would have to be false; likewise, if any of them were true then they all had to be true. The Articles of Faith serve as a way to strengthen our testimony of the divine calling of Joseph Smith as a prophet.
One of the foundational beliefs is the eighth Article of Faith that states, "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." Without such a book, many of the original truths of God’s church would be lost. Testify…
Witness of the Restored, True Church of the Lord
Just as Joseph Smith was a prophet, today we have "the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth." Next week we have the opportunity to listen to the prophets and apostles voices. I invite all of us to prepare accordingly to receive insights through the spirit as we listen to their voices. Testify…
As of late, I have been trying to spiritually dive into the scriptures to strengthen my testimony. However, I haven’t been sure of the best approach for me personally. I have had in the back of my mind the idea of answering questions I have had or I have heard and compile them related to a given topic. Nevertheless, there are so many places to start. Recently, I decided to start with the Articles of Faith and break each part down for my individual study. It is amazing the spirit that can come through this study.
Through my study I feel more prepared to be a witness of the restored church. In fact, we have had several opportunities to share what we believe with others and it has been a wonderful experience. As the 9th Article of Faith states that "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." I personally believe that God will reveal to us the many great and important things for our own lives as long as we prepare accordingly. Testify…
I invite each of us to gain a testimony of all the principles contained in the articles of faith. If you don’t know what they are exactly then I invite each of you to study and memorize them. By doing so, I promise we will not only lift our own spirits, but we will be able to reach out and lift those around us, we will be able to answer questions about the gospel directed to us as we witness of the restored and true church of the Lord.