Articles of Faith

by W. John Walsh

"...behold I say unto you, that as these things are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved." (The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 25:20)

The Articles of Faith “summarize some of the basic doctrines of the Church.” [1]  President Ezra Taft Benson taught that they “set forth in clear, unmistakable terms the foundations of our worship…” [2]  The articles “do not constitute a summation of all LDS beliefs, and they are not a creed in the traditional Christian sense, but they do provide a useful authoritative summary of fundamental LDS scriptures and beliefs.” [3] 

The articles first “appeared in an article furnished by the Prophet Joseph Smith to Mr. John Wentworth, publisher of the Chicago Democrat, in 1842.” [4]   Since 1880, the Church has considered the articles to be “scripture and [they] are published as part of The Pearl of Great Price.” [5]   The articles are as follows:

1 We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

2 We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.

3 We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

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.

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. (See Priesthood Organization home page)

6 We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

7 We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth. (See Gifts of the Spirit)

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.

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.  (See Prayer, Fasting, and Revelation home page)

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.   (See Second Coming of Jesus Christ home page)

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.  (See Politics: Political Teachings; Tolerance)

12 We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. (See Teachings About Law home page)

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.

It must be repeated that “these articles are not and were not intended to be a complete and final exposition of beliefs…” [6] The articles do not discuss many facets of Latter-day Saint belief such as “celestial marriage, salvation for the dead, temple work in all its phases, the resurrection, and degrees of glory in the eternal worlds.” [7]   Yet, they still serve as a useful introduction to Latter-day Saint beliefs.

(See Teachings of Joseph Smith; Basic Beliefs home page)

[1] McConkie, Bruce R., Mormon Doctrine, Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1966, p. 53.

[2] Benson, Ezra Taft, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1988, p.679.

[3] “Articles of Faith” David J. Whittaker, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1992.

[4] Smith, Joseph Fielding, Answers to Gospel Questions Volume 2, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1958, p.92.   See Wentworth Letter.

[5] McConkie, Bruce R., Mormon Doctrine, Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1966, p. 53.  In addition to publication in the Pearl of Great Price, the Articles of Faith can also be found in History of the Church, Vol. 4, pp. 535-541.

[6] Brown, Hugh B., The Abundant Life, Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1965, p.278.

[7] McConkie, Bruce R., Mormon Doctrine, Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1966, p. 53.