Mormonism?" or "What do Mormons believe?" These questions have been around since the time of Joseph Smith. A man named John Wentworth, an editor and proprietor of the Chicago Democrat, asked this very thing to Joseph Smith. His reply is what is now referred to as the Wentworth Letter. In this letter Joseph gave a brief history of his own life, and the history of the Church up until 1842 (twelve years after the Church was formed). Also in this letter are found the Standard of Truth and the Articles of Faith. It is that last part that I will continue to talk about now.
*If you'd like to read the rest of the Wentworth Letter, click here.
The final portion of the Wentworth Letter is what is now called the Articles of Faith. These are three key points that help outline Mormonism, just what it is that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes. For those do not know these thirteen articles of faith, I will now list them.
- We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
- We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.
- We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
- 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.
- We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
- We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
- We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 paradisaical glory.
- 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.
- We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
- 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.
These thirteen points do not contain everything in Mormonism, but the key points are here. For those wanting further explanation, you can follow the links below (other posts about the Articles of Faith) or you can ask a missionary!