“Sharing Time: The Articles of Faith,” Friend, Jan. 1995, 36
Have you ever wondered what you would say if someone asked you what you believed as a member of the Church? The scriptures tell us about the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Articles of Faith are part of the scriptures. They are found in the Pearl of Great Price. Our prophets have told us how important it is that we read the scriptures and that we understand what they say.
President Thomas S. Monson told a story about a man from the east who was traveling by bus to San Francisco. In Salt Lake City a Primary girl got on the bus and sat next to the man. As they started talking, he asked her if she was a Mormon. She answered yes. He asked her what Mormons believe. It was a big question for such a young girl. What would you have said? Imagine the look on the man’s face as she recited and explained the Articles of Faith. He couldn’t believe it!
After she got off the bus, the man thought about her courage and knowledge. As soon as he arrived in San Francisco, he looked in the telephone directory for the Church’s phone number, then called the local mission president and asked questions about the Church. The mission president sent missionaries to see him, and later the man’s entire family was baptized—all because a Primary girl knew and understood the Articles of Faith and had the courage to share them. (See Ensign, April 1994, pages 67–68.)
Where did the Articles of Faith come from? In March 1842 the Prophet Joseph Smith received a letter from Mr. Wentworth, a newspaper publisher in Chicago, Illinois, asking questions about the Church. As Joseph answered the letter, he was inspired to write thirteen statements that contain many of the beliefs of the Church. These statements became our Articles of Faith.
Later, in 1880, members at the October general conference of the Church voted to accept the Articles of Faith as scripture.
Stack three pieces of paper evenly. Punch two holes in the top or left side of them. Thread yarn or string through them to make a book; tie with a bow. Color the picture of Joseph Smith writing the Articles of Faith and fill in your name at the bottom. Cut out the picture and glue it on the front of your book. On the second page, write the heading: “The Articles of Faith.” As you learn about them now and during the rest of the year, you can write them on this page. Color the other pictures on page 37. Cut out the pictures and the questions. Glue each question, and the picture that answers it, on the third page of your book. During the year, you will add words and pictures to your book to help you better understand the Articles of Faith.
What are the Articles of Faith?
Thirteen statements of LDS beliefs.
Who wrote the Articles of Faith?
Why were the Articles of Faith written?
To answer questions about LDS beliefs.
Where do we find the Articles of Faith?
In the Pearl of Great Price.
When did the Articles of Faith become scripture?
At general conference, October 1880.
How did the Articles of Faith become scripture?
Church members voted for them.
Make a mural that shows how the Articles of Faith came to be. Divide a long roll of large paper into six sections. In each section, write one of the following questions: What are the Articles of Faith? Who wrote the Articles of Faith? Why do we have the Articles of Faith? Where can we find the Articles of Faith? When did the Articles of Faith become scripture? How did the Articles of Faith become scripture? Using the activity on pages 36–37 as a guide, divide the children into six groups and have each group draw the answer to one of the questions and explain it to the other groups. It is suggested that each group have a mixture of ages for learning and variety.
Invite the missionaries to testify about the Articles of Faith. If they have missionary cards with the Articles of Faith on them, ask them to share an experience they had when they used their cards. Children could participate in a missionary discussion about the Articles of Faith, with the missionaries serving as discussion leaders.
Sing “Faith” (Children’s Songbook, page 96). Focus on the words that talk about what faith is (knowing that the sun will rise, that the Lord will hear my prayers, that I will know in my heart when I do what is right, that I lived with God before I came to this earth, etc.). Use pictures and help children to discuss their feelings when they think of the word faith and when they know that something is true.
Dramatize the Articles of Faith story. The first week, have children write the script, which should include people asking questions about Mormon beliefs; Mr. Wentworth writing his letter to Joseph Smith; Joseph Smith pondering, then writing his reply; and the Articles of Faith becoming scripture. The second week, provide simple props and have them act out their script.
Using the Sharing Time activity on pages 36–37 as a guide, divide the older children into groups and assign each group one or more of the what, who, why, where, when, and how questions to write about and/or illustrate as a column in Mr. Wentworth’s newspaper.