“Articles of Faith 1:1–4,” The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual (2017)
“Articles of Faith 1:1–4,” The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said:
“In common with the rest of Christianity, we believe in a Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. However, we testify that these three members of the Godhead are three separate and distinct beings. We also testify that God the Father is not just a spirit but is a glorified person with a tangible body, as is his resurrected Son, Jesus Christ. …
“… Many Christians reject the idea of a tangible, personal God and a Godhead of three separate beings. They believe that God is a spirit and that the Godhead is only one God. …
“The collision between the speculative world of Greek philosophy and the simple, literal faith and practice of the earliest Christians produced sharp contentions that threatened to widen political divisions in the fragmenting Roman empire. This led Emperor Constantine to convene the first churchwide council in AD 325. The action of this council of Nicaea remains the most important single event after the death of the Apostles in formulating the modern Christian concept of deity. The Nicene Creed erased the idea of the separate being of Father and Son by defining God the Son as being of ‘one substance with the Father.’
“Other councils followed, and from their decisions and the writings of churchmen and philosophers there came a synthesis of Greek philosophy and Christian doctrine in which the orthodox Christians of that day lost the fulness of truth about the nature of God and the Godhead. The consequences persist in the various creeds of Christianity, which declare a Godhead of only one being and which describe that single being or God as ‘incomprehensible’ and ‘without body, parts, or passions.’ One of the distinguishing features of the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is its rejection of all of these postbiblical creeds. …
“… Joseph Smith’s first vision showed that the prevailing concepts of the nature of God and the Godhead were untrue and could not lead their adherents to the destiny God desired for them. …
“… We can comprehend the fundamentals he has revealed about himself and the other members of the Godhead. And that knowledge is essential to our understanding of the purpose of mortal life and of our eternal destiny” (“Apostasy and Restoration,” Ensign, May 1995, 84–86).
In a 1916 doctrinal exposition, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated: “God the Eternal Father, whom we designate by the exalted name-title ‘Elohim,’ is the literal Parent of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and of the spirits of the human race” (“The Father and the Son,” Improvement Era, Aug. 1916, 934).
President Brigham Young (1801–77) said:
“I want to tell you, each and every one of you, that you are well acquainted with God our heavenly Father, or the great Eloheim. You are all well acquainted with him, for there is not a soul of you but what has lived in his house and dwelt with him year after year; and yet you are seeking to become acquainted with him, when the fact is you have merely forgotten what you did know. …
“There is not a person here to-day but what is a son or a daughter of that Being [Heavenly Father]. In the spirit world their spirits were first begotten and brought forth, and they lived there with their parents for ages before they came here” (“Discourse,” Deseret News, Feb. 18, 1857, 396).
President Heber J. Grant (1856–1945) stated: “We believe absolutely that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, begotten of God, the first-born in the spirit and the only begotten in the flesh; that He is the Son of God just as much as you and I are the sons of our fathers” (“Analysis of the Articles of Faith,” Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star, Jan. 5, 1922, 2).
Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated:
“Whether descriptively designated as Creator, Only Begotten Son, Prince of Peace, Advocate, Mediator, Son of God, Savior, Messiah, Author and Finisher of Salvation, King of Kings—I witness that Jesus Christ is the only name under heaven whereby one can be saved! (See D&C 18:23.)
“I testify that He is utterly incomparable in what He is, what He knows, what He has accomplished, and what He has experienced. Yet, movingly, He calls us His friends. (See John 15:15.)” (“O, Divine Redeemer,” Ensign, Nov. 1981, 8).
President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) taught:
“The Holy Ghost is a revelator. Every worthy soul is entitled to a revelation, and it comes through the Holy Ghost. In Moroni’s farewell to the Lamanites, he says:
“‘And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.’ (Moroni 10:5.) He is a reminder and will bring to our remembrance the things which we have learned and which we need in the time thereof. He is an inspirer and will put words in our mouths, enlighten our understandings and direct our thoughts. He is a testifier and will bear record to us of the divinity of the Father and the Son and of Their missions and of the program which they have given us. He is a teacher and will increase our knowledge. He is a companion and will walk with us, inspiring us all along the way, guiding our footsteps, impeaching our weaknesses, strengthening our resolves and revealing to us righteous aims and purposes” (“The Fourth Article of Faith,” The Instructor, Apr. 1955, 108–9).
President James E. Faust (1920–2007) of the First Presidency explained:
“Because of their transgression, Adam and Eve, having chosen to leave their state of innocence (see 2 Nephi 2:23–25), were banished from the presence of God. This is referred to in Christendom as the Fall, or Adam’s transgression. It is a spiritual death because Adam and Eve were separated from the presence of God and given agency ‘to act for themselves and not to be acted upon’ (2 Nephi 2:26). They were also given the great power of procreation, so that they could keep the commandment to ‘multiply, and replenish the earth’ and have joy in their posterity (Genesis 1:28).
“All of their posterity were likewise banished from the presence of God (see 2 Nephi 2:22–26). However, the posterity of Adam and Eve were innocent of the original sin because they had no part in it. It was therefore unfair for all of humanity to suffer eternally for the transgressions of our first parents, Adam and Eve. It became necessary to settle this injustice; hence the need for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus in His role as the Savior and Redeemer. Because of the transcendent act of the Atonement, it is possible for every soul to obtain forgiveness of sins, to have them washed away and be forgotten” (“The Supernal Gift of the Atonement,” Ensign, Nov. 1988, 12).
Elder Dallin H. Oaks said:
“In order to lay claim upon our Savior’s life-giving triumph over the spiritual death we suffer because of our own sins, we must follow the conditions he has prescribed. As he has told us in modern revelation, ‘I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
Elder David B. Haight (1906–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testified:
“We believe that Christ came into the world to ransom mankind from the temporal and spiritual death brought into the world by the fall of Adam, that through the shedding of His innocent blood all mankind are raised in immortality and that those who believe and obey His laws are raised unto eternal life.
“Salvation is administered on the same terms and conditions in all ages. Men must have faith in him, repent of their sins, be baptized in his name, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and remain steadfast to gain life eternal.
President James E. Faust explained: “There is a distinction between immortality, or eternal existence, and eternal life, which is to have a place in the presence of God. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, immortality comes to all men, just or unjust, righteous or wicked. However, eternal life is ‘the greatest of all the gifts of God’ (D&C 14:7). We obtain this great gift, according to the Lord, ‘if you keep my commandments and endure to the end.’ If we so endure, the promise is, ‘you shall have eternal life’ (D&C 14:7)” (“The Supernal Gift,” 12).
The Prophet Joseph Smith (1805–44) said: “To get salvation we must not only do some things, but everything which God has commanded. Men may preach and practice everything except those things which God commands us to do, and will be damned at last. … The object with me is to obey and teach others to obey God in just what He tells us to do. It mattereth not whether the principle is popular or unpopular, I will always maintain a true principle, even if I stand alone in it” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 161).
Elder ElRay L. Christiansen (1897–1975), Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said:
“If we keep the laws and covenants of baptism, and honor the priesthood and its covenants, we are then permitted to enter into the temple of the Lord and there again make covenants with him, which covenants if kept will qualify us for the fulness of joy in our Father’s kingdom; and to become endowed with powers, rights, blessings, and promises of blessings that may embellish our lives and bless us eternally and bring us joy that is beyond our power to comprehend.
“… What hope, what assurance, what joy that should bring to the hearts of men!” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1955, 30).
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “Baptism is a sign to God, to angels, and to heaven that we do the will of God, and there is no other way beneath the heavens whereby God hath ordained for man to come to Him to be saved, and enter into the kingdom of God, except faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins, and any other course is vain; then you have the promise of the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 91).
President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) wrote: “The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; and of course we are not going to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ without having faith in his Father. Then if we have faith in God the Father and the Son and are guided, as we ought to be, by the Holy Ghost, we will have faith in the servants of the Lord through whom he has spoken” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie , 2:303).
President Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918) taught: “True repentance is not only sorrow for sins, and humble penitence and contrition before God, but it involves the necessity of turning away from them, a discontinuance of all evil practices and deeds, a thorough reformation of life, a vital change from evil to good, from vice to virtue, from darkness to light. Not only so, but to make restitution, so far as it is possible, for all the wrongs we have done, to pay our debts, and restore to God and man their rights—that which is due to them from us” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. , 100).
Elder James E. Talmage (1862–1933) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles warned: “Repentance becomes more difficult as sin is more wilful; it is by humility and contrition of the heart that sinners may increase their faith in God, and so obtain from Him the gift of repentance. As the time of repentance is procrastinated, the ability to repent grows weaker; neglect of opportunity in holy things develops inability” (Articles of Faith, 12th ed. , 114).
President Joseph F. Smith said: “Baptism means immersion in water, and is to be administered by one having authority, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Baptism without divine authority is not valid. It is a symbol of the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and must be done in the likeness thereof” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith , 63).
Elder Richard G. Scott (1928–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “When a repentant soul is baptized, all former sins are forgiven and need not be remembered. When repentance is full and one has been cleansed, there comes a new vision of life and its glorious possibilities. How marvelous the promise of the Lord: ‘Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.’ The Lord is and ever will be faithful to His words” (“Finding Forgiveness,” Ensign, May 1995, 77).
Elder James E. Talmage wrote: “The special purpose of baptism is to afford admission to the Church of Christ with remission of sins. What need of more words to prove the worth of this divinely appointed ordinance? What gift could be offered the human race greater than a sure means of obtaining forgiveness for transgression? Justice forbids the granting of universal and unconditional pardon for sins committed except through obedience to ordained law; but means simple and effective are provided whereby the penitent sinner may enter into a covenant with God, sealing that covenant with the sign that commands recognition in heaven, that he will submit himself to the laws of God; thus he places himself within the reach of Mercy, under whose protecting influence he may win eternal life” (Articles of Faith, 122).
The Lord said that one of the duties of the elders of the Church was “to confirm those who are baptized into the church, by the laying on of hands for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, according to the scriptures” (D&C 20:41). Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “There is no greater gift that a person can earn and enjoy for himself, in mortality, than the gift of the Holy Ghost, which gift is the right to the constant companionship of that member of the Godhead, and which gift is actually enjoyed only on condition of individual righteousness” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1953, 76). Elder Richard G. Scott stated that “through this gift we can receive pure truth to guide our lives, divine counsel to resolve our problems, and even the power of God to overcome obstacles” (“Happiness Now and Forever,” Ensign, Nov. 1979, 70).
President James E. Faust explained: “This powerful gift entitles the leaders and all worthy members of the Church to enjoy the gifts and companionship of the Holy Ghost, a member of the Godhead whose function is to inspire, reveal, and teach ‘all things’ (see John 14:26). The result of this endowment is that … the leadership and membership of this church have enjoyed, and now enjoy, continuous revelation and inspiration directing them in what is right and good” (“Communion with the Holy Spirit,” Ensign, May 1980, 12). Elder Dallin H. Oaks testified: “That Spirit—the Holy Ghost—is our comforter, our direction finder, our communicator, our interpreter, our witness, and our purifier—our infallible guide and sanctifier for our mortal journey toward eternal life” (“Always Have His Spirit,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 61).