Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Next Thirteen Articles of Faith

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the main tenets of the gospel were distilled by Joseph Smith in the infamous Wentworth letter. He enumerated 13 statements which represented some of the basic beliefs of Mormons. They are now canonized and referred to as the 13 Articles of Faith. Critics and true believers alike have wondered at the seemingly incompleteness of these thirteen articles. So much is not mentioned nor accounted for. I felt it was time to write additions to the list. I ended up with 13 more, but could have easily gone another four or five. These seemed the most important additions. I did not try to cover everything.

Of course, in so doing this, I could be accused of being prideful, declaring myself a writer of doctrine. I make no pretenses that this is the authoritative Word of God. This is just how I see it. Also, please note that I write them as the church currently believes, not how some may wish they would believe. And now, the next Thirteen Articles of Faith:

  1. We believe in the agency of mankind. Said agency is not free, but is a gift, given by a loving Heavenly Father to his children and made meaningful by the atonement of His Only Begotten Son. We are not free from the consequences of our actions.
  2. We believe that the temple is the house of God, and that attending the temple, partaking of the ordinances therein and living up to the obligations accompanying said ordinances is critical to the exaltation and eternal progress of the human family. Living a life that is worthy of temple attendance is equally important, and is a part of enduring to the end. Obeying the Word of Wisdom, remaining chaste in thought and deed, paying a full tithing and other spiritual markers are the current standard by which one should live to be worthy for the temple blessings.
  3. We believe in the importance of families. Fathers and mothers are to be sealed to each other in the temple for time and all eternity and are to head their families in righteousness, guiding their families and strengthening their children to preserve them against the buffetings of Satan and of the World.
  4. We believe in a merciful and just god, that will judge his children by their hearts in perfect fairness. We believe that through the mercy of our God, all save those who commit the unpardonable sin and deny the Holy Ghost will be saved with some degree of glory.
  5. We believe that sacrifice is a necessary part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Although in ancient times, the sacrifice of animals was necessary, the atonement did away with such. We are required to sacrifice the only thing that is uniquely ours to give, our will. Without personal sacrifice, there will not be sufficient faith unto salvation.
  6. We believe in science and the scientific method, insomuch as science conforms to the revealed gospel truths. All truth, whether scientific or revealed by God, serves to confirm the existence of the Almighty.
  7. We claim that some history and historical facts are of less value than others. That which is faith-building in nature is to be cherished. That which is not faith-promoting need not be ignored, but should be remembered in the context of the time it happened. A testimony should not be based on historical fact.
  8. We believe that when the prophet has spoken, the thinking has only just begun. Because agency and personal revelation are equally as important as having living prophets, it is imperative that every member receive spiritual confirmation on questions and important matters. Personal revelation should be the foundation of the testimony of every baptized member.
  9. We believe that this life is meant as a trial and a hardship. Nonetheless, we believe men are that they might have joy, both in this life and in the eternities. We believe that even extreme hardships can be blessings counted upon our heads, for both this life and in the next.
  10. We believe that commandments are given for the benefit of mankind. Not all commandments will make immediate sense, and are meant to challenge the humble follower. Some commandments will later be rescinded. In all changes, it is well, because the Lord has a prophet leading His church.
  11. We believe that the prophets and other leaders are called of God. We understand that they are human and subject to human frailties and imperfections. Nevertheless, they were called for the Saints, to lead and sometimes try them. It is the prophet who has been given the keys to the kingdom and all the keys of the priesthood, but even he is imperfect and in need of the Son’s atonement.
  12. We believe in being charitable to our neighbors. It does not matter if our neighbors are members of the Church or not. Because we have been given much, we too must give. Being charitable can mean imparting of our substance. It can also mean not judging others who have different views, standards or traditions than our own. It often can mean sharing the gospel or a testimony with those who may stand in need. We believe that when we are in the service of our fellow man, we are only in the service of our God
  13. We believe we are children of a loving God, and have the seeds of godhood within us. Through following the ordinances and principles of the gospel, we can draw nearer to our Father and become more like him. We further believe that our Father in Heaven is not single, but have little revealed about the nature of Heavenly Mother. Nonetheless, we can deduce that She is very kind, loving and forgiving. We strive to be like both of Them.

6 comments:

Floyd the Wonderdog said...

We believe that Jello is a staff of life, with or without carrot shavings.

Bored in Vernal said...

You did a good job on expanding the Articles of Faith. I would change the wording on # 8 to:
We believe that when the prophet has spoken, the thinking has only begun. Because agency and personal revelation are equally as important as having living prophets, it is imperative that every member receive spiritual confirmation on questions and important matters. Personal revelation should be the foundation of the testimony of every baptized member.

mathoni said...

I debated how to phrase this, and hoped for some comments. We have been told the thinking has been done, but that doesn't completely match what has been said in other contexts. I think I will change the wording, based on your feedback. Thanks.

darth_ender said...

I honestly began reading this with the expectation of your typical farce on the social foibles of the Church; something like Floyd posted (which is pretty funny and true). However, I must say, this really is a simply put, but very deep posting. All I can really say is I like it a lot.

Mary A said...

I like this, too. Thanks for sharing.

Debbie said...

I really like this too. The gospel is so important and all that it encompasses!