The Articles of Faith are thirteen statements of basic belief for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (referred to as the Mormons). They were written as a part of a document called the Wentworth Letter, which Joseph Smith wrote in 1842 to John Wentworth of the Chicago Democrat. Later, these brief statements were set to music by American composer Vanja Watkins. In this series, we will examine the truths presented in the Articles of Faith.

Jesus Christ MormonArticle of Faith 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.

(Articles of Faith)

We know from the Third Article of Faith that we are saved through the Atonement of Christ by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. In the Fourth Article of Faith, we learn the first and most basic principles and ordinances which we must obey in order to begin our spiritual journey. These principles are also completely relevant to our needs today.

The Apostle Russell M. Nelson said of faith and repentance:

The proper exercise of moral agency requires faith. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel. Because of Him, you have your agency. He must be the very foundation of your faith, and the testing of that faith is a fundamental reason for your freedom to choose.

You are free to develop and exercise faith in God and in His divine Son, faith in His word, faith in His Church, faith in His servants, and faith in His commandments. . .

Cultivation of that faith will entitle you to the companionship of the Holy Ghost, who will help you make wise decisions.

Many may profess a measure of faith in God, but without sincere repentance, faith cannot be fully operative. . .

Faith, repentance, and obedience will qualify you for sublime gifts of justice and mercy, which are bestowed upon those worthy of the blessings of the Atonement.

Yes, every test, every trial, every challenge and hardship you endure is an opportunity to further develop your faith.

(Choices, October 1990)

Of the ordinances of baptism and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, the late Apostle Bruce R. McConkie said:

A gracious and loving Father has ordained the laws, by obedience to which we may learn his ways and know his will.

Those who believe in Christ as he is revealed by the apostles and prophets of their day, those who forsake the world and repent of all their sins, those who covenant with the Lord in the waters of baptism to love and serve him all their days—these are the ones who receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

This gift is the right to the constant companionship of that member of the Godhead, based on faithfulness. This gift is the right to receive revelation from the Holy Spirit. “No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations,” the Prophet said, for “the Holy Ghost is a revelator.”

Revelations come in many ways, but they are always manifest by the power of the Holy Ghost.

(Thou Shalt Receive Revelation, October 1978)

Indeed, the Lord wants to speak with us. He does so through the Holy Ghost. By gaining faith, repenting of our sins, and being baptised by proper authority, we may receive all that He wants to teach us. This is a precious truth of the restored Gospel.

MP3 Recording of The Fourth Article of Faith children’s song

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