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.
Article of Faith 6:
We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
Not only were the leaders of the original Church of Jesus Christ inspired, but the organization of that Church was made by Him. Christ invites people to serve in His Church to build up His kingdom, and it gives them opportunities to learn and grow as well.
The late Apostle James E. Faust taught:
We now have in the restored Church apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists, as spoken of by Paul to the Ephesians. These priesthood offices were established by the Savior when He organized His Church in the meridian of time. We recognize the two orders of the priesthood and the offices contained within them: the lesser priesthood is the Aaronic Priesthood, named after Aaron; and the greater priesthood is the Melchizedek Priesthood, named after Melchizedek, to whom Abraham paid tithes. The Aaronic Priesthood was restored on May 15, 1829, under the hands of John the Baptist, and the Melchizedek Priesthood within a month under the hands of the ancient Apostles Peter, James, and John to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. Thus those possessing the priesthood today claim the power to act in the name of God through the priesthood, “which power commands respect both on earth and in heaven.”
In the Kirtland Temple on April 3, 1836, Moses appeared and gave the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery the keys of the gathering of Israel. After this, Elias appeared and committed the gospel of Abraham, that in “our seed all generations after us should be blessed.” After this, Elijah the prophet appeared and gave to them the keys of this dispensation, including the sealing power, to bind in heaven that which is bound on earth within the temples. Thus, prophets of previous gospel dispensations presented their keys to the Prophet Joseph Smith in this, the “dispensation of the fulness of times” spoken of by the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians.
(The Restoration of All Things, April 2006)
Everything that the original Christian Church contained was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith, including the structure of leadership which Jesus Christ instituted among them. The successors of Joseph Smith hold the same authority he received from Heavenly messengers. I thank the Lord that we today are blessed with a knowledge of all things which Christ saw fit to organize in ancient times.