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.
We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
A sign of a living Church is that gifts of the Spirit are present therein. The Lord gives these gifts to build up those who have faith, and they are generally not used simply to persuade others that God exists, but to bless those who already believe. In the words of Mark, “…these signs shall follow them that believe…” (Mark 16:17-18)
Let us explore a few ways in which the spiritual gifts mentioned in the seventh Article of Faith are present in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today.
Tongues and Interpretation of Tongues
Although the gift of tongues is sometimes defined as speaking in some unknown language, it is much more commonly used for purposes of meaningful communication. Missionaries of the Church are called to serve in many countries around the world. They teach and preach in the language of the people where they serve. The Church’s Missionary Training Center provides intensive training in many of these languages, and the acquisition of language is based as much on spiritual principles as on linguistic study. In a matter of only a few months, thousands of missionaries each year learn to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a new language. This is the gift of tongues in action.
Prophecy, Revelation, and Visions
Since before the Church was organized, the roots of Mormonism have been in revelation. God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in the Spring of 1820. With this visitation, a new era of revelation from God to man was initiated. God speaks to modern prophets, such as Thomas S. Monson, the current President of the Church. As a prophet, he exercises the gift of prophecy as he instructs the members of the Church around the world. However, the Lord also speaks to individuals who seek guidance from Him. Personal revelation is an important principle of the Church of Jesus Christ. The Church is led by revelation.
The power to heal the sick is the same power by which the Lord runs the Church. It is the priesthood, or the authority to officiate in the name of God. He authorizes worthy men to exercise this power to bless others. the Church, the sick are anointed with oil set apart for that purpose, and then men who hold the priesthood authority give a blessing as the Spirit directs. I have personally seen the effects of these healing blessings, and I have been healed.
A true and living Church must contain gifts of the Spirit. They are not given for the purpose of showing off or proving a point, but they are fruits of belief in the Living Christ. I testify that these gifts are in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today as they were in the ancient Church of Christ.