We have a creed, or rather a statement of our beliefs called The Articles of Faith.
In 1836, Joseph Smith was asked by a newspaper editor, John Wentworth, for information about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joseph proceeded to write about the history of the church up until that point, including the printing of the Book of Mormon, the organization of the church and the persecutions the Saints had faced as they attempted to practice their faith. At the conclusion, Joseph Smith wrote what is now called the Articles of Faith. This letter became known as the Wentworth Letter.
In an article in the New Era, President Spencer W. Kimball told a beautiful story about a young Primary (aged 3 to 11) boy traveling alone on a train and his subsequent conversation with a gentleman curious about the well-dressed, well-behaved young man. When asked where he was from, the boy replied, “Salt Lake City.”
“Oh, then you must be Mormon.”
Upon being questioned further, the young man began to recite the Articles of Faith:
1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
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.
5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisaical glory.
11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
Each of these statements is simple, yet powerful. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. We believe that Jesus Christ was not praying to Himself in Gethsemane (Matthew 26: 36-39). We believe that the Jesus Christ described in Acts, with a tangible body who ascended to heaven with that tangible body, to be the Jesus Christ we worship. It is the Jesus Christ of the New Testament.
When Jesus was being baptized, from the heavens it was whispered, “Behold, this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Yes, we believe in God the Eternal Father, in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost, spoken of in John. How could we not?
We believe that the Godhead is three distinct beings with specific, complementary, missions. And They work together in a beautiful example of the kind of teamwork that we mortals can only imagine.