Articles of Faith/Differing versions/Text of various versions/1855-57(John Taylor)

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Articles of Faith: 1855-57(John Taylor)

Source: "A Short Account of the Faith and Doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," The Mormon [edited by John Taylor from February 17, 1855 to September 19, 1857]; reprinted Deseret News 13. 51 (September 14, 1864): 395.

We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost, who bears record of them forever.

We believe that all mankind, through the transgression of our first parents, were brought under the curse and penalty of transgression, but that through the sufferings, , death and atonement of Jesus Christ, all are to be redeemed from any effects of original transgression; that as they were placed under a penalty without any act of their own, so they were delivered from it precisely on the same terms. ‘For as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so, by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto the justification of life’ [Romans 5. 18]

We believe that little children are innocent, and not under transgression; that they are incapable of obeying any law, not believing good or evil; and Jesus says, ‘Of such are the kingdom of heaven; but they, when they arrive at years of maturity, and know good from evil, and are capable of obeying or disobeying a law; if they then transgress, they will be condemned for breaking a known law.

We believe that no man will be condemned for not obeying a law that he does not know; and that consequently millions of the human family who have never had the gospel are better off than those who have had that privilege, and disobeyed it. That mankind will be judged according to what they have, and not according to that they have not done ‘according to the deeds done in the body.’

We believe that faith in God, and in the sufferings, death and atonement of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and in his resurrection and ascension on high, and in the Holy Ghost, which is given to all who obey the gospel, and is one of the first conditions.

That the next is to repent of—to confess, and to turn away from their sins, and make restitution to all whom they have injured, as far as it is in their power.

'That the third is to be baptized by immersion in water, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, ‘for remission of sins.’ And that this ordinance must be performed by one having authority, or otherwise it is of no avail.

'The fourth is, to receive the laying on of hands, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the gift of the Holy Ghost. And this ordinance must also be administered by the Apostles, or Elders, whom the Lord Jesus has called to lay on hands, nor then it is it of any advantage except to those persons who have complied with the afore-named three conditions.

'We believe that the Holy Ghost is the same now, as it was in the apostolic days formerly, and that when a church is organized, it is their privilege to have all the gifts, powers and blessings which flow from the Holy Spirit.

‘Such, for instance, as the gifts of revelation, prophecy, visions, the ministry of angels, healing the sick by the laying on of hands in the name of Jesus, the working of miracles, and, in short, all the gifts as mentioned in Scripture, or as enjoyed by the ancient saints.’

We believe that baptized apostles and prophets, together with all the officers as mentioned in the New Testament, are necessary to be in the Church in these days.

‘We believe that there has been a general and awful apostasy from the religion of the New Testament, so that all the known world have been left for centuries without the Church of Christ among them; without a priesthood authorized of God to administer ordinances; that every one of the churches have perverted the gospel; some in one way and some in another. For instance, almost every church has done away’ immersion for remission of sins.’ Those few who have practiced it for remission of sins, have done away the ordinance of the laying on of hands’ upon baptized believers for the gift of the Holy Ghost. Again, the few who have practiced the last ordinance have perverted the first, or have done away the ancient gifts, powers and blessings which flow form the Holy Spirit, or have said to inspired apostles and prophets, we have no need of you in the body in these days. Those few, again, who have believed in and contended for the miraculous gifts and powers of the Holy Spirit, have perverted the ordinance or done them away. Thus, all the churches preach false doctrines and pervert the gospel, and instead of having authority from God to administer its ordinances, they are under the curse of God for perverting it. Paul says, Gal 1. 8, ‘Though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.’

‘We believe that there are a few sincere, honest and humble persons who are striving to do according to the best of their understanding; but, in many respects, they err in doctrine because of false teachers and the precepts of men, and that they will receive the fulness of the gospel with gladness as soon as they hear it.’

'We believe in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and in living and continued revelation, but we also believe that no new revelation will contradict the old.

‘The gospel in the ‘Book of Mormon’ is the same as that in the New Testament, and is revealed in great plainness, as that no one that reads it can misunderstand its principles. It has been revealed by the angel to be preached as a witness to all nations, first in to the Gentiles, and then to the Jews, then cometh the downfall of Babylon. Thus fulfilling the vision of John, which he beheld on the Isle of Patmos, Rev. 14. 6, 7, 8, ‘And I saw’, says John, ‘another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying, with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come; and worship him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’

‘Many revelations and prophecies have been given to this church since its rise, which have been printed and sent forth to the world. These also contain the gospel in great plainness, and instruction of infinite importance to the Saints. They also unfold the great events that await this generation; the terrible judgments to be poured forth upon the wicked, and the blessings and glories to be given to the righteous. We believe that God will continue to give revelations by visions, by the ministry of angels, and by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, until the saints are guided into all truth.’

‘We believe that whatever the people enjoy the religion of the New Testament, there they enjoy visions, revelations, the ministry of angels, etc. And that wherever these blessings cease to be enjoyed, there they also cease to enjoy the religion of the New Testament.

‘We believe that God has raised up this church, in order to prepare a people for his second coming in the clouds of heaven, in power, and great glory, and that then the Saints who are asleep in their graves will be raised, and reign with him on earth a thousand years.’

We believe that great judgments await the nations of the earth, on account of their wickedness, and that when the gospel shall have been sufficiently proclaimed, if they reject it, they will be overthrown and destroyed; that plagues, pestilence and famine will be multiplied upon them; that thrones will be cast down, empires overthrown, and nations destroyed; that when the Spirit of God ceases to restrain the people, the world will be full of blood, carnage and desolation; that peace will be taken from the earth, and from among all people, religions and irreligions. ‘It shall be as with the people, so with the priest,’ etc. Isa.

We believe that the Lord will gather his people from among all nations, unto a land of peace, ‘and give them pastors after his own heart, who shall feed them with knowledge and understanding,’ and they shall be the only people upon the earth that shall not be at war with one another.’

‘We believe that the ten tribes of Israel, with the dispersed of Judah, shall soon be restored to their own lands, according to the covenants which God made with their ancient fathers, and that when this great work of restitution shall take place, the power of God shall be made manifest in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds far exceeding anything that took place in their exodus from Egypt. Jerusalem will be rebuilt, together with a glorious temple, and the Lord shall visit them also, as well as his Saints in Zion. In that day, the name of the Lord shall become great unto the ends of the earth, and all nations shall serve and obey him, for the wicked shall have perished out of the earth.’

We believe in all principles of truth that have been revealed; in all that is now being revealed, and are prepared to receive all that God will reveal.

We believe that the gospel now being preached by the Latter-day Saints is to call the honest in heart out of Babylon, ‘that they partake not of her sins, nor receive of her plagues.’

We believe in morality, chastity, purity, virtue and honesty; and wish to promote the happiness of our fellow men.