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Articles of Faith summarize LDS beliefs

The Articles of Faith, printed at the end of The Pearl of Great Price, were written by the Prophet Joseph Smith in response to a request from John Wentworth, editor of the newspaper Chicago Democrat. Joseph Smith's "Wentworth Letter" included a brief history of the Church and concluded with The Articles of Faith.

Joseph Smith wrote: "Mr. Wentworth says that he wishes to furnish Mr. Bastow, a friend of his, who is writing the history of New Hampshire, with this document. As Mr. Bastow has taken the proper steps to obtain correct information, all that I shall ask at his hands, is, that he publish the account entire, ungarnished, and without misrepresentation." (History of the Church 4:535-536.)Toward the end of the "Wentworth Letter," Joseph Smith wrote: "Our missionaries are going forth to different nations, and in Germany, Palestine, New Holland, Australia, the East Indies, and other places, the Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done." (History of the Church 4:540.)

Then, without further introduction, the Prophet listed what have become known as The Articles of Faith, followed by his signature.

B.H. Roberts wrote in A Comprehensive History of the Church (2:131): "Millions of these `Articles of Faith' have been published; they have been translated into many languages and carried to all the nations of the earth and tribes of men where the New Dispensation of the gospel has been preached. They were not produced by the labored efforts and the harmonized contentions of scholastics, but were struck off by one mind at a single effort to make a declaration of that which is most assuredly believed by the church, for one making earnest inquiry about her history and her fundamental doctrines."

In his April 1992, conference address, Elder Joseph B. Withlin of the Council of the Twelve said, "The fact that one heaven-inspired person rather than a council of scholars produced this remarkable document is another evidence of Joseph Smith's divine calling."

In his book The Articles of Faith (page 6), James E. Talmage wrote: "From the time of their first promulgation, the Articles of Faith have been accepted by the people as an authoritative exposition; and on October 6, 1890, the Latter-day Saints, in general conference assembled, readopted the Articles as a guide in faith and conduct. As these Articles of Faith present important doctrines of the Church in systematic order, they suggest themselves as a convenient outline for a study of the Theology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

In the appendix to The Articles of Faith, Elder Talmage stated that the Articles of Faith date from March 1, 1841. They were first published in the Millennial Star, and the Times and Seasons.

Elder Heber J. Grant noted the importance of the Articles of Faith: "When preaching to those not of our faith, in different parts of the world, I read, whenever I have the opportunity, the articles promulgated by Joseph Smith known as `The Articles of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.' I rejoice in reading them and in testifying to those who know not the truth that in very deed those articles have been vindicated; that we believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ. (Gospel Standards, p. 3.)"

Elder Hugh B. Brown said: "The thirteen Articles of Faith, published by the Church in 1842, are roughly the equivalent of creeds in other religious organizations. Therein is set forth a concise and authoritative statement of the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. . . . It is worthy of note and doubtless surprising to some that everything we teach or practice is based upon and is in strict harmony with the King James Version of the Holy Bible which we accept as the word of God." (Improvement Era, June 1957.)

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