“We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. (Articles of Faith 1:1)
The first Article of Faith is the first of the thirteen Articles of Faith penned by Joseph Smith Jr. as a way to explain the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joseph Smith wrote these thirteen statements of faith in a letter to a newspaper editor named Mr. Wentworth, who had inquired about the beliefs of the church. These Articles of Faith were later adopted as scripture in the book known as the Pearl of Great Price. Latter-day Saints still use these statements today to help clarify and share their faith.
Latter-day Saints believe in the Godhead — a group of three beings who together are the ultimate power in the universe — as opposed to the Trinity, which is one God who appears in three different forms. Perhaps Joseph Smith chose this subject for the first article because understanding the nature of God the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost is so integral to understanding the rest of God’s words.
The Eternal Father
The First Article of Faith speaks of our most fundamental belief in God, the Eternal Father. As Latter-day Saints, we receive God not only as the ruler of the universe, but also our personal and eternal Father. We call Him Father, because He is the father of our spirits and provided a way that we can obtain physical bodies to join with those spirits.
In this way, we become as He is: a being of spirit and physical body combined. He is eternal because he is “without beginning of days or end of years” (Moses 1:3). We believe that our Heavenly Father loves us as His children and wants us to be happy and have the opportunity to return to His presence when our mortal lives are through.
To this end, He instituted what is known as the Plan of Salvation, which is the plan that brings to pass “the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses: 1:39). A crucial role in this plan is played by His beloved Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
His Son, Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is often referred to as the “only begotten” of the Father. This means that Heavenly Father is not only the father of Jesus’ spiritual body, but also the father of His physical body. From Jesus’ words to His disciples, “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). He and His Father are very much alike in appearance.
They are also one in purpose and together strive toward the salvation of mankind. Not only was Christ the central figure in the formation of the earth as the “word of God” (see John 1), but He was the central figure in atoning for the sins of the world. He suffered for our sins, was crucified, and rose again on the third day to posses an immortal, spiritual body joined with His physical body, much like His Father.
The Holy Ghost
The third member of the godhead is called the Holy Ghost or the Holy Spirit. In the Doctrine and Covenants we read, “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22). Because the Father and the Son have physical bodies, They can only be in one place at a time, but Their influence can be spread all over creation through the power of the Holy Ghost. Though we cannot see the Father and the Son, we can feel Their love and hear Their guidance through the Holy Ghost, who speaks in the still small voice to our minds and hearts.
More about “The First Article Of Faith”
“The Godhead” was written by Michael D. Young. The subject “The Godhead” is important to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you would like to know more about Mormons with no obligation, please click on the following links: