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. (Articles of Faith 1:4)
The fourth article of faith is one 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.
These are called the first principles and ordinances of the gospel because they are the things that are required to start us on the path that leads back to our Father in Heaven.
First, you must have faith, specifically in the Lord Jesus Christ. This faith is the foundation for all the things that will come after. If you truly believe that Jesus has power to do what He says He can do, then that will shape the actions of your life.
One of the actions that faith will lead to is the second principle – repentance. We will only repent if we truly have faith that Jesus Christ can take away our sins. He has made this opportunity open for all of us, but we must undergo the steps of repentance. In order to repent, we need to confess and forsake our sins. We confess our sins to those we have wronged and to our Heavenly Father and promise to leave our sins behind and never take them up again. Only this kind of attitude will allow us to gain forgiveness.
Baptism By Immersion for the Remission of Sins
The first two steps lead logically to the third step – baptism for the remission of sins. Baptism must be performed by someone who has been given the authority from God to do so. When Latter-day Saints are baptized, they wear all white to signify purity and then are immersed completely in the water and brought back up again. This signifies burial and rebirth as a new kind of spiritual person. When we are baptized, we make a promise to our Heavenly Father that we will follow His Commandments and become His representatives here on earth.
Laying on of Hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost
The fourth step involves the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. The laying on of hands involves having someone with authority lay their hands on your head and pronounce a special blessing that allows you the right to the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Even before receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, you can, from time to time, feel the influence of the Holy Ghost to comfort you, to guide you, and to warn you of danger. Once you have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, you are entitled to have the influence of the Holy Ghost with you always, as long as you remain worthy.
The gift of the Holy Ghost is sometimes called baptism by fire because of the burning feeling that may be experienced when under the influence of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is like a fire that burns away impurities, only leaving the best and the brightest material behind.
Once you have taken these four steps, you are outfitted to live your life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon speaks about what must be done after you have entered into this path:
Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. (2 Nephi 31:20)
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“Gospel of Jesus Christ” was written by Michael D. Young. The subject “Gospel of Jesus Christ” 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: