On April 6, 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized in upstate New York outside the town of Palmyra. From that time down to the current time period many misconceptions, myths, and stories have been passed along about the Church, as I am sure most churches face. As a young child I was once asked if I had horns by a friend who I had informed of my membership in the Church. A more common reaction is the rearranging of the doctrines that we believe in.

In 1842, John Wentworth, editor of the Chicago Democrat, wrote to Joseph Smith requesting a history and information regarding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In response Joseph Smith wrote a letter in which he gave a brief history of the Church’s beginnings in these the latter days. In that letter Joseph also included a summary of the 13 basic beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This summary has come to be known as the Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These 13 articles declare to the world what the Church truly believes and are as follows:

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 paradisiacal 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, letting 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.

In hopes to clear up any wrong ideas or misconceptions about the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I reiterate the 13 tenets of our faith. And as a side note, if Latter-day Saints grow horns I have yet to grow them and I have been a member of the church for 23 years!

Stephen S. Houser is president of the Sharon branch of the Youngstown Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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