The Articles of Faith are the most well known mormon creed and have been memorized by children within the movement for more than 100 years. Written by Joseph Smith, the movements founder, these 13 statements are a short summary of the beliefs of the movement that he first published in 1842. They are still available in their original form on the church’s official site for its members.
The LDS church however has two sites: one for members, and another for potential converts or recruits. Around November of 2017, the church quietly published an updated summary of the articles of Faith on their proselytizing homepage Mormon.org.
Let’s see how the two lists compare.
The Original (official) Articles of Faith
- We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
- We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
- We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
- 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.
- 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.
- We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
- We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
- We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
- 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.
The New (summarized) Articles of Faith
- We believe in God the Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost.
- That men will be punished only for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression.
- That through Christ’s Atonement, we can be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.
- That faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion, confirmation, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost are all necessary for salvation.
- That leaders and teachers in the Church must be chosen and ordained by priesthood power.
- That Christ’s Church today is organized as it was when He first established it.
- In modern-day revelation and priesthood healing and blessing.
- That the Bible and Book of Mormon are both divinely revealed scripture.
- That God has communicated with and will continue to communicate with humankind.
- In the literal gathering of Israel and the restoration of the ten tribes, and that Zion will be built on the American continent when Christ reigns on the earth.
- In worshipping God according to our own dictates and allowing others to do likewise.
- In sustaining the laws and leaders of the land.
- In being “honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men.”
So what got left out? Quite a lot actually. The summary does effectively cut down the content by almost 50% going from 411 to 210 words. But the meaning of the content is also altered in some cases.
Some notable changes:
6. Pastors and Evangelists – both titles no longer used in the mormon hierarchy – are removed.
7. The gift of tongues, prophecy, visions, interpretation of tongues – all no longer commonplace within Mormonism or western society in general – were removed.
8. The concept that the Bible is only true when it is “translated correctly” is removed.
9. The concept that God will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God is removed.
It appears that parts that might be problematic for potential converts/recruits to the faith were systematically removed. These new articles of faith do not appear on LDS.org or other official LDS sites at this time.