On this day, nearly 178 years ago, the Prophet Joseph Smith composed a letter to John Wentworth, two-term mayor of Chicago, six-term member of the United States House of Representatives, and the editor of the Chicago Democrat newspaper. John had sent Joseph an inquiry regarding what Latter-day Saints believed and how they lived their faith. This "Wentworth Letter" would eventually become the Articles of Faith as we know them today. The significance of this letter was for several reasons.
Firstly, it showed a connection to what Latter-day Saints believed and the Restoration and the essential nature of the First Vision.
Secondly, it contains the Standard of Truth, a mission statement for missions. It states,
“Our missionaries are going forth to different nations… 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)
And finally, the letter ends with the statements that later became known as the Articles of Faith. B.H. Roberts, Latter-day Saint historian and member of the Quorum of the Seventy said,
“These Articles of Faith were not produced by the labored efforts and harmonized contentions of scholastics, but were struck off by one inspired 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 the truth. The combined directness, perspicuity, simplicity and comprehensiveness of this statement of the principles of our religion may be relied upon as strong evidence of a divine inspiration resting upon the Prophet, Joseph Smith.” (B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol.2, Ch.47, p.131)
Reminding ourselves often of our Articles of Faith helps us stay close to our loving Father in Heaven, and reminds us of the importance of standing by our faith. We have a variety of different Articles of Faith gifts on LDS Bookstore to help you incorporate these beautiful words into your life and encourage others.
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