Hello March! The weather is starting to warm up (thank GOODNESS!!) and the sun is shining and life is beautiful but I can’t enjoy it because I’m stuck indoors all day due to my day job (what a bummer). Luckily, even though I can’t always enjoy the nicer weather I can be warmed up by thoughts about happy things–like the fact that I have the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. And on that note, this month we will talk about the fourth Article of faith which states:
“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.”
The fourth Article of Faith is approximately the same length as the others, but is jam packed full of doctrine. The Articles of Faith are, in and of themselves, a basic learning tool for the gospel, but AoF #4 goes even more in depth.
First, it teaches that we have to have faith in Christ. That is the most basic, fundamental truth in our church. Without faith, you can’t build on other things like baptism and endowment because you won’t understand them. Faith helps us to know that, ironically, we can’t know everything but must rely on faith when our learning fails us. It might be hard for you to step out into the dark like that, but the great thing is that Jesus Christ is the light at the end of the tunnel and will be there on the other side to help you through your confusion.
Second, the importance of repentence. Repentence allows us to turn away from sins and towards Heavenly Father. But repentence isn’t easy. It’s incredibly difficult. You can break down repentence like this: 1. Recognize you’ve sinned. 2. Feel remorse. 3. Confess to God (and your bishop if the sin is extreme). 4. Make restitution (amends). 5. Forsake the sin. That’s a lot of steps, and sometimes the hardest ones can be confessing your sin to another person and stopping yourself from doing the sin if, say, it’s an addiction. But hard work and the help of others to remind you of your goal to overcome are the best tips I can give to help you in your quest for repentence.
Third, baptism by emersion for the remission of sins. Heaven is set up in a very organized way. Heavenly Father has set up little check-points for us on earth to help us be ready for when the time comes to join him in heaven. The first check-point is baptism. When you’re 8 years old, or worthy, you can be baptized by appropriate priesthood holders and start your journey in the process of making covenants. The action of baptism is a metaphor for cleansing the body from sin and being birthed a new person, fresh and clean. In the same way, the sacrament is meant to be a metaphor of cleansing so that you don’t ahve to be baptized every week!
Fourth, the laying on of hands to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Heavenly Father takes covenants very seriously. Breaking a covenant is no small thing. So to help us stand tall and firm in our beliefs he gives us the Holy Ghost as a help and guide through life. He will give you promptings to keep you clean and to keep your covenants, which begin with baptism (which is why baptism comes first, and the Holy Ghost comes after. We don’t need him as much before we’ve made the covenant)
Like I said before, there is a lot of heavy doctrine in this Article of Faith. If you ever want to know more, or take issue with something I’ve said (which is possible, because sometimes I’m terrible at explaining things) feel free to check out lds.org for more information!
See you next month!