This piece is the third in a series on the thirteen Articles of Faith. In the early days of The Church a newspaper editor named John Wentworth wrote to the Prophet Joseph Smith asking about Mormon beliefs. Joseph responded with a list of thirteen fundamental doctrines which we call The Articles of Faith. During this series we will explore each Article of Faith as well as its significance and application in the lives of church members.
Article of Faith #3: We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
This article of faith has two sides. On one hand it promises that because of Christ’s Atonement, each of us has the potential for Eternal Life. However, it also tells us the conditions that we must meet before that happens – obedience. Many times when we hear the word obedience, we think of limited freedom. When we speak of obedience in The Church, though, we speak of freedom.
In 2nd Nephi 2:27 we learn that we are “free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.”
In order to choose the freedom of Christ, we must obey his teachings. Otherwise, we are subject to the captivity and misery of the devil.
Words of the Prophet
In a 2015 General Conference address President Monson tells us that Heavenly Father’s commandments come from love and that through following them we prosper. He said:
“Our Heavenly Father loves us enough to say: Thou shalt not lie; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself; and so on.2 We know the commandments. He understands that when we keep the commandments, our lives will be happier, more fulfilling, and less complicated. Our challenges and problems will be easier to bear, and we will receive His promised blessings. But while He gives us laws and commandments, He also allows us to choose whether to accept them or to reject them. Our decisions in this regard will determine our destiny.”
I am confident that each of us has as his ultimate goal life everlasting in the presence of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. It is imperative, therefore, for us to make choices throughout our lives that will lead us to this great goal. “
Not Holding You Back, Helping You Fly
When I was in Young Women’s, a leader taught obedience by comparing commandments to the string of a kite. Sometimes we think of a kite’s string as holding it back. But in reality, the kite would not be able to fly without the string keeping it grounded. If you cut the string, the wind carries the kite away and it crashes.
The same thing happens when we decide to disobey commandments. For a moment we feel free, blowing wherever the wind takes us, but without the commandments there to hold us steady against the whims of the world, we too will crash.
Thankfully, we are given every opportunity to repent and choose the freedom that comes with obeying the commandments of God. Because of the Atonement, each one of us has potential for Eternal Salvation because it allows us to repent and come back to the Gospel.
Test your Article of Faith knowledge with this Mormon Hub Quiz and tell us your thoughts in the comments below.