These things I do believe, a living document.
I believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost; as separate and distinct individuals; unified in thought and purpose. They created this earth, and the heavens, and placed me here to grow and develop according to my own will and desires. They love me and wish me to succeed and return to them.
I believe that I will be punished for my own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression. In this I recognize Adam and Eve’s sacrifice on my behalf. God, being God, can’t create anything which is not eternal. Adam and Eve were placed in the garden as eternal beings. Their mission, to be the parents of mortal man, was therefore impossible. In order to bring about man’s mortality, God gave conflicting commandments to my first parents and taught them truths which allowed them to make the correct choice and bring about mortality. (I don’t know the details on how this conversion to mortality was accomplished.) They were successful in choosing the correct path. Through the atonement of Christ, they have been sanctified and welcomed back into the presence of God, our Father. Through the atonement of Christ, I too can return to live with God the Father. This was the plan from the beginning.
I believe that through the Atonement of Christ, I may be saved from spiritual death, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. These laws include justice, mercy and grace.
I believe in the first four principles and ordinances of the Gospel. Faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. These, along with the sacrament, and temple covenants, including eternal marriage, allow me to receive the necessary blessings and growth to become God’s son and participate with him in his work throughout the eternities.
I believe that, as a worthy holder of the Melchizedek priesthood, I have been called of God, by prophecy, and the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and to administer in the ordinances thereof. I believe that (along with all others similarly ordained) I was preordained to receive the priesthood in this life. In a similar fashion, through temple worship, I have been pre-anointed to obtain blessings in the next. The realization of these blessings has been, and will be, predicated on my faithfulness and desires.
I believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is literally His church; restored. It is the same organization that existed in the times of the ancient apostles and has been expanded to accommodate the larger membership; namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth. The right to represent Christ in the administration of his church comes today, as it did anciently, through priesthood keys which are conferred by the laying on of hands by those in authority. This authority was restored to this day and age by angelic visitation.
I believe in the gifts of the spirit including prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, etc., as described in the scriptures of old. I have been personally blessed with many of these including faith, healing, being healed, dreams, the gift of tongues, and on one occasion a personal vision. These have not come as great revelatory occurrences accompanied by timpani and fanfare. Rather as gentle and tender mercies to assist me during quite moments of reflection, desire and need. Of these wonderful gifts, the greatest has been the daily companionship of the Holy Ghost.
I believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it has been translated correctly and preserved to this day. There are parts though, which seem to have benefited from some literary license. One such passage is the conversation between God and Satan in the Book of Job. I just can’t imagine God participating in this conversation. I could be wrong. Nevertheless, I solidly affirm that the gospel as preserved in the Bible is of divine origin. My favorite books are Isaiah, The Gospel of John, the letters of the New Testament and the Book of Revelations. All of these ancient records testify strongly of Christ and the restoration of his church in these last days. I also believe the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, the Declaration on the Family, and other divine translations and utterances from modern prophets to be the word of God. I have received a personal manifestation, by way of the Holy Ghost, of the truthfulness and wisdom of many passages in all of these volumes of scripture.
I believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. I further believe that He has and will yet reveal a great many items of personal instructions and truths to me in accordance with my needs, desires and even my simple curiosity. I love him for that. One particularly warm and personal revelation was that he has a sense of humor, that He loves me, and that he considers me a friend.
I 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. This gathering of Israel is in part being completed today through the missionary efforts of the restored Church of Jesus Christ. I believe that gentiles who enter into the Abrahamic Covenant through baptism into the Restored Church of Jesus Christ become literal descendants of Abraham, and full participants in his covenant with God. This was taught by the apostle Paul in his letters concerning his ministry to the Gentiles. It was Joseph Smith’s calling to restore this covenant in these last days. I believe this is the proper interpretation of, “The last shall be first and the first shall be last.” Temples and temple worship are a major part of this covenant. (As a side note, I find it interesting that; “The law will go forth from Zion and the word from Jerusalem.” This indicates to me that there will continue to be a separation of church and state during Christ’s millennial reign.)
I claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of my own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. I believe in defending this privilege.
I believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. I believe the purpose of mortal governments should be the preservation of inalienable rights; that among these rights are those listed in the Declaration of Independence including life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. Additionally, I would add as a primary right, the preservation of moral agency. Beyond this, I find the purpose of government is to provide for the safety of the people and to partner with the people’s own efforts in providing for their general welfare. The right to govern should be seen as a privilege to serve rather than a right to rule. In this regard, I strongly believe that the right of governance should be derived from the consent of the people. I believe in freedom and define that as the proper limitation of government. Conflicts in this statement should be resolved through peaceful and legal means.
I believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; I try to follow the admonition of Paul – to believe in Christ, to hope in Christ and to endure the tribulations of mortality. I try to seek after things which are virtuous, lovely, or of good report.
I believe in the three degrees of glory. As Christ taught, there are many mansions in our Father’s kingdom. I believe that the degree of glory which I attain to in the next life is based entirely on me, my desire to be reunited with my Father in Heaven and my willingness to serve, grow, and develop the attributes I will need to live with him and assist in His work. I believe Hell to be that state of mind that comes when you realize the only reason you didn’t return to the presence of God, who loves you and is loved by you, is because you really didn’t want to. That realization will be forever. This, I believe, is the definition of eternal damnation. As a side note, I believe animals will also continue in the next life and that they will likewise be assigned to various degrees of glory based on how well they fulfilled the measure of their creation. (Exactly what that measure is I don’t know) I do believe that God loves his animals.
I believe this life has multiple purposes. These include, a test to see if I will obey the laws God has given me; receiving and learning how to use and take care of a physical body; making and learning to keep sacred covenants with God; choosing an eternal companion; developing and living by faith; enhancing my ability to act rather than being acted upon; and coming to understand and know myself.
I believe that death is merely a separation of our eternal spirit from this physical body. That after we die, our spirit continues on. In the next life we will be reunited with family and friends that have gone before. The sociality which exists between us and those we know and love here on earth will continue in the next life. I believe that we will continue to have the opportunity to be engaged in good and meaningful work. I believe that most of these spirits continue to reside on this earth and that from time to time they may be allowed, or assigned, to look in on us.
I believe in a literal resurrection, or reuniting of my spirit with a physical, immortal, perfected body as taught by Job. I believe this resurrection to be a free gift to all men and women who kept their first estate and came to this earth. I further believe this perfected body to be the means of much of the Joy I will experience in the eternities just like my mortal body, with its physical senses, has been the source of much of the Joy I have experienced on this earth.
I believe in praying to God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ. I believe He hears and answers our sincere prayers, often in his own time and in accordance with his wisdom. He wants us to ask in accordance with the spirit that he may give to us liberally. He has answered my prayers.
I believe in striving to obtain charity, or the pure love of Christ. I am commanded to love all men. In striving to achieve and act accordingly, God has allowed me to sense a small part of his love for those whom I have served.
I believe that angels not only appeared in ancient times but that they periodically visit individuals in this day and age. Two of these modern-day individuals so visited were Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdry. Because of this, I believe Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God; that he saw God the Father and his son, Jesus Christ in the sacred grove and was there given the divine mission to restore the Church of Jesus Christ and the Abrahamic Covenant in preparation for the Second Coming of the Christ and the beginning of His millennial reign on this earth. Others of Joseph Smith’s time recorded visitations from angels. I believe in these visions and strongly believe they have continued within the Restored Church of Christ into the present and are not as uncommon has might be expected. These visions are sacred and often of a very personal nature. Accordingly, they are not shared openly for public discourse. (However, if you listen to our current Apostles bear, “special witness of Jesus Christ,” those with ears to hear…) I bear my own personal testimony of these things.
I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is a resurrected being of great power; that he appeared to his apostles and disciples shortly after his resurrection; that he appeared to the Nephites as recorded in the Book of Mormon; and that He also appears periodically to his disciples today.
I believe that I lived with God in a pre-earthly existence as a literal spirit offspring of God. The spirits of babies born on this earth come directly from this pre-existence. Accordingly, they seem to come preprogramed with knowledge and personality. As offspring of God who have lived before, they are intelligent beings who find themselves in a strange place and in a strange body. It takes a while for them to learn of, and to be able to work within this new environment, but, they definitely do not arrive as blank pages or with zero intellect and knowledge. In this preexistence we had our moral agency and every individual on this earth is here because they chose to be here.
I believe in eternal marriage. Through the sealing power of the restored priesthood, I can be sealed to my wife for eternity. I believe this sealing to be a foundational principle in God’s plan for his children. I believe that eternal marriage is between a man and a woman and that all other unions are just that unions, with no efficacy in the next life. Marriage, in its true form, is a religious sacrament only entered into by virtue of the Priesthood and the sealing power appendaged to it. These marriages are the foundation of God’s kingdom. In this regard…
I believe in heavenly parents. As the song says… “In the heav’ns are parents single? No, the thought makes reason stare! Truth is reason; truth eternal Tells me I’ve a mother there.” (I also strongly suspect that Jesus was married to Mary who met him at the tomb.)
I believe that Lucifer is a real being; that he too was in the preexistence and that he chose not to follow God’s plan. In that rebellion, Lucifer tried to take away the moral agency of man. Accordingly, he, and the spirits that followed him, were cast out of God’s presence and were sent to this earth where he became Satan. Satan can and does try to influence our decisions. His purpose is to thwart God’s plan for us and to make us miserable like unto himself. In order to provide opposition in this life that we may be tested, God allows Satan and his followers to influence our choices. I believe that there is a provision in place that gives all of us the power and capability to overcome these temptations. That power comes by way of, and through the atonement of, Jesus Christ.
I believe the moral agency of man is paramount to our eternal destiny. It is the catalyst that allows us to grow and develop. The greater our agency the greater our potential. How we use our moral agency will determine our happiness in the eternities. That is why God may encourage and guide us to do what is right, but he will never force us. He will never take away our right to choose. That is also why Satan continually tries to force us to do what is wrong. This moral agency is the first universal truth. It underlies all things both in Heaven and Earth. It is woven throughout our pre-earthly existence, this earthly existence, and will continue on into the eternities. It is woven throughout our family relationships and our interactions with our fellow man. It consumes our political debate. It is the difference between a free and prosperous nation and an evil empire. The preservation of the moral agency of man is the underpinnings of what constitutes good versus evil.
I believe that justice and mercy are eternal principles. While justice may not be evident in all earthly things, all will be made whole in the next life. All knees will bow and acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ and that his judgements are not only fair, but merciful.
I believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ. There are four appearances prophesied as part of this second coming. 1. Christ will appear suddenly in his temple. This has already occurred in Kirkland Ohio. 2. Christ will gather with those prophets who presided over the different dispensations of the earth prior to coming in his glory. 3. Christ will suddenly appear dressed in red and save Israel from annihilation at the battle of Armageddon. 4. Christ, in his glory, will appear in the clouds to usher in His millennial reign. At this time good men and women, literally, will be “brought forth triumphant through the air” to join him. The wicked, along with the earth, will burn. (I am not sure if this burning is physical, spiritual, or both.)
I believe in temple worship and vicarious work for the dead. Those who passed through this life without the opportunity to accept Christ and be baptized, etc., can, for a season, accept this work performed by proxy in their behalf, in dedicated temples. This work is accomplished through the restored sealing power of the priesthood. I believe these temples to literally be “The House of the Lord.”
I hope in Christ. Through his atonement and grace, I have a hope that I too can attain Eternal Life. As I have worked in various callings within the Church, strived to be faithful to the covenants I have made, lovingly learned to help others, and especially as I have labored within the temple, this hope has taken root. I hope in Christ. I believe in Christ. I teach of Christ. I look to Christ for a remission of my sins. He is my Savior from physical death. He is my redeemer from sin and spiritual death. He is the way. He is my strength, He is my brother. He is my God. He is my way to return to my Father. I cherish his love and his friendship. I yearn for his embrace.
Samuel Waen Jensen