The Wentworth Svithe


If John Wentworth had never asked Joseph Smith about Mormonism, would Joseph Smith ever have written the Articles of Faith?

And if he had never written the Articles of Faith, how would our self-perception differ today?

The AofF as originally written:

    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 principle and ordinances of the Gospel are: (1) Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; (2) Repentance; (3) Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; (4) 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, viz.: apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc.

    We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, etc.

    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 will be built upon this [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.

this svithe on thmusings
last week's svithe


The Two Lenses of Priesthood and Charity


At Church yesterday Sunday School was on Priesthood and and Rs/Ph was on Charity. Juxtaposing these two made me realize that here we have two all-important doctrines. Nothing matters without the proper priesthood and without charity, you are nothing.

In many ways, these two facts seem contradictory.

OperationAs my favorite sociologist said in elders quorum in response to Peter ("And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins."), the emphasis on charity shows that life is not a game of Operation with strict rules and if you touch the sides then BZZZZZT! you're out. That's not the way God rolls.

I agree with this. It's charity that matters. Charity burns away sins in the sense that when we have charity we are less likely to commit them, but in our continued imperfection, as Peter said, charity can also cover them up.

(Charity, it's worth mentioning, is the pure love of Christ). I suspect that as we develop it ourselves, we are able to tap more directly into the Atonement. But this is just a speculative aside.)

So back to priesthood, which seems more exclusive as we Mormon generally speak of it. But is that perspective correct? Yes. And no.

God loves all his children and wants them to have it all. And priesthood is God's power. And wouldn't he use his power to these ends?

And so while the god of Mormon belief is a bit strict on his ordinances, it's not BZZZT! you're out. This is why we're so big on proxy ordinances. It's about love and expansion of that love and giving the gifts of God to all. (Or, more accurately, offering the gifts of God to all. We're not big on making anyone do anything.)


Okay, I need to get on with my day. Please clarify my thoughts for me in the comments.


this svithe on thmusings
last week's more sensible svithe


Special Guest Svither David O. McKay on the confluence of testimony and duty


One day in my youth I was hunting cattle. While climbing a steep hill, I stopped to let my horse rest, and there, once again, an intense desire came over me to receive a manifestation of the truth of the restored gospel. I dismounted, threw my reins over my horse’s head, and there under a serviceberry bush I prayed that God would declare to me the truth of his revelation to Joseph Smith. I am sure that I prayed fervently and sincerely and with as much faith as a young boy could muster.

At the conclusion of the prayer, I arose from my knees, threw the reins over my faithful pony’s head, and got into the saddle. As I started along the trail again, I remember saying to myself, ‘No spiritual manifestation has come to me. If I am true to myself, I must say I am just the same “old boy” that I was before I prayed.’

The Lord did not see fit to give me an answer on that occasion, but in 1899, after I had been appointed president of the Scottish Conference, the spiritual manifestation for which I had prayed as a boy in my teens came as a natural sequence to the performance of duty.

this svithe in thutopia
last week's svithe