The first Article of Faith states, “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost” (Article of Faith 1:1). God is Eternal, as are Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. As children of God, who are created in His image, we were created with the potential to become eternal: “If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 14:7).
Subsequent Articles of Faith discuss the need for the Fall of Adam and the Atonement of Jesus Christ (see Articles of Faith 1:2-3). Adam and Eve first had to choose to enter a fallen state so that there would be a need for a Savior. Through Christ’s infinite and loving Atonement, all mankind can be freed from the curse of the Fall.
Through faith, repentance, baptism by immersion, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, we can take responsibility for our choices (see Articles of Faith 1:4). By so doing, “every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:78).
Spiritual Gifts and Perfection
Everyone is created uniquely because God wishes for us to find joy in diversity and in the unique gifts and talents each person can bring to establishing His kingdom here on this earth. Everyone is given at least one gift by God (see Articles of Faith 1:7; Moroni 10:8-17), and we all have our part to play in His kingdom (see 1 Corinthians 12:4-31). Everyone's contribution and efforts are significant and should be looked upon with gratitude and unconditional love for our “neighbour,” and that love includes loving “thyself” (Matthew 22:39).
Our bodies were made from the humblest of supplies: the dust of the earth (see Genesis 2:7). Yet even the smallest and simplest of things can bring great miracles to pass through the help of the Lord. With our faith we can be guided by God’s hands and do His work. We need to remember, “the worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10). We are but a constant work in progress. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland teaches, “If we persevere, then somewhere in eternity our refinement will be finished and complete” (“Be Ye Therefore Perfect—Eventually,” Ensign, Nov. 2017). Neither fear, unresolved sin, pain, indifference, or trauma should hold us back. Despite our imperfections, we are good enough to strive for perfecting blessings.
Overcoming Satan by Seeking to Follow Christ
There is a darkness that threatens to destroy the unity Christ calls for, and that darkness is the one Lehi encountered in his dream of the tree of life. He beheld “a dark and dreary waste” (1 Nephi 8:7) that causes many to become lost and vulnerable to “the attitude of mocking” (1 Nephi 8:27) that is in the world. That attitude promotes values of indifference, bigotry, racism, exclusion, gossip, and other values that are contrary to God’s vision. This darkness encourages individuals to actively withhold love from themselves or others.
Satan seeks “that all men might be miserable like unto himself” (2 Nephi 2:27). Sin is birthed by people’s choices to give into negativity planted in their hearts. Many inherently good people fall from grace simply because they submit to it rather than continue to resist. Life can get tiring, especially when life proves repeatedly exhausting without any rest in sight. One who is normally strong and happy might become vulnerable due to time and ongoing trials. It oftentimes becomes more convenient to do what is easy rather than do what is right.
When people sin and struggle, we need not add to their pain by condemning them to suffer alone. We should comfort them and love them unconditionally because we can reach out and minister as the Lord’s hands. We should seek to act as He would by bearing “one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Jesus seeks for all to benefit from His atoning sacrifice and wishes for none to be forgotten. The Atonement is truly “virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy,” and for our personal exaltation we should “seek after these [Christlike] things” (Article of Faith 1:13).
Guided by Living Prophets
We must look beyond our natural tendencies to fear the unknown and see everyone as children of God. As President Thomas S. Monson counseled, “Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved” (“Finding Joy in the Journey,” Ensign, Nov. 2008, 86). Indifference, bigotry, and hate have no place in the Lord’s kingdom. The Spirit of God cannot dwell with those who are not seeking with all their heart to pray that God’s “will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (3 Nephi 13:10). Such resistance to ongoing revelation causes many to fall away from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for we believe God has, is, and will continue to reveal “many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” (Articles of Faith 1:9).
Regarding the Manifesto (Official Declaration 1), President Wilford Woodruff explained: “The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty” (“Excerpts from Three Addresses by President Wilford Woodruff Regarding the Manifesto,” Official Declaration 1; see also Sixty-first Semiannual General Conference of the Church, Monday, October 6, 1890, Salt Lake City, Utah. Reported in Deseret Evening News, Oct. 11, 1890, 2).
If we ourselves stray from obeying the Lord’s teachings from His chosen prophets, we cannot expect His Spirit to be our companion. We should continually desire to sing, “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet” (Hymns, no. 19).
Loving Everyone in the World
As members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ, we truly “believe in doing good to all men” (Article of Faith 1:13). We proactively embrace the undeniable truth reaffirmed in the opening statement of Official Declaration 2, “‘All are alike unto God,’ including ‘black and white, bond and free, male and female (2 Nephi 26:33).’” Truly, we are all loved equally by God, and we should not strive to belittle one another or ourselves if we expect to stay close to Him or within His kingdom. Satan systematically desires to whittle down our individual worth and drag us down into misery.
We wholeheartedly need to accept and follow the newly proclaimed statement from the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles: “God loves His children in every nation of the world. …All human beings are sons and daughters of a loving Father in Heaven” (“The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World,” ChurchofJesusChrist.org).