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6 Interesting Facts About the Articles of Faith for Their 175th Anniversary

by | Mar. 01, 2017

Mormon Life

One hundred and seventy-five years ago today, the 13 Articles of Faith were first published in what is known today as the Wentworth Letter.

Here are some interesting facts about these historic articles you might not have known.

1. The Articles of Faith were not published in the publication they were written for. 

The Wentworth Letter was written by Joseph Smith in response to a request from John Wentworth, an editor of the Chicago Democrat, to answer what Mormons believe and to give some history of the Church. The letter was never published by the Chicago Democrat but was published in the Church’s newspaper Times and Seasons in March 1842, according to Mormon Newsroom.

2. The Articles of Faith were not regularly used as missionary material until a decade later. 

At the end of the article, Joseph added what he originally summarized as the “faith of the Latter-day Saints.” These 13 points of faith were later included in the pamphlet The Pearl of Great Price used in the 1851 British Mission.

3. The Articles of Faith were voted into the standard works. 

Twenty-nine years later in 1880, the 13 articles and the Pearl of Great Price were voted on by the Church in a general conference to become part of the standard works of the Church.

4. The Articles of Faith inspired an entire book. 

In 1891, James E. Talmage used the Articles of Faith as an outline for his volume of a work of theology as a textbook to be used in Church schools. Talmage’s Articles of Faith was first published in 1899.

5. There were many summaries of our faith before the Articles of Faith. 

There were many other publications of points of Church doctrine before the Articles of Faith, starting as early as in 1829, including other summaries prepared by Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde, James H. Flanigan, and various others.

6. The Articles of Faith have been a missionary tool for over 150 years. 

LDS missionaries used the Articles of Faith in their work as early as the 1850s. Today we memorize and study them, starting as early as in primary classes, so we can share our beliefs with others in a clear and succinct way.

To celebrate this anniversary, you can read, study, memorize and share the Articles of Faith with your family and friends!

All facts from byu.eduunless otherwise indicated

Lead image from mormonnewsroom.org

Image titleFor clarity, brevity, and forthrightness, there is no finer summary statement of the basic beliefs of Latter-day Saints than the Articles of Faith, which were written by Joseph Smith. These statements of belief served as the outline for a weekly theology class taught by Elder James E. Talmage (prior to his call to the Twelve) in 1893 and 1894. The content of these lectures was formally committed to writing and published in 1899 under the title Articles of Faith. For over a century this book has been a standard text for gospel students and teachers alike because it presents the fundamental doctrines of the Church in a systematic way. This inspiring and thought-provoking work, long considered a classic in Mormon literature, is now available in a convenient, giftable, soft-leather edition. Articles of Faith is available at Deseret Book stores and deseretbook.com.

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