Some Important Principles, Doctrines, and Events
There are three members of the Godhead. God, our Eternal Father, and His Son Jesus Christ have distinct, glorified bodies of flesh and bones, but the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. The Holy Ghost reveals truth, testifies of the Father and the Son, and performs many other roles that bless the followers of God. The three members of the Godhead are one in purpose, working together in perfect harmony for our eternal salvation (see Articles of Faith 1:1, 3–4; see also Matthew 3:17; John 14:26; 17:21; 1 John 5:7; 3 Nephi 28:11; Ether 12:41; Moroni 10:5; D&C 35:2; 130:1, 22; Joseph Smith—History 1:17).
Each person on earth is a spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents. As their children we have inherited the potential to become like them (see Articles of Faith 1:1; see also Genesis 1:27; Acts 17:28–29; Romans 8:15–17; D&C 132:20; Moses 1:39).
Agency is the freedom of independent choice to act, given to us by God. We are accountable to Him for the use of our agency (see Articles of Faith 1:2; see also Ezekiel 18:4; 2 Nephi 2:27; Helaman 14:30; D&C 58:27–29; Moses 6:56; Abraham 3:24–26).
Adam and Eve brought about the Fall by using their agency, and although all are born innocent before God, the effects of the Fall, including sin and death, have come upon all mankind. The Atonement of Jesus Christ overcomes the effects of the Fall (see Articles of Faith 1:2–3; see also 1 Corinthians 15:22; 2 Nephi 2:15–21; Alma 12:22–34; Mormon 9:12; D&C 93:38; Moses 6:54).
All are invited to come unto Christ by obeying the laws and ordinances of His gospel, thus being saved by His mercy and grace. Faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by water, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands are the fundamental principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ (see Articles of Faith 1:3–4; see also Acts 2:37–39; 2 Nephi 25:23; 26:33; 31:13–21; D&C 20:25–31; Moses 6:52; Abraham 3:25–27).
Suggestions for Teaching
Articles of Faith 1:1. Three Separate and Distinct Beings
Tell students that many religions of the world teach that God is a spirit or that there is only one God. Have students read Elder Dallin H. Oaks’s statement under “Articles of Faith 1:1. Three Separate and Distinct Beings” in the student manual (pp. 69–70). Invite students to tell what they would say to explain our beliefs regarding the Godhead. What questions might they anticipate? What scriptures would they use to support their explanation?
Articles of Faith 1:1. “His Son, Jesus Christ”
Show a picture of Jesus Christ and ask students to list all the scriptural names or titles for Jesus that they can think of in two or three minutes (you may want to write them on the board). Ask students to explain what some of the names and titles mean and what they teach us about Jesus Christ.
Articles of Faith 1:2. Punishment for Adam’s Transgression
Ask students to describe their feelings when they have been accused of or punished for things they did not do. How did it feel when their explanations were not accepted? Read 2 Nephi 2:17–20and ask students to explain why they think a person should not be punished for Adam’s transgression. Read and discuss the statement by Elder James E. Faust under “Articles of Faith 1:2. Adam and Eve’s Transgression” in the student manual (pp. 70–71). Read 2 Nephi 2:22–25and invite students to find and share other scriptures that teach that we will be justly punished for our own unrepented sins (see Alma 42:10–28).
Articles of Faith 1:3. “Through the Atonement of Christ”
Read the third article of faith and invite students to silently read and ponder one or more of the following scripture blocks: 1 Nephi 19:8–12; 2 Nephi 9:19–23; Mosiah 3:5–19; 14:3–12; 15:5–12; Alma 7:10–14. Ask students what they do to help themselves remember Jesus’ Atonement. Read Doctrine and Covenants 6:36–37and have students explain how a knowledge and testimony of the Atonement removes doubt and fear.
Articles of Faith 1:3. “Obedience to the Laws and Ordinances of the Gospel”
Review the laws (or principles) and ordinances of the gospel that are found in the third and fourth articles of faith. Then have students list additional requirements for salvation, as found in the material under “Articles of Faith 1:3. Obedience to God” and “Articles of Faith 1:3. The Laws and Ordinances of the Gospel” in the student manual (p. 71). Discuss some of the obstacles we face and the assistance we can receive as we strive to obey God.
Articles of Faith 1:4. “The First Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel”
Read the fourth article of faith. Divide the class into four groups and assign each group to study one of the following principles or ordinances, using the scriptures given:
Have each group read the statements for their assigned principle or ordinance under “Articles of Faith 1:4. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ”; “Articles of Faith 1:4. Repentance”; “Articles of Faith 1:4. Baptism by Immersion for the Remission of Sins”; and “Articles of Faith 1:4. The Laying on of Hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost” in the student manual (pp. 71–72). Ask each group to report what they learned. Read 3 Nephi 27:19–21.