Chapter 8: Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (1997), 54–59


Faith in Jesus Christ was a powerful motivating force in the life of President Brigham Young. His faith in the Savior and in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ enabled him to endure severe hardships and trials. By this faith, he embarked on numerous missions; he endured the hardships of Zion’s Camp; he remained steadfast and true to the gospel and to the Prophet Joseph Smith during the difficult times in Kirtland when many Saints left the Church. By this faith, he guided the Saints to the Salt Lake Valley and established the kingdom of God there. He said: “Every person who lives in this Church must be faithful. They cannot run by sight, but must actually exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, in order to enjoy the light of the Holy Ghost. When they neglect this the spirit of the world takes possession of them, and they become cold and fruitless, and pine away into darkness, and spiritual death” (DNW, 25 Apr. 1855, 2).

Teachings of Brigham Young

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel and can be understood only by the power of the Holy Ghost.

The Gospel that we preach is the power of God unto salvation; and the first principle of that Gospel is … faith in God, and faith in Jesus Christ his Son, our Savior. We must believe that he is the character he is represented to be in the Holy Scriptures. … We must believe that this same Jesus was crucified for the sins of the world (DBY, 153).

You can say that the Lord and his Gospel are not worthy of notice, or you can bow to them (DBY, 153).

To understand the first principles of the Gospel—to rightly understand them, a man must have the wisdom that comes from above; he must be enlightened by the Holy Ghost; … he must enjoy the blessings of salvation himself, in order to impart them to others (DBY, 152).

Every particle of truth that every person has received is a gift of God. We receive these truths, and go on from glory to glory, … gaining a knowledge of all things, and becoming Gods, even Sons of God. These are the celestial ones. These are they whom the Lord has chosen through their obedience. They have not spurned the truth, when they have heard it. These are they that have not spurned the Gospel, but have acknowledged Jesus and God in their true character; that have acknowledged the angels in their true character. These are they that work for the salvation of the human family (DBY, 152).

pioneers

The early Saints demonstrated great faith in the Lord as they left homes and native lands to gather to Zion under the direction of President Brigham Young.

Faith in Christ is a gift of God obtained through belief, obedience, and righteous works.

When you believe the principles of the Gospel and attain unto faith, which is a gift of God, he adds more faith, adding faith to faith. He bestows faith upon his creatures as a gift; but his creatures inherently possess the privilege of believing the Gospel to be true or false (DBY, 154).

If we speak of faith in the abstract, it is the power of God by which the worlds are and were made, and is a gift of God to those who believe and obey his commandments. On the other hand, no living, intelligent being, whether serving God or not, acts without belief. He might as well undertake to live without breathing as to live without the principle of belief. But he must believe the truth, obey the truth, and practice the truth, to obtain the power of God called faith (DBY, 153).

We are under obligation to trust in our God; and this is the ground-work of all we can do ourselves (DBY, 154).

When you read the revelations, or when you hear the will of the Lord concerning you, for your own sakes never receive that with a doubtful heart (DBY, 155).

Our Heavenly Father does not always reveal to his children the secret workings of his providences, nor does he show them the end from the beginning; for they have to learn to trust in him who has promised to fight our battles, and crown us with victory, if we are faithful as was faithful Abraham (DBY, 156).

When men are in the habit of philosophising upon every point, only relying upon what we call human reason, they are constantly liable to error. But place a man in a situation where he is obliged or compelled, in order to sustain himself, to have faith in the name of Jesus Christ, and it brings him to a point where he will know for himself; and happy are those who pass through trials, if they maintain their integrity and their faith to their calling (DBY, 154).

Righteous works demonstrate and strengthen faith.

To explain how much confidence we should have in God, were I using a term to suit myself, I should say implicit confidence. I have faith in my God, and that faith corresponds with the works I produce. I have no confidence in faith without works (DBY, 155).

If the people will only be full of good works, I will insure that they will have faith in time of need (DBY, 154).

When faith springs up in the heart, good works will follow, and good works will increase that pure faith within them (DBY, 156).

My faith is, when we have done all we can, then the Lord is under obligation, and will not disappoint the faithful; he will perform the rest (DBY, 155).

When a person is placed in circumstances that he cannot possibly obtain one particle of anything to sustain life, it would then be his privilege to exercise faith in God to feed him, who might cause a raven to pick up a piece of dried meat from some quarter where there was plenty, and drop it over the famishing man. When I cannot feed myself through the means God has placed in my power, it is then time enough for him to exercise his providence in an unusual manner to administer to my wants. But while we can help ourselves, it is our duty to do so (DBY, 155).

A great many good people, who possess much of the Spirit of the Lord are naturally given to doubting, having so little self-reliance that they sometimes doubt whether they are Saints in truth or not. These often doubt when they should not. So long as they are walking humbly before God, keeping his commandments, and observing his ordinances, feeling willing to give all for Christ, and do everything that will promote his Kingdom, they need never doubt, for the Spirit will testify to them whether they are of God or not (DBY, 155).

If the Latter-day Saints will walk up to their privileges, and exercise faith in the name of Jesus Christ, and live in the enjoyment of the fulness of the Holy Ghost constantly day by day, there is nothing on the face of the earth that they could ask for, that would not be given to them. The Lord is waiting to be very gracious unto this people, and to pour out upon them riches, honor, glory and power, even that they may possess all things according to the promises he has made through his Apostles and Prophets (DBY, 156).

Suggestions for Study

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel and can be understood only by the power of the Holy Ghost.

  • Why does our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ give us hope?

  • What specific things did President Young say we must believe to have faith in Jesus Christ?

  • Why is faith in Jesus Christ the first principle of the gospel? (See also Moroni 7:33–34; Articles of Faith 1:4.) According to President Young, how can we come to understand faith in Christ as the first principle of the gospel?

  • Who are “they that work for the salvation of the human family”?

Faith in Christ is a gift of God obtained through belief, obedience, and righteous works.

  • How can we develop faith in Christ? What does it mean to add “faith to faith”? (See also Alma 32:26–28.)

  • Why must we believe, obey, and practice truth to obtain faith? (See also Alma 32:21.)

  • Why did President Young say that “we are under obligation to trust in our God”? (See also Ether 12:6–7.) How do we show our trust in God? (See also Ether 3:11–12.)

  • How do doubt and human reason interfere with faith? How can we know for ourselves what our standing is with God? How does our faith in Jesus Christ influence our feelings about ourselves?

  • President Young said, “Happy are those who pass through trials, if they maintain their integrity and their faith to their calling.” How can we maintain our faith and integrity during difficult times? How have your faith and integrity enabled you to successfully face adversity? (See also Helaman 12:3; Alma 32:6.)

Righteous works demonstrate and strengthen faith.

  • How did President Young explain the relationship of faith and works?

  • What did President Young say we must do in order to have the help of the Lord? What does the Lord expect of those who feel “willing to give all for Christ, and do everything that will promote his Kingdom”?

  • What did President Young promise those who “exercise faith in the name of Jesus Christ, and live in the enjoyment of the fulness of the Holy Ghost constantly”? If our prayers are accompanied by such faith and inspiration, what will be the result? (See also D&C 46:30; Helaman 10:5.)