13th Article of Faith: Honest, True, Chaste

In April of 2009 I set out to write a post explaining each of the Articles of Faith. These Articles are taught to the youth of the church at a very young age, as they are very easy to understand and a concise way to explain our beliefs. The rest of my posts can be found on my LDS faith page.

The 13th Article of Faith says:

We believe in being honest, true, chastebenevolent, 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 virtuouslovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

In past posts on these Articles I’ve tried to expound and explain on the doctrine contained within them. I don’t think this passage needs any explaining though. I love that this is the way that Joseph Smith chose to end the Wentworth letter, as these are qualities and attributes that every good person strives for, no matter their faith.

It seems fitting that the newest Mormon Message is about honesty. The Church recently held an international video contest offering entrants the chance to share their own Mormon Message. My favorites are Stand Tall and Life. If you’re only going to watch one of them, watch the Life one. It’s in that very trendy infographic style, but I like that it had a little bit of humor (my favorite line was “the other trees are ok”).

I hope that you learned something about the LDS Church through these Articles of Faith, and that you will continue to learn about Mormons and our beliefs through future posts I plan to write. I look forward to the day T1 is old enough to start learning these Articles so he can answer your questions too. 🙂

17 thoughts on “13th Article of Faith: Honest, True, Chaste

  1. I like these posts, Jenna. I watched the Life video and loved it. As a Christian (non-Mormon) I often think the LDS church doesn’t focus enough on Jesus (I am not in the LDS church so this is just my opinion) and that video (Life) was all about Jesus, the way it should be. My only comment on it would be that we are not all God’s children. We were all created by Him but we don’t become His child until we believe in Jesus. You can find that in John 1:12-13: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

    Jenna Reply:

    That is a belief that I could never get behind. What about all of the people who have lived and will live who never hear about God or Jesus Christ? Who are they? We are spirit children of God, formed by Him before we were formed in the womb, and that is a knowledge that every human can cling to. He loves us all like His children no matter who we are, where we live, or what we believe.

    Katy Reply:

    I too believe that our heritage/lineage as God’s children is not conditional. That’s like saying that I’m only my mother’s daughter if love her and obey her. Loving and obeying her makes me a GREAT daughter and yes, I’m going to garner favor with her for not giving her gray hairs for all the poor decisions I make, but my literal definition as her daughter has to do with the fact that she literally is my mother. Nothing can change that – no matter what I do good or bad.

    Same with our Heavenly Father – we are His children plain and simple. We may not enjoy all the blessing He has in store for us based on our belief in Him and His son Jesus Christ (we won’t enjoy the same eternal and temporal blessings as though who choose to believe on His name), but our lineage to Him is a constant, whether we know of Him or not, whether we choose to follow Him or not.

  2. He does love us all, I 100% agree with you. God loves every single person on this planet, that is why He sent His son to die for us. It doesn’t matter whether we like that idea or not. I’d personally prefer to see it different as well. But if that is reality, that is just something we have to accept. God is a just God and every person who ever lives gets a fair chance. Saying ‘That is a belief that I could never get behind’ is like denying gravity. Doesn’t matter if you do it or not, it’s reality, it’s there. I’m just curious: if that is what the Bible says, why can’t you get behind it?

    Kyle Reply:

    Those of the LDS faith are definitely behind the scripture just referenced in John. This just looks like an argument of semantics to me. We believe that we must RECEIVE Christ, which is anything but a passive injunction to follow Him and live a life as His disciple. Included in this would be what is spoken of in verse 13 which could be summed up as being born of God, or born again (being baptized). This is the gospel of Christ in simple terms, the promise of which is that we can then become “the sons of God”. A promise given ever since the beginning to those such as Moses and very prominently Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. What the phrase “sons of God” means as written in John is that we are then heirs of God with Christ (Romans 8:17), given the power to be perfect even as He or the Father is perfect (Matt 5:48) ultimately.
    This phrase differs in context from other phrases in scripture which were highlighted in the film, but which are just as true. Jenna paraphrased Jeremiah 1:5 in saying that we were all known to God before coming forth out of the whom, being His creations, but creations with the special status of “in His image”. We have a divine destiny. The apostle Paul in speaking to those in Athens who were clearly not believers said in Acts 17:29 that “…we are the offspring of God, we ought ont to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver…”
    In essence we are the offspring and children of God with a divine potential to really receive the power and promise upon receiving the Savior of the World into our life to become the sons of God and inherit all that the Father has for us.

    Kristin Reply:

    Sorry to jump in here, but I wanted to clarify that the verse you are referring to is not talking about Christ/God as the main subject, as it might seem. The subject “him” in the verses is actually referring to John the Baptist, and it is simply explaining that John the Baptist held the power to baptize people in the name of God.

    As for the mentioning of being born of God, it is in direct reference to the act of baptism in this case.

    Though there are certain rites and sacraments that can be made in many different faiths to demonstrate devotion to God, the Bible is also clear in stating the divine genesis of human life, as stated in Genesis 1:26-27 with the creation of Adam and Eve. We are created in His image, and I believe that we are all decedents of Adam and Eve, thus we are all God’s children.

    Now, since we are all God’s children certainly He wants what is in our best interest, as any parent wants for their own children. Back to the reference you mentioned in John, the best thing that can happen is to be baptized by proper authority given directly from God to man. That is the authority spoken of in verse 12, and that is the same manner of Baptism and same authority used in the LDS church today. This combines the Love that Jenna mentioned that God has for all mankind, as well as the point you mentioned of being Born of God. There is nothing more important than taking Christ’s name upon you and committing to His gospel, and the first step in doing that is in baptism. That is when we are “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

    Jo(ke) Reply:

    I realize very well what it’s about. But I know the LDS church has a very different interpretation of this verse than Bible believing Christians (like how you just explained). The main reason why you believe we are all his children is because you believe in the pre existence. I don’t so I believe what the Bible says that we don’t become His child until we except Jesus. No, that doesn’t mean God only loves people who’ve excepted Jesus. He loves all of us.

    A. Reply:

    Mormons are certainly Bible believing and have a sound understanding of it. The doctrine of the pre-existence is drawn from many scriptures within the Bible quite easily. The thing is that people often disagree over how to interpret the Bible, which is why there are so many different Christian churches in the first place! Also, the word “child” can mean many different things in the scriptures and the New Testament is full of double meanings and powerful symbolism that extends beyond the words themselves. Finding the context of a given scripture is absolutely necessary.

    Jo(ke) Reply:

    Clearly I don’t agree with Mormon doctrine 🙂 But I think these discussions are very fascinating!

    Sophia Reply:

    Jo(ke) you said “God is a just God and every person who ever lives gets a fair chance.” I disagree with this. How does a child born into a tribe of people who have no contact with the outside world have a “fair chance” at hearing about Jesus Christ? I think it’s a logical fallacy to assert that every person who ever lives gets a fair chance. The world is only very recently as interconnected as it is. Even a mere 100 years ago there were hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people who had no contact with missionaries, at all, who never heard of Jesus, who lived in very isolated, traditional pockets of communities. I disagree that a child living in Oklahoma, born to Christian parents, has the same chance at knowing Christ as someone, say, born deep in the Amazonian rainforest in 1913. I’m genuinely curious to know how you flesh this idea out. If you think that every human who has ever lived has had the opportunity to learn of Christ, and if so, how? I might be mis-understanding your definition of “fair chance”, and if so, I apologize.

    Jo(ke) Reply:

    It is an eternal principle that God is a just God. If He wouldn’t be He would cease to be God! Therefore everyone gets a chance to accept Jesus. After Jesus came to this earth, died for our sins and rose again God gave us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit testifies in our hearts that the Gospel is true. God has promised us that, if we seek Him with all our hearts, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). He is not eager for anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9). Romans 10:12-13 says “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Also don’t forget that John saw in heaven “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands” (Revelation 7:9) So all nations and tribes are represented in heaven. The Bible teaches that all you need to do to be saved is have faith in Jesus. There are no ordinances or rituals you have to go through.(Ephesians 2:8-9)(Yes faith without works is dead but as Christians like to say: good works because of salvation, not for salvation.) So a person living in a hut in the jungle somewhere who has heard God speak to him and believes on it, is saved.

    Sophia Reply:

    Ok, so if I’m clear on this, you’re saying that a person living in a jungle who has never heard the name of Jesus Christ will be spoken to directly by God. And, instead of, say, interpreting that voice of God as being the voice of the God they have been raised with all their life, they are supposed to somehow ascertain that *this* voice is the voice of the Christian God, telling them to believe on Jesus for salvation. So, if they don’t, then they will go to hell.

    Am I understanding you correctly? Millions of people living in remote areas with no contact with missionaries or the outside world, who have never heard of Jesus, get a still small voice that they are then expected to interpret as being being from a God they have never heard of or they will go to hell. If so, I assume (maybe incorrectly) that you believe that if you (specifically, you, not the general you) had been born in a remote area of Afghanistan and raised Muslim all your life, you would somehow come to learn of and accept Jesus, and if you didn’t it would be your own fault for not recognizing the voice of God?

    To me, getting a still small voice from a God you have absolutely zero understanding or frame of reference from is *not* a fair chance when compared to someone born into a Christian family and taken to church every Sunday, hearing of Jesus from the time they were born. Honestly, do you think that’s really fair? Please, I understand your point about maintaining the justness of God. I’m not asking that. I’m saying, do you think being asked to discern the still small voice of God in a country where you have never ever heard his name is fair when compared to being born in America in a small town with tons of churches?

  3. This is perfect Jenna! I am writing the Faith Walk today for Girls Camp, and because the 13th Article of Faith is the youth theme for 2011, we are doing the admonition of Paul, because it is essentially the attributes of Christ. I like your take.

  4. Thanks for sharing! I watched that video yesterday and was very touched by it. As a graduate student, I have had to deal with situations where people weren’t honest because professors really do have the “honesty policy” and leave the room during exams. It’s annoying to see or hear about others cheating, when people work so hard. This is a great video, and a great reminder. I’m excited to check out the other contest winners!

  5. Interesting video. I don’t think I would ever turn someone else in for cheating, though. As a graduate student, I expect my work to stand alone. I don’t depend on it being “better” than others, I just depend on it being its best. So if others cheat, I don’t really care. It doesn’t change the work I do.

    Sophia Reply:

    I can’t get the video to load, but I can think of a few instances where one does depend on work being “better”- especially in, say, high school where students are competing for valedictorian. So if I did my best and made a 97, and someone cheated and made 100, that could be the difference between graduating valedictorian or not, which could then affect scholarships, etc. This actually happened to me in high school- I was leading our class but it was a tight race, and a group of girls got together to cross check their work and then give it to the person who was in the salutatorian spot, to try and get his GPA up to surpass me. I didn’t turn him in, and I ended up graduating valedictorian, and earning a full scholarship to attend college based on that fact. However, if he had cheated his way past me, and I had lost that scholarship as a result, I would have lost tens of thousands of dollars worth of education. My work was my best, but within the high school system it certainly didn’t stand alone, but was being graded against my classmates, and one of them had an extremely unfair advantage. Because of this, I can understand turning someone in for cheating in high school.

    In the context of grad school, I agree with you, depending upon the program. However, even in grad school many programs have built in failure rates, so professors will only give out so many A’s, so many B’s, etc. All of my friends in law school have dealt with this. So, if someone is cheating, and they would normally turn in C caliber work, but they cheated their way into producing A caliber work, they are essentially stealing an “A spot” from a deserving student. Without the cheating, they would never have been a contender in the first place.

    Sophia Reply:

    Just to clarify, because I can’t get the video to load I don’t know if your statement “as a graduate student” was just a personal anecdote, or if the girl in the video is a graduate student as well and you were comparing her actions to what you would do in the same situation. Sorry if it’s the latter and my comment is pointless 🙂

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