Lectures on Faith

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Lectures on Faith is the title of a book in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The document was originally presented as a course of study in the “School of the Prophets” in Kirtland, Ohio in 1834. The school of the prophets was a class taught to elders in the Church to help them understand some of the basic principles of the Church’s doctrine.

Exact authorship is uncertain. Sidney Rigdon may have written the book, but the prophet Joseph Smith was heavily involved and most likely provided the information found in Lectures on Faith. There are seven lectures. Following is a short description of the contents of each lecture:

  • Lecture One-The definition of the effects of faith and faith is the first principle. Without faith there is no power or existence.
  • Lecture Two- Why faith is the first principle of the gospel. Without faith it is impossible to please God or do His will. God is who we place our faith in. How man came to know that God existed. Faith comes from hearing the word of God.
  • Lecture Three- Understanding the character and attributes of God and how He understands us.
  • Lecture Four- God’s attributes are knowledge of all things, faith, power, justice, judgment, mercy and truth.
  • Lecture Five- The nature of the Godhead. How the Godhead works. Who the members of the Godhead are.
  • Lecture Six-The purpose of life on this earth. Understanding that sacrifice to do that which is God’s will is necessary for the acceptance of God.
  • Lecture Seven- The effects of faith. Christ is the example that we need to follow. Knowledge is the effect of faith.

In 1835, the Lectures were included in the Doctrine and Covenants. They were later removed from the Doctrine and Covenants in 1921, but are still available as a book. Some have criticized the Church for this removal, claiming that the Church is changing its doctrine. Such is not the case and a number of reasons can be given for their removal:

  1. They are lectures, not revelations from God, and the Doctrine and Covenants consists of revelations given to Joseph Smith and other prophets.
  2. They are explanations of the principle of faith but not strictly doctrinal.
  3. They have never been canonized by the body of Church membership.
  4. They do not give a complete view of the Church's teachings about the Godhead. The Lectures on Faith were published in 1835 when doctrines and principles of Christ's Church were still being restored "line upon line; here a little, and there a little" (Isa 28:10). Joseph Smith later received further light and knowledge including what is now D&C 130, received in 1843.
  5. Since the Lectures on Faith are not considered either commandments or revelations, their inclusion in the Doctrine and Covenants might have otherwise been confusing to members.

Though the Lectures on Faith they are not considered official doctrine of the Church, leaders of the Church have taught that if read with the guidance of the Holy Ghost, they provide great insight and teach many truths of the gospel. Many members who have never even read Lectures on Faith would still recognize phrases from it that leaders of the Church quote.

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