The Articles of Faith and Official Declarations 1 and 2 – “We Believe”

December 6, 2021 to December 12, 2021

The ongoing restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ is evident in the important documents that are the subject of this week’s lesson: the Articles of Faith and the Official Declarations. Each of these documents addressed a crucial need of the Saints at the time it was given. 


“Spencer W. Kimball and the Revelation on Priesthood,” Edward L. Kimball, BYU Studies 47 (2008)

Official Declaration 2: The former priesthood and temple ban for Black Saints was based in tradition and interpretation of scripture. This article examines the origin and implementation of the ban and the events that led President Spencer W. Kimball to seek revelation regarding changing the policy. The interest of Blacks of many nations in joining the Church, the Civil Rights movement, Church members’ changing perceptions regarding the policy, and spiritual manifestations all contributed to the landmark decision. This article was written by President Kimball’s son Edward, who used personal journals and conversations in this project.   

“Doctrinal Development of the Church during the Nauvoo Sojourn, 1839-1846,” T. Edgar Lyon, BYU Studies 15 (1975)

Articles of Faith: This short article describes the purpose of the Articles of Faith: writing for a Christian audience, Joseph Smith did not mention items such as prayer, resurrection, sacrament, salvation, and temples. What he did was list points of doctrine which were directed to the burning issues of the day, such as Trinitarianism, predestination, election by grace, and other doctrines. This articles overviews the doctrines made broadly known in the Nauvoo years, such as humans’ relationship to God, pre-earth existence, work for the dead, priesthood covenants, and more.  

“Thirty Years after the ‘Long-Promised Day’: Reflections and Expectations,” Marcus H. Martins, BYU Studies Quarterly 47 (2008)

Official Declaration 2: The author reflects on the consequences of the 1978 declaration as a social scientist and a person of faith. He tells how the 1978 revelation brought an enhanced emphasis on doctrinal accuracy and an additional modern standard of faith. This article is also available in Portuguese.

“B. H. Roberts and the Woodruff Manifesto,” Ronald W. Walker, BYU Studies 22 (1982)

Official Declaration 1: B. H. Roberts was in the First Council of Seventy when the Manifesto was announced in 1890. He tells of learning about it from the newspaper as he traveled by train to Salt Lake City. He describes his feelings about the trials and sacrifices that plural marriage had cost the Saints and how he had to become reconciled to the abandonment of it. His trust in God’s purposes led him to see light and joy amid his storm. 

“Historical Context and Background,” Steven C. Harper and Casey Paul Griffiths, Doctrine and Covenants Central

These short articles describe doctrinal and personal aspects that these dramatic changes in policy brought to the Saints. 

Official Declaration I

Official Declaration 2