The Nonviolent Articles of Faith

Joseph Smith, founder of the LDS movement

Joseph Smith (1805-1844), founder of the LDS movement

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Thirteen statements describing the fundamental beliefs of the latter day satyagraha movement both within and outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

1. We believe that we are all children of heavenly parents with a divine nature and destiny. We believe the words of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, and we believe in the Holy Ghost that teaches all to come unto Jesus and to follow His example.

2. We believe that the children of men throughout the ages have committed grave crimes of violence, that they have delighted in bloodshed, and that the whole posterity of our first parents Adam and Eve has been unduly suffering for this reason.

3. We believe that through the atoning and exemplary sacrifice of Christ, all humankind can be reconciled to God and with each other, by applying the same principles of truth and nonviolence in their own lives.

4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of a latter day satyagraha were taught by Jesus Christ in the sermon on the mount: first, blessed are they that have faith in God, for they shall inherit the kingdom of heaven on earth; second, blessed are they that repent and seek a change of heart, for they shall be comforted; third, blessed are they that hunger and thirst for justice, who through converting their oppressor have broken the cycle of violence; fourth, blessed are the pure in heart, whose actions are guided by the Holy Ghost, for they shall see God in whomever he would reveal himself, and they shall see that the other, whom God also has loved, is a human like themselves.

5. We believe that many are called, but only few are chosen. We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

6. We believe in the same nonviolence that existed in the Primitive Church: “And to those who inquire of us whence we come, or who is our founder, we reply that we are come, agreeably to the counsels of Jesus, to cut down our hostile and insolent swords into ploughshares, and to convert into pruning-hooks the spears formerly employed in war. For we no longer take up sword against nation, nor do we learn war any more, having become children of peace, for the sake of Jesus, who is our leader.” – Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD).

7. We believe that the fruit of the spirit is peace and that through the spirit we may receive the gifts of tongues, prophecy, revelation, vision, healing, interpretation of tongues, to further the cause of justice in the world. We say as Mohandas Gandhi: ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’.

8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is wisely interpreted; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God for it teaches us, through the wars that led to the destruction of its peoples, that we too must lay down our weapons. It stands as a second witness to a last generation of Jews and Gentiles that God is seeking, through us, to restore his covenants of peace before the coming of our brother, teacher and King.

9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. We also believe that the Kingdom of God is to be found within us and that through us, a New Jerusalem – a city of peace and holiness – will be built.

10. We believe that God has restored his covenants, and that all peoples that have been scattered by war, famine and disease, must one day return home under conditions of just return. We also believe that through structures of holiness, in our modern day temples, we are currently being united into one eternal family under the principles of freedom and justice for all; that many Zion communities, exemplar ‘cities on a hill’, must be built upon the American continent, as well as on all other continents and that these model-communities should be reproduced in all places where the hearts are broken and the spirit is contrite; that Christ will, after due preparation of all peoples, reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth must be saved from environmental degradation and that through our conscious efforts to do so we will be able to properly account for our stewardship over this our playground and place of learning.

11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all humanity the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may – but let no man or woman infringe upon the rights of any others. God is no respecter of persons.

12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law, and we believe that civil disobedience is justified when any form of government – be it ecclesiastical, political or economic – would compel us to act contrary to our conscience, or in the case of there being no legal recourse for fighting injustice.

13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men and women; 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 virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

Comments
3 Responses to “The Nonviolent Articles of Faith”
  1. Ted Burgess says:

    Significant that the only “unchanged” article is the thirteenth. Well articulated, even better formulated. Thanks for sharing!

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  1. [...] as the Community of Christ also calls them. I advocated a similar idea in the 9th and 10th nonviolent articles of faith. I am intrigued by how this is conceived by the Community of Christ and in what ways they carry out [...]



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