Friday, May 13, 2011

The Mormon Creed

For no apparent reason, I was leafing through the first LDS almanac, Orson Pratt's Prophetic Almanac for 1845, Being the First After Bissextile or Leap Year (New York: Prophet Office). I noticed some interesting things that Pratt put at the bottom, and one item spread out over several pages caught my eye. The title was "The Mormon Creed", set out in a Q&A arrangement like a catechism.

[EDIT: After a bit more research, I find that I seem to have made a slight error. The title "The Mormon Creed" in fact likely is only applied to the immediately subsequent line, namely, "Let every body mind their own business." It was not uncommon for this sentiment to be dubbed a 'Mormon creed' back during this period. Hence, what follows is actually an untitled LDS catechism of sorts. It was difficult to tell that this was a new item, given the rather cramped and jumbled format of the almanac.]

I reprint the main of it here (the "Q" and "A" are my additions for ease of reading):

Q: What is man?

A: The offspring of God.

Q: What is God?

A: The father of man.

Q: Who is Jesus Christ?

A: He is our brother.

Q: What is man in Embrio [embryo]?

A: He is a helpless babe.

Q: What is man in progress?

A: He is a man.

Q: What is man perfected?

A: He is as Christ; and Christ is as the Father; and they all are one.

Q: How many states of existence has man?

A: He has three.

Q: What is the first?

A: It is spiritual.

Q: What is the second?

A: It is temporal.

Q: What is the third?

A: It is immortal and eternal.

Q: How did he begin to exist in the first?

A: He was begotten and born of God.

Q: How did he begin to exist in the second?

A: He was begotten and born of the flesh.

Q: How did he begin to exist in the third?

A: By the Resurrection of the dead.

Q: What is his final destiny?

A: To be like God.

Q: What has God been?

A: Like man.

Q: What is man without revelation?

A: A vessel in a fog without a compass.

Q: What will man be with the aid of revelation?

A: He will be filled with light; and know and comprehend all things.

Q: What is man's spirit?

A: The candle of the Lord.

Q: How shall it be lighted?

A: By the Spirit of God.

Q: How many Gods are there?

A: "There are lords many, and gods many: but to us there is but one God" [1 Corinthians 8:5-6]

Q: How many heavens are there?

A: They are innumerable.

Q: Where will heaven be?

A: On the earth; and on all other glorified worlds.

Q: What is Mormonism?

A: It is all truth.

Q: How old is it?

A: Without beginning of days or end of years.

Q: What is its destiny?

A: To fill earth and the heavens with light and love.

Q: Who is Joseph Smith?

A: He is Jesus Christ's brother.

Q: From whence is his authority?

A: From Heaven.

Q: What is he sent to do?

A: To let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke.

Q: What kind of success will he meet with?

A: Universal; over the whole world.

Q: Suppose the people try to hinder him?

A: They cannot do it; but will perish.

Q: Why?

A: Because God has sent him.

Q: What are the present forms of political governments?

A: They are the image seen by Nebuchadnezzar.

Q: What are the present forms of Church Government?

A: Spiritual Babylon, or the image of mystery and names of blasphemy seen by John on the Isles of Patmos.

Q: When will the present forms of political and religious government come to an end?

A: In the present age.

Q: By what means?

A: By the kingdom of God, and by the appearance of the Son of God; and a great destruction.

Q: What is the kingdom of God?

A: A theocracy; or, in other words, a kingdom governed by direct revelation from God.

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