Church Doctrine 04, First Principles and Ordinances (The Doctrine of Christ), Beginner Level 100

August 23, 2021

In the summer of 1829, the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation that commanded, “Thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost.” These fundamental principles and ordinances appear throughout the scriptures and are an essential part of “the doctrine of Christ” (2 Nephi 31:2).

By Study

The fourth Article of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints affirms this doctrine: “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (The Pearl of Great Price, The Articles of Faith 1:4.)


Study the following chapters from the Church manual Gospel Principles, which is available free online in electronic form or in hard copy for members at the Church’s online store and for anyone else here (the chapters listed below all have links to the online version) :

Chapter 18: Faith in Jesus Christ

Chapter 19: Repentance

Chapter 20: Baptism

Chapter 21: The Gift of the Holy Ghost

By Faith

“What are the laws and the way by which we receive [the blessing of celestial glory]?” asked Elder Harold B. Lee of the Quorum of the Twelve, who later became the eleventh President of the Church. “Well, we have the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel—faith, repentance, baptism, and the Holy Ghost; and in the kingdom of God there are laws which teach us the way to perfection. Any member of the Church who is learning to live perfectly each of the laws that are in the kingdom is learning the way to become perfect.”[1]


Read 2 Nephi 31 in the Book of Mormon and ponder what you need to do to live more fully the doctrine of Christ. Then set a goal to do one thing that will help you better do so. Seek the Lord’s help in prayer to fulfill your goal.

Credit for the image at top of the page: Stock photo from

Author: Richard E. Turley Jr.

Richard E. Turley Jr. served for twenty-two years as managing director of the Historical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and eight years as Assistant Church Historian and Recorder. He also served as managing director of the Family History, Public Affairs, and Church Communication Departments.

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