Prepared by the Prophet Joseph Smith
Delivered to the School of the Prophets in Kirkland, Ohio (1834-35).
(An Extract from pages 38-39).
“In the second lecture it was shewn how it was that the knowledge of the existence of God came into the world, and by what means the first thoughts were suggested to the minds of men that such a Being did actually exist; and that it was by reason of the knowledge of his existence that there was a foundation laid for the exercise of faith in him, as the only Being in whom faith could center for life and salvation; for faith could not center in a Being of whose existence we have no idea, because the idea of his existence in the first instance is essential to the exercise of faith in him. Romans 10:14: “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (or one sent to tell them?) So, then, faith comes by hearing the word of God.
“Let us here observe, that three things are necessary in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation.
“First, the idea that he actually exists.
“Secondly, a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes.
“Thirdly, an actual knowledge that the course of life which he (meaning any rational and intelligent being) is pursuing is according to His (God’s) will.
“For without an acquaintance with these three important facts, the faith of every rational being must be imperfect and unproductive; but with this understanding it can become perfect and fruitful, abounding in righteousness, unto the praise and glory of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
(Italics and color added for emphasis.)