Familiarity can lead to a kind of blindness in life and in religion. The first principles and ordinances of the Latter-day Saint gospel are particularly at risk for misunderstanding through such familiar neglect. In this new book, author Samuel M. Brown offers a fresh focus by asking how our relationships with God and other people can transform our understanding of the gospel basics of faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. By weaving a tapestry of personal stories, scripture, LDS history, and perspectives from other religious traditions, Brown’s theological explorations highlight continuity between the gospel’s first principles and ordinances and the highest ordinances of LDS temple worship. You’ll never read the Fourth Article of Faith the same way again.
First Principles and Ordinances: The Fourth Article of Faith in Light of the Temple is part of the Maxwell Institute’s new “Living Faith” book series.
About the Author
Samuel M. Brown is Assistant Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Medical Ethics and Humanities at the University of Utah and an intensive care physician in the Shock Trauma ICU at Intermountain Medical Center. His award-winning book In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death was published by Oxford University Press in 2012. He is also translator of Aleksandr Men’s Son of Man: The Story of Christ and Christianity (Oakwood Publications, 1998).
“In this rich, thoughtful and sensitive treatment of the Fourth Article of Faith, Brown explores and elucidates ‘shared faith’ as a ‘glorious exercise of agency’ in the face of life’s vicissitudes. A must-read—particularly for those seeking a provocative and trenchant reexamination of the first four (and subsequent) principles of the Mormon faith.”
—Fiona Givens, co-author of The God Who Weeps
“Samuel Brown is a scientist, culturally literate, and a devout Latter-day Saint. He is, moreover, reflective, articulate, and, as he confesses, by nature unruly. What do faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost mean to such a person? He tells us in this wise and sensitive book.”
—Richard L. Bushman, author of Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling
“By describing faith as ‘a kind of active commitment and belonging,’ Samuel Brown provides a refreshing and timely way of thinking about what it means to be a Latter-day Saint. In particular, his discussion of the role of LDS temple worship in cementing divine and mortal bonds is sensitive and startlingly insightful.”
—Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye, University of Auckland
“Hyrum Smith the Patriarch counseled the Saints to ponder and study, again and again, the First principles of the gospel. He assured us that as we do so, deeper insights and meaningful applications would follow. Samuel Brown’s excellent book confirms Hyrum’s charge. The combination of Brown’s discipline, depth, and devotion result in a study that is at once both intellectually stimulating and spiritually inspiring. One thing is for sure: After reading this work, a Latter-day Saint will never see the fourth article of faith in the same way.”
—Robert L. Millet, Ancient Scripture, Brigham Young University
- George Handley, “Review: First Principles and Ordinances: The Fourth Article of Faith in Light of the Temple by Samuel Brown,” Home Waters blog, December 5, 2014.
- Les Blake, “Brown, First Principles and Ordinances: The Fourth Article of Faith in Light of the Temple,” Association for Mormon Letters, December 23, 2014.
- Emily Johnson, “New book examines 4th Article of Faith with depth,” Deseret News, January 29, 2015.
- Steve Evans, “The future of LDS publishing: mini-reviews of three mini-books,” By Common Consent blog, June 13, 2015.
- Russell Stevenson, “Book Review: First Principles and Ordinances: The Fourth Article of Faith in Light of the Temple,” FairMormon blog, June 19, 2015.
- David Banack, “Review: First Principles and Ordinances,” Times and Seasons blog, June 20, 2015.
- Matthew L. Bowen, “Not Leaving and Going On to Perfection,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, August 7, 2015.
- Rachel, “Book Review: First Principles And Ordinances,” Exponent II blog, September 29, 2015.
- Spunky, “Book Review Series: First Principles And Ordinances,” Exponent II blog, November 17, 2015.
- WVS, “Review: First Principles and Ordinances,” By Common Consent blog, December 14, 2015.
- Michael Austin, “Heaven, Hell, and Other People: A Wandering Review,” By Common Consent blog, January 29, 2016.
- Eric Samuelson, BYU Studies Quarterly, December 15, 2016.
- Amazon.com customer reviews.
- Benchmark Books, November 19, 2014.
- FairMormon podcast, December 8, 2014.
- Mormon Matters podcast, December 8, 2014.
- The Cultural Hall podcast, December 15, 2014.
- Shaun Maher, “The Fourth Article of Faith in the Light of the Temple,” Meridian Magazine, April 30, 2015.
- Ryan T., “Scholarly Inquiry: Samuel Brown, Part 1,” Juvenile Instructor blog, September 11, 2015.
- Ryan T., “Scholarly Inquiry: Samuel Brown, Part 2,” Juvenile Instructor blog, September 14, 2015.