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What is Faith?

Learn what faith is including faith in God and Jesus Christ


Sun bursting through clouds
Sasha Weleber
The first three definitions of faith at Dictionary.com state that faith is:
  1. Confidence or trust in a person or thing.
  2. Belief that is not based on proof.
  3. Belief in god or in the doctrines or teachings of religion.
But there's more to faith than these base definitions. So what is faith?

Faith: A Hope For Things Unseen, Which Are True

From the scriptures we learn more about faith:
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).

"Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true" (Alma 32:21).
For true faith to exist a person must have correct knowledge in the person or thing they are exercising faith in. Faith isn't a perfect knowledge, but a correct knowledge.1

Faith: Must be in Jesus Christ

What is faith? True faith must be focused in Jesus Christ, which is the first principle of the gospel.2 Faith that He exists, that He is the Son of God, and that He loves us. For a person to be saved they must have faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Faith: Moves one to Act

Faith is more than just mere belief, and faith is not passive, but is an action word. When a person has faith they choose to act, either mentally or physically.
"And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon..." (2 Nephi 2:26).
Some examples of acting in faith is to pray to God even though you cannot see Him; to repent of your sins, and to be baptized.

Faith: Produces Miracles Through Obedience

Many people have the mistaken belief that if they witnessed a miracle then they would have faith, but this is a deceit of Satan, because miracles do not produce faith. Miracles are produced because of faith, which comes through obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
"And the reason why [God] ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust" (Mormon 9:20).
Miracles can either confirm a righteous believer's faith or are rejected by the wicked.

Faith: Must be Nourished to Live

In the scriptures the prophet Alma compares faith to a seed (see Alma 32:28-43).

Alma teaches that the seed must be planted in the heart and that if it is a good (or true) seed (which we don't cast out because of our unbelief) it will begin "to enlarge [the] soul," "enlighten [our] understanding," and "be delicious to [us]" (Alma 32:28). Then Alma teaches:
"And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit.

"But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.

"Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof" (Alma 32:37-39).
For faith to exist it must be nourished, it must be exercised, it must be used. If faith is not put into practice it will wither up and die.

Faith is a beautiful principle of the gospel and must be developed over time. Increasing our faith, like most gospel principles, is a process, but is of great worth as it leads us to salvation in Jesus Christ.

1. See Alma 32:21,26,29,34
2. See the 4th Article of Faith

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