What is the Church?

Before I get into some of the other areas of discussion I feel it is important to establish some basic concepts. These center around understanding what exactly the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is.

So let’s dive right in. We’ll start by turning to(if you still use old fashioned paper books) or clicking on(if your into hip, modern, digital books) Doctrine and Covenants 10:67:

67 Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.

As a natural extension of Christ’s doctrine, the Gospel(which consists only of Faith, Repentance, Baptism of Water, and Baptism of Fire and the Spirit), those who repent and come unto Christ are Christ’s church. Notice how it says that “the same IS my church.” Not “the same is in(or part of) my church.” This is an important distinction. Christ’s church is the members. It is not an organization or club that people join. Rather when they live the Gospel they become the church. The church is the people not the structure.

This is a really difficult concept for some to understand. Members of the Corporate Church are used to thinking of the Church as the organization or hierarchy. We ask, “What is the Church’s stand on this issue?” When someone says something like this I always get an image in my mind of Salt Lake City or Temple Square. It is as if we think(or at least I did) that “the Church” is the officials and the leaders. But in reality if we ask that question we are asking what the view of every repentant person, who has come unto Christ, is.

Other times we may view the Church as the building we meet in or the meetings we attend. We can see this as, “Let’s clean the Church,” or “I’m attending Church.” These are all gross misconceptions and undermine the true definition of the church. I have an assignment for you. If you have repented(meaning in the process of repentance) and come unto Christ as stated in section 10 I want you to find a mirror. Now go stand in front of that mirror. Take a good long look at the image you see there. That is the church. YOU…ARE…the church. The church is the people. When people who have repented and come unto Christ meet together that is the church meeting together.

Meetings and Gatherings

Matthew 18:20

20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

This is the church in action. There is no geographical limit to who is in the church. If you gather with others in your home that is a meeting of the church. If you gather with thousands of others, that is a meeting of the church. You don’t have to meet with the permission of anyone else.

If you’ve ever visited LDSAnarchy’s blog you have probably heard about tribal church meetings. This is something that is frequently discussed there. Now I’m not sure if I understand it completely. But let my try to explain what I understand about it.

Basically instead of meeting together under the authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints(TM) people can meet under the authority of the family. Ordinances can be performed for the family. For example and person could be baptized into the tribe this would gain them entrance into the tribe but not the corporate Church.

As I’ve thought about it more and more this is essentially how the church should actually be operating. The church is not the corporation but the people. The priesthood authority to perform valid ordinances resides not in how the Corporate Church dictates how they should be used, but how the scriptures, revelations, and Holy Spirit say they should be used.

I’ll expound on this in later posts, but one example is the Elder’s duty to administer the sacrament. Section 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants says that one of the duties of an Elder is to administer the sacrament. The scriptures do not give additional qualifiers that and Elder must get permission from a Bishop to administer this ordinance. So while the corporate Church may require this permission, an Elder can still perform a valid sacrament ordinance without Church(TM) permission. This is because it is one of his authorized duties.

As I mentioned, in the LDSA model of tribal church meetings people can be baptized into the tribe but not the corporate church. However the scriptures give the duties for priesthood officers. One of them is to baptize, given to elders and priests. But the scriptures do not require that a person have permission from “higher ups” to baptize. But according to Church policy if a priesthood officer is not baptizing with their permission then it is not valid for entrance into the Church(TM). However, I believe that a Priesthood officer, even without permission from corporate Church authority, CAN baptize someone into the church. Why? Because that is what the scriptures say.

Likewise, gatherings of the church(remember that’s the people) may be conducted without the permission of the corporate L-DS Church. The scriptures, revelations, and Spirit give guidance on how such meetings should be conducted.

Congregations and Organization

The scriptures give no geographical or social qualifications for the gathering of congregations. This is unlike the corporate Church. The Church’s leadership defines the boundaries by which wards and branches are determined. This is a top down hierarchical pattern. All elements, branches, districts, wards, stakes, etc. are conglomerated into one large Churchy machine.

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “The Church is the same everywhere you go.” What sets the Church corporation apart from the McDonald’s corporation? In both you can visit their convenient location near you, take part in a meal of little nutritional value, and have it be the exact same experience anywhere around the globe(You know, actually in the Philippines you can get McSpeghetti, and Chicken McDo.).

The scriptures however teach something completely different. In the scriptures congregations themselves are churches.

In section 31 Thomas Marsh is commanded to establish a church.

7 Yea, I will open the hearts of the people, and they will receive you. And I will establish a church by your hand;

What? Thomas is to establish another church organization separate from the one Joseph Smith established? Just like those apostate Strangites or Reorgs. That can’t be!

This demonstrates the true meaning of the church. The true church of Christ is not viewed as one homogenous organization. Rather is it a collective of many individual congregations or churches. Like the seven churches in the New Testament. Christ hadn’t established seven separate church organizations. Instead there were seven independent churches(congregations).

The corporate Church functions on a hierarchy with the ward being subordinate to the stake. The stake is subordinate to an area. An area is subordinate to the Twelve. The Twelve are subordinate to the First Presidency.

However the scriptures, again, give us a completely different picture. Rather all congregations stand on equal footing. They are above the leadership. They are independent in their function and operation. What keeps all these independent churches functioning the same? Why the scriptures of course, and the Holy Spirit. With the Spirit guiding the actions of congregations, huge hundred page Handbooks of Instruction are not needed.

So what determines a congregation? In my opinion a congregation should be determined by whoever wants to attend. In the true church of Christ there is not competition between churches. Money is not distributed based on sacrament meeting attendance. If farmer Joe wants to leave Mr James’ congregation and form his own, why not? As long as the Spirit is guiding his choice. After all, even just two people are enough to make a congregation.

As I sit here pondering this blend of unity and independence I just get this amazing feeling of peace and excitement. And this is part of my solution to the problem that currently plagues the L-DS Church. If you have a desire to continue to attend L-DS church services then that is up to you. I have my own reasons for continuing to attend for the time being. But we must all work to establish our own congregations where the Spirit can manifest itself among us. In Section 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord tells us that Elders are to lead take the lead of meetings by the Spirit. If an Elder is unavailable then a Priest may do so. If a Priest is unavailable then a Teacher may do so. So gather together and have a nice spiritual discussion. If you have an Elder, Priest, or Teacher then let them take the lead of the meeting. It doesn’t even have to be on Sunday. It doesn’t even have to be limited to once a week.

These are just some thoughts for you to consider. I will be addressing this topic again in much more detail in the future. In the meantime your homework assignment is to read Section 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants. Take some notes and we’ll compare them at a later date. What really helps me is to write a one or two line summary of each verse in the Section. It helps me focus on what is being discussed rather than letting my mind wander.

That’s all I have in mind for this post. I just sort of wrote as I went along and it probably shows. But I hope you got something out of it. There are things we can do to function as the church, while the corporate L-DS version of the Church is going off the deep end.

So stay tuned for more information about how we can function as the church.

P.S. I’m hereby declaring a standard when referring to the corporate Church. I will be using either:

the Church™,

the Church(TM),


the Church,

to refer to the corporation that is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I will use:

the church,


the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,

to refer to the church as defined in section 10 verse 67.

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66 Responses to What is the Church?

  1. Ascentury says:

    A related thought I’ve had recently that the corporate Church has twisted: the proper order of baptism is to hear the word (even briefly), be baptized, then be taught the fuller doctrine and organization of the restored gospel, then be confirmed (see D&C 20:68, and consider the example of Phillip and the eunuch in Acts). Very exciting to think about the true order of things.

    • Spektator says:

      A number of years ago, the stake I was in decided to adopt this approach where new converts were not confirmed immediately after baptism. They were to be taught more of the gospel and then confirmed. What transpired was that there was now a new state for a member – BBNC, baptized but not confirmed. It was sad that the majority of the new ‘members’ fell into this. They were baptized, but never confirmed as a member of the church. It was deemed a failure and the practice returned to confirm them immediately.

      God does not alway follow the proforma. When Peter was commanded to extend the gospel to the gentiles, he was led to Cornelius. Upon hearing Peter preach, Cornelius received the baptism by the Holy Ghost before he was baptised by water. The ‘true order of things’ in my opinion is NOT found in standard practices that become rituals without resolve, it is found in following the ‘word of God’ just as Lehi did.

      • Dave P. says:

        At this point in my life I’d love to be in that situation: Baptized for the remission of sins but not forced to join the corporate church as an afterthought.

      • Neal Davis says:

        Were the people being baptized and then falling away requesting baptism of their own free will after being informed of its necessity for salvation, or were they being manipulated into receiving it by missionaries using the commitment pattern?

    • Spektator says:

      I don’t know why you couldn’t have it that way. I have come to believe that the Lord will honor those who approach Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Baptism for the remission of sins requires both baptism by water and baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost as described in 2nd Nephi 31. Christ told the Nephites in 3 Ne chapter 12 that He was the one to baptize with fire – no intermediaries…

      In my stake, the percentage of converts that become active is very low. Whether they were confirmed or not, many quickly become inactive. Yes, they were the products of missionaries. I don’t remember that last time that someone came requesting baptism.


  2. Elder Chantdown says:

    “I just sort of wrote as I went along and it probably shows. “….It is called being guided by the holy spirit….and as far as people getting something out of it….believe me Zo’ we all did.
    I feel I should add second witness to what my brother has testified here in this post. I can testify to the truth of the scriptures as well and I wish to express the extreme unity which formulates and fortifies those who enter into sacred covenants with God and work together to see to the administering of all gospel ordanances as and whenever directed by the holy spirit which is present when individuals come together to read scripture and motivate one another to actually feed the intent and commitment to Christ which all ordanances are designed to bring about.
    It is time to activate tribes in the pure gospel. Myself and the other members of my tribe can speak with one voice and we tell anyone who may read these words that “this amazing feeling of peace and excitement.” which is felt by the original poster is being felt by many worldwide….We are growing in strength and capacity to love. Everyone can find it and experience it for his or herself. We must do it or we will perish along with the corporate church. False churches are just not built to last. Come and in whatever small way you feel….start by taking just a taste of the eternal. I-nity through and in the name of Jesus Christ…Amen.

  3. Once again you nailed it, my friend. This is exactly what I would have written if I had been smart enough and quick enough. Well done. Everyone deserves to read this.

  4. Dave P. says:

    This is something I explained a while back but forgot exactly where. When the Lord speaks of “the only true and living church” in Section 1, He’s not speaking of the corporate institution called LDS Inc. The reason why is in 10:67 as you quoted.

    I get the most dumbfounded looks from people when I tell them (from Parley P. Pratt’s autobiography) that his mission wasn’t to “convert” people to the church, but to preach repentance and the remission of sins for those willing to accept baptism. Back then, baptism wasn’t equated with joining the church. In fact, one woman he healed from behind blind was accosted by her neighbors saying that he’d only done so to make her a Mormon. Her (paraphrased) reply, “He said nothing about becoming a Mormon, but rather taught me the gospel.”

    • zo-ma-rah says:

      This is so true! We read about Alma leaving the church King Noah perverted. When the scriptures talk about what that church taught it says that all they taught was faith and repentance. That is all the church should teach.

      Those are the only things required. Temples, words of wisdom, United Order, etc. should be pursued only as the Spirit dictates to the individual. They should not be required. To do so comes of evil.

      And thus we can see the extreme unifying power of the Fulness of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Uniting together as the church regardless of those personal things the Spirit has taught us is the way to have one faith, on Lord, on baptism. It is not through institutionalizing divisive beliefs such as Plural Marriage, Adam-God, etc.

      • Dave P. says:

        Indeed. I was threatened excommunication by my family today because I publicly disagreed with my bishop (new ward too) today in testimony meeting. I rebuked his words of how we gain testimony through blind obedience and said that a testimony is gained by willfully following the words of the Savior.

      • Dave P. says:

        Correction: Blind obedience to church leaders.

        Apparently all of us young single adults were “where we were supposed to be” by having our records moved into that ward (and others after) without our consent. I wrote a long rant about this on Rock’s blog but I predict that this whole new YSA re-organization will backfire. Even if the YSAs don’t continue to leave the church in droves, it will not end “ward hopping.”

        Anyway, unrelated topic rant over.

      • zo-ma-rah says:

        Way to go Dave. As I said in my post I think that what congregation you are part of should be your own choice.

        I also think that testimony only comes when God wants us to have it. We cannot tell the Holy Spirit to confirm something to us. Only by waiting for the Spirit to come upon us.

      • james says:

        Nicely put. This type of approach could almost help me find excitement for “church” again.

  5. Justin says:

    Not sure if you’ve read this or not, but someone on these blogs [weeping, ldsa, pure mormonism, etc…not sure which one] once turned me to this book which discusses many of these topics from a non-denominational Christian background. It’s given me some things to ponder…

    So, You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore

    … and has given me a few things to consider on my relationship with Christ versus the institution…

  6. ff42 says:

    It is your blog so you of course can use any naming standard you want, but please be aware that Section 10 was written “In the Summer of 1828” before the corporate church was established and they were most likely calling themselves “Church of Christ” at the time. So perhaps “Church of Christ” is probably the most appropriate name for those following D&C 10:67.

    • Dave P. says:

      Actually the institutional church was established in 1830. The corporate church (or rather, the corporation that pretends to be the church) was established in the 1920s by Heber J. Grant (and dissolved by Harold B. Lee in the early 70s, who mysteriously died 5 weeks later and the evidence for it points to murder).

    • zo-ma-rah says:

      Yes. Church of Christ could be equally applicable. My point was to differential between the modern corporate Church and the church that we all are regardless of corporate affiliation.

  7. Justin says:

    Now I’m not sure if I understand it completely. But let my try to explain what I understand about it.

    To add to your exposition of the general concept — the tribe [or family — I’ve found most LDS are more comfortable with that term] and the church are two separate institutions. Though the two groups are completely distinct from each other, since the family is “the basic unit of the church…etc.” — it is considered of primary importance on earth. The gospel is given to be lived by tribes organized as the tribes of Israel.

    The priesthood of God [when authorized by consent] is justified in officiating its duties in either organization. Neither has jurisdiction over the other.

    In the ideal situation — church ties and tribal ties are one and the same. Under the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, entrance into the church of Jesus Christ would entail making the kinship connections with your “ward family” that make each of you truly “brother” or “sister”. The church of Jesus Christ is a “holy nation” — meaning a separate people-group.

    The activation of tribal organization and ordinances [as Elder Chantdown described] is what provides spiritual safety at the time when the church of God is as though there was no redemption made — becoming in fact as enemy to God — [as well as physical protection during the time of government/economic collapse].

    However, I believe that a Priesthood officer, even without permission from corporate Church authority, CAN baptize someone into the church.

    Without the keys of the church authorizing the priesthood of that officer to be used for that purpose — how can the ordinance be valid for the church?

    You’ve probably heard the phrase, “The Church is the same everywhere you go.”

    I have heard that — and I agree with the reference to the McDonald-ization of things — however, I’ve come to learn from discussions online that the Church is largely not the same everywhere.

    Goings-on that people mention in their congregation differ from my own. The enforcing of white shirts, facial hair, and other outward observances by ecclesiastical abusers seems to have a very wide latitude from congregation-to-congregation. There are things that Utah-saints seem to encounter regularly that I have never had happen to me at all.

    However the scriptures, again, give us a completely different picture. Rather all congregations stand on equal footing. They are above the leadership.

    You do see this in the NT — Paul wouldn’t have needed to write all those letters to “the church at such-and-such” if he was in the Quorum of the Twelve. Why didn’t he just address his letter to the Bishop/Stake Pres. of Corinth, etc. — and tell them what he wanted done? Then there would just have been a string of sacrament meeting talks/5th Sunday lessons on the prophetic counsel from Elder Paul.

    Enjoyed the post Zomarah.

    • zo-ma-rah says:

      Thanks for your additional explanation. I agree that in the ideal situation church ties and tribal ties are the same. If all members of a tribe/family have repented and come unto Christ then all members of that tribe/family are the church.

      The reason why I say that I believe a person can baptize without getting a leader’s permission is because there is not scriptural precedent. Section 20 does not say that it is an elder’s calling to baptize, only when given permission from a general authority. Instead it just leaves it as the duty of the elder. While the Church requires permission, there seems to be no such restriction on the church. And since an elder would be baptizing someone into the church and not the Church then it seems that permission from the L-DS Church is not required.

      But I may be completely off base. Stay tuned for my next post, this topic will be covered further. I look forward to hearing your comments.

      • Justin says:

        Section 20 does not say that it is an elder’s calling to baptize, only when given permission from a general authority.

        I agree with that — but the keys of the church [which authorize the priesthood] do not belong to the general authorities.

      • zo-ma-rah says:

        Ok. So you’re saying that an elder can baptize only when his priesthood has been authorized by the church.

      • Justin says:

        The consent keys [called the keys of the church] are given to authorize/direct all action by the priesthood keys for the church.

        Notice, for example, that Joseph and Oliver received the Melchizedek priesthood as just two lone people in the woods. Here is two or three gathered in my name — yet neither of them were authorized to officiate in the duties of the offices within the Melchizedek priesthood [at that time]. Neither of them were ordained to the office of elder [which holds the active keys to administer the sacrament, baptize, lay on hands, etc.] until 6 April 1830 — when the keys of the church voted to ordain them as such [or, in other words, when the keys they received by angelic conferral of the Melchizedek priesthood were activated].

        So you’re saying that an elder can baptize only when his priesthood has been authorized by the church.

        The priesthood given to men in order for them to become voluntary slaves [servants] to all. How can the servant justifiable act beyond the consent of his master?

        The priesthood is given to serve the church — and thus the church [or congregation] decides by vote who gets the priesthood, who’s authorized to use the priesthood, etc.

  8. James says:

    A few questions as I try to understand your perspective.

    -D&C 20:83 speaks of names being “blotted out” of the general church records. Keeping of general church records suggests a church structure with a head organization, no? While I see that there are scriptures (as you have sited) that describe a much more open church organization, there are also many others that suggest the church has leaders over the entire body.

    -So what about Temples? I suppose the BoM isn’t real specific, but do you speculate that the temples in BoM times were not built under the direction and authority of a church leadership body? Is there any need for continuity of temple ordinances between temples or can anyone really build and operate a temple under the direction of the Spirit?

    -And what about Priesthood authority? You suggest that an Elder can baptize without additional permissions. Fine, but does there have to be an unbroken chain of authority to have made him and Elder in the first place? If priesthood authority truly is necessary, then where is the authority today and how ought others be ordained?

    • zo-ma-rah says:

      Now keep in mind I’m not saying there is no form of organization. But we have to remember that the Lord’s way is reversed from the way of the world. Leaders are servants. As you’ll see in probably my next, next post that the idea of a leadership “pyramid” is a completely foreign structure to what is given in the scriptures.

      Now the temples are an interesting subject. And you bring up some questions that i don’t have an answer to immediately. But I find it interesting that in Jerusalem King Solomon ordered the construction of the First Temple. In the America’s Zeniff’s break away reactivated the temple in the land of Nephi.

      I believe there is always need for continuity of ordinances since it is the changing of ordinances is one of the things that leads to apostasy. But you also have to keep in mind that the Lord’s plan for temples is not to have them willy-nilly around the Globe. Temples are to be located in specific cities of Zion. There are twenty-four in Zion. Three sacred structures will be in Kirtland. The Nauvoo Temple, Far West, Adam-ondi-Ahman, Seth, etc. With these temples in such close, proximity relatively speaking, ensuring consistent ordinances shouldn’t be a problem.

      As far as priesthood authority goes I’ll really be bringing this subject up in my next post. But I believe Joseph Smith said that no more ordinations would come from angels. This would then assume that a person today should be able to trace their priesthood “lineage” back to Joseph Smith or Oliver. So we can then speculate that it is possible for this priesthood to continue to be passed down even in the Church’s apostate state. It that is true then we must also consider that the priesthood also continues in the Community of Christ, Strangites, Church of Christ(Temple Lot), and many other “breakaway” sects, even in their apostate state as well. For all that matter the priesthood may even continue in the Catholic Church in it’s Apostate state.

      I would love to hear others’ ideas on the subject. As with what Justin said you should definitely read the post on LDSA “And Alternate View of the Keys”.

      As far as ordination I believe a lot of that is covered in Section 20. But I’ll be discussing it more in a post at a future date.

    • zo-ma-rah says:

      Fred, Thank you for your profound contribution.

  9. Inspire says:

    I find it interesting that Alma the Younger went among the church in Zarahemla and commanded them them to be baptized.

    Alma 5:62 I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the atree of life.

    Wait, if they were members of the church, wouldn’t they have been baptized already? He couldn’t be talking to those who weren’t of age, because isn’t baptism what defines membership into the Church (at least in our culture)? It seems that the deciding factor as to whether someone (even “in” the Church) needs to be baptized or not is whether they have been born again. He even asks a list of questions to know if I am in need of baptism:

    * Have I been spiritually born of God?
    * Have I received His image in my countenance?
    * Have I experienced a mighty change in my heart?
    * Do I exercise faith in Him, and look forward with an eye of faith?
    * Can I imagine the Lord saying to me “Come unto me ye blessed”?

    • Justin says:

      Inspire — good call.

      Alma is probably referring to an ordinance of re-baptism. The LDS Church has long since discontinued such ordinances.

      • Dave P. says:

        Re-baptism is something that will be re-instituted. We have to remember that King Noah and his priests were the leaders of the church at their time and when Alma broke away to form the Church of God, he and all of his followers were baptized for the remission of sins.

        The reason why it will be re-instituted in the future is because of the cleansing of the church mentioned in Section 67. Because the corporate church is so corrupt, the Lord will basically cleanse it by excommunicating everybody and starting over with re-baptism not in order to re-join the church, but for the remission of sins.

  10. Justin says:

    Keeping of general church records suggests a church structure with a head organization, no?

    Actually no — all it suggests is a head record keeper. A top-down androcratic oligarchy is not suggested by the keeping of church records.

    James, I would suggest you check out the alternate view of the keys post at LDSA — it would probably answer some of your confusion with what Zomarah wrote in this post.

  11. Sunlight says:

    It is true that ‘leaders’ are just ‘servants’ to the people & in order to remain worthy of being a leader he/she must do their duty to serve & protect the people & see to their protection, needs & welfare. Protection is any leader’s 1st duty, especially the protection of women from men, more specifically, men’s abuse, control & oppressiveness (usually from a husband). Occasionally a man needs protection from a woman.

    Once everyone is safe leaders can see to other needs, especially & 1st, the needs of the fatherless & widows, like food, shelter, clothes, money, etc.

    If a leader is not doing his/her duty to protect us & serve us, we are under no obligation to listen to them, stay around them, or support them in any way. The burden is on the leader to prove his/her righteousness, not on us to prove our righteousness to them until they 1st prove their righteousness to us by how they serve & protect us.

    If leaders 1st protect & serve us, then they have a right to ask us to join with them in serving others also.

    Priesthood is just plain & simply possessing the ‘pure love of Christ’. Anyone can gain Priesthood power by simply living worthy of this pure love. Anyone can use this love, this Priesthood, to bless & heal & pray for others.

    But to perform sacred eternal ordinances like baptism, eternal marriage, etc, one must be given the authority to use their love (Priesthood power) in that particular ordinance. Without proper ‘authority’ the ordinance would be invalid, even if the person had Priesthood power because they possessed pure love.

    Once someone is given ‘authority’ to use their ‘power’ (their love), they could later lose their ‘power’, (their love) & yet not lose their ‘authority’ to perform valid ordinances or to pass on such authority to others.

    Thus even wicked men who have been given Priesthood ‘authority’ can perform baptisms & marriages & pass on the same authority & it all still will be valid. Even though they haven’t an ounce of Priesthood power (pure love) because of their wickedness.

    But, using Priesthood ‘authority’ without really having Priesthood ‘power’ (pure love), condemns the person & they lose their Exaltation. But only the person themselves usually knows if they are worthy or not, or their righteous spouse also usually knows if they are really worthy or not, but only a rare leader seems to have the spirit to discern their worthiness.

  12. Definitely food for thought, Sunlight. Very rarely do we recognize that the power of the priesthood operates only on pure love.

  13. Porter says:

    Great post. I can only imagine the first presidency letters that will be read in sacrament meeting warning members not to affiliate with these evil “tribes” or “families” if this approach really caught on. I like the idea of gathering together informally as followers of Christ and really studying the scriptures with the aid of the Spirit — as opposed to a Church-approved lesson manual.

    But the biggest problem I see with this whole concept is the Temple (as you acknowledge above). The Church still has a monopoly on entry and restricts recommends to those who sustain Church leadership, which you clearly do not. You acknowledged above that you are still working on this issue. Let me know when you figure it out, then I’m all in.

    So how many hits are you getting on your posts these days? Unfortunately I believe you and Rock Waterman are way out on the fringes; voices crying in the wilderness. Your ideas resonate with all thinking saints (at least the ones who read these blogs) but by its very nature this would have to be an organic movement, not a formal organization. Do you think it could really happen?

    • Dave P. says:

      Porter, I have some great news for you: The Lord is making His move in regards to cleansing the church. It began in 1999 when the tornado that hit downtown SLC fulfilled the prophecy of the cleansing of the Lord’s house beginning with a whirlwind found in Section 87 and with people like Rock and Zomarah helping others to wake up, we take each step closer to the inhabitants of Zion judging and removing false apostles/prophets/bishops/counselors prophesy in Section 63.

      As for the temples issue, it will be interesting to hear other takes on this, but I’ve also mentioned before that every temple since Kirtland’s has been cursed. The Kirtland temple is the only one accepted by the Lord and, also of note, is that it is the only one open to the public. When Brigham Young changed the temple ordinances in Nauvoo (and excommunicated William Smith after he called him out on it), he fulfilled Section 124:47-48.

      Another interesting thing to note is that Howard W. Hunter was preparing to propose a change to the temples in that baptisms for the dead would be removed and done in stake centers. I haven’t found out if a recommend would have been necessary or not. But in terms of the LDS Inc’s monopoly on temples, that approach has cost the church its tax exempt status in England (at least for the London temple) as it cannot be considered a “public” place of worship.

  14. Sunlight says:

    Dave P.,

    I agree the cleansing is happening in the Church. But if the Lord does not come very soon, there will be no one left to save in the Church, for it is so rare even now to find someone who still believes in being valiant in their covenants & their testimony of Christ.

    I was wondering where someone might find out what changes to the temple Brigham Young made in Nauvoo that you mentioned? And where it talks about William Smith opposing him. Thanks.

    • Dave P. says:

      I’m still searching for what the original endowment in Kirtland was like, but Zomarah has already chronicled what he found about it, so my search hasn’t been very intense. I first learned about the changes Brigham Young made through the websites run by Steve and Karen Davis. I was practically blown away by the claims they made, but as I read the spirit simply continued to urge me to “Keep reading. Keep reading.” Thus I’ve spent the past few months getting to know them, find out if their claims are true, and understand their mission.

      Through them I got my hands on reprints of the original Book of Mormon and Book of Commandments. I’m also reading or have read several other books mentioned on their sites (the Nag Hammandi scriptures, Joseph Smith’s Personal Writings, books by D. Michael Quinn, etc.) and can definitely say I have learned far more since this past December than I have in years attending Sunday meetings.

      You can start here: http://www.mormonstruth.org/AttGeneral.html

    • Dave P. says:

      You’ll also find this interesting. William Smith reports the following as a revelation given to him in 1847: http://www.olivercowdery.com/smithhome/BroBill/wmwrite.htm#1848-00a

      And I quote the most important sentence: “Now as the Temple has not been built according to the pattern given to my servant Joseph, I will not accept therof[sic] until the atonement be made and my people hearken to my counsel: so let all very saints be sober and watch unto prayer, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord, for my coming is nigh even at your doors”

    • Spektator says:

      I carry a bookmark in my triple that has this quote from Joseph Smith:

      “…for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people, for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear His voice, must expect to feel His wrath.”

      I hope not to be so narrowly focused that I miss what God does to provide the correction. I doubt it will come from within the church. More likely, there will be an ‘organic’ movement that brings the fulness of the gospel to a small group of people who can indeed be purified because – Zion is the pure in heart.

      • Spektator, does that bookmark include the cite for that?

      • zo-ma-rah says:

        I found it in “Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.”

      • Spektator says:

        It is indeed in the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 18.

        A more complete reading is found in the History of the Church, Volume 1, chapter 22 (page 316).


      • Spektator says:

        Another note on the location of the quote from Joseph Smith in the History of the Church. The same letter contains a reference to ‘weeping for Zion.’ I don’t know if that is where Dan got the inspiration for the name of his blog but it does strike the same chord.


      • Spek, concerning “weeping for zion,” there’s also D&C 21: 8:

        Yea, his weeping for Zion I have seen, and I will cause that he shall mourn for her no longer; for his days of rejoicing are come unto the remission of his sins, and the manifestations of my blessings upon his works.

        That’s how I came up with the title of this post. Perhaps Dan did the same.

      • Spektator says:

        Here is the full text of Joseph Smith’s letter to Brother William Phelps dated January 14, 1833, as found in the same location (History of the Church, Vol. 1, chapter 22, pp. 316-7

        “Brother William W. Phelps:
        I send you the “olive leaf” which we have plucked from the Tree of Paradise, the Lord’s message of peace to us, for though our brethren in Zion indulge in feelings towards us, which are not according to the requirements of the new covenant, yet, we have the satisfaction of knowing that the Lord approves of us, and has accepted us and established His name in Kirtland for the salvation of the nations; for the Lord will have a place whence His word will go forth, in these last days, in purity; for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved of in all things in His sight, He will seek another people, for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear His voice, must expect to feel His wrath. Let me say unto you, seek to purify yourselves, and also all the inhabitants of Zion, lest the Lord’s anger be kindled to fierceness. Repent, repent, is the voice of God to Zion; and strange as it may appear, yet it is true, mankind will persist in self-justification until all their iniquity is exposed, and their character past being redeemed, and that which is treasured up in their hearts be exposed to the gaze of mankind. I say to you (and what I say to you I say to all) hear the warning voice of God, lest Zion fall, and the Lord sware in His wrath the inhabitants of Zion shall not enter into His rest.
        The brethren in Kirtland pray for you unceasingly, for knowing the terrors of the Lord, they greatly fear for you. You will see that the Lord commanded us, in Kirtland, to build a house of God, and establish a school for the Prophets, this is the word of the Lord to us and we must, yea, the Lord helping us, we will obey; as on conditions of our obedience He has promised us great things, yea, even a visit from the heavens to honor us with His own presence. We greatly fear before the Lord lest we should fail of this great honor, which our Master proposes to confer on us; we are seeking for humility and great faith lest we be ashamed in His presence. Our hearts are greatly grieved at the spirit which is breathed both in your letter and that of Brother Gilbert’s, the very spirit which is wasting the strength of Zion like a pestilence; and if it is not detected and driven from you, it will ripen Zion for the threatened judgments of God. Remember God sees the secret springs of human action, and knows the hearts of all living. Brother, suffer us to speak plainly, for God has respect to the feelings of His Saints, and He will not suffer them to be tantalized with impunity. Tell Brother Gilbert that low insinuations God hates; but He rejoices in an honest heart, and knows better who is guilty than he does. We send him this warning voice, and let him fear greatly for himself, lest a worse thing overtake him; all we can say by way of conclusion is, if the fountain of our tears be not dried up, we will still weep for Zion. This from your brother who trembles for Zion, and for the wrath of heaven, which awaits her if she repent not.
        [Signed] JOSEPH SMITH, JUN.

        P. S.–I am not in the habit of crying peace, when there is no peace; and, knowing the threatened judgments of God I say, Wo unto them who are at ease in Zion; fearfulness will speedily lay hold of the hypocrite. I did not suspect you had lost the commandments, but thought from your letters you had neglected to read them, otherwise you would not have written as you did.
        It is in vain to try to hide a bad spirit from the eyes of them who are spiritual, for it will show itself in speaking and in writing, as well as in all our other conduct. It is also needless to make great pretensions when the heart is not right; the Lord will expose it to the view of His faithful Saints. We wish you to render the Star as interesting as possible, by setting forth the rise, progress, and faith of the Church, as well as the doctrine; for if you do not render it more interesting than at present, it will fall, and the Church suffer a great loss thereby
        [Signed] J. S. JUN.”

        I would assume that it would fit with the tenor that both LDSA and Dan ascribe in their writing regarding weeping for Zion.


  15. Jen says:

    Interesting thoughts… Thanks for sharing.

  16. zo-ma-rah says:

    @ Sunlight: As far as changes made by Brigham Young there are only two or three I can really identify. First was the addition of the Law of Vengence. The second I recently discovered was the addition of Peter, James, and John. I think I learned this from Rock. I didn’t notice it before, but it does fit with the earliest accounts. The third, as some people claim, is that Brigham Young added references to the Adam-God doctrine. But I tend to stay away from the Adam-God doctrine right now. The fact is the earliest account of the Nauvoo Endowment comes from Brigham Young. And all of the other earliest accounts come from Brigham Young’s time. So I suggest consulting with the Spirit on wether or not the Nauvoo Endowment is something that is important to you. Since the Nauvoo Endowment is not part of the Gospel(3 Nephi) then it’s value is somethimg you nee dto determine personally. I personally find it valuable and await the day I will be able to participate in it more pure form. You can read more in this post: https://zomarah.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/i-love-to-see-the-temple-part-2/

    As far as the design of the Nauvoo Temple, it was only completed to the basement by the time Joseph died. Brigham changed the design above that especially the attic and watchtower. I personally do believe that these changes were a deviation from a given pattern. I mention it briefly about halfway down this post: https://zomarah.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/twelve-olive-trees/ I also find it significant that the Nauvoo Temple was burned down and so completely destroyed that eventually there was nothing left standing. While at the same time the Kirtland temple has survived just fine. And by the way a shout out to the excellent work of the Community of Christ in preserving the Kirtland Temple. I hope to be able to visit someday and worship within it’s walls.

  17. zo-ma-rah says:

    @ Porter: Well whenever any of us who meet the qualification of D&C 10 meet together in a spiritual fashion it is a meeting of the church. In relation to the temple thing. One big reason the Saints wanted to finish the Kirtland Temple was so they coud stop meeting outside. The Saints of the early Christian church used to meet in people’s homes for their worship services. So I would say that we too as the church can have our own formal meetings anywhere. But maybe I’m miss reading your use of teh word formal. I’m thinking something more like official or unofficial. Since we are the church our meetings are just as official as any other group. Dare I say if our meetings are conducted as directed by the scriptures and the Spirit then our meetings are even more official than L-DS meetings. Don’t worry Justin I haven’t forgotten about the Keys of the church.

    Now about the temples. the Church does control entry into the temples. However there is somthing important to recognize. A few months ago I made a list of all the temples that are important in the scriptures. I then wrote next to each one who(or which sect) controls those temples. I’ll reproduce the list here:

    Presidency Temple in Zion – Corner Markers Laid – Lot owned by Church of Christ(Temple Lot)
    Other 23 Temples in Zion – Unbuilt – Lots owned by various sects
    Kirtland Temple – Built – Owned by Community of Christ
    Two other sacred building in Kirtland – Unbuilt – ?
    Nauvoo Temple – Partially Built – L-DS Church, today a incorrect reconstruction of an incorrect design stands. (I personally believe that this temple must be thrown down and one after the correct pattern built in it’s place)
    Far West Temple – Corner stone laid – L-DS church(If they built it do you think they would use the original cornerstone? Or put it in a visitor center somewhere and use concrete instead)
    City of Seth Temple – Unbuilt – ?
    Adam-ondi-Ahman Temple – Unbuilt – L-DS Church
    Zarahemla Temple – Unbuilt – ?
    Voree Temple – Construction Started – ?
    Third Temple in Jerusalem – Unbuilt – Muslims

    Some of these are not directly mentioned in scripture. Seth is only known from historical records. Voree was another place of refuge that Joseph planned The Strangites tried settling in this area. According to Joseph Smith there were to be twelve Stakes of Zion(Cities) beginning to be established. Then the enemy would stop their growth. Then they would be built again before the Temple and City in Zion is built. Read section 101. I believe that they were established during Joseph’s time. Then with the Succession Crisis the enemy destoryed or halted their progress. Today we must begin to rebuild them first before we begin building the City in Zion. I look at them like preperatory places where we can begin to establish ourselves and God’s laws. Then after we have purified ourselves and become the Pure in heart we can build the City of Zion. that’s where the Spirit is pushing me right now anyway.

    Anyway, you’ll notice that none of these important temple are ANY of the 134+ temples of the L-DS church. The fact is that the practice of building temples around the world outside of Cities of Zion is an incorrect one. I could go on about L-DS temples not being used for their correct purposes but just read my second comment on this post: https://zomarah.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/far-west-temple/ But the fact is that the L-DS Temples are really unimportant. Yes, I have had learning experiences within the walls but everything is so watered down and distorted that I often am distracted by finding contradiction. I maintain my temple recommend because my wife would be negatively effected if I lost it. But I can’t wait to worship within the walls of an approved temple. And as you can see by the list the L-DS church only controls a few locations. We should be significantly involved in getting some of the other locations and building temples thereon. Someday we will be able to get them all. I also think it’s important to not that for a time the Nauvoo Endowment was performed in the Red Brck store. For those who accept the Nauvoo Endowment we may be able to perform it in its more pure form at other locations until a temple is available. Likewise the Kirtland endowment could be performed elsewhere. But these are all things everyone should consult with the Spirit and determine for themselves.

    On Sunday I got 350+ views. That’s the most I’ve ever had. Then Monday I got over 300 views I think. I owe it to Rock for helping to speard the word.

    yes I agree that it will be a very organic movement and in many aspects not a formal organization. The Gospel is only Faith, Repentence, Baptism of Water, and Baptism of Fire and the Spirit. This leaves a LOT of room for differences on things like Nauvoo Endowment, Adam-God, Plural Marriage, etc. The important thing is that we recognize the each person should approach those topics to determine their relevence to themselves. And then we must also respect God’s direction in the lives of each person. Dave P. might not accept the Nauvoo Endowment, while I do. I don’t approach the Adam-God doctrine, while other may strongly believe it. God will direct us each individually for our own edification. We must be willing to follow that direction and allow others to follow the course God directs them in.

    Therefor we may see some people particpate in the Anointed Quorum while others do not want to. Or some may wish to participate in a Nauvoo Legion. There will be a great many aspects to this movement and each person should find what God wants them to participate in. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. that’s how I see it as organic anyway.

    • Tom says:

      Congrats on the viewership. I remember when you were a wee little youngster… 😉

      I admit, my views have changed a bit since my blog days. And, with that in mind, what you stated when you said really resonates with me:

      “The Gospel is only Faith, Repentence, Baptism of Water, and Baptism of Fire and the Spirit. This leaves a LOT of room for differences on things like Nauvoo Endowment, Adam-God, Plural Marriage, etc. The important thing is that we recognize the each person should approach those topics to determine their relevence to themselves. And then we must also respect God’s direction in the lives of each person. Dave P. might not accept the Nauvoo Endowment, while I do. I don’t approach the Adam-God doctrine, while other may strongly believe it. God will direct us each individually for our own edification. We must be willing to follow that direction and allow others to follow the course God directs them in.”

      I think that’s true, and it explains why I find more resonance with some writers than others. One of the big issues I see is that we Mormons like to make EVERYTHING a part of the Gospel: pornography, HT/VT, temples, prophets, apostles, tithing, fast offerings, BYU football, etc. When, in fact, it’s as simple as you suggest.

      I was just over at W&T reading something and it reminded me of the beauty of Romans 14, which dovetails nicely with what you wrote:

      12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

      13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a astumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

      14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.“

      … in reading that, it reminds me that each of our journeys are individual. We, like Venn diagrams, share certain aspects here and there (sometimes more), but we’re also mostly unique and God wants me to connect to Him directly, in my own way, not in yours or Dave’s or Justin’s or Rock’s or any other way.

      Relish it. Enjoy it. Prosper with it.

      Happy journeys.

  18. zo-ma-rah says:

    @ Dave P: In this post: https://zomarah.wordpress.com/2011/04/07/it%e2%80%99s-conference-once-again-commentary/ that you may have read I talk about where baptisms for the dead were acceptable. Prior to the ending of the time to complete the temple they were acceptable anywhere. However after that given time they are only acceptable in:

    Stakes of Zion
    Places the Lord has appointed for a refuge.

    They are not acceptable by the Saints scattered abroad. Since stakes in the L-DS Church today do not qualify as Stakes of Zion then L-DS temples are either places appointed for refuge or stakes scattered abroad. Of all the L-DS temple possibly Salt Lake is the only one that could have been appointed for a refuge. That leaves the rest as scattered abroad. So only Baptisms for the Dead performed in the Salt Lake Temple would be valid. But then again I may be completely off.

    @ Spektator
    : That’s crazy. I’m hoping too look more into the confirmation vs. Baptism of Fire and the Spirit. Receipt of the Holy Spirit through laying on of hands is approved by scripture. However it is clear that the Holy Spirit coming upon someone is independant of laying on of hands. So why is laying of of Hands of the gift of the Holy Ghost necessary and what does it do?

    I love that quote by Joseph Smith. It is very true and proof that the L-DS Church can(more like has) gone astray. Likewise I think John the Baptist’s statement that God can raise children of Abraham from these stones is likewise indicative that formality is not always followed by God.

  19. belledame2 says:

    If we have a structure like this, then how hre we to botain our endowments, especially the women so they can get the Melchizedek Priesthood?

    • Dave P. says:

      Simple: Endowments are not necessary. Jesus Christ taught that baptism is the only saving ordinance. From what I know, the endowment as practiced in Kirtland was more of a purification ritual for missionaries before they departed. I could well be wrong as I don’t have the direct information handy.

      As for the priesthood: It is received at baptism. Both blacks and women were recognized as priesthood holders in the early days of the church as soon as they were baptized. The ordination to a particular office in the priesthood was done based upon the spiritual gifts that an individual had. There was no “advancement through the ranks” like there are today.

      • zo-ma-rah says:

        The Kirtland Endowment was originally intended to be received annually. Although in practice that didn’t happen. But I believe you are correct in that it was more of a purification thing.

        Could you give some references to the Priesthood after Baptism thing. I’m not doubting you I would just like to study more myself.

        You are absolutely correct about the ordination being done based upon gifts. The “advancement through the ranks” is a really stupid thing. As if the duties of a Deacon are less than an Elder.

      • Dave P. says:

        That information can be found here: http://www.mormonstruth.org/key.html

  20. Spektator says:

    From Zo-ma-rah:

    “@ Spektator: That’s crazy. I’m hoping too look more into the confirmation vs. Baptism of Fire and the Spirit. Receipt of the Holy Spirit through laying on of hands is approved by scripture. However it is clear that the Holy Spirit coming upon someone is independant of laying on of hands. So why is laying of of Hands of the gift of the Holy Ghost necessary and what does it do?”

    The examples of being baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost in the scriptures don’t include the laying on of hands. An example of this is the people of King Benjamin or the 300 Lamanites in Helaman 5. I spent a lot of time a few year ago trying to understand the relationship between confirmation and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost or as D&C 20:41 states:

    “And to confirm those who are baptized into the church, by the laying on of hands for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, according to the scriptures;”

    What I came to is based on Moroni 6:4 which states that a member must be ‘wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost’ BEFORE they are accepted into the church. Today, we follow the ritual of a confirmation with the ‘command’ to receive the Holy Ghost but it seems to be a hollow gesture to satisfy the above scripture. We have redefined the gift of the Holy Ghost to be this constant imperceptable companion.

    I believe that the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is a singular event in our lives that changes us radically. I believe, as stated in 2 Nephi 31:17-18, that it is the gate to the strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life. A gate is an entry point, in this scripture, to the path to eternal life; as in Moroni 6, an entry point into the church of Christ.

    So, I would suggest that viewing confirmation as the entry point into the church of Christ, one must assume that it is tied directly to the sanctifying baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. I currently believe that the automatic confirmation performed on those who are recently baptized is yet another example of an straying from the ordinances (D&C 1:15).

    Christ taught the Nephites that after one receives the ordinance of baptism from one of the disciples, “I will baptize you with fire and with the Holy Ghost” (3 Ne. 12:1). Later, in 3 Ne. 18:37, Christ gave the disciples the ‘power to give the Holy Ghost.’ I believe that the disciples were then in a position to bestow the second baptism on new converts. They did this under the direction of the Holy Ghost. When this was done, the new members were truly ‘confirmed’ by the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost. This can be done either directly from Jesus Christ or through the laying on of hands by one directed by the Holy Ghost.

    As always, this perspective is subject to the further light and knowledge the Lord has offered us…


  21. Toni says:

    “Alma 5:62 I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life.”

    I understand this to read as follows: “And now I, Alma, do command you in the language of him who hath commanded me, that ye observe to do the words which I have spoken unto you. I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church” end of thought. New thought: “and unto those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life.” The members are being commanded to observe the words he has just spoken; however, the nonmembers are being invited to be baptized.

    Spektator, I’d like to give you a triple thumbs-up on this statement: I carry a bookmark in my triple that has this quote from Joseph Smith: “…for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people, for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear His voice, must expect to feel His wrath.”

    Zomarah, I want to make sure I understand you (the original post): Are you saying that the leaders in the church (general leaders) have no authority or right to set in order the separate congregations? Alma, as you recall, was the leader “And it came to pass that Alma was appointed to be the first chief judge, he being also the high priest, his father having conferred the office upon him, and having given him the charge concerning all the affairs of the church. Mosiah 29:42. And he went to several places: Zarahemla, Gideon, Melek, Ammonihah, etc. He was calling them to repentance, as well as setting in order their churches. The people in Ammonihah were not part of this church organization – “now we know that because we are not of thy church we know that thou hast no power over us” (Alma 8:12) but their statement shows that there was one main church organization and Alma (like many other prophets) felt compelled to set in order/preach to member congregations and nonmember alike.

    Anyway, could/would you please clarify what you consider the role of those God calls as prophets, etc.? Do you consider President Monson and the other general authorities as having authority from God, as our leaders? (I do, even though I know they are not perfect and even though I do believe that the Church (TM) shouldn’t have the power over individual lives that it seems to have at the moment. – but I want your opinion and clarification about this).

  22. zo-ma-rah says:

    What I mean is that it should not be up to servantleaders to set in order congregations. Congregations should take the initiative and organize themselves. But people being what they are servantleaders may need to aid in setting up congregations or helping congregations follow the pattern set forth in scripture. Additionally prophets or revelators may receive messages that need to be share with congregations.

    Now keep in mind that God wills that all his people are prophets. And the testimony of Christ is the Spirit of prophecy. When anyone receives revelation they are acting as a prophet. There is no difference between this gift and the gift that servantleaders have. I’ve already defined prophet, revelator, etc.’s roles in this post. But in short all prophets, etc. do is preach messages they receive from God. Prophets can be anywhere and there can be more than one at any given time.

    A great problem comes when we conflate the roles of prophets and the roles of officers of the church. I’m not saying you are, you just asked me to explain my views. The role of President of the High Priesthood is an office in the church and has no inherent ties to prophecy, revelation, etc. The only time a President of the church is a prophet, seer, revelator, and translator is if they already were one and brought those gifts with then into the office of President of the Church.

    I believe that the people of L-DS Church sustain the leadership. By doing so this gives the leadership authority over them. I believe God respects the consent of the members so he also respects the leaders of the Church(TM). I believe God gives revelation to leaders of the Church(TM). But as spoken of in Ezekiel 14 it is given according to their idols. Since leaders seem to just accept that the Church is organized how it is and don’t stop to ask if it should be that way, then God reveals thing to them on how to fulfill their duties in it’s current state. But I believe this is universal. God reveals the Pope how to act in his roles. Or any other type of leader. All is revealed according to their idols. So what we/they should be doing is looking to the scriptures and asking the right questions. Questions that help strip away our/their idols.

    Lineal succession is not vitally important to me since God can raise children of Abraham from these stones. But even if it were the L-DS Church can only lay claim to the succession of the majority of the Quorum of the Twelve. They cannot claim the office of the President of the Church.

    But additionally we must understand that the church is all those who repent and come unto Christ. The members of the L-DS Church are just one part of the church. While the L-DS Church has leaders that does not mean that they are the servantleaders of the church as a whole. The Community of Christ likewise has leaders. Same with the Church of Christ(Temple Lot) or the Strangites. Whose corporate sect has the correct leaders for the church as a whole? Or are they all wrong together? Must the church as a whole elect new church officers to lead the church as a whole? What about those people who are part of the church but do not recognize that their faction is only part of the greater whole? Those are my questions. I hope I clarified.

  23. Toni says:

    I see. Good points. You have clarified yourself very well. Thank you.

    For myself, I have come to similar conclusions about the President of the High Priesthood. I really want to view all of this from God’s point of view, but I am sure that he doesn’t see things from a “mainstream” point of view.

  24. Toni says:

    I just wanted to add that I think the general membership of the church seems to have a bit of a worshipful attitude toward the general leadership of the church. I have even seen threads on forums that asked who would “follow the prophet” if he (the president) told everyone to vaccinate their children. The ones who replied that they had already gotten their answer from the Spirit and what the president said would not change that were really a shock to those who thought they should mindlessly follow and if bad things happened, they would be blessed.

    The “infallibility of the prophet” is really unkind to the president of the church because it presupposes that he no longer has freedom to choose, don’t you think? Everyone is subjected to bad choices no matter who they are.

    I do believe this church has the authority to perform the ordinances and that the offshoots don’t, but that doesn’t mean the Lord is pleased with the things that are happening. In some posts (perhaps those on LDSA or elsewhere), I came across the idea that anyone who wanted to be baptized should be, even if they don’t come to church or even if they smoke or drink. At first, that was a shock to me, but then I began thinking about it. If it wasn’t a numbers game, anyone who expressed a sincere desire to be baptized ought to be welcome to do it. If they want to fellowship with like-minded people, great. But now I’m getting into other subjects; things that I don’t quite understand (for example, how can one be baptized by one having authority from the restoration yet still be a Catholic, Baptist, or Born Again?).

  25. Jen says:

    Great post.

    How about even just “The Church of Jesus Christ”? I’m so very tempted, following a missionary’s example years ago, to just call it that. Perhaps then there wouldn’t be the problem of worrying about being called a member of the “Church of the Latter-day Saints”. At least for me, it would allow a better sense of belonging to Christ than a group of people. Just some random opinions though. Thanks for the post!

  26. Margo says:

    Zomarah, thank you so much for writing this! These exact same things you have been writing about have been weighing upon my mind and heart heavily. Since coming out from under the law I see everything different….especially in the church and the spirit is bringing me to the same understandings that you have mentioned of what the church is and what it is not. It is a very hard thing and transition to see these things clearly and to see that the church I belong to is no longer serving my needs….yet I am still seeking personal revelation on this and what I should do. The scriptures you have given are truth in what the real and true church is, and yes when done in this manner as given to us in scripture it is truly edifying and freeing of the heart and mind in how to worship our God! Yes it is exciting! This is how things should be done. I will go back and read D&C 20 to glean other spiritual insights and I look forward to you posting more about this!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Very Enlightening. Before the last Young Women’s Presidency split, I felt that they were compelled to discontinue the use of the YW’s handbook, and create, well another “handbook” online haha. But I feel that they were led by the Spirit to create a guide to be used as a “suggestion” to the lesson to be taught with more emphasis to call upon the Spirit to Guide us in our preparation to teach. Not being well knowledgable in the scriptures, I’ve chosen to use the scriptures to search through and find what I needed for my lessons. I found that the lessons where I felt prompted by the Spirit to know what to teach brought the Spirit more profoundly than when I followed the handbook alone.
    I had a question concerning the baptism portion. If we would not need permission for baptism, they still would be recorded though, right? For the sake of temple work, I would need to know whether or not Sue or Jack was baptized. You’re emphasizing just that it is not necessary for hierarchal permission to baptize….
    Btw I love the idea of less micromanager status on a congregation. It almost makes you feel..light. lol
    Thanks ahead,

  28. Truth Seeker says:

    I too have come to differentiate the Church from the church in the very same way (before ever reading anything on this subject). I also use Church for the corporation and church for those that fall under D&C 10:67. To me the church even has non-Christians in it: Those that live as Christ would have us live when they don’t even know who Christ is or are atheist or agnostic. I see Christ appropriating all those who live his law of love.

    To me Matthew 25 is a representation of the church or as the chapter clearly states it the Kingdom of Heaven/the Kingdom of God. The oil and the talents in the parables are nothing more than the increase (works and additional truths) we have to show for the truths the Lords has entrusted to us. The third and last parable in Matthew 25 is clearly showing how the Lord will separate His church from the Church.

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