I mentioned in a previous post that I have problems with organized religion.
Some people may know this, but not others. I was actually involved in the organization of a Restoration church. It began as a group of in-home fellowships, but we received commandments and authority from the Lord to organize the Priesthood. We had apostles, prophets, patriarchs, evangelists, bishops, and all the offices of the Priesthood. We dedicated a small structure like unto Moses’ tabernacle, dedicated it, and administered temple ordinances. We were doing things and having spiritual experiences, and gifts of the Spirit like the early church under Joseph Smith.
There were two things that soured me on the idea of ANY institutional church.
(1) As Priesthood holders, we had visions, revelations, and other gifts of the Spirit that the LDS church could only talk about. Our apostles had true power and authority from Christ.
(2) Some of the members sought after positions of authority, and as soon as they got it, they wanted to organize an institutional church patterned after the LDS church. We slipped into apostasy, almost immediately. They drove the true servants of God out of the church.
I pondered for years what we did wrong. What was the exact moment when we went astray? I finally identified it as the time we officially organized and incorporated under the State of California. We even received a revelation the warned us that we were “following the arm of flesh”, but we ignored it.
But, through it all, I learned to depend on personal revelation. My journals are full of it.
I support the Lord’s definition of His church.
“Those who repent and come to me.” D&C 10:67
This could be an individual, a family, a small group of people holding regular cottage meetings.
This is such an accurate description of the history of our little group, the Lord could have said this of us, not the Nephites.
3 Nephi 27:3 And they said unto him: Lord, we will that thou wouldst tell us the name whereby we shall call this church; for there are disputations among the people concerning this matter.
3 Nephi 27:4 And the Lord said unto them: Verily, verily, I say unto you, why is it that the people should murmur and dispute because of this thing?
3 Nephi 27:5 Have they not read the scriptures, which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name shall ye be called at the last day;
3 Nephi 27:6 And whoso taketh upon him my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved at the last day.
3 Nephi 27:7 Therefore, whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name; therefore ye shall call the church in my name; and ye shall call upon the Father in my name that he will bless the church for my sake.
3 Nephi 27:8 And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses’ name then it be Moses’ church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel.
3 Nephi 27:9 Verily I say unto you, that ye are built upon my gospel; therefore ye shall call whatsoever things ye do call, in my name; therefore if ye call upon the Father, for the church, if it be in my name the Father will hear you;
3 Nephi 27:10 And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it.
3 Nephi 27:11 But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return.