What Does Christ's Church Look Like Today?
The First Presidency of the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has prepared a series of short articles about some of the key points we think are important for you to consider as you contemplate Christ’s Church today. We hope that you will read through them.
We believe that the Remnant Church has been commissioned to help you become a citizen in God’s kingdom by providing the fullness of the gospel and a divine community.
We proclaim that the church should have a strong rudder to guide it and that God should be that rudder. We also proclaim that there is a mediator between God and the church. It is the Messiah, Jesus Christ. We have also been provided with the Holy Spirit to speak to us and thus guide us.
The church is made up of people. Those people need a connection with heaven to provide those directions, the admonitions, the priesthood calls, the messages from God, and fellowship to keep us focused on the goal God desires for us.
To help understand this thought, the First Presidency of the Church has written this series of articles covering the topics we hope you will be interested in as you explore some of the key points we think are important.
We believe that the purpose of this life on earth is to live in such a manner that we will be prepared to live in God’s Kingdom with him.
The First Presidency of the Remnant Church hope that you enjoy this series of short articles about some of the points we think are important for you to consider as you contemplate Christ’s Church today. The subject for this article is our belief that the gospel of Jesus Christ was taught from the beginning of man.
We believe that the purpose of this life on earth is to live in such a manner that we will be prepared to live in God’s Kingdom with him. To do this, we must make a very important decision: to choose God, and along with that, have a desire to live with Him forever in His Kingdom, or to make the choice to live for ourselves in this world, thus making ourselves a god. To help us on this journey, we need to accept the atoning work of His Son, Jesus Christ; and, to learn to listen to His Holy Spirit. We believe that even Adam and Eve, and their children, were taught this very important principle.
In the Book of Mosiah, 1:90, we read:
“And if they hold out faithful to the end, they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never ending happiness.”
We believe that this happiness is what God wants for us in this life and eternally, whether you were Adam and Eve, or in today’s world.
Again, from the Book of Mosiah, 1:119 through 120, we read:
“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been, from the fall of Adam, and will be, for ever and ever; But if he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man, and becometh a saint, through the atonement of Christ, the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”
In the above scriptures, three holy entities are mentioned: God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son, and the Holy Spirit. We affirm that they are real and that they have existed from the beginning. We believe that they have and will communicate with us to help us return to Him. Again, we believe that God created this place we call Earth for our mortal life in order that we might experience this physical existence and make that choice. And yet, even as we believe that they communicate with us and lead us to that which is good, we also believe that our mortal life is separated from them by a thin veil which allows us to make our own choices as we strive to return to our Heavenly Father in His Kingdom. The choice is one that we must make on our own while we are still aware of the evil influence Satan would bring upon us.
In the Second Book of Nephi, 1:115 through 121, we read:
“Adam fell, that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. And the Messiah cometh in the fullness 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 for ever, knowing good from evil; To act for themselves, and not to be acted upon, …and they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great mediation of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.”
We affirm that mankind, deep within itself, wants to follow God. We affirm that we all have within us that still small voice to guide us. However, many of His creation ignore those promptings. Joseph Smith, Jr., the First Prophet of this church, was told, when inquiring as to which religious sect he should join, to join none of them, because;
“they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; they teach for doctrine and commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” (Church History Vol 1, Chapter 2, pg 9.)
We believe that many (and maybe you) are looking for some guidance, or answers, or help, to assist us as we travel through this existence. We believe that there are presently many ungodly theories that rule in this world, and that mankind has given itself the okay to say that anything goes. This has come about because man does not listen to God and the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Many people turn to the answers or theories developed by men who do not believe in God. It is because they look with their earthly eyes that they no longer observe God at work, or, that He might have the answers and guidance we so crave?
As an alternative to God, people have turned to the teachings created by man, which it believes has the answers. Indeed, disciplines such as science may help us look around and explain how things of this earth function. It is able to do that because it can observe consistent and repeatable events. Yes, science has split the atoms and much more. But can it tell us of the origins of the atoms? Science tries to tell us about the beginning of all that we know, but scientists weren’t there to observe the beginning. Can science tell us why those events happen? Can science tell us the purpose of life? Can science give us the moral understandings behind the choices we make?
We believe that God can. God is the beginning of all we know. He was before all that we know and will be present in the end. So, should not we attempt to listen to Him, and to follow, He who is?
To help us get from point A of our life to point B of our life, God has placed His gospel and His church in our path. God has provided the authority and the organization needed to help us take those steps which are vitally important and essential in our journey toward His Kingdom and for our salvation. We call them the ordinances and the covenants of the church, and they help us overcome our inherent self-centeredness. He constantly seeks to influence us for good and has and will continue to give us insights. We call them Scripture, modern day revelation, and personal and communal inspiration. He gives us leadership personally and through the priesthood which has existed since the days of Adam.
In the Doctrine and Covenants, we can read in Section 22, verse 23b, this very important message from God:
“…for this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality, and eternal life of man.”
In the fourth chapter of Genesis, we find the account of Adam and Eve, who have been raising their children, who calls upon the Lord. And they heard the voice of the Lord speaking to them. He gave them commandments to which Adam and Eve were obedient. That resulted in an angel visit who said:
“This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth…henceforth and for ever; that, as thou hast fallen, thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will.”
This revelation brought joy to Adam and Eve. This is the gospel being preached from the beginning.
Where are you in your path of life? Who is guiding you? Who are you submitting to? Where do you place your trust?
In the second article, we will look at how God’s love is and has been revealed in prophetic leadership down through the ages. We hope that you will continue to read on.
A vital part of the plan of God for His children is to provide prophetic leadership. This has been true from the beginning of time.
The First Presidency of the Remnant Church hope that you enjoy this series of short articles about some of the points we think are important for you to consider as you contemplate Christ’s Church today. The subject for this article is that we believe that God’s love is revealed in prophetic leadership and that it is still available to us today.
Over the years, a vital part of the plan of God for His children is to provide prophetic leadership. This has been true from the beginning of time. We affirm that Adam was a prophet and called to lead during his 930 years. Other prophets were called to lead in their time such as Noah. He prophesied of a coming flood, only Noah’s family listened and therefore, were not swept away. Abraham led his patriarchal family across the desert and is credited with starting the Hebrew people on their path. Moses provided strong leadership as the Hebrew families attempted to learn how to be God’s people. The prophet Isaiah provided some of the greatest scriptures we have ever known.
The prophet Ezekiel was told that he was to be a “watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore, hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.” (Ezekiel 3:17)
Through men like these, we can see that prophetic leadership has been the leading focal point of God’s church throughout the ages. It is through them that God conveys His truths and His authority from heaven.
God wants His people to return to Him, meaning that He wants us to live in His Celestial Kingdom for eternity. The prophets down through the ages have helped us all achieve that goal.
Our heritage church had a publication called the Saints Herald. They often ran a column called “Question Time” which was later compiled into three books of the same name. From Question Time, Volume One, published in 1955, we read from question number 44 titled Prophet Defined:
“a prophet is one divinely chosen, authorized, and inspired to speak and act for God…The prophet is more of a messenger of divine truth, an exponent of divine truth by the will of God.”
The role of a prophet as a messenger of divine truth is just as true today as it was in the Old Testament. The need for the prophetic role has not ended. In a day of chaos and uncertainty, the people of God need that messenger of divine truth, a voice of stability. The heart of man tends to wander, and people are prone to follow whatever sounds good to them. The truth is often twisted and contrived to lead men towards the understandings the spokespersons desire. Human nature makes it easy to justify our own ways. The goal for man should not be to create our own gods, but to follow the God of Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac. He is still speaking today just as He did in man’s early history. It is up to us to listen to His voice, the voice of love calling us home.
Continuing from Question Time, question 44, we read:
“The Lord has made it the prophet’s prerogative to commune with Christ when need requires and thereby receive revelation including instruction, warning, counsel, or doctrine, as the Lord wills…He is to preach the truth and safeguard the church against error, sin, and apostasy; in all his work he is to honor and glorify Christ who forever remains the actual head of the church.”
We affirm that Joseph Smith, Jr., was called to be a true prophet in the latter days. Through Joseph’s obedience and willingness to obey the voice of God, Christ restored His church and the fullness of the gospel to the earth.
After Joseph’s martyrdom in 1844, succeeding prophets were chosen by God to be the leaders of His church. They have led the church up to the present time. Just as in times of old, each of them was called of God, then through common consent sanctioned by the church, and finally ordained by proper authority. As God has ordered the universe, so too God has ordered His church. Each prophet is called of God, so that God can put His words in the prophets’ mouth that the church may be given direction that leads the people toward His goal, the Kingdom of God on Earth. Those words of divine revelation are brought to the people and the people confirm the source and message, thus adding to the canon of scripture. Those modern-day revelations eliminate misunderstandings, bring new light on old topics, and call men to the priesthood. Without this guidance, the church cannot function the way Christ established and will eventually drift from His true pattern and purpose.
By fulfilling the above, the people are called to strive for perfection and continue on that path until, through our labors, our growth, and a better conduct, we reach a completeness of the individual and the body. The prophet is to call us to repentance that we might continue to evaluate ourselves against the only perfect example we have, that of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is then that we have salvation.
Consider Ephesians 4:11-13: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; Till we, in the unity of the faith, all come to the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
The way to the Celestial Kingdom is to follow God, to be a part of His people, to listen to His voice, and be a follower of Christ. To help us follow God’s pattern, we as a church need all the elements that have been divinely designed for His church. That includes having one who is called to be the prophet to provide divine direction.
God has given us insight regarding prophets that we can find in the scriptures. From latter day revelation we are instructed to,
“Listen to the voice of the Lord your God, even Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, whose course is one eternal round, the same today as yesterday and forever” (D&C 34:1a).
God further instructs us through the words of the Nephite prophet, Mormon:
“For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing. (Mormon 4:68).
Another testimony of God’s love to His people is shown through the divine direction to His prophet, Amos, when He tells us,
“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, until he revealeth the secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7).
In the scriptures, we can see God’s great love for each of us. God has a plan for His kingdom, and he will never change. God has always provided His people prophets and He will continue to give His people prophets to provide direction. Come and experience God’s love for you. He is calling for you. Join with the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as we strive to establish God’s Kingdom on earth through the divine direction God has given mankind through His scriptures.
People today need a connection with heaven to provide the directions, the admonitions, the priesthood calls, the messages from God, and all else that God wishes to reveal.
The First Presidency of the Remnant Church hope that you enjoy this series of short articles about some of the key points we think are important for you to consider as you contemplate Christ’s Church today. The subject for this article is our belief that there is a benefit to what we call modern day revelations, or that God still speaks to us in this day and generation. This is one of the vehicles that helps people prepare for citizenship in His Kingdom.
We proclaim that people today need a connection with heaven to provide the directions, the admonitions, the priesthood calls, the messages from God, and all else that God wishes to reveal. The church today needs the revelations given in these times to enable it to have growth towards zionic conditions and to accomplish the physical earthly kingdom we have been commanded to build. Without those revelations, and the prophet through which they come, the church is unguided and unchecked, doomed to wonder in a wilderness of chaos.
We are reminded in James 3:4, that a ship is driven by a small helm even in fierce winds. What would happen if that same great ship being driven in those fierce winds lost the helm or rudder? The size of a ship’s rudder is calculated to be only 1 or 2 percent of the lateral under water area of the vessel. That really isn’t very much when you consider the over all size of the vessel. Yet, it is so extremely valuable. Once the rudder is lost, the craft is liable to be stranded or even worse, wrecked at any moment.
So it is with the church. Revelations given to the church through the prophets have and do become the rudder and keeps the church from being stranded or wrecked.
We believe that God is infinite and eternal. He does not change. He dwells in the past, in the present, and in the future. God wants to reveal Himself. He testifies of Himself in His Son Jesus Christ and is providing a way through the atonement for us to return to Him. In this, He still speaks to us. God still desires that men know him, His nature, His purpose, His plan, and for His creation to have fellowship with Him. He provided the Comforter that it may reveal all things, teach all things, bring to remembrance our relationship with Him, and to testify of the Savior of mankind.
Even in Adam’s banishment, God still spoke to him providing insights into their new life outside the garden. To Noah, God provided insights into what was going to happen and how Noah’s family could survive the upcoming world covering cleansing. To Joseph Smith, God revealed the foundation for building the kingdom.
Arthur Oakman said this in his book God’s Spiritual Universe; (page 50)
“It is a great and marvelous work that is to come forth. Not a great and marvelous word. The function of a prophet (and the revelations that come forth) is to share his testimony with others, and, then to embody that testimony in life – personal and social, home and community – until his vision comes to prevail generally.”
Thus, the need for a rudder for the church. Oakman continues on page 51 of his book:
“Communion with the Divine is a sweet and blessed experience, but turning from it the prophet (and the church) measures what prevails among men with what ought to be as his vision has disclosed and finds heavy burdens in his soul. His vision brings eternal concern for the souls of men. He sees them as they are and as they were made to be. He finds in his soul no rest until, in the full measure of his capacity, he energizes and works for them, to bring into their souls his own vision and to guide their lives in the kingdom way.”
Modern day revelation as given through the prophet is a tool to help us stay the course toward God’s goal for mankind. Again, from Brother Oakman:
“Modern revelation calls us from the beast of Babylon which deceives men by talking half-truths and plausible lies. This beast calls men to trust in the armor of pride, riches, success, and appeals to selfishness…for it is the ultimate task of the prophet to prepare a people…to assist the Savior in bring forth a people!” (Page 53)
On the subject of revelation, Evan Fry noted in his book The Restoration Faith on page 144:
“The gift of prophecy must continue in the church of Christ as one of the signs following the believers and one of the signs which denotes life and intelligence in the body of the living.”
In 2002, one came forth called by revelation as a prophet of God to continue providing direction to the church. He presented to the people the messages of God and they have been placed in the Doctrine and Covenants. Counsel has been given, men called to priesthood offices, warnings have been sounded, and advice provided to help keep the church on the right path.
Again in 2019, after the current prophet was taken into the arms of God, another was called by revelation as per the directions given in Section 43 of the Doctrine and Covenants. That calling was appropriately confirmed by the general conference and he was set apart, allowing for the church to continue receiving the messages from God so vital to our growth. Those messages are a rudder for us all.
Zion is something we must build, not wait for. Prophetic leadership is required, and thus modern day revelation does and will help the master builder work with the church as we move toward His goal.
We ask all who wish to travel with us to come and join us. The rudder is still in the water and the course is set.
From the days of Moses and the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, God was aware that times were coming when specific men, and unique ministries, would be needed to help guide and sustain those individuals who would be seeking a “new life” in God’s presence. First, these men were sent two by two into places where Jesus would not be able to go. That restriction may have been because of time, distance, or the simple magnitude of ministry that needed to be accomplished before His time on earth would come to an end.
The First Presidency of the Remnant Church hope that you enjoy this series of short articles about some of the points we think are important for you to consider as you contemplate Christ’s Church in the present day. The subject for this article is why we believe that apostles, seventies, and missionaries are needed in the life of the church today.
From the days of Moses and the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, God was aware that times were coming when specific men, and unique ministries, would be needed to help guide and sustain those individuals who would be seeking a “new life” in God’s presence.
After the children of Israel were free from the threat of Pharoah and life had begun to become more routine, Moses was commanded to gather seventy elders to help him administer to the hundreds of thousands who fled Egypt and now needed strong oversight.
Numbers 11:16, 17, 24, 25: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there; and I will take the Spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone. And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the Lord, and gathered seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them around about the tabernacle. And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders; and it came to pass, that, when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.”
Time, and the absence of further records, causes us to lose track of this type of “seventy” ministry until the seventy are again introduced in the early ministry of Jesus. Luke 10:1–25 mentions how the seventy were appointed by Jesus, the purpose of that appointment, and the unique gifts and abilities He endowed them with, as well as the warning to those of the world who would not receive their words and ministry.
First, these men were sent two by two into places where Jesus would not be able to go. That restriction may have been because of time, distance, or the simple magnitude of ministry that needed to be accomplished before His time on earth would come to an end. He called upon them to heal the sick and to announce to everyone the Spirit which they would carry, to teach others all about the Kingdom of God. And, as a closing thought, He counseled them to understand that those who failed to hear and receive their words were just as guilty as if they had not received that same message directly from Him. He encouraged them to understand that they were truly speaking and acting for the Master Himself. Upon their joyous return, and the excitement of the retelling of their experiences, Jesus gave thanks unto God that the Holy Spirit was with those men and alive in their ministries.
There is no direct reference to the ministry of the seventy in the Book of Mormon. Many have wondered as to this omission, however, there are several individuals who, under close examination, appeared to be magnifying the calling of a seventy in their actions and, therefore, could have been men of that ministry. The most notable of those men would be the sons of Mosiah and Alma, the son of Alma. Each of these men forsook their heritages and went into the wilderness or elsewhere to teach the Lamanites and others and bring many unto salvation by turning their hearts to Jesus.
Further help with supposed omission can be found in a careful study of the Doctrine and Covenants as it gives us a strong clue to help our understanding. In Section 104:13a, we find this counsel: “The Seventy are to act in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Twelve, or the traveling high council, in building up the church, and regulating all the affairs of the same, in all nations; first unto the Gentiles, and then to the Jews.”
The peoples of the Book of Mormon times had all come from the generations of Lehi and were thus Jews by birth. As there were no Gentiles available for any seventy-specific ministry, perhaps it was the wisdom of God that, for those days, seventy ministry was simply being reserved for the hearts of Gentiles who would soon appear and respond to that ministry in the early days of the Restoration.
By introducing the Doctrine and Covenants 104, we can continue with further latter-day instruction toward the seventy. Beginning with verse 11e, we are told that the seventy are called to preach the gospel and to be “especial” witnesses unto the Gentiles and to all the world. Further, as previously shared, they are to act in the name of the Lord under the direction of the Twelve, to build up the church in all nations. This clearly defined a line of responsibility for the apostles and seventy.
In the gospels, Jesus found it appropriate to select and set apart those men who would become His apostles before He called the men of the seventy. Matthew, Mark, and Luke each record their narratives of those callings. Much of what is written is very similar to the guidance and background of the seventy callings. But the one main difference for these men was their specific instruction to go to only those of the house of Israel, the Jews. As with the seventy, they were also to go two by two, had power to heal and cast out unclean spirits, raise the dead, and give little worry about how they would be sustained, but to rely upon God, and the blessings of abundance would be theirs.
But with the apostles, He took time to visit with these men, often spending hours and days with them, teaching and encouraging them in the Word and the Way. One of His greatest sermons was especially delivered for them although it has become the great sermon for all followers. The Sermon on the Mount was very likely a several days exposition to the apostles, seventies, and close followers, but also likely witnessed by many who were in attendance.
Knowing that His time on earth was so short, and there was so much to be accomplished, Jesus felt the urgency of becoming as close to these apostles as He possibly could. They had to know Him, intimately. They had to understand His dreams and desires, personally. They had to sense in themselves the same love and compassion for others as He had for all His creations. In the mind of Christ and God, in order to fulfill what lay before them, they had to become “one” with each other. From that need came the beautiful “Lord’s Prayer” Jesus offered in the Garden of Gethsemane–the prayer that they become one with each other as Jesus and God were one.
And “one” they became. Through the power and gift of the Holy Ghost, those men were enlivened on the day of Pentecost, changed from the men of weakness and fear into men of devoted spiritual strength who faced to full opposition of evil in their remaining days of ministry for their friend and Savior. Today, we also look toward the men who hold the same commissions of ministry as having that same desire and tenacity to hold strongly to their own relationship with the Master. Just as Jesus needed valiant and righteous men to become His voice, His hands, His eyes in days past, that same need exists in this world today.
Does the Remnant Church need apostles, seventies, and missionaries today? The only answer is a definite and resounding “Yes.” Without ordained men granted the powers that were evident in such men eons ago, the Word of God would be without a voice. No ear could hear the beauty of the gospel, no eye could see the wonders of faithful healing, no life could experience the renewal of coming back into the welcoming presence of the Creator. No rooftop would be alerted to be ready to look toward the east to see the Son of God appear.
Yes, we need missionaries. Men specifically called. Members inspired to share the “good news” with neighbors, friends, and relatives. Women involved in the lives of others with needs and cares that only their touch can minister to. Young people not afraid to bow their heads at school lunch in prayer. Children encouraged to stand and pray in worship services. A church willing to become something the world has not seen for a very long time–a holy place where God and mankind come together, often, to meet each other in the joy of worship and communion.
Yes, we need missionaries!
The movement toward Zion has been through the implementation of Zionic Principles – Consecration, Surplus, Inheritances, Stewardship, Purchasing Lands, the Gathering, the Gathering of Tithing, the care for the Poor and Needy, Oblation, a part of the Church Court System. These are only possible through the ministry of Bishops.
The First Presidency of the Remnant Church hope that you enjoy this series of short articles about some of the points we think are important for you to consider as you contemplate Christ’s Church today. This article will consider why we claim that the church needs a Bishop and the Order of Bishops.
The movement toward Zion has been through the implementation of Zionic Principles – Consecration, Surplus, Inheritances, Stewardship, Purchasing Lands, the Gathering, the Gathering of Tithing, the care for the Poor and Needy, Oblation, a part of the Church Court System, and the Bishop as the President of the Aaronic Priesthood. These are only possible through the ministry of Bishops. Often, Bishops have been Literal Descendants of Aaron, and a part of the Levitical Priesthood.
Throughout all dispensations of time, the gospel of the kingdom of God has been taught through His Son Jesus Christ. So far in man’s existence, there has been six dispensations; the first from Adam to Enoch, the second from Enoch to Noah, the third from Noah to Abraham, the fourth from Abraham to Jesus Christ, the fifth from Jesus Christ to Joseph Smith, Jr., and the sixth from Joseph Smith until the present time. One more dispensation is to come after Christ has returned.
In each dispensation, men have been called to assist in further sanctifying the church, that Heaven and earth may become one. That every member of the church and the kingdom may be filled with the fullness of the glory of God.
Adam was baptized and then quickened in the inner man through the fire and Holy Spirit and became a son of God. He was ordained after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years from all eternity to all eternity, and thus may all become God’s children.
Enoch established righteousness through the Order of Enoch which is ordained by God. Scripture tells us that God walked with Enoch. Because He did, the people around Enoch were taught the gospel and were eventually taken up into Heaven.
Noah preached the gospel of the kingdom even as it was given to Enoch. Unfortunately, most of those around him didn’t listen and were swept away by a flood. Noah and his family survived, and a new generation was begun.
During that dispensation to Abraham, Melchizedec established righteousness and obtained Heaven as keeper of the storehouse.
While Jesus walked the earth, he taught the gospel of the kingdom. In the day of Pentecost, they were all together in one place. They had all things in common and there was no poor among them.
During that same time frame, here on the American continent, the golden age of the Nephites established that same degree of righteousness.
While Joseph Smith, Jr. walked the earth, the gospel of the kingdom was again taught just as Jesus Christ had given it. Also during the time of Joseph, God again instructed that the Order of Enoch be restored.
Three major principles have again been restored to the church; 1) Consecration, which is to make all things holy; 2) the gathering, which brings together again the peoples of God into one place “as a hen gathering her chicks under her wings”, and 3), the storehouse which includes surplus, inheritances, and stewardship.
These three principles are given to the Order of Bishops to have responsibility for them. Without the order of Bishops and the men called as Bishops, these principles cannot be implemented in the lives of the saints and members of the kingdom. Therefore, according to the Law of the Celestial Kingdom, Zionic development could not take place.
In the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 102, we are reminded by God that because the people have not yet implemented the celestial laws and because they have not imparted of their substance, Zion cannot be built and cannot be received unto himself.
Zion is the fullest expression of the Kingdom of God on earth. It reflects His attributes of goodness, love, and intelligence. As we receive His Spirit and give place to His righteousness, we begin to reflect His glory. We have been called from the beginning to enter into His rest, the fullness of His glory.
These principles become real as the people of the church practice the greatest commandment, to love God.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God…If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us…Herein is our love is made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:7-12)
To live as God wants us to, we must find the ability within ourselves to sacrifice, which is the only true expression of our Love for God, the love we return to Him as expressed in our love for each other, which he has given to us in abundance, His righteousness is then established within each one of us.
Joseph Smith taught us in the sixth of the Lectures of Faith these thoughts:
“Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth's sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life. It is in vain for persons too fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtain faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they, in like manner, offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him.”
Our sacrifice is shown through our consecration or all we have, in our desire to join in the gathering, and in our desire to build up the storehouse of the church which are the responsibility of the Bishop of the church, set apart and ordained in this dispensation that the ways of God may be fulfilled.
We will be looking at the reason why God placed within His church elders, and specifically, what are the blessings of the Melchisedec priesthood?
According to Section 104 of the Doctrine and Covenants, there are in the church, two priesthoods; namely, the Melchisedec and the Aaronic, including the Levitical priesthood. The Aaronic Priesthood was named for Aaron, the brother of Moses. It is an appendage to the Melchisedec priesthood and has power in administering the outward ordinances such as repentance and baptism for the remission of sins. It is concerned with tithing, and material necessities to prepare the way for the spiritual ministry administered to the Melchisedec priesthood.
This Melchisedec Priesthood was originally called “the holy priesthood, after the order of the Son of God”; but out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the repetition of his name, it was called Melchisedec, who was a member of that order. All other offices in the church are appendages to this priesthood.
The Melchisedec priesthood existed from Adam to Moses as described in D&C 83:2 and 104:18-29. This priesthood seems to have been withdrawn from Israel with the death of Moses because the people failed to respond to its ministry. It was restored to earth through Jesus Christ, apparently at the time the Holy Ghost descended upon him after his baptism. It continued until the apostasy was complete enough that God felt that mankind was no longer worthy of such ministry.
With the restoration of the Melchisedec priesthood at the time of Christ, the Aaronic order performed its ministry under the direction of the Melchisedec priesthood. It, too, was withdrawn from the earth when the church went into apostasy. The Aaronic priesthood was first restored by authority of John the Baptist, on May 15, 1829, to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. The Melchisedec priesthood was next restored by authority of Peter, James, and John, in 1829, to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. Their ordinations took place April 6, 1830, after a vote of approval was given by baptized members of the church. Perpetuation today is by divine call, followed by approval of administrative officers and members concerned, and by ordination through laying on of hands of those possessing authority.
The Melchisedec priesthood holds the right of presidency in spiritual things according to D and C. 104:9. It administers the gospel ordinances and holds the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom. In order to perform their work, men holding the Melchisedec priesthood are divided into the following groups:
- The First Presidency, composed of three presiding high priests.
- Twelve apostles, who are also high priests.
- Stake presidents, or district presidents, presiding over stake organizations, or districts.
- Patriarchs, set apart to spiritual ministry.
- Bishops, set apart to administer temporal affairs for spiritual purposes and to preside over the Aaronic Priesthood.
- High councilors, who are organized as a Standing High Council of the church.
- President of the Quorum of High Priests
According to D&C 83:5 the elders are grouped into quorums and the office of elder is a “necessary appendage belonging unto the high priesthood.”
We can look to Section 17 of the D&C and find what the duty and responsibilities of elders are. We find it is their calling to baptize, and to ordain other elders, priests, teachers, and deacons, and to administer bread and wine---the emblems of the flesh and blood of Christ, 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; and to teach, expound, exhort, baptize and watch over the church;, and to take the lead of all meetings. The elders are to conduct the meetings as they are led by the Holy Ghost, according to the commandments and revelations of God.
The elders may perform marriages according to D&C 111:1. They may preside over a quorum of elders, over a branch or district and over meetings.
They may act as a priest, teacher, or deacon whenever necessary or advisable, therefore should become familiar with their work. Of course, these Aaronic priesthood offices are led by a president of each of the quorums, but all ultimately presided over by the Presiding Bishopric of the church.
The elders may administer the sacrament of blessing of children by laying on of hands according to D&C 17:19.
The elder may act as a member of an elder’s court. He may be a counselor to a bishop, when selected by the bishop according to D&C 104:32.
The elder is to administer in spiritual things. They are concerned with administering the ordinances, which make up the spiritual life and welfare of the church. Elders are involved with presiding, that is, overseeing and directing the efficient function of both orders of the priesthood, thus assuring the most effective ministry possible to the membership.
Section 83 of the Doctrine and Covenants tells us concerning the office of elder, and why they are important to the Lord’s church. We read “And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God. Therefore, in the ordinances thereof the power of godliness is manifest; and without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; for without this, no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.” -D&C 83:3b,c.
In the Remnant Church ordinances are symbolic rituals or rites performed by priesthood, which convey the power of godliness, or as some say, impart divine grace.
The First Presidency of the Remnant Church hope that you enjoy this series of short articles about some of the points we think are important for you to consider as you contemplate Christ’s Church today. This article will examine the importance of the ordinances and sacraments found in the church and their importance in the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
In the Remnant Church ordinances are symbolic rituals or rites performed by priesthood, which convey the power of godliness, or as some say, impart divine grace. While some substitute the word sacrament for ordinances, the word, sacrament, does not appear in the Bible. It comes from the Latin, sacramentum, which means oath. A sacrament, then, deals with making an oath, covenant, or pledge to God. In this context, baptism and the Lord’s Supper are certainly sacraments as well as ordinances.
To understand the need for ordinances, it might be helpful to use an analogy of being weightless in space. Without gravity keeping our feet on the ground, the only the way to move in the weightlessness of space is to be able to push or pull off of something else. The body can squirm and contort but is unable to move forward without a base of support. As human beings we can choose our actions, but as independent as we think we are, our self-centered nature prevents us from really changing unless raised to another level by an external force. Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion seems to apply here:
“Every object persists in its state of rest…unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed on it.”
Baptism is a two-part ordinance as Jesus explained to Nicodemus in John 3:5:
“Except a man be born of water, and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
The baptism of water is for the forgiveness of sin, for which the Lord responds by providing the gift of the Holy Ghost in confirmation. The baptism of water is symbolic of the death of the old person and the coming forth of the new person in Christ. It also reenacts the resurrection of Christ and his coming forth from the tomb. It is administered by Melchisedec priesthood and Aaronic priests only to adults and children who have reached the age of accountability, which is the age of eight. Following baptism, members are expected to live in harmony with their covenant.
The baptism of the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, is by means of the laying on of hands by Melchisedec priesthood. The term, hand, is frequently used in the scriptures as the means by which the Lord has blessed mankind. For example, in referring to John the Baptist, Luke indicates that:
“The hand of the Lord was with him.”
The symbolism of baptism of the Spirit is that through the hands of priesthood the Holy Spirit flows to the head of the recipient. After confirmation the Holy Spirit abides with the recipient and provides spiritual guidance, gifts, and fruit in their life.
When the term, sacrament, is used in the Remnant Church, it is most often used in relation to the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, or Communion. Here are four symbolic and practical elements of the communion service: first, it was instituted by Christ. Second, it is administered by Melchisedec priesthood and Aaronic priests to members who have received an authoritative baptism. Third, the bread and the wine, which is unfermented grape juice, are symbolic of the flesh and blood of Christ.
And fourth; our remembering the covenant made by the member with God. In exchange for taking on the name of Christ by always remembering him and keeping his commandments, the Lord promises the presence of his Holy Spirit to always be with those who partake. The Spirit, then, is the base of support that lifts church members to a higher plane, if the ordinance is participated in with real intent. For example, in the communion service, Paul exhorts partakers to eat and drink the emblems worthily, and with self-examination. He rebukes the saints for too often not discerning the Lord’s body, which results in spiritual weakness.
In the church, there are other ordinances that involve the laying on of hands. The blessing of children by Melchisedec priesthood is in this manner and follows the pattern of Christ when he took children up in his arms and blessed them. This blessing is for children between birth and the age of eight.
Administration to the sick involves consecrated olive oil and the laying on of hands as directed in James 5:14 – 15,
“Is any sick among you? Let them call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
In this case, physical blessing is the primary purpose, but forgiveness of sins is also mentioned in verse 15.
Other uses of the laying on of hands include ordination of men to the priesthood who are called by the Spirit of inspiration by those in authority and approved by the vote of the people.
Another ordinance is the patriarchal blessing which is a prayer of blessing, given by a patriarch, and which provides inspired counsel and spiritual guidance for a member throughout their life. It is given once, and any member over the age of 16 can receive this ordinance.
The final ordinance in the church is that of marriage, which is recognized as being between a man and a woman. When marriage is performed by Melchisedec priesthood or Aaronic priest, it is considered an ordinance of the church.
Ordinances are necessary but must be performed with solemnity by all involved or they become ineffectual. The late Apostle Arthur Oakman wrote:
“The form without spirit is dead. The spirit without the form can find no means of expression.”
In conclusion, this scripture summarizes the importance of ordinances:
“Therefore, in the ordinances thereof the power of godliness is manifest; and without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; for without this, no man can see the face of God, even the Father and live.” (From D&C 83:3c)
We proclaim that God is Holy and has prepared a place for us where we can live with Him. God calls it Celestial Glory. For us to be a part of it, we must be changed from the unholy mortals we are without Christ, to the holy beings we can be with Him. This is the overall goal of the Church.
The First Presidency of the Remnant Church hope that you enjoy this series of short articles about some of the points we think are important for you to consider as you contemplate Christ’s Church today. This article will summarize the key element of the past articles as expressed in the scripture found in the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 22: 23b, and Section 1:3c. God wants to: “to bring to pass the immortality of man.” We also realize the need for the gospel and its principles “because the tendency of man is for everyman to walk in his own way.”
We proclaim that God is Holy and has prepared a place for us where we can live with Him. God calls it Celestial Glory. For us to be a part of it, we must be changed from the unholy mortals we are without Christ, to the holy beings we can be with Him. The scriptures also tell us that there is hope for us, for “If we receive a portion…we receive the fullness.”
Are you ready? How many times in our lives have we heard this or had our parents ask us this question? At this point in our series, we are asking whether you are ready to live in God’s Kingdom, the ultimate goal of God for His creation? This is the most important goal that any of us should have.
The other part of the questions is how are we to keep ourselves on the correct trajectory? What must be done by us? God has provided the answer and the vehicle for us to get where He wants us to be. We believe that the church must be and is the “cause” and vehicle to help us be ready and be ready to feel comfortable in His Kingdom. What a wonderful God He is, to love us so much that He has and will do all that He can to direct His creation toward Him and the desired eternal home.
In 1829, the prophet Joseph brought forth a message from God telling us that we should seek to bring forth the cause of Zion. The church is that cause, or to say that the church is the instrument to be used to bring us through these final days prepared for the next. This has also been true throughout all of history. We, His creation, have been given scriptures to help guide us. We have been given prophets and priesthood to minister to us. We have been given ordinances as stepping-stones along the way.
We believe that there is a Holy God who is alive and is active in our lives.
We believe that Jesus Christ came to us from the heavenly realm to minister to us in the flesh, providing insights in to how we ought to live, to teach us the principles needed, and to offer Himself as the sacrifice for our sins.
We believe that the Holy Spirit has been given to us as our guide and to provide a testimony of God and Jesus Christ.
Why? God wants to fulfill the mission “to bring to pass the immortality of man.” Immortality as God has indicated to us is to be with Him in His kingdom. There are lessor destinations, but that is not where we ought to be aiming. To help us prepare for that goal, we must be changed and prepared or we will not be comfortable in His presence. So, during our lives here, we have been given the fulness of the gospel, the principles we need to live by, and the ordinances required, all placed within the church. We are also instructed to live in community, that we might minister to our fellow man and to be ministered by our fellow man. There needs also to be proper authority and structure to keep the church strong.
We agree that there is yet much that we need to learn. We still have time on this earth while our spirits and bodies are united to do that learning. And later, we will have more to learn as resurrected beings, a chance to enlighten our understandings more fully.
We are grateful that God continues to love us, that He is gracious and merciful, that He will forgive us when we repent. There is hope!
Scripture tells us that if anyone who is:
“…quickened by a portion of the celestial glory, shall then receive of the same, even a fullness.” (D&C 85:6d)
We hope you have enjoyed the articles we have brought to you. We hope that you have more questions. Please feel free to contact us or to join with us as we together, strive to fulfill the potential God has placed in each one of us.
We hope that you will ponder in your heart, the teachings of God, that the Holy Spirit will speak to you and testify of these truths.
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; Celestial Law is the ordinances, covenants, commandments, and requirements of the fullness of the gospel. These are the things that will bring us into a physical, even a spiritual condition that will allow His physical presence to be among us.
The First Presidency of the Remnant Church hope that you enjoy this series of short articles about some of the points we think are important for you to consider as you contemplate Christ’s Church today. The subject for this article is whether the Remnant Church followed the proper pattern for restructuring the church when the earlier organization went into apostasy.
Have you ever wondered what men and women are supposed to do when the church they belong to no longer follows the proper structure set up by God? We believe that happened. A little history might be helpful. We affirm that in 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ was established once again on the earth. However, after Joseph Smith, Jr., was martyred, the church was pulled in many directions which lead to the need for a renewal of the church. We believe that the Reorganized Church, now Community of Christ, was at that time, directed by the Lord to reorganize in 1853 and was given the pattern by Him as how this should be accomplished, culminating in the ordination of the prophet, Joseph Smith III, in 1860.
In the 1980’s through the 1990’s, believers in the fullness of the gospel found themselves in need of God’s guidance. Many members in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints were heartbroken and pained when the leadership of the church chose to turn away from the original doctrine of Jesus Christ.
This caused the need for another renewal of the church in order to keep the church as it was originally organized.
In April of 2000, a council of high priest were convinced that our heritage church had strayed so far in doctrine and practice that such an action was necessary. They were able to discern from reading church history, what the distinct pattern had been before. This started the process of renewal. We affirm that the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints followed the proper pattern as follows:
The first requirement given to the conference of 1853, which was given under inspiration, was to respect authority. There were two high priests and one senior president of seventy from which to choose someone to preside over the organizing conference. High Priest Jason Briggs, one of the two high priests, was chosen to preside at the conference.
Second, they were directed to form a committee to select a majority of the quorum of twelve, or in other words, seven apostles, which they did. After these men were ordained, they led the church until a prophet was ordained. There are several scriptures which support their leadership. For example, 1 Cor. 12:28 reads,
“And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets.”
Also, Doctrine and Covenants 104:30 is as follows:
“It is the duty of the Twelve, also, to ordain and set in order all the other officers of the church.”
At this conference, the Standing High Council was also formed, consisting of twelve high priests.
Although there are were many other details involved in the Reorganization, suffice it to say that the final part of this process was the ordination of Joseph Smith III, who accepted the leadership of the church as prophet and was confirmed by vote at the Amboy conference seven years later in April 1860.
Likewise, the Remnant Church began by following the counsel contained in Section 122:10a as given through Joseph Smith III, which I read in part:
“Should the church fall into disorder…it is the duty of the several quorums of the church, or any one of them, to take measures to correct such disorder; through the advice and direction of the Presidency, the Twelve, the Seventy, or a council of high priests, in case of emergency.”
Although many members of the Reorganized Church were disillusioned and searching for answers, the Lord worked with a council of high priests who had recognized the need to so act. Accordingly, 24 high priests met on July 17, 1999, and recommended a Melchisedec conference be held on October 30, 1999. This was followed by the organizing general conference five-plus months later in April 2000. Both conferences were presided over by High Priest Lee Killpack, the conferences respecting authority in both cases. Recognizing the authority of the council of 24 high priests to begin the process of renewing the church was also a key element in respecting authority as the Lord had previously directed.
A document through inspiration was presented to the April 2000 conference through High Priest Lee Killpack, which recommended three patriarchs be selected to seek inspiration as to who the seven apostles should be. The names presented to the September 23, 2000, conference for men to be called into the Twelve, were identical from each of the three patriarchs. These names were even in the same order on their lists. The new apostles in turn identified twelve men to serve on the Standing High Council, and they were ordained at the April 2001 conference. In selecting seven apostles and 12 men for the Standing High Council, step two of the pattern was followed.
The third step of the pattern was fulfilled in April 2002 when Frederick Niels Larsen, grandson of President Frederick M. Smith, was confirmed by the conference and ordained prophet of the church. The pattern had been followed and authority had been respected. Of those twenty-four high priests that began this process, most were leaders in the heritage church. Their vast experiences, knowledge of the scriptures, and relationships with God, proved invaluable as they continued to guide the saints in the formative days of the Remnant Church and beyond.
Section 43 of the Doctrine and Covenants gives the right and responsibility of selecting a successor to the incumbent prophet. Lineage has been an important factor in doing so, but not the most important one. For example, the successor to Moses was not Gershom, his son, but Joshua. Moses was of the tribe of Levi, but Joshua was of the tribe of Ephraim. It is therefore not a difficulty that President Larsen appointed Terry W. Patience as his successor, who shares common ancestry with Joseph Smith, Jr., but is not a direct descendant. The RLDS Saints Herald ran a “Question Time” column for many years, and later these questions were compiled into three books of the same name. From Question Time, Volume One, (#346) published in 1955, Harold Velt indicated four factors as being more important than lineage.
Paraphrasing, he said that first, the successor must be appointed through revelation. Second, the revelation must come through the incumbent. Third, the candidate must be approved by the conference. Fourth, the man must be ordained. He concluded by writing:
“If the Lord and the church should see fit in harmony with all the foregoing provisions, one not a descendant of Joseph Smith might be chosen president of the church.”
The Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints seeks to establish the Kingdom of God on earth, and to do so by following God’s established patterns as indicated in the scriptures as to how His Kingdom should be accomplished. Now is the time to choose. The Lord is working with those who feel His call to work side by side, shoulder to shoulder in these latter days.
May the Lord bless us all as together we work and pray, that His will, will be done on earth as well as it is in heaven.
We invite you to read more about Our History here.
It is our prayer and desire that you will read each of the above topics. We have kept these articles short, so they don’t take long to read. They do not provide all the details that could be included. If you have any questions about the topics or want more details, please feel free to contact us.
We hope that you will come and worship with us at any of our branches.