The church seems to have one theory, that puts on the image of order and organization, while eroding the values that produce salvation. Fellowships, on the other hand, seem to implement an inverse theory (totally opposite), that feels chaotic at first, but relies wholly upon core values to produce salvation. Both are opposing and Competing Theories.
The Church: As long as I have been alive and aware of my surroundings (40+ years, but some would argue less), I have been taught to believe: “The Church is true.” As The Church is operated as a well-oiled corporation, it puts on the image of order and organization. Buildings are built and in order, bathrooms are cleaned and stocked, materials provided in the library, classes organized, teachers assigned, baby sitting is provided so most can enjoy the services, the cost of snacks are covered, and rules are written in handbooks, to direct leaders how to handle extreme situations. Streams of revenue comes in voluntarily, and without much effort. From a corporate perspective, The Church would be a sound investment, with an outrageous ROI (return on investment).
However, beneath the surface of a well-oiled corporation is the price that must be paid. And that price is “discretion” (the freedom to decide what should be done in a particular situation). Another word for discretion is Agency, which is the foundational principle defended and protected in the war in heaven. In a corporation, it’s people must be managed, commanded in all things, and reigned-in by compulsion, or they will over-turn the money-machine, and run things into the ground. The fear of the leadership requires strict action to get rid of rotten apples before they ruin the bunch, not considering themselves rotten.
The resultant byproduct of removing discretion is ignorance of the words of Christ, as the management manual trumps scripture. In the absence of scripture, we quote leaders, and suffer what is known as a cult-of-personality; where charismatic leadership convinces people to follow the leader, because the leader can never lead you astray. Revelation becomes reduced to emotion, scripture reading becomes a checklist item without the need to understand it, and church and temple attendance (even when you’re asleep) becomes an indicator that you have eternal life and are simply enduring to the end. The leadership puts on the image of a heavenly connection, but discourages anyone from acquiring their own heavenly connection, as that is reserved for the upper-class leaders.
The Fellowships: Fellowships are a throw-back to the days of the restoration of the church. Sacrament with wine is reinstated, and suddenly good Mormons who have never tasted a drop of alcohol suddenly host kegger’s. Others claim that polygamy ought to be reinstated, without thoroughly understanding the initial instruction of adoptionism. Church services are hosted in people’s homes, and can sometimes be offensive, as people innovate ordinances and claim revelation to do so. At times it seems like utter chaos, but there are a few who refuse to innovate, and do their best to follow the words of Christ. If the words of Christ are unclear to these few, they wait upon the voice of the Lord for further direction, while living what they do understand.
While this might not start out as optimal, beneath the surface of those few who adhere strictly to the words of Christ, those few receive revelation upon revelation, and their understanding of the words of Christ expands to govern and unite them. As they exercise faith in the scriptures, they find themselves less and less dependent upon charismatic leaders, emotional speeches, and church/temple attendance to indicate their salvation. Rather, they write the words of Christ upon their hearts, hear the voice of the Lord in the words of true servants, and return into the presence of the Lord themselves, without rank or office. No man need tell them, know ye the Lord, because they all know Him personally.
While it’s beginning seems chaotic, foreign, skeptical, and unfamiliar, it’s the process that makes the people one heart and one mind, and no poor among them. The byproduct of the fellowships is Zion. Agency is preserved, all are required to know the words of Christ, all have experiences with angelic ministers, and all return to walk and talk with Christ, as did Enoch.
Competing Theories: The Church and The Fellowships are opposing and Competing Theories. They start in totally different positions, and end in opposite places. The Church will result in ignorance of the words of Christ, rejecting messengers sent from the Father, and ultimately rejecting Christ. They will be as though they crucified Christ anew. The Fellowships, if they allow the covenant within the scriptures to govern them, and if they wait upon the Lord to instruct, they will be centered and founded upon the words of Christ, they will hear the voice of the Lord in the words of a messenger who has been in the Lord’s presence, and they will return into the presence of the Lord themselves. You are free to choose which you will trust. But, …and there’s always a big butt, …you cannot choose The Church, and then expect to achieve salvation in the flesh, by returning into the presence of the Lord!
Conclusion: I tried my best to symbolically draw both scenarios, how they begin, and how they end. Notice: in the drawing I placed the keys in different places. The church places the keys above one man, the head and the president of The Church. However, for The Fellowships, I drew the keys in the words of Christ. And in the final drawing of The Fellowships, not only does the words of Christ increase to encompass all of The Fellowship, but the keys are also expanded as well. The keys are equally shared, and equally accessed, so that the mind and will of God is in each member (all holding the keys, instead of just one). The Church keeps the keys in one person’s hand, and can only be partially accessed by other leaders, who command in all things.
I invite you, my family, to soften your hearts to the words of Christ. Alma says that it’s the words of Christ alone that can soften hearts (Alma 32:13-16). Let’s try doing things different in our family. Rather than relying upon charismatic leaders, lets all be equal, by uniting our efforts upon the words of Christ. Let that be our governor. Lets have no ranks, as we all have great value to offer. It’ll be a little chaotic at first, but as we get more and more familiar with the words of Christ, we will naturally unite, achieve massive abundance, and will return every last one of us into the presence of Christ in the flesh. I bear witness of this, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen!