Governing Principles are written for the benefit of new fellowships, to maintain an eye single to the glory of God, as they navigate in a new environment of self governance.
Salvation is individual, requiring a personal relationship with Christ. The doctrine of Christ makes a personal relationship possible through faith in Christ, repentance, and baptism. The Holy Ghost is the mind and will of God. Christ and God the Father share the same mind and will. Thus, receiving the Holy Ghost provides each individual with the power to be one with them.
Fellowships exist to assist the individual in their path to becoming one with Christ. They are to govern themselves freely, as the spirit dictates to them, choosing to gather when, where, and with whom they please. Meeting in fellowships provides the opportunity to teach, serve, and learn from both the Spirit, and one another’s experiences. Equality requires that no one be above the next and that all have value. Regional and general conferences ought to adhere to the same principle guidelines as fellowships.
Tithing is to relieve the poor among you. It can be collected and distributed as a group, a fellowship, or as individuals. If done as a group or fellowship, tithes accumulated in a common fund must be distributed by the common consent of the group or fellowship. Separate fellowships can assist one another on a case by case basis, maintaining independence and autonomy. Tithes are not to be accumulated for wealth. If there are no poor among you, excess tithes can be contributed to the needs of the temple.
Performing ordinances of baptism and sacrament require priesthood. Because of the fall, men are responsible for performing priesthood ordinances. Acquiring and exercising priesthood, in fellowships, require three key elements: ordination, sustaining, and confirmation.
Ordination: A man with the priesthood lays his hands on another man’s head, calling them by name, and confers upon them the priesthood, in the name of Jesus Christ.
Sustaining: A vote of seven women are required to sustain a man to the priesthood. If the man is married, his wife must be one of the seven women, or he is not worthy.
Confirmation: Most importantly, the man must obtain confirmation of his priesthood from heaven.
In the event that priesthood has been abused, exercising priesthood in fellowships can be revoked by a fair trial, where a unanimous vote of at least twelve women find the abuser guilty.
The ordinance of baptism is a sign to heaven of an individual’s choice to receive the gospel of Christ. It does not offer membership into a fellowship or church. A man who has priesthood, may baptize, all who desire, as instructed as follows:
- Both go down and stand in the water.
- The man with priesthood will call the person being baptized by name, saying: “Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.”
- And then immerse them in the water, and come again out of the water (As circumstances allow, the ordinance ought to be performed in living waters)
Record of the baptism ought to be kept in a personal journal, and submitted to a central recorder, for the names to be kept within the temple of God.
The ordinance of sacrament should be performed as Christ prescribed in the scriptures. He instructs that all kneel. The emblems of bread and wine are to be used as symbols of the flesh and the atoning blood of Christ. If any are opposed to alcohol, or have a medical condition preventing the use of wine, use red grape juice. Bitter wine, in remembrance of Christ’s blood, is symbolic and appropriate. One with the priesthood will pray to the Father in the name of Christ saying:
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee, in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
Agency must be preserved, allowing new fellowships the freedom to learn correct principles and govern themselves. Keep your eye single to the glory of God. Seek to receive His mind and will. Bear one another’s burdens through the path, that they may be light, and associate with one another as equals. Your oneness is a testimony to the world that Christ is the redeemer of all.