Christians Formerly Known as Mormons
President Russel M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints public asserted that members of the Church and those who respect the Church should refrain from using Mormon as a descriptor of our culture, religion, church, or anything. In my heart of humor, came the thought of the musical genius who became a symbol for a while--Prince for the youngish crowds. We would refer to him as The Artist or The Artist is formerly known as Prince.
What was Prince getting at in changing his name? Much of the world did not care about the change. We accepted it because it is his music that enthralled our hearts as risqué as his music is to a person of faith with its melodious and sensual tones that vibrate through cars, buildings and ear devices.
What could a church and Prince have in common regarding a name? Prince wanted to control the message that he put out with his music. It was sordid, it was sensual, and it was earthshattering in the cultural revolution it brought about. Prince wanted to be the one who determined what he presented to the world and how it was presented. Record labels had used his name and fame. He wanted to use that name!
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been trying to define itself to the world ever since its formation in upstate New York in 1830 with six active members.
It is now a worldwide religion of more than 16 million people and growing. The Church does not want others to define what it is anymore with acceptance. Just like Prince, Restored Gospel Christians want to be called by the name that their church officially recognizes, the name of Jesus Christ. Not by the name of a man!
This will cause no small stir in the religious communities for members of the church in partnerships with other churches and in friendships with members of other faith communities.
To be very clear, by emphasizing this change, we assert that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church on the planet with authority to act in the name of God. What does that mean for other Christians? It means that no other Christian group, including the Catholic church, has the authority to make statements or issue blessings on God's behalf except the Church of Jesus Christ.
Is it offensive? I suppose it could be. For many years, critics of the Church suggested that as an organization and culture, we have attempted to blend in with mainstream society, and we have. It is the old wheat and the tares analogy. When wheat and tares are growing together in the beginning, it is hard to determine which one is wheat and which one is a tare.
When the plants have reached the proper maturity, the tares can be removed from the wheat. There is a great sifting that is about to happen where The Church of Jesus Christ will stand apart from all other Christians because of the things that we assert morally and religiously. Society has shifted away from the morals of Christian society since the 1960's. It will delineate further before the end.
We have always taught that we are the true church of Christ and that all others have no authority. For members of the church who live in Utah and other areas of the world where the Church member population is high (Tonga), the resistance caused by such a paradigm shift in thinking would create ripples. In most of the rest of the world, that shift can and will cause persecution tsunamis.
In essence, the saints of Christ are extending an invitation to all the world to look at the Church with new eyes as the authorized Church of God. All other churches truly are churches, they just have no authority.
What does having no authority mean?
It means that Baptism performed by ministers and priests of other church were not authorized by heaven, though the people may have changed their lives in the process of those acts of faith. Out of this life, those ordinances are not counted in heaven as authorized.
It means that other believers do not have the right to the Gift of the Holy Ghost though they may feel His presence and power from time to time. Only the members of Christ Church have the right to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.
"Your church is dead," I have heard because no clapping and dancing occur during sacred meetings. It is because only those who have received and accepted the gift of the Holy Ghost by someone in authority can have the constant companionship. With that gift, the Spirit quickens the heart without having to be cheerled. Not all members of the Church even enjoy this Gift, though they have a right to if they accept the gift, which is a personal process involving revelation.
That Sounds Arrogant!
It does. As a missionary for two years, I taught people that the Church is the Lord's. I taught that God Himself would tell them if they asked about it to know if I speak the truth or if I am a deceiver.
Most people would not bother to speak to God because they did not believe that God would or could answer their prayers like that because it seemed unnecessary. Hundreds of people would call me deceived because I am a Black person in a racist church which had only in the last 40 years considered Blacks of African descent worthy of the same blessing as other people. That alone causes people to question whether or not the Church belongs to God, truly.
It does sound arrogant to state that other churches have no connection to God's authority. Other Christians have healed people in Jesus's name without the priesthood authority from the Restored Gospel. Other churches have cast out devils. Doing those things are signs that follow the apostles and the members of the true church so that others may know when they see those things that the authority of God rests with that people.
Of the 8 billion people on the planet, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims that only 16 million people have a true covenant with God, while the other 2 billion Christians do not--without mentioning the other 6 billion people of other faiths (14 million of which are the ancient chosen people or Jewish).
There are parallels to the early Church of Jesus Christ organized by Christ. The established sects of Judaism did not accept the new teachings of Jesus. They did not agree with each other, but they refused to accept that they were not the leaders God wanted to represent Him and this Jesus and his apostles were. Jesus's teachings went against traditions established for thousands of years.
Christianity was not meant to be separate from Judaism. It is Judaism fulfilled. Calling people Christians was a way o disparage the followers of the faith for believing that Jesus is the Messiah.
Todays Christian Sects would not accept that God would choose a man with a questionable background to reorganize His church. What need was there for that? Also, some of the teachings go against the established story of Christianity for almost 2 thousand years. It broke tradition.
The Restoration was not meant to be separate from Christianity. It was meant to restore the Church of Christ with revelation and authority. People started calling the Saints Mormons because of the book was written by Mormon that is believed to be a second witness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Mormon's name was taken to be a way to ridicule the Restoration believers.
People can claim to be the Lords chosen people all day long, but it means nothing if it is a lie. President Nelson is asserting that it is no lie.
© 2018 Rodric Anthony