BY T.F. STERN
An old friend of mine wrote an interesting short opinion piece this morning, posting it on Facebook, an acknowledgment that many folks are looking for the re-establishment of Jesus Christ’s true church. He began by using Spring-time as an introduction, explaining how different trees alert us to the end of freezing weather while giving us hope for the next planting season. He quickly changed tack…
“Anyone who’s studied the great revivals/renewals of the Christian Church can see there are certain signs that a season of renewal is coming soon and may have already begun. Prior to every great renewal, there were conditions that laid the groundwork.”
Truer words were never spoken. What conditions might we be looking for, what ground work laid prior to such a great renewal?
There would, of necessity, be people prepared to risk everything looking for the true church of Jesus Christ (freedom of religious expression). They would recognize there were important issues with current formal religious sects or denominations, teaching doctrine that ran contrary to that of Jesus Christ. They would have rejected, vehemently, mandates and compulsory membership which violated the Agency of man, their ability to choose for themselves.
This gift from God is at the heart of being a mortal being and has been since the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were instructed that everything was theirs to tend to; but that they must not eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They were also told that the decision was theirs to make; but if they did eat of it, “in that day they would surely die”.
…And so it has been for each of us ever since; we are to make choices about everything with the understanding that choices come with consequences. The nature of man is to seek liberty, the level of agency afforded under the living conditions available, which brings up the topic of government and the limiting of that agency by mandates and coercion.
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
In the history of the world there is no stronger evidence of a ‘starting point’ indicating the time had arrived when a people recognized the need to make a statement and a stand for one’s convictions. These individuals fled nations that oppressed their religious beliefs or simply the ability to live their lives in accordance with their own idea of personal liberty and reached the Promised Land we now call America.
This was a required step in the preparation for the restoration of the true church of Jesus Christ. A nation had to be established, one that would accept the eternal principles as found in the scriptures. In case you were wondering, our founding documents didn’t come about by accident.
The men who gathered and recorded our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights were divinely inspired, including language which has stood the test of time, documents that would be sufficient; but, as John Adams so succinctly warned:
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
I’ll repeat the wonderful observation my friend made, “Anyone who’s studied the great revivals/renewals of the Christian Church can see there are certain signs that a season of renewal is coming soon and may have already begun.”
The people of Jerusalem at the time of Christ’s ministry in mortality had signs and yet many didn’t recognize the time had arrived. They too had been given the words of the prophets regarding the coming of the Messiah. Did they all recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Chosen One, the Only Begotten Son of God?
In short, no; they not only didn’t recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah, they rejected him and crucified him, and all while claiming to be living the Law of Moses. How’s that for a contradiction of belief and actions?
Why are there so many Christian denominations and sects in our day? All of them can’t be the true church of Jesus Christ and how are we to know which of them, if any, is the true church?
As Joseph Smith, a young boy recorded, “For, notwithstanding the great love which the converts to these different faiths expressed at the time of their conversion, and the great zeal manifested by the respective clergy, who were active in getting up and promoting this extraordinary scene of religious feeling, in order to have everybody converted, as they were pleased to call it, let them join what sect they pleased; yet when the converts began to file off, some to one party and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the converts were more pretended than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued—priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions.
The great revivals spurred many to consider the need to be closer to the teachings of Jesus Christ; but which of the denominations was the right one, the one with the most correct doctrine?
If a young boy who truly loved the Lord wanted to know which denomination was right, then how much different are we from his not knowing or being sure?
“While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
Joseph Smith prayed to God and was told to join none of them. How’s that for simple and to the point? The restoration of the true church was to begin at that point…and yet there are so many still looking for the true church. Is this any different than those in Jerusalem who were looking for the Messiah and they rejected him as well?
In closing I would strongly suggest assessing the information shared, pray with a sincere heart to God about what is true and what you should be doing. God will give you an answer by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Self-Educated American, Senior Editor, T.F. Stern is both a retired City of Houston police officer and, most recently, a retired self-employed locksmith (after serving that industry for 40 plus years). He is also a gifted political and social commentator. His popular and insightful blog, T.F. Sterns Rantings, has been up and at it since January of 2005.