My organized religion already teaches some of those things, isn't that good enough?
John 14:6 - Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me... 12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father... 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you... 21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him... 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Are organized religions of today really teaching how to do all the works the Lord did? Surely the Lord did and taught amazing things. He received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. He connected with the Father while on earth without the help of organized religion. How has your religion assisted you? Have you come unto Christ? Has He personally manifested His word or Himself to you? He said He would, do you truly believe? Has our Lord brought you to the Father in Heaven? Is there any organized religion on the face of this earth who clearly teaches how to do this?
These New Testament verses above state that the Lord will come to us and comfort us. He will manifest Himself to us. How important it is to get His word to you direct so these greater events can occur! We must connect with and hear from Him for ourselves. Not just your pastor, priest, pope or church president, but you as well.
And what about what Peter discussed in the New Testament below? Is it understood to even be taught correctly?
2 Peter 1:10-11 - Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The Lord will grant certain eternal promises to each person. Do you understand what calling and election means? These are some serious principles mentioned in these Bible verses we have quoted so far. Please search your scriptures to read more about how the Lord Himself is the Holy One who stands at the gate that we must all come to in order to properly enter the Kingdom of God in this life and the next.
Many religions have done a lot of good. Some have caused serious turmoil and even holy wars in the past. Take a look around and what do we see? In cities, we see so many different churches on nearly every corner, all competing against each other. Many break off from the foundations created by other men, are confused over some principle or doctrine, and then more divisions occur. Some are saying, lo here, lo there... join us, worship with us, pay us tithing that we can build our massive man made buildings so others too will come and tithe to us, follow our leaders and you will be saved. Surely they cannot all be right. Surely the Lord would have a better way.
Old Testament History
To understand the present, we need to understand the past. The Old Testament is a large collection of writings recording the failure (with some individual successes) of: Adam's children, the people in the days of Noah, and the scattering and destruction of Israelite tribes until the coming of the Lord to dwell in flesh. Israel (children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) of old failed numerous times. God sent them prophets/servants over the years to help them and warn them to return and be gathered by Him. They were eventually destroyed or scattered. Israelite remnants still await their prophesied end time gathering. The Jews (sons of Judah) still mistakenly wait for their first coming of a Savior.
When Adam and the first patriarchs where on the earth they had no organized church to attend. They learned truths from heaven direct and taught their families and friends how to do the same.
They did hold priesthood and set apart others to perform certain functions within their families. There were no "Christians" or "Jews" or "Muslims". There was priesthood and men connecting with
God and doing as He asked. Until apostasy occured. Abraham lived in a time of group apostasy. He reconnected with God on his own. He taught his son and grandson to do the same. The Muslims are descendants of Ishmael, a son of Abraham through his wife Hagar. Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah. Isaac's son Jacob was the man renamed "Israel". He bore the
12 sons (tribes) of Israel. The Jews come from Judah, one of the sons of Jacob and Leah. All Christians, Jews and Muslims today have the same ancient Father:
Abraham. We are in fact brothers and sisters even though we find ourselves in different organized religions in our modern day. Most hope to sit in the same heavenly Kingdom where father Abraham sits.
Isaiah 28:8 For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
The Old Testament also contains prophecies about what will occur in the last days. Isaiah contains the most discussions about a holy city that would be built by a holy people in the last days. The Prophets of old knew that some day in the future that a few of their descendants would be successful and finally build what God always wanted on the earth.
New Testament Era
The New Testament is a record of people failing to obtain and maintain true religion, even when the Savior Himself came into the world to try to redeem Israel. But hey, there were priests, they had their synagogues (churches) and even a temple like Israel of old. Jesus tried to show them their errors, tried to teach them true worship... but their kings and priests and the masses that followed them (trusted too much in those arms of flesh) failed to undestand and believe that Christ came in mortal flesh to save them.
Luke 9:22 - The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. Luke 17:25 - But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.
Hebrews 12:17 - For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
Christ was falsely considered (by the chief priesthood elders/priests and scholars/writers) as an apostate blasphemer teaching falsehoods. John the Baptist had prepared the way for Christ to perform his mission. He had been performing baptisms without the approval of the priests in charge. He was a witness preaching repentance and God had used him to remove the remaining priestly keys from them. Christ was later setting apart disciples to do ordinances. John the Baptist was used by God to start something new. The "new movement" was upsetting the already corrupt religious organization and ultimately led to the crucifiction of our Lord. The Apostles were later killed or exiled. Our Savior was put to death for trying to teach a very "religious" and rigid people the truth, or a more correct and complete gospel. After his death, the Apostles do some good teaching, but within the next 100 years they are put to death or exiled. Apostasy surely occurred. The Apostle's writings went underground for some time. There was no organized christian religion after their time. But enough like minded people still gathered together and discussed the works of Christ and the writings of the Apostles that later became the New Testament.
Understanding Christian History
It was prophesied that an apostasy would occur after the days of the Apostles and before the next coming of Christ.
2nd Thessalonians 2:1-3 - Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first.
The catholics were the first to organize as Christians. But they didn't organize until about 200 years later (around 330 AD). They started out because Rome politicians wanted to benefit from the many who were reading about Christ and believing in His teachings. They wanted to be the leading military/government force and wanted to use an organized religion to assist them in their agenda. The catholic leaders decided (around 400 AD) which writings they would accept and consider as the biblical cannon. The manuscripts were only written for the catholic clergy and not for the common lay member.
Around 1380 A.D. John Wycliffe had started printing the biblical manuscripts into english and giving them to everyone. This set the stage for the reformation years. We have Martin Luther and his famous 95 Thesis. We have a group of "Lutherans" breaking off of the Catholics. Then some broke off and protested other principles and became the protestants. Some wanted baptism like Christ in full immersion (it is best to follow Christ's example exactly), so we have the Baptists. We have the Methodists who claimed their method for connecting with heaven was the best. There so many other Christian "ists" and "isms" that have evolved since that time. If people build off an already corrupt foundation started by mankind, how do you suppose building off that foundation will get us true religion and the spirituality that heaven expects?
Also see: The Christian Reformation
So much confusion and contention among so many different Christian sects has reigned. Many have been confused or hurt by religious contentions and divisions. Some become athiests. They believe nothing but what they see or join the new age or scientology movement. Some families are torn apart because Dad wants to join one group and Mom wants to join another. Some build organized religions to benefit off of their member's efforts who are wanting true religion. Some started out good and later become corrupt. There is so much corruption and confusion. Surely God expects better order and success from us all.
The LDS (who are also Christians or believers in Christ) where given an opportunity to obtain the fullness of the gospel and to redeem Zion in the 1830-40's, but they too have failed in doing and obtaining what they were offered by God. They had a prophet who was trying to help them to connect with God like he had, similar to what Moses tried doing with his people... to make all the people prophets (connected with God themselves) and to build a Holy City or Zion. Israel of old liked having someone else go up that mount to talk with God for them. The LDS give up too much of their own responsibilites by depending too much upon their leaders too. More about the LDS later.
Failure The Norm?
For the past 6,000 or so years we see God sending out a few prophets to turn the posterity of Adam/Noah/Abraham/Jacob back into the right direction. Our scriptures show that the the majority of people failed. Not to focus so much on failure... but we can't ignore history. If we don't understand the failures of the past, how can we properly view and compare ourselves in the present? How can we prevent failure in the present or future? Failure seems to be the standard route mankind has traveled. We meekly seek to do as those few. If our hearts are pure, broken and contrite, and if we are patient... we can get succeed with His help. Some among us have obtained what God intends for us all to receive in mortality.
Men have tried (some inspired at times to pave the way for a future restoration) to teach and correct things as they felt best. Most christian churches are break off religions of the catholic church. The whole reason there so many different christian religions, is because the original catholic Christians were corrupt. Men breaking off from an already corrupt organization and creating a new one based on their mortal understandings is not a valid way in God's usual pattern of calling prophets and servants to preach repentance in hopes of another full restoration of the gospel among a group. It is not the usual and customary way God has done all through history. Is not God the same yesterday, today and forever? Shouldn't we have one original and complete gospel if there is one God over us all? If prophets in the past connected with God by following a certain path and then were used to help others to repent... why should there be any different pattern in the future? Isn't it about time for success?
What About Us?
Are we any better than those of the past? How could we be? We certainly have more scriptures and more records of fallen people to learn from, yet we are not where we should be. We have much given to us. Where much is given, much is required. Most realize these are in deed the last days, and how many still just go about their usual daily life? Certainly there exists so much corruption in governments, businesses, religions and families in our day. Far from the gifts of the spirit. Far from Angels and the Lord... all because we too fail to search the scriptures in front of us in order to see the failures of the past and to properly compare ourselves with those who have succeeded. We have been too distracted, too busy in wordly pursuits, following and putting our trust too much in religious leaders. Same distractions, but a different time.
We are all scattered remnants of failed families/tribes/organizations of the past. We are also children of the few prophets who obtained great promises for them and their posterity. We must turn our hearts towards them, see how they connected with God, see what great promises God made with them, and become the people at last who will succeed.
The true gospel, is a paradox. You will find that those preaching this message, that it is not easy. Rejection, persecution and false accusations are also the usual path organized religions take. It was similar to Christ's day. The people had their organized religion. They thought they had all the scripture and keys they needed from Moses and needed no more. They had their priests, churches and even a temple. They imagined they were in the right way, while rejecting a God come down to help them turn in the right direction. How many in our day will pridefully take the same course? Who will likey set aside something new as just another movement of men? Who will disregard a new movement or "strange act" that is going to occur in the last days in order for prophecies to be fullfilled?
Matthew 5:11- Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Mathew 10:22 - And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
Mark 8:34 - And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Maybe this persecution isn't such a bad thing?
Matthew 24:14 - And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
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