How "organized" is this group?
We do not have priests and leaders like other religions usually have. But we do have those who are given priestly authority to baptize and perform the Sacrament or the Lord's Supper. They are servants, not necessarily leaders over others. They must be sustained by others (common consent) in their local group before performing ordinances in that group. They are to be examples. To point you in the right direction. They are to teach and serve, not to be a leader over you or to control you in any way. All men should obtain this priesthood, AND also obtain a greater standing from heaven direct.
What about a priest, a pastor, or a prophet?
John 15:5 - I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Acts 2:17 (similar words found in Joel 2:28) - And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.
Did you hear that prophecy about the last days? "All flesh", "sons and daughters shall prophesy".
Numbers 11:29: And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!
As Moses said, would to God that all the people were prophets. We are all to obtain that station with God. Now if a person comes to such a great standing before God, it would be wise to weigh what he says against the scriptures and then find out from God if that person is sharing a true message from God. Surely we would respect that prophet for the work he has been called to do. It nearly takes a prophet to know another prophet. There are times when God does fore-ordain a prophet to come into mortality to perform a great mission.
Amos 3:7 - Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
God has and will send servants to teach and to warn a people, or to attempt to return the people to a full restoration of the gospel on earth. If God is going to do something great in the last days, such as warning people to repent before a coming cleansing or to gather a people who will be used to redeem Zion as prophesied, that He would stick with His usual pattern and own past promises. This gives people a fair chance at repenting before such a calamity or opportunity.
The Lord can have a grand mission for a prophet to perform, but He also needs many prophets in any age to help with His work of bringing to pass salvation to others. Is it possible that you could assist the Lord in His work? Do you believe the stories of men connecting with God in scripture? If others have connected and if others are doing it today, doesn't that give you the faith and courage to do like wise? Is God a respector of persons? Does He change? Suppose a man is called by God to do a great work, would a servant of God tell you to just follow and trust him? Or would he point you in the right direction and leave you to personally go and connect with the Holy One on your own? A true messenger certainly would tell you to listen to the word of the Lord that was given through him, but to also go and talk with God yourself. A good messenger will do all he can to prevent you from relying to much upon him.
What is this Priesthood mentioned above?
Priesthood is authorization to do things here that Heaven will accept there. Without Heaven honoring and accepting what we do, all the ordinances and works we do here are powerless, but instructive. A group could be in greater condemnation for doing ordinances and claiming so much among men, only in the end to be found that God did not honor our ordinances and works. Priesthood is only as good as a peoples' connection with heaven.
In the Old Testament only one tribe (the Levites) where allowed to hold Levitical priesthood. Only one High Priest would perform the most importantant temple rituals. With Israel (the descendents of Abraham/Isaac/Jacob), things were "out of order" after the early loss of Moses. God was sending individuals from outside the recognized priestly organization and giving them a Higher Priesthood from on high. They were usually rejected. Some were sought after to be destroyed or exiled. Quite the different life than compared to what we see with religious leaders of today. Adam's posterity had become so corrupt after having the full gospel among them, that God cleansed the earth with the flood. Enoch and Noah were two prophets sent to warn the people of that coming cleansing. Enoch was very successful with his people. He helped them obtain the faith and courage to have a Zion city that was removed to a safe place right before the flood. Noah's family was spared by building the Ark. Noah's family reproduce and fill the lands again. Abraham realizes that his people were very religious minded, but were doing many things incorrectly. He labeled his own Father as an idolator. Moses is taught by his father in law Jethro, a midianite. Midianites were not part of the 12 tribes of Isarel, and were not viewed as holding priesthood like the Israelites had. But Jethro was taught properly by his family and obtained a higher priesthood. Moses was of the lineage of Israel. God prepared him and placed him in a position to help the wayward posterity turn back to God and to deliver them out of their slavery in Egypt. He became one of the most honored and well known of all the prophets. Moses learns about the doctrines of the Kingdom in the process of God using him. He obtains greater levels of priesthood that most of the world find hard to believe is possible. He had a mobile temple, hoping to build a stationary one in the promised land where his people could learn to talk with God like he had done up on mountain. After the greatest of miracles and being delivered, the Israelites were still failing to get what God intended to give. Some obtained greater Priesthood and were conversing with God themselves, but the majority continued to build babylon in one hand while trying to buid Zion in the other. Their lessor priesthood and ordinances really pointed them to obtaining the higher Priesthood. They were left with a lessor priesthood named after men. Formerly the Levitical Priesthood and later known as the Aaronic Priesthood (named after the brother of Moses). This lessor authority is given to a group in order to prepare them for more. It is a system among men full of laws and rites, but it would point them or their children to one day repent and return to the greater things of God. Moses is taken before the Israelites make it to the promised land (a place of Zion). Future prophets outside the priestly tribes also try to return Israel to the right way. Isaiah predicts that in the last days Zion would finally be redeemed. Jeremiah was not a high priest of the people, but still prophesied that babylon would soon overtake Jerusalem. He prophesied destruction. The majority ignored such talk. Sure enough it came.
Lehi, was also a prophet in Jerusalem during the same time that Jeremiah was a prophet. They both were declaring future destruction to the organized religious of their day. The people thought they were too great to suffer such things. Their pride kept them from learning of the errors of their ways. They thought the traditions of their Father's was the only correct path back to God and was "good enough". Lehi is told by God to take his family and some friends out of Jersualem right before it is destroyed and taken captive by Babylon. Lehi connected with and obtained priesthood from God. He and his family came out of organized religion that had become corrupt. They left their own people who didn't listen. They were later destroyed, taken captive or scattered.
The Book of Mormon begins with Lehi's story in 1 Nephi. We invite you to research this record, as well as the Bible. There are other histories found in the Book of Mormon of other people coming over to the americas even before Lehi's arrival. The Jaredites and Mulekites also had amazing Prophets among them, but their posterity failed to do what their Father's had done. They too were smitten, scattered and destroyed. There were a few seasons of success in that record and those are very uplifting histories to learn from. Some of the North American Indians are remnants of these people. The Book of Mormon is a record of their fore-fathers. They were here long before Columbus ever sailed the ocean blue and europeans taking over the land that these familes held for thousands of years. The Book of Mormon is a record of prophets trying to preach repentance when people needed it most. It records Christ coming to visit a small, but prepared group after His resurrection. We invite you to read the record and see if it brings you closer to Christ and His teachings.
In summary, there are different levels of priesthood that can be given. A lesser portion is given when a group is preparing to obtain and maintain the fuller versions, or fail to properly maintain it after having it given to their Fathers. It is a lesser priesthood of laws and rituals, a list of do's and don'ts. It is a priesthood that points to the greater priesthood authority that could be held. The biggest problem with the lesser authority only being held among a group, is that people come to rely too much on other men. This easily leads to idolatry. Men place other men as their focus point, instead of going on the individual path to the Lord for themselves. Prophets in the Book of Mormon knew this was a problem in Israel. They knew it would be a problem with the people who would later obtain and publish their records. The Book of Mormon actually prophecies that they too would be offered the fullness of the gospel and would lose it. The problem with the modern LDS, is that they think those verses must apply to another people. They claim to be the Holy Church of God and are the only ones who could pollute it from within.
The good news? The Lord does have true prophets beginning to go forth to warn and teach in these latter days. "This gospel" is the fullness of the gospel that we have been discussing. That fullness of gospel and priesthood that brings people into the actual communion and presence with angels, the Son and the Father. This network of believers began as a small remnant of the LDS organization who began to see that the fullness had been lost among our priestly leaders and people. This remnant of LDS people do currently hold the Aaronic Priesthood (still acceptable before God) to perform outward priestly ordinances such as Baptism. We also invite you to prepare for this ordinance and to obtain it by clicking the link found in the bottom or these web pages.
Continue to the next page to see what was prophesied to eventually happen in the last days. Regardless of all failures of the past or present, surely the word of God in the book of Daniel that refers to a final stone cut out of the mountain (the full gospel truths that will bring us to Zion) will go forth. A final gathering of righteous truth seekers would occur. That final remnant will be spared during serious calamity and destruction and some of them would then go on to build Zion or the New Jerusalem... the one that would usher in the millennium where even greater things will occur.