An organized church is not a new concept. In Moses’ time, the Lord called elders, priests, and judges to preside over the people of Israel (Exodus 24:9-11). With the calling of these leaders, they were also given specific instructions to guide the people. They were able to perform ordinances that helped them understand and look forward to the coming of Jesus Christ.
During Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, He organized His Church and called apostles, prophets, seventies, elders, bishops, priests, teachers, and deacons to lead the people (Ephesians 2:20). Through the organization of the Church, the gospel was preached to many people including the Gentiles. However, after the death of Jesus Christ and His apostles, the Church that He organized disintegrated. With no leaders to guide them, people were left to wander on their own without direction from the Lord.
Articles of Faith #6: “We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.”
After a long period of apostasy, the Lord reestablished His Church through the Prophet Joseph Smith. He once again called prophets, apostles, seventies, elders, bishops, etc. to oversee the affairs of His Church. The purpose of which is to administer the ordinances of salvation to all of God’s children so that we can all return to His presence.
Part of the Lord’s plan is to establish His Church on earth. Having Jesus Christ’s Church means that we can receive ordinances such as baptism, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, endowment, temple sealing, etc. that will qualify us to enter God’s kingdom. The Church is the only way for us to receive these necessary ordinances for salvation.
As we recognize the importance of having Jesus Christ’s Church on earth, we must always remember that our biggest responsibility is our conversion to the gospel. Elder D. Todd Christofferson taught, “We do not strive for conversion to the Church but to Christ and His gospel, a conversion that is facilitated by the Church.”
There are so many blessings that are made available to us through Christ’s organized Church. In Elder Christofferson’s talk “Why the Church,” he mentioned several of these blessings.
- The Church provides a community where people can help each other make righteous choices and gain a deeper understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- It gives us an opportunity to serve each other through our various Church responsibilities.
- We can experience spiritual healing by participating in Sacrament meeting.
- We receive counsel that can help us avoid sin.
- The Church provides needful things that cannot be done by individuals alone such as taking care of the poor and needy.
- Through the Church, the gospel can be preached to all nations.
- The Church build temples where saving ordinances of the gospel are performed.
- With Christ’s Church on earth, the purity of His doctrine are preserved.
The Lord loves us and that is why He has established His Church on earth – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The purpose of the Church is to bless and provide us with the things we need to return to live with Him again. It is only through the Church of Jesus Christ that God’s purposes can be accomplished. When we understand this truth, we are then able to accept why we need an organized religion.