|Our Invitation ....|
We believe that God led the Pilgrims and Puritans to America for a purpose. One
reason was to complete the Reformation. John Winthrop explained, “All other
Churches of Europe are brought to desolation . . . and who knows but that God
hath provided this place to be a refuge for many whom He means to save out of
the general calamity.”1 The Puritans also envisioned their colony
becoming a “city on a hill.” John Winthrop wrote, “We shall find that
the God of Israel is among us . . . For we must consider that we shall be as a
City upon a Hill.”2
As the Revolutionary War approached, many American expected that the church of Jesus Christ would soon emerge from the wilderness. In 1776, Samuel Sherwood preached that the woman who fled into the wilderness (Rev 12:14) would come out in America. He said that the woman has “reference to the state of Christ’s church in this American quarter of the globe; and will sooner or later have their fulfillment and accomplishment among us.” We assert that Christ’s Church did emerge from the wilderness. It was restored through Joseph Smith, Jr. by the hand of angels. One revelation said, “Verily I say unto you, that this church have I established and called forth out of the wilderness” (D&C 32:2a).
The restored church divided into over 20 factions at Joseph’s and Hyrum’s deaths. God had told the saints that if they would not obey Him, He would bring judgment “unto the third and fourth generation” (D&C 107 15b). We believe that Joseph’s murder and the church’s fragmentation mark the beginning of that judgment. During Joseph III’s administration, the faithful returned to the land of Zion, as promised (D&C 98:4g). The Reorganized Church rightfully claimed to be the successor of the original church.
The past twenty years have been very difficult. Our nation, our culture and especially our church have faced significant changes. Terrorism threatens our national security. Military tensions run high. Immorality is increasing to unimagined levels. Children are gunned down in classrooms. The US economy is reeling as its government keeps printing money. Ominous, threatening clouds appear on America’s horizon.
Meanwhile the Reorganization has fragmented over changes in mission and doctrine. It began almost 30 years ago. We did not always react well in their wake. People left, some to form separate churches and others to organize independent branches. Many lost their way, finding relief in other Christian fellowships or leaving religion altogether. A number argued over petty differences—and they still do.
The Restoration faces other schisms. We painfully remember the distress and grief of feeling exiled when long-standing beliefs were changed. The loss and isolation is overwhelming.
If you feel like you are abandoned or lost, we want to help. During our exile, we developed harmonious relationships with a variety of groups, some attached to the Community of Christ and some to other Restoration churches, and all willing to work and worship with others. Each contains rich resources that can strengthen all. If we cannot meet your need, we probably know who can. We will make every effort to help you or your fellowship group by providing advice, ministry, material and fellowship, either though us or those in our network.
We want to fellowship with all those who believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, especially as revealed in the Book of Mormon, and we want to do it in a way that respects everyone’s views. Joseph Smith said it this way: “Do you believe Jesus Christ and the gospel of salvation, which he revealed? So do I. Christians should cease wrangling and contending with each other, and cultivate the principles of union and friendship.”3
More importantly, we want to keep dedicated saints from being lost to the latter-day work. We want to help keep them engaged, using their talents and vision for the kingdom.
It is our testimony that a time of union and harmony is ahead for all the Restoration. The judgment that came on the church in 1844 will last only until the end of the third and fourth generations. Wallace B. Smith is Joseph and Emma’s great-grandson. Only five descendants of the fourth generation from Joseph remain alive. Surely, we are at the end. The time of healing is near. The time of Zion’s redemption is at hand.
“Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness” (Is 1:27). Perhaps the fragmentation that began under Wallace B. Smith’s administration is God’s way of purifying His church. He said, “And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy . . . when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion” (Is 4:3-4). Those saints who love Jesus and long for Zion must come together.
Scripture promises that God will raise the ensign a second time to gather His faithful. Isaiah prophesied, “It shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people” (Is 11:11).
Our goal is to help keep church members together as much as possible until the day that our Lord delivers His people. Latter-day revelation promises, “Ye must needs be led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched out arm; and as your fathers were led at the first, even so shall the redemption of Zion be” (D&C 100:3e).
If you find yourself needing ministry, support, or help of any kind, we invite you to contact us. We will treat your inquiry with absolute confidentiality, your feelings with utmost compassion and your beliefs with complete respect. May God bless you during this time.
1Peter Marshall and David Manuel,
The Light and the Glory, p. 155