JULY 2nd VERSION PRODUCED BY A COMMITTEE OF FELLOWSHIPS
WRITTEN ON JULY 2, 2017 BY A GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS REPRESENTING 23 FELLOWSHIPS OF BELIEVERS IN CHRIST. AFTER MIGHTY PRAYER, ALL CAME TO ONE HEART AND MIND ON THE PURPOSE OF THE WORK. INDIVIDUALS THEN SELF-SELECTED INTO GROUPS TO WRITE THE SECTION THAT THEY FELT CALLED TO WRITE. EACH GROUP WROTE AS INSPIRED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, THEN ALL CAME TOGETHER TO REVIEW THE ENTIRE WORK. OVER THE NEXT WEEK, EACH GROUP PRAYERFULLY REVIEWED THEIR CONTENT AND THE COMMENTS OF THE BODY BEFORE COMPILING THEIR FINAL VERSION ON JULY 9, 2017 FOR THE VOTE OF THE BODY OF BELIEVERS. THE LABOR WAS PERFORMED BY COMMON CONSENT, WITH ALL STANDING AS EQUAL PARTICIPANTS.
THESE ARE GIVEN BY WAY OF WISDOM RATHER THAN BY WAY OF COMMANDMENT AND ARE DESIGNED TO BE APPLIED INTERNALLY TO EACH INDIVIDUAL AND FELLOWSHIP.
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has declared that today is once again a day of salvation. He has set His hand to gather His sheep from the four corners of the earth, to free them from the bonds of Babylon, to re-enthrone the agency of man, to free the believing captives from the chains of false religion, and to reestablish the New and Everlasting Covenant with a people who will have Him to be their God. His invitation to His sheep is to awake and arise, to repent and return, and to organize themselves, accepting the Lord’s invitation to come to Him and ascend back into the presence of the Father. Fellowships are a means the Lord has given to prepare a people for this great undertaking. Unlike rules that only preoccupy, principles ennoble, inviting people to learn higher truths, develop wisdom, and govern themselves after the pattern of Heaven and according to the dictates of their own conscience. Those who labor in this work with all their heart, might, mind, and strength will become glorious in the eyes of the Lord.
The Doctrine of Christ
We seek to have an eye single to the glory of God by following the Doctrine of Christ. The Doctrine of Christ begins with the faith to believe in Jesus Christ, then to act by repenting from sin and following the example of your Lord and Savior by going down into the water to be baptized by immersion, and then you will receive the Holy Ghost. If you remain diligent in acting in this labor, then comes the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. Then you can speak with the language of angels, for angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost the words of Christ, which will tell you all things you should do. This leads to salvation, or in other words, coming unto Christ. And if you will persist in this straight and narrow path, you shall receive grace for grace, yea you shall receive eternal life. (RE 2 Nephi 13-14 / LE 2 Nephi 31-32)
Therefore, only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption. Therefore may God grant unto you my brethren that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you. Yea, cry unto him for mercy, for he is mighty to save. Yea, humble yourselves and continue in prayer unto him. (Alma 16 RE/Alma 34:16-19 LE)
Abraham 1:2 explains, ‘… I sought for the blessings of the fathers … having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge.’ Repentance is related to knowledge. Ignorance damns us. Abraham explained redemption and possessing great knowledge went hand-in-hand. -Denver Snuffer, Preserving the Restoration, p. 118.
A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world as evil spirits will have more knowled[g]e & consequently more power than many men who are on the earth. [H]ence it needs Revelation to assist us & give us knowledge of the things of God. -Joseph Smith, Words of Joseph Smith, April 10, 1842, pp. 113-114.
When the souls of women and men are sent to the Eternal world they reap their rewards according to their works, whether they were good or whether they were bad, to reap eternal happiness or eternal misery, according to the spirit which they chose to obey, whether it be a good spirit or a bad one. For every person receives either reward or condemnation from the spirit they choose to obey, and this according to the words of the spirit of prophecy; therefore let it be according to the truth. For I came into the world to redeem all mankind if they will but come unto me and be baptized, that I may pour out my Spirit more abundantly upon them. (Alma 1 RE/Alma 3:26-27 LE, Mosiah 9 RE/Mosiah 18:10 LE)
Baptism is a mandatory sign of penitence and walking in a new path.
Whosoever will come unto me may come and partake of the waters of life freely, for this is my doctrine-whosoever repents and comes to me is my church. (see RE Alma 19/LE Alma 33:34, RE D&C 4/ LE D&C 10:66-67)
Before baptism, we teach the Doctrine of Christ. Christ taught:
Verily I say unto you that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them: behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water and in my name shall ye baptize them. And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying, Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. And then shall ye immerse them in the water and come forth again out of the water. And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name. (3 Nephi 5 RE / 3 Nephi 11:23-27 LE)
It is recommended that, if possible, a living ordinance be performed in living water, such as a lake, river or ocean.
O then my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel and he employeth no servant there. And there is none other way save it be by the gate for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name. And whoso knocketh, to him will he open. (2 Nephi 6 RE/2 Nephi 9:41-42 LE)
Baptism is to be performed by one having authority from Jesus Christ. Outside the family it is performed by a priesthood bearer who has been sustained by seven women, one being his wife if he is married. (CR-Seven Women) Before performing the ordinance, ask for and obtain from Christ the power to baptize.
Baptism is to be offered freely to all willing souls who have understanding, and who are accountable and capable of committing sin, and no one should be refused who asks. (Moroni 8 RE/Moroni 8:10 LE) No one should seek to profit or set themselves up for a light as a result of baptizing or being baptized. (James 1 RE/James 1:9-10 LE) Following baptism their names are to be recorded by the Central Recorder.
Every time you partake of the Sacrament it is a reminder of the promise there will at last be some great wedding feast. It is not just in remembrance of the blood and of the body, but it is also a preliminary to the final feast the Lord intends to offer in which His blood and His body achieve success in redeeming some few! His atonement was to redeem. -Denver Snuffer, Preserving the Restoration, Sept. 10, 2014, p. 37.
Behold, there shall one be ordained among you and to him will I give power that he shall break bread and bless it and give it unto the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name. And this shall ye always observe to do even as I have done, even as I have broken bread and blessed it and gave it unto you. And this shall ye do in remembrance of my body which I have shewn unto you. And it shall be a testimony unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me, ye shall have my spirit to be with you.
And it came to pass that when he had said these words, he commanded his disciples that they should take of the wine of the cup and drink of it, and that they should also give unto the multitude that they might drink of it. And it came to pass that they did so and did drink of it and were filled. And they gave unto the multitude, and they did drink and they were filled. (3 Nephi 8 RE/3 Nephi 18:5-9 LE)
The manner of administering the flesh and blood of Christ unto the church: One who has been ordained, sustained by seven women, and having power from Christ, shall administer it according to the commandments and example of Christ. He shall kneel down with the church, and pray to the Father in the name of Christ, saying:
O God the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son Jesus Christ to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son and always remember him and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
Then, again kneeling with the church, one will take the wine and pray to the Father in the name of Christ saying:
O God the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son Jesus Christ to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them, that they may witness unto thee, O God the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
After performing the ordinance, those blessing and receiving the ordinance partake of the bread and wine. The only requirements in the scriptures are the words of the prayer and that all kneel. However, red wine or grape juice are to be used when possible as a symbol of Christ’s blood. (3 Nephi 8 RE/3 Nephi 18:1-9 LE, Moroni 4-5 RE/Moroni 4-5 LE)
Principle of exactness in ordinances
The ordinances have been the same since Adam. According to Joseph Smith: [Jesus] set the ordinances to be the same forever and ever. -Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 168. Also: Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. -Id., p. 308. This is why Joseph “restored” the Gospel, but did not bring anything new. It was a return to the earlier, forgotten truths.
The Earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance[s], broken the everlasting covenant. (Isaiah 7 RE/Isaiah 24:5 LE)
Covenants come from God, we either accept or reject what he offers, everything God ordains is by law, it is lasting, it won’t be thrown down like things men ordain; his house is established by law, or in other words, by covenant. Everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by the Lord or by His word shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection. For whatsoever things remain are by the Lord; and whatsoever things are not by Him shall be shaken and destroyed.
Blessed are ye
And after that ye are baptized with water, behold I will baptize you with fire and with the Holy Ghost. Therefore blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me and be baptized after that ye have seen me and know that I am. (3 Nephi 5 RE/3 Nephi 12:1)
Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do. (2 Nephi 14 RE/2 Nephi 32:6 LE)
Sacrifice and Tithing
Sacrifice has always been an element of true worship. Sacrifice may be temporal, spiritual, or emotional. An individual’s journey back to God begins with the initial acceptable sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit (LE 3 Nephi 9:20). Sacrifice in the Lord’s way helps soften our hearts toward the needs of others and leads to unity of hearts among those involved. As your hearts start to become knit together in one, you will be more apt to recognize the needs of those around you, thereby increasing your desire to help while your love and compassion for others grow.
Balance and equality can only be achieved within a fellowship when individuals willingly share out of their God-given abundance, as directed by the Holy Ghost, with those in need. The Lord has stated: If ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things. (LE D&C 78) Tithes follow the principle of sacrifice (LE D&C 64:23). Tithes should be gathered within the fellowship and prayerfully administered by the common consent of the fellowship. All are invited to contribute to this process. It is necessary for bonds to form within and among fellowships so that the Lord may transform individual members into a unified body. There should be no poor among us. While tithes should not be used to support the idle, it is better to give freely than to judge the efforts of your fellow man (LE Mosiah 2). Outside of the commandment to pay tithing—and in addition to it—we should be willing to give alms to those who ask of us, and not turn the beggar away from our door: For thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (LE Heb 13:2)
The Lord has stated:
The purpose of tithing was never to establish a wealthy general fund nor to invite wrongful accumulation of wealth that has resulted from the long abuse of this law. The law was to be a light thing, easily borne by the faithful. Tithing was always to be taken from surplus (meaning unnecessary excess property), and increase (meaning what remains after all costs of the household have been paid). It was to be drawn out of the abundance in the possession of the giver, so that there may be enough and to spare, not from property required for their necessities. The tithes of this people are to be used for the poor among this people, if they want to become Mine.
After the individual needs of each of the members of a fellowship are met and when the excess funds are gathered, they should be donated to the temple, or, by common consent, contributed to the needs of another fellowship (LE D&C 97:8-12).
Concerning Obtaining the Powers of Heaven by Faith, Blessings, Priesthood, and Sustaining
The power of God is in part a function of faith and is available to both men and women [LoF 1]. Through repentance, the Powers of Heaven are accessed and the priesthood’s power becomes real. This power of heaven must ratify priestly power or it is nonexistent.
Power is given for the purpose of blessing His children and is obtained from an association between a man or a women and the Powers of Heaven. The rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the Powers of Heaven, and the Powers of Heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness. (LE D&C 121:36) Therefore, having desire, having faith, repenting, and acting on the laws of heaven are central to receiving God’s power. If you have a desire to serve God, you are called to the work and can receive this power to accomplish His will.
His work is enabled through faith and associating with this power, which can include, but is not limited to, prophesy, revelation, and blessings of healing, counsel, and relief, which may be given by women and men according to their faith and through exercising the gifts of the Spirit [LE D&C 35, 46, 84 LE; Moroni 10]. Blessings should be given meekly, not to support a craft, or for money, or to receive the praise of men, and should be given freely when solicited by the beneficiary or the beneficiary’s family. The administration of these blessings should follow the dictates of prudence, skill, and the Spirit.
Every man and every woman is given gifts born of the Spirit, and all are called to build up the kingdom of God upon the earth. For a group to form Zion, there should be no covetousness in or among the fellowships, for each gift is needed. Talents and gifts are given to allow us to emulate the Lord, to serve and lift our neighbor, and to forward the cause of Zion. Voluntary participation is necessary in the work of the Lord. Above all, agency should be preserved and individuals should be allowed to bring their gifts and talents to the fellowship as they feel directed by the Mind of God. If led by the Spirit, any may share their spiritual experience for the group, but it should not be used as a trump card to compel agreement; rather, inspiration by way of dream, vision, messenger, or His Spirit should be shared and judged by what is found in scripture, that we may remember not only to say, but also to do what was given us by God. Persuasion, rather than domination, is necessary to bring harmony between individuals. The Lord invites believers to use Godly principles like persuasion and pure knowledge, grounded on the bedrock of scripture, rather than compulsion by way of an experience, to attempt to persuade. The Lord’s name must not be invoked in vain. The earth is full of lying spirits. To avoid deception, study the thoughts and impressions you receive: if they fill you with pride, vainglory, laziness, an ambition to control and lead, or suggest that you alone are faithful while all around you are in error, they are not of me, but are of the devil. I the Lord tell you truly that the humility and meekness required for those who would be my servants is hardly found on the earth. Repent, therefore, and adopt the ways of your Lord.
As identified by the Lord, the performance of priesthood ordinances given in public, such as baptism and the Sacrament, are to be performed only by men. However, before a man can perform a priesthood ordinance outside of his own family, he must be ordained, receive authority from Christ, and be properly sustained. This allows the person to perform ordinances with authority given by Jesus Christ, not merely by taking the authority upon himself, and is the way we can have men called of God, as was Aaron [RE Hebrew 3], in our day. A man need not be re-ordained if he was ordained a priest before April 2014 and can trace his line of authority back to Christ through Joseph Smith. If ordained after, he should be ordained in a fellowship, and a proper record kept of his line of authority stemming from the fellowship’s proceedings. In all cases, the ordination is not the end, but the means to by which the end may be received; that is, to receive an errand from the Lord. When ordaining anyone to any priesthood as part of a community, ordain them to “the Holy Order” and leave it to God and the angels to decide how far the individual is permitted to progress in their association with the Powers of Heaven. Power in the Priesthood can only come from God. Therefore, a man should follow the pattern laid out in the Book of Mormon and get authority from Christ’s word, spoken to him by the power of the Spirit, to ratify the ordination before acting.
As only men are to hold priesthood for public ordinances, only women are to vote to sustain them. As soon as an ordinance is needed, women are qualified to vote. They are in need of the ordinance, and they ought to be entitled to vote in order to receive that ordinance. The Lord has said: There shall be a minimum of seven women to sustain the man in any vote, and if the man is married, his wife shall be one of them. (CR-Seven Women) If his wife will not sustain him, he is unworthy to provide priesthood service outside his family or in the fellowship. If a young man lives at home, with his mother, she must be the first of those to sustain him; she shall be his advocate with the women. His sisters, if of an appropriate age to understand these things, may also vote for him. If that young man’s mother will not sustain her son, her view should be considered as better informed than the view of any other seven women, even if they would consent. A young man should have his mother’s confidence before he is allowed to perform priestly functions for others outside his family.
When it is proposed that a man be sustained by at least seven women, before that sustaining vote is taken, there should be a discussion as to whether there are any opposed to the man being sustained. If there are, those opposing should be allowed to first express any concerns about the man, and the women should hear the reasons before they decide whether to proceed with sustaining the man. If he is sustained, the power of seven women who individually obtain the mind of the Lord and combine their united witness and faith to sustain him can provide great strength and confidence. After the vote, all of the women who vote to sustain should follow the pattern of the early church by providing a written certificate. The women should not only sign a certificate, but also write about their sustaining vote in their personal records so that there may be an abundance of witnesses.
Sustaining is by women, and removing authority to act within a community or fellowship, is likewise to be done by the vote of women (CR-Seven Women). If a man’s worthiness to function is called into question, then a temporary council of women can be convened to deal with the question. In removing authority, at least two witnesses should speak against the accused, and he should be allowed to speak on his behalf and call such witnesses as he chooses. Men can be witnesses, but only women are allowed to vote. Removal should be by unanimous vote of the women present, with at least 12 votes against a man to end his authority to act in the fellowship community. If a woman is present and cannot judge the matter, she may abstain, and the vote of remaining women, if there are 12 unanimous votes, will be sufficient (PTR, p. 511-12, with footnote 1391).
Concerning Marriage and Sealings
Marriage is to be between one man and one woman, as originally established by God between Adam and Eve. The children of Adam and Eve likewise were married as couples, a man and a woman. The taking of multiple wives is not considered a reflection of the image of God, as originally revealed to Adam. The image of God was in the couple, Adam and Eve, which were one man and one woman. Likewise, the apostle confirmed that neither the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man, is approved of the Lord (LE 1 Cor 11:11). Families already practicing plural marriage and wishing to join a fellowship can do so as long as they understand that they should not take another wife, nor abandon any wife they currently have, and teach their children to end the practice (Hyrum’s epistle; LE 1 Cor 7:10-16). The ceremony for contracting marriage should be as directed by the Spirit. We anticipate a fuller understanding of marriage, sealings and other ordinances to be revealed with the acceptance of the temple by the Lord.
A Standard for All Fellowships
The first great commandment is to love God. Worship God. I am the Truth, the Way, and the Life. No man cometh to the Father but by me, and all things testify of me…If you love me keep my commandments…All who keep my commandments and obey my voice shall see my face and know that I am…My sheep hear my voice and hearken to the voice of my servants.
The second commandment is like unto the first, love your neighbor as yourself. Every member of a fellowship has equal value. Who can measure the worth of a soul? Who can place a value on a child of God? Are not all my children? Did I not come to save every man and woman? Treat others my way. I am no respecter of persons. Let all things be done in charity.
Unity and love within a fellowship will create a connection with God. We are all broken parts of a greater whole—God’s family. The purpose of gathering together is to repair the family of God. Fellowships are where God can put the pieces back together. When we come together to worship with an eye single to the glory of God, then it is God who unites. Progression is rapid when labor is performed by mortals who work together.
Should the Lord send an angel to govern the affairs of men? Why should I send an angel when a group of broken individuals can come to the same understanding by joining together in love and meekness? Fear stops the flow of communication with God and destroys all relationships. Abuse is rampant and fosters fear. All are broken; only love, true forgiveness, and the Atonement can break the chain. Implementing the Atonement of Jesus Christ in ourselves, our families, and our fellowships, overcomes fear and heals all wounds.
The glory of God is intelligence, or in other words light and truth. Light, like a candle, can pass God’s glory to others. Just as the sun rises to warm all the earth, light shared through love proceeds from within our hearts to draw in and unite all people. Light is given to all fellowships liberally that they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom. Otherwise there remains a scourge and judgment poured out upon the children of Zion.
When we lean on our own understanding we fail to connect with God and fail to fulfill the measure of our creation. Christ animates us as individuals and fellowships if we allow Him to do so. The words of Truth flow when the Spirit of God is animated in believers who speak and act according to the power of godliness. Faith is a principle of action and power. Unified actions, like prayer, ordinances, worship, song, coordinated dance, and physical labor can help a group achieve the flow of the Spirit. Revelation is God’s experience given to animate action in us—giving mere mortals the power to progress in their ascension to godhood.
Be of good cheer! The Lord will provide; do not fear. Have joy. Fellowships exist for the purpose of restoring the family of God and to prepare us for Zion. Our oneness testifies to the world that God is REAL. If you are not one, you are not mine.
Principles of Reconciliation and Unity
The Lord seeks a people who are unified and willing to live in peace one with another. (LE D&C 38:27) He desires that if we have been offended or hurt by another, that we speak with him or her privately and attempt to be reconciled. To do otherwise is gossip, which is not pleasing to the Lord. (LE D&C 42:88; 3 Nephi 12:24) The Lord also commands that we not engage in lying, backbiting, evil-speaking, and finding fault with others. (LE D&C 20:54; D&C 88:124). Contending with others in anger is not of God, but originates from the devil (LE 3 Nephi 11:29). When the love of God dwells in the hearts of men, contention ceases (LE 4 Nephi 1:15-18; Moroni 7:48).
Jarrings, contentions, envyings, strifes, and ambitious and covetous desires impede hearing the voice of the Lord and pollute the inheritances of a people of God. (LE D&C 101:6)
To be forgiven, Christ not only requires us to forgive others (LE Col. 3:13; D&C 64:10), but to plead for mercy for those who have offended us. The role of accusing is left to “the accuser of the brethren”, or Satan. (LE Rev. 12: 10) When we accuse others we interfere with their salvation. If we are the one who was offended, and we make no accusation against them, then the Lord will make no accusation against us. Satan’s right to accuse is inferior to ours as victims of the offense, because it is us who suffer in the flesh the wrongs of others. If we make no claims for justice, surrender such, and seek instead for mercy on behalf of others, then Satan’s accusations can have no claim upon them. We mimic Christ, follow His example, and in our own limited way, also atone for the sins of others.
Therefore, …see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again. For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all. (LE Alma 41:13-14)
Concerning Principles of Godly Influence
God is no respecter of persons. God desires to have a covenant people upon the earth that are of one heart, one mind, and dwell in righteousness together regardless of their mortal differences. Agency, Pure Love Of Christ, and Purity in Heart are the foundational principles which can make a people of one heart and one mind.
In governing the children of men, the Lord uses persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, unfeigned love, kindness, and pure knowledge, which enlarges the soul without hypocrisy and without guile. He implores us to do the same in our relationships with one another. These are the only principles of influence to be used among God’s people. This foundation respects individual agency (self-selection) to decide their level of involvement without an overseer. Only when moved upon by the Holy Ghost can you censure another, and even then, it should be done in a timely manner with exactness, then showing an increase in love toward that person. This allows him to recognize that you are not his enemy and that your faithfulness toward him is stronger than the cords of death. Exercise of compulsion, coercion, control, or unrighteous dominion is not of God and is not to be used as a means of influencing or government (LE D&C 121:41-44).
There is no central organization, regulation, or control over any individual or fellowship. Fellowships vary and no two are exactly alike. Their course, frequency, and scope is determined by the common consent of the participants. They are organic and, like living things, expand, contract, divide, and can sometimes come to an end. Some fellowships are large and others are very small, perhaps consisting of only a few individuals or even one or two families. Where two or three are gathered together in Christ’s name, He will be in the midst of them.
When decisions need to be made within a fellowship, it is wisdom that they be guided by prayer, scripture, and common consent. Individuals should exercise self-restraint and humility and refrain from dominating the discussion; members should share their opinions to the best of their ability, then trust the Lord with the final outcome (LE D&C 30). Above all, each member of the fellowship is free to act according to the dictates of their own conscience. Prior to making a decision by vote, fellowships should take into consideration the opposing views and deliberate openly. Decisions need not be made in haste, but must be built upon righteous principles for God to carry out His work with this people. It is better to defer for a time than to reach a decision rapidly, as haste leads to confusion.
When beginning an endeavor that is intended to impact many fellowships, consider casting a wide net to allow all who feel so inspired to join. After bringing in all those who desire to labor, take time to reach unity in heart and mind about the endeavor, make a commitment to see the project through, and then plead for Heaven’s guidance and support. If that group will work with an eye single to His glory and the welfare of Zion, rather than their own name and reputation, the Lord will take their weak effort and give it His strength. Just as it is wise to refrain from quickly adding in others to the group who were not originally called to labor (as much labor is required to bring individuals to a unity of heart and mind without compulsory means), it is equally important to remember that the Lord is Master of the vineyard, and He will call servants throughout the day to labor. Do not turn those away who feel called to labor; the laborer is worthy of his hire. While it is a righteous principle to not seek credit or glory of men, accountability is also a true principle. Therefore, let there be a spokesman and a witness of the endeavor for the body of believers. If a vote is needed for the body to accept the product, then time must be given to the body to deliberate before a vote can be requested. Labor in the Lord’s vineyard is not confined to completing the product, project or endeavor at hand; in the Lord’s eyes, the labor is inextricably tied to working together in unity. A small group, if unified with each other and the Lord, is more terrible than an army with banners.