Although the church we attend has sometimes been unfairly labeled a Fundamentalist Mormon church, that is not an accurate description of it. This is how I would describe the church we attend:
“It is a Christian Restorationist Church, heavily influenced by the LDS Restorationist Movement, but not rooted in the LDS Church created by Joseph Smith”
For our church, "not rooted in" means it does not depend on ecclesiastical succession of authority stemming from Joseph Smith in any way. Our church has adopted many LDS-centric principles, and because of that may appear to some people as having some kind of dependency or connection to the LDS church, but it does not.
To further illustrate, we believe the church that we currently attend, as well as the members of that church that we have chosen to associate with, align closely with our stated beliefs below.
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Polygamy – We believe that as long as their is no force, fraud, or abuse, partner choices are none of our concern.
In contrast, Fundamentalist Mormons believe that you must live polygamy for your marriage to be a Celestial (heavenly) Marriage. Mormons do not believe that, and neither do we. My family believes that partner choices are not a church issue at all, and not the proper domain of a church to decide. It is instead a family (Patriarchal, or parental) choice.
We believe that family (i.e., “parental”) authority takes precedence over church authority.
In contrast, both Mormons and Fundamentalist Mormons seem to consider the mantle of their authority to be a “Priesthood Authority” that is all-encompassing. This puts “Church First” in the hierarchy of authorities that each member should follow. We do not endorse that doctrine. We believe family authority takes precedence.
Tithing – We believe that tithing is a personal choice on the amount and also to what entity it is paid to. We believe the most equitable way to calculate it is to allocate it based on a percentage of the annual increase in net financial worth. This means the most prosperous people become “brother’s keepers” by paying the most.
Mormons consider that “tithing” means you pay 10% of your income to their church, regardless of the member’s other circumstances or ability to pay. There are various disagreements on whether that means gross income (before taxes) or net income (after taxes). Which of those two is “correct” seems to be dependent on what I call “Bishop Roulette”.
Fundamentalist Mormons sometimes relax the constraint on who you give the tithing money to, and sometimes think it is OK to give it to various charities rather than their church. There is also a small contingent of Fundamentalist Mormons that think tithing should be 10% of your surplus, with your surplus defined as anything you determine that you do not need. There are also other LDS-based splinter groups that have adopted that view of tithing on your surplus, rather than on your income.
Stewardship – We believe in the Principle of Stewardship, which acknowledges that the things we use and enjoy are a gift from God, and we are only temporary custodians.
Wikipedia has this to say about Stewardship:
Stewardship is a theological belief that humans are responsible for taking care of the world. People who believe in stewardship are usually people who believe in one God who created the universe and all that are within it, also believing that they must take care of creation and look after it forever…In Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions, stewardship refers to the way time, talents, material possessions, or wealth are used or given for the service of God.
Priesthood – We believe that “Priesthood” is similar to the concept of “Power of Attorney”. Thus, it is more closely tied to Stewardship than anything else.
Both Mormons and Fundamentalist Mormons believe they must be able to trace their Priesthood from a succession of Priesthood-holding men that eventually root to the Priesthood held by Joseph Smith. We do not hold that view.
Baptism – During the governance of their stewardship, each church can make their own choice about baptism for someone to be considered a member of that church.
Both Mormons and most Fundamentalist Mormons will baptize someone into the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”, but unless the person is doing so in an official capacity of the LDS Church, the LDS Church obviously will not recognize the baptism. We support the LDS Church’s position on this, and believe only they can determine who is a member of their church. But we also support the free agency of Fundamentalist Mormons to use whatever language they wish when they are performing baptisms.
As mentioned above, we believe the church that we currently attend, as well as the members of that church that we have chosen to associate with, align closely with our stated beliefs above. Our chosen church is the “Latter Day Church of Christ”, which we commonly abbreviate as LDCC. We further believe that our church is a Christian Restorationist Church, heavily influenced by the LDS Restorationist Movement, but not rooted in the LDS Church created by Joseph Smith. The doctrinal differences mentioned above are only a few of the things that differentiate LDCC from Mormon-based churches, but they are significant differences.
Because LDCC has been doctrinally influenced by the LDS Restorationist Movement, many people have characterized LDCC as a Mormon-based church. We take issue with that characterization.
The Role of Churches
I believe that the primary role of any and all churches is to provide humanitarian services, and educational services, to its members. I also believe that for any entity that is “tax exempt”, the finances of that entity should be transparent and readily available for inspection by the populace whose taxes support that entity.
Responsibility to All
My family can confirm that I have tried to teach them that we *all* have responsibilities to each and every person on the planet, and we all need to seek for the well-being of everyone. The degree and amount of that responsibility varies, like concentric rings in a circle, and each person has a place in that circle. For example, your responsibility to your next door neighbor is greater than your responsibility to someone on the other side of the planet. For each person, their own family is at the center of the circle, and is where their greatest individual responsibility lies. My father had very clear ideas of how this shared responsibility for the human race should extend out, and be for the benefit and blessing of all. I will talk about those ideas at some point.