I know the church is true. I love the church. They are disaffected with the church. We go to church. I discovered that the church was not what it said it was. What exactly, does ‘church’ mean? Where is ‘the church”? Who does it belong to? What does “church” mean? Is it a place, a set of beliefs? Is it an organization? A corporation?
Bruce recently said that Mormons often use ‘church’ and ‘religion’ interchangeably. When you think of “the church,” are you actually thinking “religion”? Is it the leadership? When a General Authority, Bishop or Relief Society President does something a member does not like, is it accurate or is it misplaced for a member be upset with the whole church?
Where exactly, is “the church”: James E. Faust gave a great talk on this a few years ago. He rejected the idea of the church being in the buildings, because buildings “will get no one into the kingdom of God,” and the “temple buildings alone do not bless.” He said families are a better answer, but still only part of the church. The best answer, although not necessarily a tangible one, is that the church is in our hearts: “for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” We go to a church building or a temple, but ultimately, the “church” is something we take with us.
Whose church is it? The short answer here is, “duh, it’s the Church of Jesus Christ.” But more pragmatically, it is also the church of Latter-day Saints, i.e. we the members. It is my church just as much as it is any apostle’s or rank and file member’s. To illustrate this, my mission president once told us how he was asked by man on temple square, “if the prophet committed adultery, would you leave the church?” Many would, for sure. But he said that it would not make a difference in regards to his membership. It is not the President’s church. I believe it is the church of Jesus Christ, as well as our own, and it will be what we make of it.
I like to think of the church as a vehicle for our progress. Whether the church is true compared to other churches does not matter to me. What matters is, if being an active member will help my family and I progress. Which, I assert, is and has been true for me.