(September 9, 2015)
We tend to make membership in the Church an orthodox method for determining righteousness. If we are a member of the true Church, we are favored of the Lord. For those who are not members of His Church, they are the other – outside, unrighteous (or, at least, less-righteous).
But, of course, the truth is much simpler than that. The Lord has said over and over again that His Church is made up of those who are repenting and coming to Him. Even with the importance of the Priesthood and the organization, this truth has not gone away.
It is safe to say that the membership of the Lord’s true Church is not precisely equal to the membership of the Lord’s Church as defined by those who are repenting and coming unto Him. What are we to make of the difference?
After having gone round and round with this issue, in the end I think the answer is nothing. There really is no great concern with the lack of precise correlation here. There are those outside the formal Church who are members of Christ’s Church. They will find their way where they need to be in the end. There are those who are in the Lord’s formal Church who are not repenting or coming to Him. They will, sadly, find their way out of Christ’s Church in the end (whether in this life or the hereafter).