Am I Allowed to Do the Things Latter-day Saints Do Outside of Church?

Of course! God is no respecter of persons.

The Lectures on Faith written and edited by the Prophet Joseph Smith teach:

“But it is also necessary that men should have an idea that he is no respecter of persons; for with the idea of all the other excellencies in his character, and this one wanting, men could not exercise faith in him, because if he were a respecter of persons, they could not tell what their privileges were, nor how far they were authorized to exercise faith in him, or whether they were authorized to do it at all, but all must be confusion; but no sooner are the minds of men made acquainted with the truth on this point, that he is no respecter of persons, than they see that they have authority by faith to lay hold on eternal life the richest boon of heaven, because God is no respecter of persons, and that every man in every nation has an equal privilege.” (Lectures on Faith L3 23)

Anyone, Latter-day Saint or not, may approach God and receive from Him the richest of blessings. No church membership is required. Church membership can be a means by which to help, aid, and assist in that effort, but sometimes it can also be a hindrance if you look beyond the mark.

The Lectures continue:

“Such, then, is the foundation, which is laid, through the revelation of the attributes of God, for the exercise of faith in him for life and salvation; and seeing that these are attributes of the Deity, they are unchangeable—being the same yesterday to day and forever—which gives to the minds of the Latter Day Saints the same power and authority to exercise faith in God, which the Former Day Saints had: so that all the saints, in this respect have been, are and will be alike, until the end of time; for God never changes, therefore his attributes and character remain forever the same. And as it is through the revelation of these that a foundation is laid for the exercise of faith in God unto life and salvation, the foundation, therefore, for the exercise of faith, was, is and ever will be the same. So that all men have had, and will have an equal privilege.” (Lectures on Faith L4 ¶19)

As is mentioned here, the authority to exercise faith in God unto life and salvation comes from the revelation that God makes of his character and attributes, which are unchangeable, and lay a sure foundation. The authority to exercise this kind of saving faith does not come from any church, even if it is considered God’s church…and this stands to reason: If a group of people were given the power to determine how far someone could exercise faith, the power would likely be abused, but if it is widely known what God has revealed about his character and attributes, so that there can be no mistake as to which God someone is attempting to worship, then there can be nothing stopping anyone from approaching this same God.

To deny the opportunity for someone to exercise faith, which is a principle of action and power, is to exercise unrighteous dominion and horde that power over others.

“For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.” (2 Nephi 26:33)

The result of such independently exercised faith is further explained in the Lectures:

“Let us here observe, that after any portion of the human family are made acquainted with the important fact that there is a God who has created and does uphold all things, the extent of their knowledge, respecting his character and glory, will depend upon their diligence and faithfulness in seeking after him, until like Enoch the brother of Jared, and Moses, they shall obtain faith in God, and power with him to behold him face to face.” (Lectures on Faith L2 ¶55)

Therefore, with or without a church, an individual can obtain an audience with the Lord, and secure for themselves everlasting salvation. It must be so, or else at times when there is no legitimate church of God on the earth, individuals would perish in unbelief, and even if there is a church of God available, such opportunities must exist or else God would be a changeable God, and his word would be void. Salvation is not dependent upon membership in a church.

But, be careful…not all things that Latter-day Saints do is acceptable to God. We’ll address what God does not authorize us to do in another post.

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