I have felt for some time that there was a need for a publication or a presence on the internet that once again told the story of Christ's church on earth. In particular --
Equally as important it was felt that there was also a continued need to declare the Godly heritage of this great nation -- how God himself set his hand in it's establishment for the purpose of bringing his church out of the wilderness "clear as the moon and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners" (RLDS D&C 5:3d) commissioned to gather Israel and prepare a place for Christ's eventual return.
The establishment of his church and the founding of America are two of the most important events in latter-day history -- they are both a fulfillment of prophecy and part of God's eternal plan for mankind. The combination of these two events into a single story is what, perhaps, makes this site unique.
While there are numerous publications and web sites with "restoration" themes, none seem to place this work in the proper context of God's eternal plan for the restoration of Israel (see RLDS D&C 83:1b) -- none are want to proclaim that the vehicle for that restoration will be the Reorganized Church -- and some are still content to expose the wrong and tear down rather than build up. (See the "Links" section of this site for a list of other good sites.)
Beginning in 1984, after the Reorganized Church approved the ordination of women, many members feeling angry and hurt by the conference action began to form independent branches. Common consent, so long the rule of the church's theocratic democracy, was summarily waived in favor of simple majority rule. It simply did not matter that the many who were in the minority would not give their consent to the new direction, the church would march forward -- only now to a different beat. When the church began to take a very negative reaction (ministerial silences, excommunication and expulsion, law suits, locking church doors, etc.) to the minority who were voicing opposition to the new direction, the exodus grew. Common consent became the majority way or the highway. As a result, there are today nearly 200 independent restoration branches in 38 states as well as independent restoration branches in Canada, Australia and Central America and perhaps other parts of the world as well.
The actions of the church in response to its membership that disagreed is still largely not understood and has created a wound that has never totally healed both within and without the Reorganized Church. The reactions on both sides of the issue were in many ways wrong and certainly not in harmony with established beliefs, practices and the teachings of the Savior himself. The accuser of the brethren (see Revelations 12:10 IV) had his way with the Lord's people. It is hard for this author to understand how professing Christians could treat each other, family and lifelong friends included, in such callous and calculated ways. Unfortunately for the restoration movement, the anger and hurt was never dealt with appropriately (repentance and forgiveness,) and has now turned inward like a cancer causing the independent restoration branches to continue to find issues over which to divide. "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided cannot stand, but falleth." (Luke 11:18 IV) Unfortunately for the Community of Christ, as the church continues to search for a new identity, membership continues to decline, especially in the US where once large and thriving stakes, districts, and congregations are now mere shadows of their former selves. The entire work today is fragmented, broken and dysfunctional.
[End Soap Box]
Early on, the newly formed branches, though independent from the hierarchy and administrative jurisdiction of the church proper, still very much felt and maintained that they were members of the Reorganized Church. They were just worshipping in an exiled condition free from the new doctrines and the oppressive actions of the "institutional" church. Sadly, over the years, this feeling has changed. Today most independent restoration branches are just that, independent of all organizations and in many ways even independent of each other. Most enjoy and want their independence -- almost becoming churches unto themselves. This has led to a number of divergent paths and spurious thoughts and notions in the branches and has even led to the formation of new churches (i.e. Restoration Church of Jesus Christ, Remnant Church of Jesus Christ, Church of the Lamb of God, etc.) all claiming to be the legal and legitimate successor to the Reorganized Church. Even organizations like the Conference of Restoration Elders want to distance themselves from the Reorganized Church and maintain a separate identity.
The intended audience for The Angel Message then is for those who are acquainted with this work as well as those that are not. Eighteen years have passed and an entire generation is being raised in restoration branch settings without the knowledge of the ultimate purpose and mission of this great land and Christ's church. For "restorationists", petty differences and the struggle to survive has dimmed their once bright hope of Zion. And even though the church proper is searching for a "new" identity and mission, it is hoped that this old Jerusalem Gospel will still resonate with many who have either forgotten their heritage or have never had it taught to them.
With the foregoing in mind, The Angel Message web site was unceremoniously launched on July 26, 2002. Again, its chief mission to declare America's Godly heritage as the crucible for the restoration of the gospel by angelic ministrations in 1830, the establishment of Christ's church on earth, commissioned to gather Israel and build a holy city, and the continuation and ultimate fulfillment of that commission in the Reorganization. The editor for The Angel Message is Brad Gault, an Elder and member of the Zarahemla Branch.
You will find this site divided into a number of areas.
The Reorganization will be an area on this site devoted to articles that speak in particular to the Reorganization, -- as one article title so amply states -- its "birth, progress and destiny" will be explored. (See Patrick S. McKay's article The Birth, Progress and Destiny of the Reorganized Church.)
Book Reviews is an area that still needs to be developed. Over time it will list important literary works including short reviews and information on how to obtain the works. Both new and past works will be reviewed. Have you ever read Daniel MacGregor's A Marvelous Work and a Wonder or Bob Moore's The Restitution? Stay tuned for reviews of these works and many others. "... study and learn, and become acquainted with all good books, ..." (RLDS D&C 87:5b)
Articles will be an area on this site for articles that support the purpose of this site but do not fall into any of the other categories. New articles as well as articles written in the past by stalwarts of the Reorganization like Arthur Oakman, Joseph Luff and others including the Prophet of the Reorganization, Joseph Smith III will be published in this area.
Zarahemla Branch appears predominantly on this site because it is one of the few independent branches today still desiring to remain part of the Reorganized Church. It is also the home branch of the editor and a number of contributors to The Angel Message! (It should be noted that this is not the official web site of the Zarahemla Branch. The Zarahemla Branch's official web site is www.aboutrlds.org.)
Patrick's Perspective are the writings of Elder Patrick S. McKay Sr. who is also a member of the Zarahemla Branch. From time to time Patrick will release a short treatise on a theme relative to this great latter-day work. They are published on this site because they support and promote the angel message.
Pilgrim Ministries began in April 1994 and published a monthly magazine called Pilgrim's Promise which declared with fresh insight America's Godly heritage and purpose. The editor for Pilgrim's Promise was Bob Moore, an Elder and current Pastor of the Zarahemla Branch. For nearly three years, Bob single handedly wrote and published each monthly issue of Pilgrim's Promise. Their insight is much needed in America today because we are a country that is in moral decay, having forgotten our Christian roots and premise upon which this great republic was founded. Even though Pilgrim's Promise is no longer published, we invite you to read and re-read each past issue. They will enliven and invigorate your faith in God Almighty and his providential hand.
It is my hope and prayer that you will find The Angel Message uplifting and encouraging.
Editor -- The Angel Message
July 26, 2002
1 NOTE: The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints officially changed it's name to the Community of Christ at it's World Conference in April 2000. This is the organization that is referred to in this article as the Reorganized Church. Note also that it is the editor's opinion and belief that the church as it is constituted today will need to be cleansed of recent doctrinal and other changes before the Lord will use it as his vehicle for the restoration of latter-day Israel.
2 IV - The Inspired Version of the Bible -- also referred to as the Joseph Smith Translation.