“Why do we need a Church, especially this Church?” This question was posed by Elder Kevin S. Hamilton, a General Authority Seventy for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as he delivered Tuesday’s devotional address.
Elder Hamilton acknowledged that there are many who claim to be more “spiritual” than “religious,” assuming that church attendance isn’t mandatory to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Quoting a study published by the Pew Research Center, Elder Hamilton noted that “Groups that exhibit the highest levels of traditional … religious observance … are most likely to say they regularly experience a sense of spiritual peace and well-being.”
Many wonder why it is not enough to simply worship God in whatever place they please. Addressing this concern, Elder Hamilton taught that the Church is a place individuals and families come together to do the work of salvation.
He continued by listing off the many blessings the Church offers to its members, some of which include access to priesthood authority and keys, possibilities to serve and a community of support and gospel learning.
“The Church is not just a social club, although we certainly enjoy being together… The Church of Jesus Christ is how we come to Christ. It is His Church. It teaches His doctrine. It provides His ordinances and covenants.”
Elder Hamilton identified the making and keeping of covenants as one of the most essential reasons for Christ’s Church, as they bind individuals to the Savior.
“We can think of the Church using the analogy of a prescription drug capsule. The Church is the capsule, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the medicine delivered inside the capsule. The Church delivers the blessings of the Atonement of Christ to its members who are faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.”
Having a living prophet to follow amidst the unique challenges of these times is another blessing of being a member of Jesus Christ's restored Church, Elder Hamilton declared.
“His Church is led and directed by His apostles, just as it was in New Testament times… His plan has not changed. His doctrine does not change. His covenants do not change. His Church exists so that He can accomplish His objective – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children. “
The Church of Jesus Christ has always existed in some form, Elder Hamilton taught. In Old Testament times, the Church was centered on families, with parents teaching their children that the Gospel of Jesus Christ enabled them to stay true and faithful to God.
During New Testament times, Jesus Christ organized His Church and built upon apostles, prophets and teachers.
Elder Hamilton testified that the same Church has once again been organized upon the Earth, restored by God through His prophet Joseph Smith. Jesus Christ himself acts as the chief corner stone.
“You cannot accept Jesus Christ and reject His Church or His authorized messengers. You cannot separate Jesus Christ from the Church of Jesus Christ.”