Church of Christ with the Elijah Message

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ElijahMessageChurch.jpg
The Church of Christ with the Elijah Message in Independence, Missouri.
The Church of Christ with the Elijah Message is a Restorationist church and is a denomination of the Latter Day Saint movement. Headquartered in Jackson County, Missouri, they also call themselves The Church of Christ. There are several branches within this small church, all with the same name and Articles of Faith and Practice, but different sets of apostles. They are divided mostly over how many of the messages they actually believed was true given by the angel John the Baptist "the Elijah Message." For example, one group claims 30 visits, and one claims 117, others 120. The churches publish monthly newsletters called The Voice of Warning, The Voice of Peace, The Voice of Joy,The Assured Way, and "The Greater Light."

Apostle Otto Fetting of the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) lived in Port Huron, Michigan, when he announced he was visited by John the Baptist appearing as an angel. The Church of Christ (Temple Lot) had a long history with revelations and angels, and warmly received news of the angel's visit. They prepared to build the temple. The angel is believed to have brought architectural descriptions and even to have specifically directed the surveyors marking out the Temple Lot (at one point, to have told them to move their markers 'ten feet to the east'). Several other members of the church reported receiving revelations confirming the temple's dimensions. Following his lead, while digging, two stones were unearthed which had been buried by Joseph Smith, Jr. a hundred years earlier. These stones were engraved with surveyor's markings, and indicated precisely where the temple is to exist. The stones can be seen to this day in the small museum inside the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), located at the corner of River and Walnut in Independence, Missouri.

The church believes that the angel, John the Baptist, delivered messages from God with each visit; these were written down, and published in the church newsletter Zion's Advocate. Within the messages, the church was given seven years in which to build the temple. Following the twelfth reported visit of the angel, with the foundation digging nearly completed, the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) divided over the issue of re-baptism. Some members had joined the church without being baptised, relying on the strength of their baptism into other Restorationist churches. Fetting had been a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS) before joining the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), and thus was one of these converts himself. During the twelfth reported visit, the angel said that such members should be rebaptised. Several apostles and about half the church, a couple thousand members, followed Fetting, and a separate Church of Christ was established, for a long time meeting in homes. The appellation "with the Elijah Message" was added later by those believing in this message from the angel.

Also during the twelfth message, Fetting was understood to have been anointed with the same keys to the priesthood given to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery on May 15, 1829, thus strengthening the endowment of priesthood authority. Latter Day Saints widely believe that the original endowment was delivered by the same angel, John the Baptist, in Harmony, Pennsylvania. For this reason, the church considers itself established "anew" in 1929.

Before his death in 1933, Fetting claimed to have received thirty messages from John the Baptist. The church emphasizes that these messages are not revelations, since they were delivered personally by John the Baptist, whose body could be seen and touched. The church clarifies that a revelation is written by a process where the author is unseen. Four other witnesses testified to his visits; their testimony was notarized and is published with the messages. The history with John the Baptist ends with the thirtieth message for one of the branches of the Church of Christ, which publishes the Voice of Warning.

However, four years later on October 4, 1937, a young elder in the church, W. A. Draves of Nucla, Colorado, reported that John the Baptist began appearing to him. He is believed to have received ninety messages in total, until 1994 when he died as an old man. These 120 messages in all were compiled as The Word of the Lord Brought to Mankind by an Angel, and published by the church. The church also accepts the Bible and the Record of the Nephites as scripture, and awaits yet another revealed work which the angel is believed to have briefly shown to W. A. Draves during a visit in 1946.

The Articles of Faith and Practice, common to all these churches, including the Temple Lot group, remains unchanged because the first words ascribed to the angel were: "Don't change the Articles of Faith and Practice, because the Lord inspired the men that wrote them."

The foundation work for the temple remained unfinished for many years, and the hole was eventually filled in. The dimensions of the temple are presently marked by six engraved stones embedded in a grassy field next to the Church of Christ (Temple Lot). All of these churches believe the temple will be built within this generation.

External References

  1. A church web site: http://www.elijahmessage.com/
  2. Another church web site: http://www.ccem1929.com/
  3. Word of the Lord web site (120 messages): http://www.wordofthelordbroughttomankindbyanangel.us/
  4. More recent messages (beyond 120): http://www.wordofthelordbroughttomankindbyanangel.us/more/
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