Church of Christ (Assured Way)

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The Church of Christ With the Elijah Message, The Assured Way of the Lord, Inc.
Independence - Elijah Message Church B.jpg
Church of Christ meetinghouse and headquarters in Independence, Missouri
Classification Latter Day Saint movement
Orientation Latter Day Saints
Polity Church conference
Moderator None; all members of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles are equal
Region United States
Founder William Draves
Origin 2004
Separated from Church of Christ "With the Elijah Message"

The Church of Christ With the Elijah Message, The Assured Way of the Lord, Inc., informally referred to as the The Assured Way, is a denomination of the Latter Day Saint movement based in Independence, Missouri. The Assured Way church is one of four groups that trace their origin to the church founded by William Draves in 1943, after his split with Otto Fetting, who had founded the Church of Christ, also known as the Fettingites. Although all four churches have similar names and nearly identical doctrines, they are not in communion and maintain separate legal organizations.[1] The Assured Way church was legally incorporated by William Draves' son, Leonard Draves in 2004, six months after Leonard was removed from the ministry by other leaders of the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message, Inc. Leonard Draves had previously founded the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message, Inc., after breaking with the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message Established Anew 1929.[2]

History[edit]

Otto Fetting[edit]

Otto Fetting in 1916

The Assured Way church has its origin in the Fettingite movement of the Hedrickite expression of the Latter Day Saint religion. Otto Fetting, an Apostle in the Church of Christ, informally referred to as the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), during the early twentieth century, claimed to be receiving a series of messages from an unearthly "messenger" he identified as John the Baptist. While the first eleven of these missives were accepted by the Temple Lot organization, the twelfth was not, leading to Fetting's departure from the Temple Lot organization in 1929, and his founding of the Fettingite organization.[3] The Temple Lot organization has sinc e repudiated all of Fetting's messages, including the first eleven, which they had originally endorsed, at least tentatively.

William Draves[edit]

William A. Draves

Four years after Fetting's death, a Fettingite Elder named William A. Draves from Nucla, Colorado claimed that the same messenger who had appeared to Fetting had begun to appear to him, as well. While the Fettingite organization was initially receptive to these new missives, it ultimately decided to reject them all, leading to a split in the church in 1943. Draves' adherents founded their own organization known as the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message Established Anew 1929.[4] Draves continued to receive revelations and recorded a total of 90 messages prior to his death in 1994. His adherents published these messages along with Fetting's in a book of scripture entitled The Word of the Lord Brought to Mankind by an Angel.[5]

Founding of the Assured Way church[edit]

Prior to W.A. Draves death in 1994 the final three messages he had recorded reflected leadership disputes within The Church of Christ with the Elijah Message Established Anew 1929.[6] These led to a division causing Apostles W.A. Draves, Leonard Draves and Mervyn Johnson to be blocked from church property by way of a restraining order.[7] After a short legal battle, a failure to reconcile, and the death of W.A. Draves six of the twelve leading Apostles decided to reincorporate the Church under the name The Church of Christ with the Elijah Message Inc in August 1994.[8] The remaining five Apostles, including those who filed the above restraining order, retained the corporate name "The Church of Christ with the Elijah Message Established Anew 1929" and all properties including the headquarters building at 608 Lacy Rd. Independence, Missouri.

Less than a decade later in 2003, leaders in the new church organization removed Leonard Draves from ministry during a special apostles meeting. Draves responded by organizing an additional church known as the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message (The Assured Way of the Lord) in 2004.[9] The parenthetical portion of the new name was added to give the new group a legal and separate distinction from the older Elijah Message churches.

The Assured Way church had six Apostles and four Bishops serving in the United States as of 2010.[10] A total of six "disciples" and three "vice bishops" each for the "East Africa Vineyard" and "West Africa Vineyard" had also been appointed.[11]

The Church of Christ (Assured Way) was legally incorporated in the State of Missouri as "The Church of Christ With the Elijah Message, The Assured Way of the Lord, Inc.", in 2004.[12]

The Assured Way church publishes an official monthly periodical called "The Greater Light".[13]

Doctrine[edit]

As with all Hedrickite organizations, the Church of Christ (Assured Way) beliefs are enumerated in the "Articles of Faith and Practice" first adopted by the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), and subsequently affirmed by the Church of Christ (Fettingite), the Church of Christ (Restored) and the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message.[14]

Beliefs shared in common between the Assured Way church and other Hedrickite organizations include:

In common with other Fettingite churches, the Assured Way church believes in the revelations allegedly given to Otto Fetting and William Draves, also believing that when John the Baptist laid hands upon Fetting, he conferred what is referred to as "a greater authority" that had not previously been given, to "set in order" the scattered Latter Day Saint movement.[15] This does not mean that the Assured Way church believes that the Priesthood had been taken from the earth after Joseph Smith's time, but rather that the "messenger" (whom Fetting and Draves allege to be John the Baptist) had come to bring order to the scattered Restoration Movement and give Fetting a special power and authority that Latter Day Saint leaders prior to him had lacked.[16] The Church of Christ (Assured Way) believes that this authority continues within their organization today, which they regard as the sole legitimate church on earth.

Unlike some other Hedrickite churches (such as the Temple Lot church), the Assured Way church denies the idea of three beings in the Godhead, insisting that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are all one person.[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Smith, "Scattering of the Hedrickites," 240-241
  2. ^ Smith, "Scattering of the Hedrickites," 240
  3. ^ Smith, "Scattering of the Hedrickites," 235-236
  4. ^ Shields, Divergent Paths, 143-144.
  5. ^ Shields, Divergent Paths, 146.
  6. ^ The Journal of Latter Day Saint History, Volumes 8-13, S.L. Shields, 1995, p. 17.
  7. ^ Missouri Case.net Case Number Search, Case Number 16CV94-08163 - THE CHURCH OF CHRIST V WILLIAM DRAVES ET AL
  8. ^ Missouri Secretary of State Business Entity Search, Non-Profit Corporation, Domestic, Charter No. N00050582
  9. ^ Smith, "Scattering of the Hedrickites," 240.
  10. ^ The Greater Light, vol. 8, No. 7/8, pg. 76.
  11. ^ The Greater Light, vol. 8, No. 7/8, pg. 76.
  12. ^ Missouri Secretary of State Business Entity Search, Non-Profit Corporation, Domestic, Charter No. N00566777.
  13. ^ The Greater Light, vol. 7, number 8, pg. 123.
  14. ^ The Greater Light, vol. 8, No. 7/8, pg. 74. See also Articles of Faith and Practice from the website of the Church of Christ (Assured Way). The articles accepted by the Temple Lot, Fettingite, Elijah Message and Assured Way churches are all exactly identical, as the "messenger" commanded Fetting not to change them. See The Word of the Lord, Brought to Mankind by an Angel, Message 1, verse 1.
  15. ^ The Greater Light, vol. 8, No. 7/8, pp.80-81.
  16. ^ The Greater Light, vol. 8, No. 7/8, pg. 80-84.
  17. ^ J. F. Solomon, 60 Questions on the Godhead, tract.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Jason R. Smith, “Scattering of the Hedrickites,” in Scattering of the Saints: Schism within Mormonism, ed. Newell G. Bringhurst and John C. Hamer (Independence, Missouri: John Whitmer Books, 2007), 224-246.
  • Steven L. Shields, Divergent Paths of the Restoration, (Los Angeles, California: Restoration Research, 1990).

External links[edit]