I think we should stand back and view the world's religions as several competing ideas or spiritual awakenings. Each spiritual awakening leads to many branches where man's ideas pry apart some original truth. One original truth is that God is all powerful. Some have latched onto that and used that idea to rule over people and kill people in order to gain control over a larger part of humanity. It has been a long practice of Satan to use half truths. The spiritual truth of love has brought many into religion but the seeking to know exactly what is God has made many branches in doctrine. And of course there are the religions where a single man is placed between God and you. This breaks the personal relationship between you and God and serves man's will and not God's. So how does the LDS church line up with all of this? I can say that for me it is a restored Gospel and a reset of the authority to perform the ordinances. But at the same time there is enough for many to stumble on. This is normal and we see this in the Bible as well. To the degree that the LDS church is successful it will be driven by the Spirit. To the degree it is not successful it will be driven by man.
I agree Frank. We should stand / step back and view the world's Christian sects/religions. . .
What 'good' are they contributing to humanity? And what 'bad' are they bringing about? Some do more 'good' than others. Most however, simply because they collectively preach the doctrines of original sin, salvation through the blood of Christ, redemption and resurrection, are leading humanity away from the principles of love and cooperation that Christ, and other enlightened teachers have advocated.
You are also somewhat correct with your perception re the personal relationship between humans and "God".Humans are born with the "authority"
to discover, disclose and utilize the secrets of the Universe ("God" in your lexicon) to benefit the Universe and its creatures. It seems obvious, to me at least, that scientists are more qualified than clergy to improve the quality of all life on our planet. . . Another bit of 'obviousness': Clergy influenced the world for 1,000s of years, with a rather slow movement of 'quality'. Science has had influence for maybe 500+/- years. Consider the social and technological advances in the last 150 to 200 years! Like WOW!!
As churches spend more emphasis on the "Spirit" and less on the "Letter" the better will be their effect. . .
A long way to go! But look how far we've come!! Enjoy this life. There's non other :-)
The issue of "authority" to do anything in the name of God, is dark, primitive ludicrousness. IMO. Roger