Since the LDS Church isn't True, what is?
It was suggested to me that I put some information here to help someone who
is coming out of the LDS church find a new church home. Until today, I
have had three main reasons for not recommending a particular church.
First, I don't believe salvation is found in any one church, or denomination. It is only through believing in your heart, and accepting God's grace through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross that we are saved. That being said I believe that the very basics of LDS doctrine teach basic salvation, but the deeper you get into the doctrine, the further it will take you from the True and Living God. God alone will judge a man for what they believe, and whether or not they are saved.
Second, different personalities will fit into different churches. Different churches have much different flavors, for example, I would not recommend that someone who was comfortable with a Lutheran service visit a Vineyard renewal meeting. They would likely be scared half to death, and if someone used to Vineyard, or a very charismatic service was to visit the Lutheran church, they would probably be board, if not frustrated with the service not knowing what or when to speak as the rest of the congregation reads a portion of the service.
The final reason I haven't recommend a particular church is because there is no perfect church. As the saying goes; if you find the perfect church, don't join because you will ruin it. Even a church with the best intentions that strives to model itself on the Bible, and the early church will have faults because the leaders are only human, and they like everyone else will fall short of perfection.
Keeping all of this in mind, Here is what I
recommend avoiding when looking for a church
1. Avoid a church that says "We are the only True Church, and you cannot be saved outside of this organization". Why? Jesus said I am the way the Truth and the life and no man comes to the Father but by me. There is but one mediator between yourself and God, and a church organization is not that mediator. It is Jesus alone.
2. Avoid a church that is very legalistic. What I mean by legalistic is a church that says "if you break these rules, your salvation is on the line". Things like the day you worship (Only on Saturday, or Sunday), what you can and cannot wear to church (hats shorts etc), what you eat or drink (must be vegetarian, or no pork), your amount of good works (as a requirement for salvation). Obviously there are things we as Christians should not practice, 1 Cor 6:9-10, and Romans 1 are a couple of places that list out these things. It's the gray areas that will show a churches true colors. For example, I personally think smoking cigarettes is disgusting, I don't smoke, and would recommend that someone quit if they smoke cigarettes. But if someone does smoke, does that act put their salvation on the line? This is something that is between them and God. I believe it is wise not to smoke, your the body is the temple of God, and smoking does damage the body, but will their salvation be revoked for it? The bible says nothing of the sort. Why? Paul in much of the new testament comes against the legalist. After reading through Romans for example, one should have a pretty good idea of what to look for here. Chapter 2 for example teaches that it is the goodness of God, not the law or a list of rules, that leads men to repentance.
What to look for in a new church:
Find a bible believing and bible teaching church that takes a simple, and literal interpretation of the bible where Jesus is the focus. Why? The bible is the love letter that God has given to us his children. It was meant to be understood by unlearned and and ignorant men (just like me). If you need a masters degree to understand salvation, or if you need to attain certain goals or levels before you are saved, then that church probably doesn't take a simple and literal interpretation of the bible. That being said, God is infinite, and if he is simple enough for my small brain to understand, then he isn't big enough to be worshiped. We will not fully comprehend every aspect of the Lord, or every doctrine, because the bible has a depth that we have not yet even began to find the bottom of, but if the bible is taken at it's word, it can be easily understood. I personally believe the best church that you can find yourself in is one that simply teaches through the bible verse by verse, chapter by chapter, and always keeps Jesus as the focus. Hebrews 10:7 Jesus says "Lo, I come in the volume of the book it is written of me". I find that churches have a tendency to teach on certain topics in proportions not found in scripture, for example, tithing although I believe it is important, has a tendency to be taught much more often than it is brought up in scripture. Some churches lean to heavily on grace, and some too heavily on judgment, going through the bible provides the perfect balance.
In my personal experience, I have found that Calvary Chapel (what I currently attend) is very good about this, but so are many community churches. Here is a link to a community church in the Portland area that I used to attend before moving 5 or so years ago. Athey Creek Christian Fellowship has bible studies online that you can download to your mp3 player for free. They start with John back in 1998, they then taught through the entire new testament, then the old testament, and they just started as of March 2008 back in the gospel of Matthew. If you happen to be from the Portland area, I would highly recommend giving this church a try especially someone that is used to, or comfortable with an LDS service. The one big difference to expect is the casual dress code, the pastor wears shorts even when it snows. Casual in dress, not in faith.
Many churches have different personalities, so find a bible teaching church that fits yours.