As a new religious society, we have very few rules. There is no organization, and only occasional temporary committees formed to accomplish tasks, like conferences, compiling scriptures, gathering a selection of hymns, and on occasion women’s councils to deal with inappropriate conduct.

The more fractured and quarrelsome people are, the more need there is for rules and order. Less fractured and more united people need few, if any, rules.

Friends do not interrupt their friendship to impose rules on one another. Friends get along by virtue of the relationship itself.

The very few rules provided to us by the Lord suggests to me that we are expected to become the kind of people who do not need external rules in order to deal with one another in a kindly, cooperative way. After all, if there is ever to be another City of Peace then it should not be founded through a rigid structure controlled by a hierarchy. We have no record of the social order that tied the City of Enoch together. That should tell us something important about them.

And the people of Melchizedek are only briefly described as formerly sinful people who repented. Then they were taken to heaven.

When the Nephite society became unified the record covers hundreds of years in a single, very short book less than four pages long. But in those very few words about their society it is mentioned four times that there was “no contention” among them.

There is something profound implied by the near-absence of rules provided by the Lord to us. There is also something very profound revealed in the angry disapproval, religious condemnation, and ongoing debate that accompanies any effort to follow the very little guidance given to us. I’ve tried to stay out of those arguments, but have not been oblivious to them. I’m confident the Lord is also keenly aware of how we treat one another and how few of us really do: “Measure our words before giving voice to them, and consider the hearts of others.” T&C 157:53.