Reorganized Church of Bous of Modern-Day Saints
|Origin||1676 AN (as Benacian Bovic Church)|
|Split from||Dozan Bovic Church |
|Countries||Drak-Modan (State Religion)|
The Reorganized Church of Bous of Modern-Day Saints (RMDS) previously known as the Benacian Bovic Church, and originally known as the Benacian Bovic Church of the Capric Rite, is a Bovinist church, with adherents mainly in Drak-Modan. The church was founded in 1676 after the Bovinist Schism of 1676 and it separated from the Dozan Bovic Church. The Church of Bous was reorganized in 1686 after several councils of church leaders identified potential future failures in the former church structure and how it would inevitably lead to the stagnation and decline of the Bovic faith in southern Benacia.
The Prophet-President (formerly Patriarch of Drakorda) and is elected by the Quorum of Sixteen for a life term until the Prophet turns 85. Only the Prophet-President may submit divinely inspired text to the World Conference to be voted on and added to the RMDS' Tetrabiblios. The Prophet provides spiritual guidance for the Saints of the Church, and does so from the position of earthly humbleness. Unlike the king-like Pentheros, the Prophet-President has a simple life, and often had a career outside of the church before his calling to the presidency. The President is elected by the Quorum of Sixteen.
Quorum of Sixteen
The Quorum of Sixteen is composed of sixteen Apostles. At first the original Quorum of Sixteen was the 16 former pastuks of the major herds in each major city of Drak-Modan. During the Reorganization, they were removed from local leadership and placed within the new World Church Government. The Quorum assists the Prophet in identifying and refining potential scriptures and provides daily governance and administration of the Church between World Conferences. Top world church leadership positions are often filled by the Sixteen Apostles. The Sixteen Apostles can, in extraordinary circumstances, elect to replace the Prophet-President before he or she retires, although such an act may cause splinter groups to form around the ousted Prophet. Apostles are expected to retire before they turn 75, and must submit the name of their successor (picked from the Sixty-four) to the Quorum for an approval vote.
The Council of Sixty-Four
A council of dedicated church members that have felt a personal, private, significant, and sustained life-long calling from Bous in their hearts. The Sixty-Four are former missionaries that felt "called by Bous" and submitted an application to the Council, which votes to approve or deny membership. Exact membership may rise and fall above or below 64 exactly, but the idea is that each member of the Quorum of Sixteen should have four spiritual successors in the Council of Sixty-Four: a successor able to immediately replace the Apostle in the Quorum, a protege who may be ready of World Church leadership in several more years, and two students who have just recently finished their missions, but are decades away from assuming world leadership roles.
The Council has no explicit role in church government, but administrative jobs in the World Church are almost exclusively given to Sixty-fours and it is often used for networking purposes to put Saints in positions of political and economic power in Drak-Modan's civil government. Local Herds often elect Sixty-fours as Herd leaders. Membership on the Council of Sixty-four is a prerequisite for joining the Quorum of Sixteen. There is no age limit serving as a Sixty-four, although most retired by age 70 if they have not advanced to the Quorum of Sixteen by then.
The World Conference of the Church is composed of two delegates elected by each Herd. It meets every four years in Drakorda and is responsible for approving or rejecting Scriptures submitted to it by the Prophet-President, approving guidance and liturgies for the next four years, and passing resolutions that define the Church's positions on theology.
Herds of the Church
The Herds (congregations) of the Church of Bous are largely responsible for their own administration and finances. There are Herds in each of Drak-Modan's sixteen major cities. In contrast to the Dozan Bovic Herds that meet in grand cathedrals, Saints believe in the humbleness of Bous and meet in open fields, or outdoor pavilions, Saints' homes, or simple meeting halls. The new focus on missionaries has established some Herds in New Natopia where a melting pot of Natopian groups makes it more appealing compared to the strict and rigid Dozan Bovics. Herd leaders were called Pastuks, but now usually just called Herd Leaders. Herd Leaders are elected by the Herd each year, and do not take a salary. Herd leaders mainly are responsible for maintenance of the Herd's facilities, looking after Herd members, maintaining membership rolls, and assigning Saints to serve in liturgical roles during each weekly service.
Membership in the Church is considered a lifelong commitment and is determined by Herd membership rolls at the local level. Once a person becomes a member of a Herd they are either classified as Active or Inactive. Active membership is required to vote during Herd meetings and be considered for positions in the World Church. A member becomes inactive after not attending Herds for a year but Active status is immediately reinstated when they return. Paying tithes is not explicitly required to maintain active membership, but heavily implied that it is expected. A member of the Church is only removed by a written letter from said member explicitly requesting that their name be removed from the membership rolls of a Herd.
Before becoming a member of the Church, anyone over the age of 8 must attend confirmation classes, during which they learn church history, basic theology, and the essential scriptures of the Tetrabiblios. Confirmation classes are taught by a trusted elder of the Herd, and often the parent of a child requests that trusted family friend teach the classes. At any time after the age of 8, if requested, then the child is baptized--by full milk submersion--and immediately confirmed as a full member of the Herd.
Young church members who have maintained their Herd membership by proving to be devout, attending service regularly, and going to summer church camp attain Sainthood on their 18th birthday. Adult converts become Saints upon their baptism and confirmation as well. All Saints, regardless of the age they are sainted, must complete a missionary trip. This is often done before or after college but can be done at any point in a Saint's life. Waiting too long to complete the mission, however, is frowned upon and carries a negative connotation. Most mission trips involve evangelizing to the wild, untamed, Green of Cibola.
Triadic and quadratic marriages are much more common in the Church of Bous than in the Dozan Bovic Church, to the point of quickly becoming the norm. The Dozan Church requires a building block approach to polygamy, with a strong 2-person couple to start and having been married for several years before even beginning the intense counseling with a Bosarch before even considering a triadic or quadratic marriage in the first place. Quadratic marriages are almost unheard of in Bovic families as it is viewed as moving closer to becoming Bous-like and requires Pentheral dispensation. The Church of Bous--as a smaller and newer community--views triadic and quadratic marriages as more practical and personal and see no need to involve world church leaders in the private lives of members. Since every member of the church is a Saint, they believe they have special insight into Bous's plan for them, and so many young Saints get married in their freshman year of college at Baadur Yantbelidze University.
Marriages are called Family Councils, with each participant in the marriage having a vote to make major decisions. First marriage is for love (same ages, both 18, your primary partner, more often than not a "high school sweetheart", same sex allowed, non-issue); 2nd marriage is for Bous (ages 20-24, possibly a missionary partner and/or someone you met in college, "common religious interests" or pairing someone with complementary faith levels; 3rd marriage for the Church (ages 25 - 35, must result in offspring, can be arranged by the local Herd leader); 4th marriage for the Family (ages 35+, wildcard slot, whatever is needed as decided by the family council which has 3 members by this point. Family usually takes community input (i.e. we need a greater population, please marry someone you can procreate with; or this person is about to leave the church after going off on mission, restore their faith, or this widower is now all alone and he served the church for many years, he will bless your family). 4th marriages sometimes may not happen until a person is 40 or 50, and can even be entirely platonic and sexless.
Bousland College, is a college founded in the small city of Nor in 1686, as a Bovinist seminary and liberal arts college. It is officially affiliated with the Church and the college president is required to be a member of the Sixty-four or the Quorum of Sixteen. Although admission is open to students of all religions, students must sign a pledge to abide by moral and ethical standards espoused by the church. Many young Church members are expected to attend Bousland, for at least the first two years of the post-secondary education. Many members meet their first or second marriage partners at Bousland, and form lifelong friendships within the World Church beyond the Herds they grew up in. The Bousland effect is purposefully designed to create stronger community bonds among church members.