Leadership (De Jure)
Cary the Golden Retreiver
Leadership (De Facto)
Georgine, Spiritual Rep. Caryton
Caryist Resistance Forces in Alta
October 1st, 2018
Gospel Church of Jesus Christ of LDS (mormon fusion)
66,463,000 domestic, unknown foreign
"HE LIVES, MY SAVIOR STILL THE SAME!"
Overview and Administration
The Gospel Church of Caryton is the main religious body of the Spiritual Republic of Caryton, and the sole composition of the nation's government as an Ecclesiastical Meritocracy. Thus, church and state are not separated and one could say that the Gospel Church of Caryton itself actually undergoes administrative duties of Caryton proper while government offices are merely a puppet, a sister organization of sorts. The Gospel Church of Caryton claims that it is a restoration of the original church of Jesus Christ, yet unlike its Latter-day Saint cousins, there is no system of apostles or a diluting of revelatory power throughout quorums. Rather, a potential prophet would be more isolated, with more power at the cost of much more responsibility and a spotlight always on them. Fortunately, the first prophet thusfar is an animal believed to have the message of the Lord and his beloved son, so a more meritocratic system is put in place to actually run the church, and should a human prophet ever be selected, that system would prevent corruption and contradiction in a form of checks and balances.
Throughout the brutal regime of the Republic of Alta, the Gospel Church of Caryton did not exist prior to the discovery of Cary. May 2nd, 2016 was Cary's first revelation, coincidentally also her rumored birthday, which is now a national holiday. A blind peasant woman allegedly had her sight restored by a stray golden retriever's lush coat. Neighbors confirmed that she had been disabled for years prior to this incident. Weeks later, a lost orphan being chased by Altan secret police found himself against an alleyway. The child reported seeing a bright light and hearing a fierce bark which shook the brick walls, incinerating the two adjutants that would have certainly tortured or killed the orphan. The child allegedly reports that the same stray dog talked about in the new local legend was sparkling and glowing white, and nodded towards him before turning and running through a pipe. This story was less believable, but with the first one's legitimacy and the horrible living conditions of Alta, everyone was driven mad with desire to see this unseen miracle dog for themselves.
Other minor incidents occurred, such as a widower's family having mutual visions of their lost loved ones giving profound words to them to healing injuries to even preventing yet another province raid and guaranteed rape and pillage from the army. Everyone from witch doctors to priests to mad scientists wanted to see the dog for themselves and test its loyalties, per se. The golden retriever had been captured by the inquisitive populace, and a series of tests were laid out for her. The golden chose consistent christian symbols with no training or recognition beforehand, leading the already oppressed christian minority in the region to believe that this was God's work sent as a prophet to help them.
The dog grew docile, likely from both prophetic goodwill and the large amounts of food that had been sent to her as a gift of sorts. From there, the loosely organized Caryist Resistance Force formed, and through sheer luck, took advantage of a civil war that other resistance groups had been fighting for years and ended it in a matter which a lot of people would call unfair. The Altan army was already crumbling due to mass resistance, but the aforementioned splinter groups themselves were weak and lacked the momentum that the newborn theocrats had. It was that momentum that took entire cities and eventually, swept over the entire country. A momentary transitory period took place before the Gospel Church of Caryton was officially established on October 1st, 2018.
For merely two years of existence, the change in both Caryton and it's main church has been astounding and exponential, to say the least. Recovery seemed so short, but now the church is guiding the people towards a moralistic and fair life. Cary lives a mainly docile life, still famous and widely revered and loved, but thanks to the meritocratic system is now somewhat irrelevant and seen as a figurehead. The dog itself has seemed to become less of a prophet figure but more of a universally loved national treasure.
The Gospel Church of Caryton's main point of divergence from regular Christian thought is the belief that God can not only call modern prophets, but those prophets can include animals as well. Despite acting so much like a traditional church in practice, the theories of the Gospel Church of Caryton have earned disbelieving laughs and scornful criticism from abroad. However, unlike the Jehovah's Witnesses, LDS Church, and other restorationist branches, the Gospel Church of Caryton has no negative past or odd stereotypes aside from being excessively traditional. Thus, action against this reverence towards Cary has not been hostile or even condescending.
Other unique beliefs, aside from nontrinitarianism, include the belief that Rainbow Bridge is a companion world to heaven that one can live in, cultural control (modesty, music, and politeness laws, strict dress codes), absolute prohibition (alcohol, drugs, vapes, pornography, cigarettes and much more), the ability to have visions, the concept of biblical burnt offerings of meat, and the belief that repeated and regular baptism is a virtuous trait.
The Book of Cary's Example
The Book of Cary's Example, contrary to popular foreign belief, is not a book written by Cary herself. It is a scripture about life lessons learned from Cary's presence on the world as well as a historical account of every work that she had done prior towards the Church's creation. This is accepted as an interpreted word of God, and thus another testament of Jesus Christ, similar to how the Book of Mormon is seen as a third testament by latter-day saints. The main difference is that it is acknowledged that the Book of Cary's Example was written by the modern church, and seen as an interpreted form of God's word instead of literal directions. This makes sense considering that most of the book is of parables and recent history rather than an ancient record.
The Books of the Book of Cary's Example go as follows:
History 1 - A presumed history of Cary's origins.
History 2 - A history of Cary's work during the revolution
History 3 - An incomplete "living document" about her modern events. This will continue to be edited until Cary's death.
Bark 1 - Parables and stories about law, order, and justice with implications from Altan crimes so that they may never happen again.
Bark 2 - Parables and stories about mercy, redemption, and hospitality to compliment the previous book.
Miracles - Accounts of the blessings of Cary's actions on the world.
Canines - Parables about love, the meaning of life, and an appreciation of simplicity and wonder, much like a dog's curious but loving mindset.
Dorothy - Dorothy Shirleyton's personal account and sustaining of Cary as a prophet.
Companions 1 - Parables about the love of animals, animal rights, and the backbone for the church's belief in potential animal prophets.
Companions 2 - Parables about how Jesus can show his love through pets.
Bliss - Comforting stories, poems, and songs about the Rainbow Bridge and belief that it is a kingdom of Heaven.
Afterword - A more literal conclusion, a reminder to love God and use this book as a reminder to become more like Jesus through Cary's Example.
Churches are traditionally built, with organs, pianos, and old fashioned hymnbooks. There is no contemporary music during services. Services are usually 2 hours long. It typically follows an "introduction-hymn-sermon-hymn-communion-hymn-sermon-hymn-conclusion" structure. Saltine crackers are usually the bread that's blessed. Since alcohol is banned, grape juice is provided in lieu of wine. Churches are placed according to population to have uniform-sized congregations. There could be one for the next 6 villages, or one on every other block depending where you are. Titles are usually ambiguous, and float from Reverend to Pastor among others with no actual titles set aside from governmental roles.
The Gospel Church of Caryton takes a traditional view towards social issues. The church stresses healthy families as one of the most important tenants of life. Massive, extended families are pushed to the people. Albeit gender equality has been achieved, that's about the only real liberal policy they have. The GCC refuses to accept LGBT relationships, and while not actively criminalized (in fear of foreign intervention), the social stigma for the 82% GCC and overall 99% christian nation and excommunication from the religion that controls the state is regretfully punishment enough. This has rightfully caused a split, where a LGBT-exclusive breakaway has formed with no intention to rejoin until marriage laws are re-worked.
On the topic about family laws, divorce and abortion are both illegal except in serious cases like abuse, rape, or medical matters. To compensate, the church has funded an extensive network of counselors and a pre-emptive preventative program.
It is safe to say that while the Gospel Church of Caryton has good intentions and a good result from these controversial social values, that this church is imperfect like all others.