When scriptures speak of the gathering of Israel, or gathering to Zion, is it possible there are different degrees of being gathered?
To gather implies that people are gathered "around" something. The center point is crucial. People can gather around all sorts of things, people, organizations, causes, or heroes, but none of them can or will do what the Lord does. So that's something to think about. And how close you are to that center point is also interesting to ask yourself. Both physically, as in geography, but also "close" in the sense of a personal relationship. Like we would say "are you and your brother close?"
If Joseph Smith said referring to The Book of Mormon that a man could get closer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book, than it shows there are degrees of closeness one may seek to obtain. How much we want to be gathered then has a lot to do with the Book of Mormon. And of course it always has a lot to do with what we do about the word repentance.
The Lord doesn't just offer to gather us and then keep us at a distance. The Lord offers a fullness, He invites us to be one with Him and the Father. He says: "how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not" How close is The Lord willing to gather us?
And who does this gathering? Is it an organized Church? There are many answers, but one interesting one is D&C 77:11 when it talks about the 144,000 of the last days. It says angels gather or bring "as many as will" to the Church of the Firstborn. "As many as will." That means we choose. Our agency is hugely important. What we seek today, here and now matters. Do we seek to simply follow our leaders? And relax at that? Or do we follow the scriptures counsel and example to seek the face of God? Do we look forward to General Conference, and then rest at that? Or do we look forward to that day when Christ's promises to comfort us as Second Comforter are fulfilled? Some of our traditions may have blinded us to where exactly we should be focusing.
It's very possible to be a member of the church and hold a temple recommend but still be as chickens who will not be gathered. Why would they do this? Why would they reject their parent? We all know the answers... it's pride, and blindness, and vanity. But when your the ugly duckling for a while you become willing to drop your traditions and look past your own blinders. Then you find the truth. God was not, nor has ever been anything other than our faithful Father, inviting us home.
Should we rest our salvation on hopes that at some point a program will be developed or some initiative offered by an organization to finally motivate us to do what God has been asking all along? God, angels and those ordained by God himself are prophesied to be going about performing this work of gathering. May we not be blind to it all.
What signs would be present if someone or people were truly gathered, and as one?