There's really only so far the Church can take us with regard to our personal relationship with God. To put it a different way, the Church can teach about how to love God, but it can't do it for us. We have to do it ourselves.
That is what the Church actually teaches. The leadership even goes as far as to say that the Church is secondary to the family. Individual leaders often say and do things that seem to be at odds with that principle, but the core message ever since the beginning has been that we are responsible personally for what we ultimately become (if we reach our ultimate potential) - and that is one of the core principles that is different than many Protestant theologies. It's one of my favorites aspects of the Restored Gospel.
I look at the primacy of relationship importance as an ever-expanding group of circles. I, as an individual, am at the center; once I am married, my wife and I, as two-made-one, are at the same point in the center; my immediate family is next; my extended family is next; my universal extended family is next. "The Church" is a subset of my extended family and provides the organization within which I can learn to be united with contemporary others when I "naturally" wouldn't become united with them and the theology by which I can show my commitment to be united with past others. It's the structure within which I can show symbolically that I recognize I am no better than anyone else who ever has lived - that I want to be united with all God's creations.
Since "perfect" is defined as "complete, whole, fully developed", I can't be "made perfect without them" - but the beginning of that eternal unity is my own relationship with and to God - and, again, being part of "me", my relationship with my wife. Take me (and my wife) out of that series of circles, and the rest shatters. Thus, my relationship with God and my wife is the most important relationship in my life; my relationship with "The Church", while extremely important to me, is less important than my relationship with God, my wife and our children.
The Lantern in the Tower: Chapter 2
4 hours ago