The church website has recently put up a video interview of Steve Veazey conducted by Linda Booth. The link to the video is on the bottom of the main page, www.CofChrist.org
Among other things, Steve discusses his experiences in bringing the Words of Counsel to the church. He relates some of the revelatory process as he experienced it and personal insights into the decisions surrounding the document.
I was fortunate enough to be in the Independence area during the last weekend in January, two weeks after the document was presented to the church. At a last minute decision, I went with my wife and brother-in-law to attend the January 31st Temple Event. I had no clue what to expect as we went, but it was a very enjoyable and beneficial afternoon. At the close of the event, the First Presidency held a short worship service to wrap the activities up and send us on our way. My brother-in-law is quite a bit younger than both my wife and I and had never really been in the Temple before, though a life-long Independence resident. As we sat in the closing worship service, he was very inquisitive about exactly what was going on and who different people were. We tried to explain to him about the First Presidency and what they do, and who Steve Veazey was. He really struggled with these concepts, but ultimately came away with a conclusion along the lines that Steve talks to God on behalf of the Church. The question asked: “What is a prophet?” really got me thinking and scrambling to try and find a way to answer satisfactorily–but also quietly while the service continued.
After the service was over, the First Presidency vanished quickly as they often do through back doors and the like. The three of us, after cleaning up spilled trail-mix from the sanctuary floor (not sure who’s idea it was to distribute that right before the worship), headed out into the lobby en route to the parking lot. Exiting the worshipper’s path in reverse from its typical direction we popped out into the foyer and I noticed Steve, Dave and Becky (the First Presidency) were standing around chatting with people. I’d met them each before, some more than others, but the thought crossed my mind that my brother-in-law should. I asked him if he wanted to meet Steve, since he mainly asking questions about Steve. He blurted out an immediate ‘No’ and tried to take off for the doors. I grabbed him and did my best to convince him he should atleast shake Steve’s hand, which he really didn’t want to do. I suspected he was just nervous and/or really shy about strangers in general. We took him over to Steve, and had to stand in line for a short while waiting our turn. Every time it seemed we got next in line, the line somehow randomly shifted another way as somebody jumped in on the other side…funny how that seems to happen a lot.
While we waited, my brother-in-law kept leaning back into me, away from Steve. I held him to keep from sprinting off, but he was lightly pulling away. Finally when we got up to Steve, I introduced them to each other and Steve held out his hand which he took lightly, gave a brief shake–but remained silent as a tomb. After a few brief words, just a few seconds, Steve thanked us all for coming and we went on our way.
On the way to the car, he was very, very concerned about what had just happened. He met Steve Veazey, but now he was really worried. “He read my mind,” we were informed. “He’s a mindreader and now he’s going to know I don’t pay attention in church and he’ll tell me to go more.” Now we understood his hesitancy. Somehow from our conversation, he believed Steve Veazey – The Prophet – could read minds and that was why he had that position. It took a while to convince him that wasn’t one of Steve’s “powers,” something I suspect he still wonders if I’m lying to him about to keep him relaxed. It brings up a couple questions, particularly relevant as we consider a possible new D&C Section revolving around (among other things) the question of revelation and prophets.
What is a prophet? What is entailed by being the Prophet? Does the Community of Christ need a prophet, or is it a relic of our past we’re unwilling to trash? Is Steve Veazey a prophet, by your definition? How does one become prophet, or how does one (Wally B./Grant) continue living but stop functioning as such? What defines a “true” prophet vs. a “false” prophet?