A Mormon’s Survival Guide

CommunityOfChristLogo

This blog entry is specifically for my friends who are LDS and may be contemplating attending Community of Christ. I hope this also is able to bring a new perspective to my friends in Community of Christ, so that they may become better at reaching out to our LDS friends and truly making them feel welcomed at the table. I hope that both communities can use these tips and hopes that we can come together in “community” of Christ.

Survival Tip One: Don’t Trust Everything on the Internet.

My journey with Community Christ started with the internet. I had been vaguely aware of Community of Christ growing up, but I had heard lots of rumors. Rumors such as: “they no longer believe in the Book of Mormon, they believe Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet, and they no longer believe in the restoration.” There are many other things I’ve heard said, but these are the main falsehoods that are spread about Community of Christ. As you search the internet, you will find some Community of Christ members who may back up these claims, but keep in mind they only speak for themselves. The church’s official webpage acknowledges the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and The Restoration. All of them are seen as very important parts to the development of Community of Christ. There are countless of people who believe in the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and The Restoration just as strongly as LDS members, but there are those who don’t. This at first can be very confusing to us who share an LDS background. It’s hard for us to understand how this can possibly work and at times it can be frustrating to Community of Christ members on both sides, but remember Community of Christ affirms the Worth of All People and all our welcome at the table. If you have an LDS background and you have a strong testimony of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the Restoration don’t be afraid to share that with others. There are plenty of Community of Christ members who feel just as strongly about it as you.

Survival Tip Two: Open Yourself to Receive God’s Message

When I first started attending my local CofC congregation I was listening for someone to reference the Book of Mormon. Week after week passed and I heard nothing. Then one Sunday someone spoke from 3rd Nephi and I was like “finally!” Looking back on it, I missed a lot of important messages because I was fixated on wanting a book referenced. Remember that Community of Christ does affirm the Bible as the scriptural foundation of the church. The Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants serve as additional witnesses of Christ’s love and mercy, so don’t be surprised if the Book of Mormon is not mentioned the Sunday you attend or if you attend for awhile and don’t hear it. Be patient and allow yourself to receive God’s message. Remember scripture is not to be worshiped.

Survival Tip Three: Introduce Yourself

When you attend the LDS church for the first time everyone wants to talk to you and they want to know what they can do for you and if they can share with you the “gospel.” The Community of Christ does not proselytize, so it may be likely that no one will pressure you to sit down, so they can share the “gospel” with you. Don’t take this the wrong way. They’re just not that interested in converting you. However, you may want to speak to someone about the church in further detail especially the church in your local area. There are a few things you can do. Some congregations have slips that you can fill out with your information you can do that and wait for someone to contact you, or you can introduce yourself to the “pastor” or a person presiding. Tell them you want to know more, and they will share with you. So, don’t be shy and don’t wait for someone to actively pursue you. Pursue them first!

Survival Tip Four: Jesus Must Be Your Foundation

John 14:6 clearly states: “I’m the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus is the foundation. While there are many things and mediums in which we can communicate with God we must acknowledge that ultimately he is what he says he is. Joseph Smith when asked about his religion said: “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it. But in connection with these, we believe in the gift of the Holy Ghost, the power of faith, the enjoyment of the spiritual gifts according to the will of God, the restoration of the house of Israel, and the final triumph of truth.” (Elders’ Journal, July 1838, p. 44) We make things so difficult. Tip Four is simply have Jesus as your foundation.

Survival Tip Five: What would Joseph Smith Do?

By this time you probably have a lot of questions and you probably have been dealing with the questions “What Should I Do?” “Where should I Go?” “What is right for my family?” etc. Remember you’re not alone with these questions and great men and women have struggled with the questions for centuries. When Joseph Smith was faced with these same questions, he turned to James 1:5-6 “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting…” As we know Joseph went into the grove and he prayed. He had an experience that changed his life and forever changed the lives of those who would know him as prophet. Final Survival Tip: Pray.

Advertisements

19 comments on “A Mormon’s Survival Guide

  1. John Hamer says:

    I think it’s impossible to overstate point #3. I’ve known a lot of Mormons who have filled out those little forms and never heard anything back. You don’t have to just introduce yourself once. You have to do it again and again.

    On the flip side, it should be a lot less scary to go than you might imagine. If you’re worried that you’re going to walk into a lion’s den and everyone it going to be all over you with the hard-sell to join… fear not! It won’t happen.

  2. juliathepoet says:

    It might be useful to have a sub-tip under #3, letting people know how to find a Community of Christ congregation.

    I’m not sure that the premise of the post, that LDS members would know where to find a Community of Christ church/congregation is not true. Personally, I have no idea if there is a congregation in Portland, if I wanted to visit.
    ;-)

    • Andrew Webber says:

      Hi Juliathepoet, thanks for the reply. You bring a valid point some may not know where to find a congregation for those who might be interested in finding a congregation near them. Please follow the following link: http://www.cofchrist.org/directory/activedirectory.asp

      • Andrew Webber says:

        In addition if you’re interested in learning more about the Community of Christ and meeting some really neat people I’d recommend joining one or more of the following facebook groups: A Prophetic People and Latter-day Seekers.

    • Nicholas Carroll says:

      There are two congregations of Community of Christ in Portland, Oregon. I attend the one known as Tuality Community of Christ in Tigard, Oregon (on Hwy 99 south of Portland going towards Sherwood). The other congregation is called Portland Community of Christ and it is in the Portland neighborhood of Laurelhurst, one street north of E Burnside, between 46th and 47th. The Tuality congregation has younger members, while the Portland one is mostly elderly members. Come and visit!

  3. Brian Keyes says:

    While visiting a congregation of the Community of Christ, I notice the plurality of beliefs. Some took a strong literal view point to the bible stories while others certainly did not. Yet all viewpoints were respected. You’d never hear this type of gospel discussion in an LDS ward due to the strongly correlated lesson materials found in the LDS faith.

  4. Dave Loy says:

    I have had the privilege of experiencing some of Andrew’s exploration of Community of Christ. In fact I was honored to confirm him a member. Andrew has been able to give me new insights into our brother religion and has allowed me to see through his eyes as he moved forward. I have learned so much more from him and his willingness to share.

    I would add one additional survivial tip to his list. Just as each of us is unique based on our indiviual upbringing and culture so it can also be with any specific Community of Christ congregation. Each congregation has developed its identify over time and it may take some effort to find the right fit for you. Just remember that we don’t all wear the same size shoes but when you find one that fits it can be wonderful.

    Great Job Andrew

    Dave Loy

  5. […] A Mormon’s Survival Guide (saintsherald.com) […]

  6. Raquel says:

    I am a very liberal Christian and I fell in love with Latter Day Saint culture in high school when a friend in high school invited me to his ward. There, I was introduced to the restoration Gospel, and the transforming pages of the Book of Mormon.

    Of course, I never did join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, I was introduced to the culture enough during seminary and with my first boyfriend to understand how beautifully nuturing and close it can be.

    One of my friends has a pastor from the Community of Christ, and I did go to her church once. I found it very nice, although I did ask if they kept the Word of Wisdom, lol. (The first thing I noticed was that coffee hour was before the service!)

    It was refreshing to hear the different perspectives of the Gospel, and the prayers for peace. I also enjoyed on how one person did not even know what the Church believed in although he was raised in it, while another younger girl even studied the Book of Mormon back in her old CofC congregation and how she finds it powerful.

    I did miss the references to the Book of Mormon though, and its passages. But it is refreshing for me to appreciate the Community of Christ. If it wasn’t for the fact that I am discerning Anglicanism, I would have considered the Community of Christ as another expression of my own faith in Christ.

    Blessings!

  7. R.S. says:

    I just posted this in another one of Andrew’s posts, but notice there is more conversation here. So in hopes of getting some insight, please excuse me for posting a duplicate message here:

    I’m LDS. Just out of curiosity, what drove you to become part of the CofC? I see so much good in both churches, but lacking also.

    I love the LDS endowment and temple sealings. I very much enjoyed doing baptisms for the dead, and I like Joseph’s Nauvoo theology, which I do not view as a contradiction or repeal of his Kirtland teachings. I love knowing that if I’m ever sick, or if my wife has a baby, the members of the Relief Society will be at my door with a prepared meal. My home teachers would help my family out with anything. My wife loves the friendships and community she has in the Relief Society. I love the guys in my Elders Quorum. My family loves our ward and we love our traditions history. Being Mormon is more than a religion, its an ethnicity.

    At the same time, I have holy envy for the CofC. I like the public weddings. I love the open cannon. I like the focus on the spiritual meaning of things rather than the historicity. I like that there is a Standing High Council. I like that the World Conference is the highest governing body of the Church. I love the focus on building up Zionic communities and the egalitarianism of 1830s Mormonism.

    Both traditions have good arguments for the succession crisis of 1844.

    So please, if you’re comfortable, please share with me why CofC is your preferred home in the Restoration.

  8. Andrew Webber says:

    Hi R.S.

    Thanks for your reply. I would like to start off by first agreeing with you that both churches have many great qualities about them and have wonderful people who are in community with them and although neither one is perfect, I can easily understand how one can serve and find blessings in either church.

    I don’t believe I can do full justice through a post of why I chose Community of Christ, but I will try my best to give a bit of insight of what the appeal was. (perhaps I should blog about my journey)

    I understand where you’re coming from when you state “being mormon is more than a religion it’s an ethnicity.” You might find this interesting, but I still view myself as a Mormon. Many of my Community of Christ friends would never refer to themselves as that, but I do and it’s partly because of my family history and experiences in the LDS church. Though I no longer attend the LDS church I do see myself as a Mormon. I don’t feel that the term is owned by a church. In the same way that being a Christian is not owned by a particular church. I see the term as an identifier of one who believes in the Book of Mormon, so I haven’t relinquished that term. I will refer to myself as a Christian too, but i have no problem being referred to as a “mormon.”

    I must admit the shared history was the main reason why I even considered Community of Christ. I personally believe that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God and I believe the Book of Mormon to be a book that was truly written out of the holy spirit and I believe it holds deep meaning. It’s because of those two fundamental beliefs is why i’m a member today.

    One of the other big appeals to me was and how continual revelation is being received. In our Doctrine and Covenants 162:2e It reads: “Again you are reminded that this community was divinely called into being. The spirit of the Restoration is not locked in one moment of time, but is instead the call to every generation to witness to essential truths in its own language and form. Let the Spirit breathe”… To me this is huge, because it calls upon every member to understand how the spirit is to witness to us today and not be bound to the past. I believe Community of Chirst is responding to the needs and understanding of this generation.

    I love the equality I see in Community of Christ. I like the fact that women can hold the priesthood if called and gays our fully welcomed and have the same rights and privileges that I enjoy as a heterosexual. I appreciate that as a member I’m able to vote on important matters facing our church at World Conference and have the opportunity to have my voice heard; without fear of being dis-fellowshiped, having a temple recommend rescinded or in an extreme case be excommunicated.

    Ultimately, I chose Community of Christ because that is where I and my family feel comfortable. That element is huge in attending any church, congregation, or ward. I too am able to call my elders, high priests etc to administer blessings for my family and I love the traditions that this church has as well.

    • Janette Ellis says:

      I have been torn about leaving the Mormon church. I do believe in the beliefs but I don’t fit into the ward and I get a strong feeling they would rather I am not a part of the ward. Is there a church close by Brantford Ontario.

  9. James says:

    I am also an LDS member who recently started attending CofC for the same reasons. It was a natural progression for me, who had trouble with getting the family comfortable attending the LDS meeting block.

    I grew up in the church from age 1 until 17. At 17, I left the Church to be my own person, I didn’t want anyone telling me what to do. I married my Wife at 21 years old and settled in with her. After being married 10 years, I attempted to get her to go to the LDS Church but she wasn’t comfortable there. I tried for 7 years but it is a hard road being a part-member family.

    I recently found the CofC Church, which was an answer to a prayer. I have been attending for a month now and I love it. The Church has only a few members, but I feel the spirit at every meeting. I am not sure how your experience was when you first started, but I felt the spirit strong in my meetings. I do believe what Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”.

    Did you officially join CofC? I am praying that my whole family gets baptised and we become full members.

    Thanks for your posts and I hope to see more in the future. Our journeys are similar, with you being a bit ahead of me. – James

  10. Andrew Webber says:

    Hey James,

    Thanks for the reply. I am a full fledged confirmed member in Community of Christ. I was confirmed a member this year back in March, but started attending in July of last year.

    I chose not to be re-bapitized and instead opted to be confirmed. I felt my baptism at eight years old was a covenant I made with Christ and not a church. D&C 164 paved the way for people who have been previously baptized to carry their baptism with them as they join Community of Christ.

    No pressure, but if you have facebook I’d like to hear more from you. As I agree it sounds like we have a similar story. You can find me in a few facebook groups latter-day seekers, prophetic people: community of christ group, Members and Friends of Community of Christ or you can simply try and search for me by name and narrow your search to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

    • James says:

      I sent a friend request over and joined the groups. There is a lot more to my story and I would love to tell it if you wanted to hear it. I was half asleep when I wrote my comment, I couldn’t wait to reach out. I am glad it made sense.

      • Dave Loy says:

        James, my name is Dave Loy, I have been part of the journey that Andrew and his family have been on. I am a Seventy in the Community of Christ. If I can help you in anyway I would be very willing to do so. Maybe we can connect through email and talk about where you are at and how I might be able to help. I know the road can be really tough as you move forward. I pray for your continued strength and guidance.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s