“I would present to you, my brethren, Joseph Smith”

Joseph Smith III

In traveling to Amboy, Illinois 6 April 1860, Joseph III shared these words (150 years ago today) with the gathered conference preceeding consideration of him to the prophetic office:

I would say to you, brethren, as I hope you may be, and in faith I trust you are, as a people that God has promised his blessings upon, I came not here of myself, but by the influence of the Spirit. For some time past I have received manifestations pointing to the position which I am about to assume.

I wish to say that I have come here not to be dictated by any men or set of men. I have come in obedience to a power not my own, and shall be dictated by the power that sent me.

God works by means best known to himself, and I feel that for some time past he has been pointing out a work for me to do.

For two or three years past deputations have been waiting on me, urging me to assume the responsibilities of the leadership of the church; but I have answered each and every one of them that I did not wish to trifle with the faith of the people.

I do not propose to assume this position in order to amass wealth out of it, neither have I sought it as a profit.

I know opinions are various in relation to these matters. I have conversed with those who told me they would not hesitate one moment in assuming the high and powerful position as the leader of this people. But I have been well aware of the motives which might be ascribed to me,—motives of various kinds, at the foundation of all which is selfishness,—should I come forth to stand in the place where my father stood.

I have believed that should I come without the guarantee of the people, I should be received in blindness, and would be liable to be accused of false motives. Neither would I come to you without receiving favor from my heavenly Father.

I have endeavored as far as possible to keep myself unbiased. I never conversed with J. J. Strang, for in those days I was but a boy, and in fact am now but a boy. I had not acquired a sufficient knowledge of men to be capable of leading myself, setting aside the leading of others.

There is but one principle taught by the leaders of any faction of this people that I hold in utter abhorrence; that is a principle taught by Brigham Young and those believing in him. I have been told that my father taught such doctrines. I have never believed it and never can believe it. If such things were done, then I believe they never were done by divine authority. I believe my father was a good man, and a good man never could have promulgated such doctrines.
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Sexual Policy and the Church

This post focuses on the sexual policy and the church in the U.S. and Canada.  It does not address the international issues regarding sexual policy, which I believe are significant in considering the church’s progress on addressing same-sex ordination and marriage as a global church.  For more information, see H-6: Committee on Homosexuality and the Church Report from the 2007 World Conference.

On May 22nd, the First Presidency of the Community of Christ issued a letter to administrators about the authority of priesthood to conduct same-sex marriages.  Not intended for wide distribution, the letter restated the church’s current position against this practice. It requested, again, that leaders respect the current position while the church continues to struggle for a way to adequately address the issue.   This letter circulated among some members on the internet.

The letter was prompted by inquiries following Iowa Supreme Court’s decision.  Same-sex marriages have been legal in Iowa since April 29th.  On May 17th, Michael and Chuck Hewitt of Community of Christ’s Cornerstone Congregation (see KMBC 9 story) married in Roy A. Cheville Chapel at Graceland.  June 2nd, Graceland’s President, John Sellers, issued a letter stating his administration did not know that a same-sex wedding was planned.  Given current church policy, it would not have authorized the service knowing a Community of Christ minister was officiating.  The letter invited responses. Continue reading

take back the church

So I have been thinking a lot lately about what many young adults have been talking about, in various forums and forms, regarding their involvement or non-involvement in the church. I hear or read people saying that the church doesn’t recognize their gifts or won’t let them be involved. They say that the church isn’t “relevant” to them, that they don’t like the worship style or the preaching or the lack of community involvement. Our criticisms are of every level of the church, from local congregations to mission centres to church headquarters. I readily admit to being critical myself of various aspects of the church at it’s various levels.

I hear the complaints and see the suggestions but sincerely wonder how many young adults are putting muscle or brain power behind attempting to address their own concerns. I can only speak from my own experience, but I can tell you that when I’ve been sincerely and seriously concerned about some aspect of church life, I have stepped in to make change.

My intention with this post is not to brag about things I’ve done, I’m constantly guilty of the sins of apathy and avoidance of responsibility. I also know that I am not the only one working hard at this, some of my fellow bloggers here are valiantly working for change. My desire here is to lay forth a challenge to my fellow young adults to, in a sense, “take back the church.” Continue reading

A Defining Moment for Community of Christ Young Adults?

In President Veazey’s recent address, “A Defining Moment,” he focused a significant portion of his sermon on the needs and ministry of the Community of Christ’s young adults. In his call to action, he spoke directly to this audience saying, “Young adults, the church needs you. We need you now. We need you to help us become who we are all yearning to become.” As I heard the address and listened to the exclusive invitation I could not help but appreciate being a young adult within this denomination. Now is a defining moment, we have an opportunity to be leaders in the Church.

As I travel through the church community, I continue to hear from young adults who feel as though local and world church leaders do not hear their thoughts and opinions. They say that they feel marginalized and that their voice is not being taken seriously. I have often heard young adults lament that, at a local level, they are not given the leadership opportunities they seek. There appears to be consensus that while they feel emotionally and socially connected to “their parents’ church,” young adults struggle to identify with a movement that they feel is becoming increasingly conservative.  Continue reading