We’re continuing our discussion with Jim Vun Cannon, a counselor in the First Presidency of the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s been a long-standing tradition in the RLDS Church that Joseph Smith was a monogamist. However current prophet/president Stephen Veazey announced that the RLDS Church, also known as the Community of Christ no believes Joseph Smith did not engage in polygamy. What does the Remnant Church do? Do they hearken back to the old RLDS positions, or do they agree that Joseph Smith was a polygamist?
Jim: No I don’t believe he did. Here’s what I would say to that. Our position is what Joseph Smith III said which was he could find no evidence of it, but if there is, by some chance that he did, it was wrong. That’s the position of our church.
The Community of Christ rejects a lot of those Nauvoo-era revelations, which 132 would have been. How do you handle that? You just don’t believe in any Nauvoo [revelations?] Was Joseph a fallen prophet by then?
Jim: No we don’t believe he was a fallen prophet. We don’t believe he was at all. I know there were people in the Reorganized Church and perhaps some in the Community of Christ. I can’t tell, but I do know there was a belief that Joseph was a fallen prophet at some point because of some of the things that happened in Nauvoo.
The way we look at Nauvoo is different than I believe the way the old Reorganized Church looked at it. They just kind of threw [it out.] Nauvoo was there. We don’t really want to talk about it. We don’t want to talk about what happened because there were a lot of bad things that happened there.
The way we look at it was there was some good things, wonderful things that happened there, and there were some not so good things that happened there. We tried to sift through those to see what’s there because to your point, there were just some revelations that didn’t [hold up]—and some of them, here also, we may not look at it as revelation. We may question the authorship of and so forth and so on. I don’t want to get into conspiracy theories or anything like that. That’s not the rabbit trail I’m trying to go down. It’s just we can’t tell. For instance there was some things given in Far West, the Wentworth Letter.
GT: Where the Articles of Faith are.
GT: The Articles of Faith are part of the Wentworth Letter. That’s actually part of our Pearl of Great Price.
Jim: Right. That’s in there, but that’s not part of our Doctrine & Covenants. As to why some of those things became, I hate to use the word ‘canonized’ because of where we are, why they weren’t included in the open canon, I don’t really know. I can’t speak to that. I’ve tried to go back and research through our line why the RLDS Church made some decisions they did and didn’t. I think some of them were just, they just didn’t at that time know, and they just set it on the shelf and just left it there.
I also asked about some contemporary evidences, such as the Nauvoo Expositor, and whether they like to be called RLDS or Mormons. Check out our conversation! You might want to check out my episodes from Brian Hales where Brian talked about his evidences against Joseph’s monogamy, and don’t forget to check our our other episodes from Jim!