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What are Remnant Beliefs about Temples?

Joseph Smith built temples in Kirtland and Nauvoo.  The LDS Church has more than 100 temples in operation now, worldwide.  In our last conversation with Jim Vun Cannon, a counselor in the First Presidency of the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I asked  if temples are a part of their worship.

Jim:  Yes absolutely.  In fact we have a recent revelation that talks about beginning to prepare for the building of the temple, but we haven’t had a command to build a temple yet, but to prepare for that.  We do believe in temples, absolutely.

GT:  I know the RLDS Church/Community of Christ, I actually remember going to the temple, I was so excited.  In the LDS Church, you can go to the open house but after that it’s hands off, and I was really excited to go to the Independence Temple.  Even in Kirtland, that’s a temple that’s open to the public.  Would you anticipate that would be the case as well?  That it would be kind of a special meetinghouse?

Jim:  As best as I can say, I would think it would be very similar to how we treat Kirtland:  reverently but it’s still open.  There’ s nothing anything in there that someone couldn’t see.

GT:  Ok.  I know baptisms for the dead.  I believe that’s something that was canonized in the RLDS Church for a time, although then it was later moved to an appendix and actually has been de-canonized.

Jim:  Yeah, section 107 is what it is for us.  In the 1970 conference they put that in the appendix, yes.

GT:  Oh, ok.  Joseph I believe said that baptisms for the dead should be done in the temple.  I know that before the Nauvoo Temple was completed, they did some in the Mississippi River.  Is that something that you guys would participate in the Remnant Church?

Jim:  No.  Here’s where we’re at with that revelation.  We don’t deny that Joseph gave what we call section 107 which was talking about finishing the temple, otherwise you’ll be rejected with your dead.  I’m not sure what section it is for you all.

GT:  I don’t know off the top of my head either.[1]

Jim:  Oh you don’t either.  The way we look at that is that we see that there was only two places that it was given instruction that it could be done.  One was in the temple in Nauvoo, and the other was in Independence.  The other part of that was, the other issue that we have with it is that we don’t have any instruction through Joseph from the Lord through Joseph on that particular instance—for instance like I was talking about your section 20 which is our section 17, the Lord was very specific in explaining how water baptism was to occur and what was to be said and so forth.  We don’t have anything like that and so we find that kind of spurious that there wasn’t any instruction given that we can point the reference to and so forth that that was to occur.

[1] LDS section 124 deals which Baptism for the dead is found at http://bit.ly/2fl4R01

We also talked about a lay clergy, differences with high councils, and I discovered they don’t have stakes yet!  I hope you enjoyed our discussions, and I hope you’ll check out parts 18 as well!  Check out our conversation…..

 

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Joseph was a Monogamist!

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.

I asked what he thought about D&C 132, and I mentioned that

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.

Jim:  Yeah.

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!

 

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Women Will Never Get Priesthood!

1984 was a pivotal year in the RLDS Church.  It was the year a revelation was canonized allowing women to receive the priesthood.  However, it caused a schism within the church and many people left the RLDS Church and formed other Restoration Branches, or in our case, the Remnant Church.  We’re talking to Jim Vun Cannon, a counselor in the First Presidency of the Remnant Church and we’ll ask about his recollections of those events in 1984, and we’ll also ask how does he feel about women holding the priesthood now?

Jim:  Well, wow.  1984 was very much a pivotal year, and it came to its climax in a revelation that was brought by Wallace Bunnell Smith.  It was allowing women to be ordained into the priesthood.  That was kind of the tip of the iceberg of all the different changes and things that were going on.

The church was doctrinally changing from probably the mid to late [19]60s.  It was going through a transformation.  There were a number of priesthood members who had entered into the church who had different ideas about the doctrine of the church.  To be fair, I believe they’re trying to seek Jesus Christ in the best way they understand.  I’m speaking apologetically. I hope everyone understands that.  I still love a lot of lovely people over there, just like in the LDS Church. We find many, many lovely people there too.

The thing was, they went about changing the structure and the order underneath, and then at ’84, that became the pivotal point where no one could go any further.  It was like, look.  This isn’t right.  We don’t agree with this.  We can’t find any doctrinal support for women and the priesthood basically.

Does Jim think that will ever happen in their church?

Jim:  No.

GT:  Would the prophet ever have a revelation that could happen?

Jim:  We don’t believe so.  We don’t believe so.  Here again it kind of comes back to one of those things: that’s so significant in so many ways.  I’ve heard all the arguments for women and the priesthood because I was pretty close to it in ’84 and I don’t believe it was a societal thing that well the Lord couldn’t bring forth women and the priesthood because society wouldn’t accept it.

There were plenty of times throughout history if you go and read, and even matriarchal societies you could find that could have occurred, but it didn’t occur.  I just don’t find any basis for it.  It’s like women ordained to have children, bear children.  Thankfully we’re not as men.  {chuckles}  I think the Lord calls each of us to a work to that we are to do.  It’s not we’re trying to hold somebody out one way or the other, because just as you all have sister missionaries, we believe that witnessing to Jesus Christ is everyone’s job to go out there and to promulgate the gospel.  It’s just the ordinances that they can’t perform.  I really miss what the big deal is when it really comes down to that.  I think it’s much more of an ideological than theological point of view that people tend to move to when they go down the road of women and the priesthood, and I don’t know how far you’ve gone into looking at that.  I think it also gets into relative truth versus absolute truth.  It goes a number of different branches but anyway, I’ll stop.

In the LDS Church, there is a saying that men have priesthood, women have motherhood.  I was a bit surprised to hear when he made a similar statement.

Jim:  It’s like women ordained to have children, bear children.  Thankfully we’re not as men.  {chuckles}  I think the Lord calls each of us to a work to that we are to do.  It’s not we’re trying to hold somebody out one way or the other, because just as you all have sister missionaries, we believe that witnessing to Jesus Christ is everyone’s job to go out there and to promulgate the gospel.  It’s just the ordinances that they can’t perform.  I really miss what the big deal is when it really comes down to that.  I think it’s much more of an ideological than theological point of view that people tend to move to when they go down the road of women and the priesthood.

GT:  It’s just so funny because I’ve heard that so many times in our church that women have motherhood, men have priesthood.

Jim:  It’s like, if I use this analogy, I don’t want anybody on this podcast to think that I’m being demeaning in any way towards women. I’m not going to say anything derogatory.  I’m just going to use an analogy.  I feel that there’s kind of a logic error if you will.  Because I believe that God’s word in it is inherently logical.  I mean it makes complete sense and it has a balance to it and it is perfect.  It’s just like in the past, I could use the logic that God used Balaam’s ass, did he not?  He did.

GT:  I believe Brigham Young said that was not literal.  {both chuckle}

Jim:  Well ok, that’s alright.  We consider that it was, but ok.  But considering that that was, He did that.  I can stitch from that and I could also come over here and say I’ve got a dog and this dog is a lovely dog.  He knows unconditional love.  He’s never barked at anybody.  He just loves anybody he meets.  He doesn’t care who you are, and oh by the way he happens to be male so I should just ordain him to the priesthood.  Does it really make sense?  That’s the question I really want to ask.  Does it really make sense?

Why are we doing this?  Are we doing it for the sake of doing it because we can or are we doing it because it’s what the Lord has asked us to do?  That’s the question I have is, do we believe in revelation?  Do we believe that God tells us things?  That’s what I think it comes down to.

What do you think of this line of reasoning?  Do you consider the story of Balaam’s ass to be literal?  What do you think of his other comments?  (I hope you listen to the entire interview.)  Check out our conversation (as well as our previous episode discussing 1984)  …..