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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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What’s the view of the RLDS Succession Crisis?

In the LDS Church we believe in an orderly succession from Joseph Smith to Brigham Young.  In the Reorganized Church of course they don’t accept Brigham as the prophet and instead accept Joseph Smith III.  What is the view of RLDS Succession Crisis? In this conversation with Jim Vun Cannon, a counselor in the First Presidency of the Remnant Church, we’ll learn that 16 years after Joseph Smith was killed, the Reorganized Church was established.

GT:  One of the things I want to talk a little bit about is the Succession Crisis.  As you know Joseph Smith, for those of my listeners who aren’t super familiar with church history, Joseph Smith was killed in 1844 in the Carthage Jail.  As I understand it, and correct me if I’m wrong, I believe it was another 15 or so years before—Joseph Smith III was just a young boy.  He was probably about 14 or so?

Jim:  Yeah, that’s correct.  He was a young boy.

GT:  So it took about 15 years or so before Joseph Smith III felt called of God and then the Reorganized Church started in 1860.  I believe it was April 6, 1860?

Jim:  Actually that’s an interesting point.  It actually started in 1852.

GT:  Oh!

Jim:  We actually had met together, a number of people during the Succession Crisis had come together.  They organized at the apostle level, so the Second Presidency level if you will.  They had the church until the prophet came forth, and so when young Joseph came, he felt compelled to come.  That’s part of what he said, “I come by a power not of my own,” and he came to the church.  It was in April 6, 1860 and so forth.  Most people do look at that as the beginning, but honestly it was 1852, October of 1852 where they held the first general conference of the church at that point.

Similarly, following the 1984 revelation where women got the priesthood on the RLDS Church, 16 years later the Remnant Church was begun.  We’ll talk about similarities and differences between these two reorganizations, as well as talk about some priesthood differences between the LDS Church and the Remnant Church.

Jim:  We have quorums of seventy that are underneath the Twelve, so seven quorums of Seventy is what we have.  Now we don’t have seven quorums of Seventy, we only have one quorum.

GT:  We only had that for a long time but now we’ve got six or seven I think.  Yeah seven is the maximum.  We’ve got that.  I don’t believe all of our seven quorums have 70 in them.  They’re half that I believe.

Jim:  And if I understand correctly, your seventies are based on high priest, or are they based on elder?

GT:  They are based on High Priest.

Jim:  Ours are based on elder.

GT:  Oh really?

Jim:  Yes if you’re based on an elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood, well obviously because your priesthood is an elder, you’re set apart to be a seventy from the office of elder, not the office of high priest.

GT:  Oh interesting.  I know it does seem very hierarchal in our church, and I don’t believe that’s the case in the Community of Christ and I’m not sure in your church as well.  Do you have adult members that are either Aaronic Priesthood or Melchizedek Priesthood holders?  Is that pretty typical?

Jim:  Yes that is pretty typical.  We don’t look at it as a progression.  We look at it as a calling.  It may be for instance you have a calling as a deacon all your life.  It doesn’t mean you didn’t magnify your call, it just means that that was what the Lord called you to do.  We have literally men who are 80-90 years old who are deacons, and also vice-versa.  We might have very young men who are elders or high priests, so there’s no progression.  The way we look at it is wisdom and revelation is what’s in our scriptures for that.

Check out our conversation….  (Don’t forget to check out part 1 and part 2!)

 

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From Convert to First Presidency in 5 years!

We’re continuing our discussion with Jim Vun Cannon, (see part 1 here)  a counselor in the First Presidency of the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  In this episode, we’ll talk about how he turned from Convert to First Presidency in just 5 years!  He became disillusioned with RLDS Church following the 1984 revelation giving women the priesthood.  How did he feel following this revelation?

Jim:  [I] tried to sift through the ashes of what felt like a burned down church.  I graduated high school in ‘83, so in ’84 it was like, what just happened?  Because I was right there in Independence so it was kind of a civil war with spiritual bloodshed on both sides.  It was just very unfortunate, because there obviously were a lot of strong feelings on both sides.

It sounds quite damaging spiritually.  I asked Jim when he first came to the Remnant Church.

Jim:  I started attending the Remnant Church in 2012 I believe is when I started.

GT:  Oh really, just that recently?

Jim:  Yes, that recently, yes.

GT:  Wow, and you’re in the First Presidency now!

Jim:  Yes, it was an experience where the Lord told me to go and join this church, and I was just told to go and worship with these folks and ministered with these folks and I really wasn’t told much more than that.  At the time I did not even have a testimony of President Larsen and his calling to be the prophet of the church, but that came very shortly afterwards.  I felt like it was one of those stepping out of the boat moments.  You know the water was a little squishy underneath your feet and trying to look forward, but yes, yes.

GT:  You know as we look at the early church with Joseph Smith, a lot of times he did take brand new converts and put them right in the First Presidency, so that’s pretty interesting.

So literally from five years to counselor in the First Presidency—that’s quite an amazing feat!  Can you imagine what that must have been like?  We also talk about priesthood and youth programs.  Check out the conversation!