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Ailing Church Leaders: “Not Ideal Governance”

I enjoyed our latest conversation with Greg Prince.  We talked about incapacitation of church leaders due to medical factors.  Is this a problem in our church ailing church leaders having such an advanced age and becoming incapacitated due to medical issues?

Greg: So, if you’re just looking at this from a medical standpoint, it’s inevitable that incapacitation of an LDS Church president will be both more frequent and longer lasting.  In a fast-paced, complex world with a growing church, that may not give you the ideal governance.  So the question is, what do you do about it?

What we did about it is to say look.  Here’s the medicine involved in this, period.  If they choose to address the situation at some point, it’s their call.  But what we can say with a high level of confidence, because we looked at this through the eyes of medicine is, this is the situation.  It’s going to happen more frequently, and last longer.

Now a few month ago, Greg took some flak over a comment he made about church policies changing.  He made a similar comment to me when I asked if he saw the succession policy changing.

GT:  Do you ever see this policy changing?

Greg:  I see virtually anything changing because I have seen everything change.  I’m not aware of a single LDS doctrine of any significance that from 1830 forward has gone completely unchanged.  You’d think a lot of them would, but it turns out, no there were some substantial changes in many cases very early on.  If you just look at the First Vision narratives, you see the evolution of Joseph Smith’s theology of deity, and it’s taking place in a very rapid fashion and in a very dramatic fashion.

It wasn’t just nibbling at the periphery.  He was going through evolutionary leaps in the way that he portrayed the godhead.  That was reflected in his subsequent retellings of the story of the First Vision.  Each time he told it anew, it incorporated the then current version of his theology of deity.  That’s why those different versions are telling different stories, because they became theological narratives rather than historical narratives.

What do you think?  Are LDS policies changing?  Has there really been no LDS point of theology that hasn’t changed significantly over the history of the church?  Don’t forget to talk about our previous conversation on the leadership vacuums caused by extended periods of incapacitation.  Check out the conversation…

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The 4 LDS Leadership Vacuums – What Happened?

Welcome to Gospel Tangents Podcast. I’m excited to announce this is our 100th episode here at Gospel Tangents.  Of course I’ve been around for them all, I’m not sure if you have, but I hope you have.  It’s been a fun ride so far.

In our next conversation, we will talk to Dr. Greg Prince.  Previously we discussed the gay policy which disallows children of gay parents from receiving blessings, baptisms, or ordinations in the LDS Church.  It seems like this policy was started perhaps when President Monson was more incapacitated than he has been in the past.  Is there a leadership vacuum?

It’s in power vacuum #4 that the Policy emerges.  Now that doesn’t tell you the details of how these things happened, but it tells you the climate in which they did happen.  In each case, it was a power vacuum created by the incapacitation of this living president.

Dr. Greg Prince will talk more about this, and I’ll ask if there are similarities between the 1969 policy on blacks.  Is that similar to the policy with gays?

Greg:  All of that occurred in a period where there was a period of power vacuum.  President McKay, even though he was lucid enough to talk to his son and verify the contents of that letter physically didn’t have capacity to referee this match or to stop it.  It was carried on mostly in private so the general church membership didn’t know about it, but it was a real crisis.  So that was power vacuum #1.

Find out more about the other power vacuums, as well as Greg’s research into aging leadership.  Check out our conversation…..

 

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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!)