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What is the “Order of Enoch”? Reinterpreting Consecration in Today’s World

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.  In this conversation, we’ll going to compare differences and similarities between the Law of Tithing and the Law of Consecration between the LDS Church and the Remnant Church.  We’ve made a few passing references to the “Order of Enoch.”  What is that exactly?

Jim:  That was something that was set about in the church.  That was, oh goodness, I’d say the 1850s I believe was probably the first time that was there.  Basically it was the idea of consecrating.

GT:  Are you consecrating all of your things together and giving them to the bishop and letting him disburse them?

Jim:  So that’s an interesting part about that.  Having seen some of these, what I would call them, “all things common”, kind of little groups that are out there, it’s not like that.  We interpret “all things common” a little differently, and we interpret consecration differently in the respect that it’s not a common purse.  Certainly we’re to go before the bishop and we’re to get counsel from him on how to spend our monies, but we are still the steward over those monies.  Even when we live in community together, we don’t have that community purse.

Everybody has their own paycheck, has their own monies.  It’s out of their own volition to do so that hey, so-and-so needs this or whatever. They consecrate that surplus to the bishop and the bishop then of course at a greater level look at who needs what and then provide that to them.

It was a fun conversation as we talked about the differences in tithing and consecration between the LDS and Remnant Churches.  Both churches have had to adapt since the days of a “common purse” in Joseph Smith’s day.  Check out our conversation!

 

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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)  …..

 

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Jim Tackles DNA & Book of Mormon

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.  Jim gave his testimony of the Book of Mormon in part 2 of our conversation, and we touched on the Book of Mormon in our previous episode, and we talked about Remnant scriptures including the Doctrine & Covenants and Book of Mormon.  Today we will delve deeper into mysteries such as whether issues surrounding DNA & Book of Mormon are compatible.  I first asked Jim if he believes the Book of Mormon is a literal history or simply a foundational scripture as the Community of Christ believes?

GT:  Let’s talk about the Book of Mormon.   We’ve talked about that.  I know in the LDS Church, most people I think believe it’s a literal history.  It seems like in the Community of Christ, most probably don’t. {chuckles}

Jim:  I would say you’re probably right.

GT:  Where does the Remnant Church fit on that spectrum?

Jim:  We believe that it is an absolute literal history.  We believe that there were Lamanites and Nephites and Jacobites and Josephites and all the different –ites that were here upon the land.  Obviously there’s a good debate on where they really were exactly for North and South America and so forth, and where maybe in North America and so forth.  But yes we do believe that it was a literal people that were here.

DNA & Book of Mormon

I also asked him some of the questions of critics.

GT:  One of the big knocks against the Book of Mormon is DNA.  A guy by the name of Simon Southerton, an Australian researcher has said you don’t find any evidence of DNA.  I think the LDS—well I won’t say the LDS Church response, [because] the LDS Church I believe is neutral on the issue, but a lot of LDS researchers have said, well the population was probably a lot smaller, so you wouldn’t have any evidence of that.  What do you think?

Jim:  Well you know, first of all, I think that whole study—I feel there was a motive to putting together that research, first of all.  I don’t feel that was fair and scientific in the way that it was done.  Considering if you really want to look at the groups of people, you could argue that Ishmael, is that really the name of a good practicing Jew?  I don’t know, but I have a lot of questions.  Oh by the way, how many peoples actually came to the Americas?  I’ll just put it that way.  We’ll summarize.  How many different people came?

Well there were a lot of people, and they’re finding a lot of archaeological evidence of a lot of people, so to say that we know that all the Indians were Lamanites I think is really a fallacy.  I don’t think you can really say that.  They may or may not be.  We really don’t know which ones really are or aren’t.  For them to go forward and try to put together DNA evidence based on that, plus the other thing is you’re talking about many, many generations back.  Trying to argue that you’ve got somebody you can match DNA with from that time period to this time period, I don’t think that science is quite there yet for that.

I really think that it’s a, “ah, we got them!  We’re going to disprove the Book of Mormon in one fell swoop.” It’s just kind of like, ”no guys, I don’t think so.”  I just don’t think that from my background, being in engineering, I don’t really feel like all the boxes were checked.  I don’t really feel like it was an exhaustive study.  I felt like there was more of a motive for putting together the research instead of actually looking at it objectively.”

Do you agree with Jim.  Did Simon Southerton have an agenda to prove the Book of Mormon was false?  Check out our conversation…..