Episode 58: The Doctrinal Differences in the Community of Christ

John Hamer and David Howlett of the Community of Christ are joined by John Larsen to explain the difference in the doctrines between the Community of Christ (RLDS) and the Salt Lake Branch of the Restoration Movement.

Episode 58

47 comments on “Episode 58: The Doctrinal Differences in the Community of Christ”

  1. NightAvatar Reply

    This was cool! I love both of these guys and they’re non-chalant, open attitudes about their (and LDS) history. Almost enough to make me want to join their ranks. Maybe if I believed in God first.

    John, I think you did a perfect job interviewing, asking just the right questions on the right topics. Very well done!

    If time would have allowed it would have been great to hear some more difficult questions too, like “is Christ’s divinity an essential part of the doctrine?” or “since the official stance on Abraham and the BofM seems to take them as non-historical (not literal history), how do they view Joseph Smith? Was he a pius liar? Was he consciously deceiving people?” and “If polygamy was not of god, what was Joseph’s motivation? Carnal? Was he deceived by Satan? (do they even believe in a literal Satan?)” … And other such questions.

    One interesting question I have is what do they think their movement/church would do if some wealthy person donated $100 million or more? How do they think the money would be beat spent?This one would only be out of curiousoty because I could imagine wanting to make such a donation if I had the means to do so.

    Anyway

    • NightAvatar Reply

      Oops. Looks like I cut off my last sentence. Should have read: Anyways, an excellent podcast. One to add to my top 10 list! 🙂

  2. NightAvatar Reply

    This was cool! I love both of these guys and they’re non-chalant, open attitudes about their (and LDS) history. Almost enough to make me want to join their ranks. Maybe if I believed in God first.

    John, I think you did a perfect job interviewing, asking just the right questions on the right topics. Very well done!

    If time would have allowed it would have been great to hear some more difficult questions too, like “is Christ’s divinity an essential part of the doctrine?” or “since the official stance on Abraham and the BofM seems to take them as non-historical (not literal history), how do they view Joseph Smith? Was he a pius liar? Was he consciously deceiving people?” and “If polygamy was not of god, what was Joseph’s motivation? Carnal? Was he deceived by Satan? (do they even believe in a literal Satan?)” … And other such questions.

    One interesting question I have is what do they think their movement/church would do if some wealthy person donated $100 million or more? How do they think the money would be beat spent?This one would only be out of curiousoty because I could imagine wanting to make such a donation if I had the means to do so.

    Anyway

    • NightAvatar Reply

      Oops. Looks like I cut off my last sentence. Should have read: Anyways, an excellent podcast. One to add to my top 10 list! 🙂

  3. John Hamer Reply

    NightAvatar: The answer for all your doctrinal questions would be thrown back to individual belief and practice. Bill Russell, a Community of Christ professor, has said he believes that as long as someone thinks that Jesus was a great teacher they can consider themselves Christian, i.e., without believing in the divinity claims. I think most Community of Christ members believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, but certainly not every member.

    With Joseph Smith and his production of scripture, you’re going to have the same range of views among members that you have with the Book of Mormon itself (including the more negative possibilities you mention, alongside other, more positive takes). On Joseph’s practice of polygamy, the church historian has called the practice of marrying additional women — including women who were already married and teenaged girls — an “abuse of priesthood authority.” I personally agree with that assessment, but again there will be a fairly wide spectrum of views among members.

    On your last question, a couple years ago a wealthy Community of Christ member did give the church $50 million. As to what we’d do with it, it was put in the church’s endowment fund. (Although it’s thrifty, I guess that’s pretty boring.)

  4. John Hamer Reply

    NightAvatar: The answer for all your doctrinal questions would be thrown back to individual belief and practice. Bill Russell, a Community of Christ professor, has said he believes that as long as someone thinks that Jesus was a great teacher they can consider themselves Christian, i.e., without believing in the divinity claims. I think most Community of Christ members believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, but certainly not every member.

    With Joseph Smith and his production of scripture, you’re going to have the same range of views among members that you have with the Book of Mormon itself (including the more negative possibilities you mention, alongside other, more positive takes). On Joseph’s practice of polygamy, the church historian has called the practice of marrying additional women — including women who were already married and teenaged girls — an “abuse of priesthood authority.” I personally agree with that assessment, but again there will be a fairly wide spectrum of views among members.

    On your last question, a couple years ago a wealthy Community of Christ member did give the church $50 million. As to what we’d do with it, it was put in the church’s endowment fund. (Although it’s thrifty, I guess that’s pretty boring.)

  5. John Hamer Reply

    So that I don’t seem so wishy-washy about “spectrums of belief,” I’ll post the text from the section of our book (p. 13) dealing with later developments and the martyrdom:

    (QUOTE PART 1) In Nauvoo, Joseph championed new theological practices such as baptism for the dead and a ritual blessing, known as the “endowment,” based on contemporary Freemasonry. In social relations, Joseph began to redefine marriage and family itself. In imitation of the Old Testament patriarchs, he began to practice a form of polygamy, known as celestial or plural marriage. In temporal affairs, Joseph restored the “kingdom of God” on earth, and was even crowned king of the kingdom in a secret ceremony. Joseph began to speculate on the nature of God, theorizing that God in a previous reality had once lived a mortal life and that righteous humans on earth could one day achieve godhood in the eternities.

    Joseph’s new innovations shocked and alarmed many people, both inside and outside of the community. Key church leaders, including Sidney Rigdon, William Marks, and (initially) Hyrum Smith, came out in opposition to polygamy.

  6. John Hamer Reply

    Continued from p. 13 of Community of Christ: An Illustrated History:

    (QUOTE PART 2) Joseph’s new innovations shocked and alarmed many people, both inside and outside of the community. Key church leaders, including Sidney Rigdon, William Marks, and (initially) Hyrum Smith, came out in opposition to polygamy.

    Finally, even Joseph seemed to agree that he had gone too far. He confided to William Marks and others that he believed the practice would be the undoing of the church, and for the last six months of his life he entered into no new plural marriages. Likewise, he cast aside the special set of garments or clothing associated with his endowment ceremony.

    Sadly, Joseph’s reversals came too late. William Law, a respected church and civic leader in Nauvoo, hoped to force reforms by exposing these innovations in a new newspaper. In response to this challenge, Joseph, as Nauvoo mayor, called upon the police to destroy William’s press and print shop. This act was seen as an attack on America’s constitutional freedom of the press, which caused an uproar across the state. Joseph ultimately surrendered himself to Illinois authorities for arrest. While awaiting trial in the neighboring town of Carthage, a mob stormed the jailhouse and assassinated Joseph and his brother Hyrum.

  7. John Hamer Reply

    So that I don’t seem so wishy-washy about “spectrums of belief,” I’ll post the text from the section of our book (p. 13) dealing with later developments and the martyrdom:

    (QUOTE PART 1) In Nauvoo, Joseph championed new theological practices such as baptism for the dead and a ritual blessing, known as the “endowment,” based on contemporary Freemasonry. In social relations, Joseph began to redefine marriage and family itself. In imitation of the Old Testament patriarchs, he began to practice a form of polygamy, known as celestial or plural marriage. In temporal affairs, Joseph restored the “kingdom of God” on earth, and was even crowned king of the kingdom in a secret ceremony. Joseph began to speculate on the nature of God, theorizing that God in a previous reality had once lived a mortal life and that righteous humans on earth could one day achieve godhood in the eternities.

    Joseph’s new innovations shocked and alarmed many people, both inside and outside of the community. Key church leaders, including Sidney Rigdon, William Marks, and (initially) Hyrum Smith, came out in opposition to polygamy.

  8. John Hamer Reply

    Continued from p. 13 of Community of Christ: An Illustrated History:

    (QUOTE PART 2) Joseph’s new innovations shocked and alarmed many people, both inside and outside of the community. Key church leaders, including Sidney Rigdon, William Marks, and (initially) Hyrum Smith, came out in opposition to polygamy.

    Finally, even Joseph seemed to agree that he had gone too far. He confided to William Marks and others that he believed the practice would be the undoing of the church, and for the last six months of his life he entered into no new plural marriages. Likewise, he cast aside the special set of garments or clothing associated with his endowment ceremony.

    Sadly, Joseph’s reversals came too late. William Law, a respected church and civic leader in Nauvoo, hoped to force reforms by exposing these innovations in a new newspaper. In response to this challenge, Joseph, as Nauvoo mayor, called upon the police to destroy William’s press and print shop. This act was seen as an attack on America’s constitutional freedom of the press, which caused an uproar across the state. Joseph ultimately surrendered himself to Illinois authorities for arrest. While awaiting trial in the neighboring town of Carthage, a mob stormed the jailhouse and assassinated Joseph and his brother Hyrum.

  9. Glenn Reply

    Great Job guys. Thanks for the additional reading here John.

    I was especially impressed with the discussion on peace colloquies and the use of the temple as a way to “endow” and “empower” people though education as opposed to looking at endowing and empowering as some kind of a metaphysical “power,” which is more my experience in the LDS tradition. And to John Larsen’s point at the end of the podcast, I also had the feeling the CoC is more the progressive “grass is greener” pasture that more liberal LDS people would like to see the LDS church become. But there must be some downsides to it, right? Is there the practice of unrighteous dominion in CoC similar to what we see in LDS? CoC seems more universalist, and I liked David’s explanation of how people tolerate others with differing views on the BoM. But what other downsides are there? Or what would keep a NOM sticking with buffet LDS rather than moving to another cafeteria where the jello isn’t always green and the funeral potatoes don’t use cornflakes?

    My olden-days-academic background was tradition (folklore) so I am always interested in the variations on these kinds of things. So some other questions for you — what is the common CoC belief in regards to:

    Last Days/Signs of the Times/Second Coming?
    Lost Tribes of Israel?
    Three Nephites?
    Afterlife/Degrees of glory?
    Essential Ordinances and Priesthood power?
    Ecclesiastic (patriarchal) blessings? (i/e/ are they similar to the LDS patriarchal blessongs?)
    Abrahamic covenant and Doctrine of Names (maybe a little tongue-in-cheek with that last one).

    I could probably think of more if I tried, but those are the first few that came to mind. Very fascinating stuff. I think we should do this again sometime. David and John, you were both terrific!

    • John Hamer Reply

      Glenn — since everyone believes what they’re inspired to or what they want, the answer is always: “there’s a spectrum of belief.” Here’s my view for you.

      “Last Days/Signs of the Times/Second Coming?” When Jesus says “the Kingdom of God is at hand,” we should understand him to mean that the peaceable kingdom can exist among us when we ourselves build Zion (as Latter Day Saints have always wanted to) — i.e., when we construct communities of true peace and social justice. It is unhelpful for us to imagine the mythic second coming will be a historical event that happens like an alien visitation.

      “Lost Tribes of Israel.” When the Assyrians removed leaders of the northern kingdom, those leader eventually assimilated into the population of northern Iraq. Of course the bulk of the population remained in northern Palestine. They are not lost; they merely ceased to be distinct, the same way there are no Etruscans any more.

    • John Hamer Reply

      Again, I’m just telling you my views: you shouldn’t imagine everyone in Community of Christ has the same views. The shared view is the appreciation for diversity of belief. “Unity in Diversity” is one of the church’s Enduring Principles.

      “Three Nephites” are a rich source of folklore in the early church. Again, it’s not helpful for us to take mythic stories as if they were literal.

      “Afterlife/Degrees of glory” I think the idea of degrees of glory are allegorical; they provide some of the few distinctive inspirations for Latter Day Saint art (e.g., the Nauvoo Sunstone). I think that any time spent speculating about afterlife is time not spent on this life, which is therefore missing the point of life itself.

      “Essential Ordinances/Priesthood Power” No ordinances are essential. People throughout history and throughout the world have lived wonderful, blessed, enriching lives without having ever performing an ordinance associated with the Restoration, and without having ever heard of Christ. They still have truth and inspiration. That’s doesn’t mean that ordinances aren’t important. There is power in traditional, public ritual. We live in a literate, legal society, so the historic reason for performing the marriage ceremony (walking the aisle, father giving the daughter to husband in front of witnesses) is not necessary legally. And yet, despite the sexist overtones to the tradition it’s still routinely done in America even though it’s totally unnecessary legally. Likewise priesthood ordinances have power. There is power when you are baptized and you are ritually being reborn into a new community. There is power when your friends support you in illness and times of stress and administer to you through laying on of hands.

      “Evangelical Blessings” are personal words of counsel that anyone can have at different times in their life, whenever they feel they need personal inspired support from an evangelist, who is generally an older, experienced leader, like my friend Barbara Howard, who is in her 80s and is about the kindest, most giving person I know. Evangelical blessings don’t focus on things that patriarchal blessings tended to focus on in the early church, e.g., “You will be in the 144,000 on Mt. Zion,” “You will live to see Christ in the flesh,” “You will have the power to teleport yourself,” “You are of the Tribe of Ephraim.” I don’t think that LDS practice retains much of that except the tribal designation.

      I don’t know what the “Doctrine of Names” might be. Anyway, hopefully you get the idea from these examples.

      • Glenn Reply

        Thanks John. I’ve got one more for you: Joseph’s First Vision. What is the history of the First Vision in the CoC/RLDS faith? Did it evolve from “angels” to “God and Jesus” — is it just “angels” — is it “two personages?” Is it even important in CoC thought?

        • John Hamer Reply

          The “first vision” was unknown in earliest stage of the church. Apostle William McLellan who rejected Joseph Smith’s leadership in 1837 (but continued to be a Restoration believer) had never heard it told. There are multiple accounts; the one that the LDS Church canonized in the PoGP (a Utah book from the late 19th century) is late and anachronistic — it describes Joseph Smith’s thinking at the time it was written, not at the time it describes. The better account is the earlier account where a young man worried about his sins and his salvation prays fervently and experiences a comforting vision (not a visitation). This contact with the divine can be viewed as a model of the experience open to all. Meanwhile, there are no visitations by personages in any number; substitution of “visitation” for “vision” is a misinterpretation of the way the universe functions.

          If the Restoration is about recapturing the lived scriptural experience of the church in Acts or of ancient Israel, imagining that Joseph Smith and the early Saints experienced science-fiction-like visitations separates us from them, by declaring exactly what the early Saints in the 1830s were against. If you wrongly imagine that the people in 1830 were having visitations and you are personally having them today, you are effectively declaring that revelation is dead and the canon is closed. Or you are imagining that it is closed to you and it is open to just a few key leaders. In the former case you are worshiping ancestors, in the latter case you are worshiping leaders. In either case, you’re cutting yourself off from ancestors, from leaders, and from personal inspiration.

          • John Hamer

            I missed a crucial “not” there:

            I meant to write: “If you imagine people in the 1830s were having visitations, and you know that you are NOT personally having them today…”

  10. Glenn Reply

    Great Job guys. Thanks for the additional reading here John.

    I was especially impressed with the discussion on peace colloquies and the use of the temple as a way to “endow” and “empower” people though education as opposed to looking at endowing and empowering as some kind of a metaphysical “power,” which is more my experience in the LDS tradition. And to John Larsen’s point at the end of the podcast, I also had the feeling the CoC is more the progressive “grass is greener” pasture that more liberal LDS people would like to see the LDS church become. But there must be some downsides to it, right? Is there the practice of unrighteous dominion in CoC similar to what we see in LDS? CoC seems more universalist, and I liked David’s explanation of how people tolerate others with differing views on the BoM. But what other downsides are there? Or what would keep a NOM sticking with buffet LDS rather than moving to another cafeteria where the jello isn’t always green and the funeral potatoes don’t use cornflakes?

    My olden-days-academic background was tradition (folklore) so I am always interested in the variations on these kinds of things. So some other questions for you — what is the common CoC belief in regards to:

    Last Days/Signs of the Times/Second Coming?
    Lost Tribes of Israel?
    Three Nephites?
    Afterlife/Degrees of glory?
    Essential Ordinances and Priesthood power?
    Ecclesiastic (patriarchal) blessings? (i/e/ are they similar to the LDS patriarchal blessongs?)
    Abrahamic covenant and Doctrine of Names (maybe a little tongue-in-cheek with that last one).

    I could probably think of more if I tried, but those are the first few that came to mind. Very fascinating stuff. I think we should do this again sometime. David and John, you were both terrific!

    • John Hamer Reply

      Glenn — since everyone believes what they’re inspired to or what they want, the answer is always: “there’s a spectrum of belief.” Here’s my view for you.

      “Last Days/Signs of the Times/Second Coming?” When Jesus says “the Kingdom of God is at hand,” we should understand him to mean that the peaceable kingdom can exist among us when we ourselves build Zion (as Latter Day Saints have always wanted to) — i.e., when we construct communities of true peace and social justice. It is unhelpful for us to imagine the mythic second coming will be a historical event that happens like an alien visitation.

      “Lost Tribes of Israel.” When the Assyrians removed leaders of the northern kingdom, those leader eventually assimilated into the population of northern Iraq. Of course the bulk of the population remained in northern Palestine. They are not lost; they merely ceased to be distinct, the same way there are no Etruscans any more.

    • John Hamer Reply

      Again, I’m just telling you my views: you shouldn’t imagine everyone in Community of Christ has the same views. The shared view is the appreciation for diversity of belief. “Unity in Diversity” is one of the church’s Enduring Principles.

      “Three Nephites” are a rich source of folklore in the early church. Again, it’s not helpful for us to take mythic stories as if they were literal.

      “Afterlife/Degrees of glory” I think the idea of degrees of glory are allegorical; they provide some of the few distinctive inspirations for Latter Day Saint art (e.g., the Nauvoo Sunstone). I think that any time spent speculating about afterlife is time not spent on this life, which is therefore missing the point of life itself.

      “Essential Ordinances/Priesthood Power” No ordinances are essential. People throughout history and throughout the world have lived wonderful, blessed, enriching lives without having ever performing an ordinance associated with the Restoration, and without having ever heard of Christ. They still have truth and inspiration. That’s doesn’t mean that ordinances aren’t important. There is power in traditional, public ritual. We live in a literate, legal society, so the historic reason for performing the marriage ceremony (walking the aisle, father giving the daughter to husband in front of witnesses) is not necessary legally. And yet, despite the sexist overtones to the tradition it’s still routinely done in America even though it’s totally unnecessary legally. Likewise priesthood ordinances have power. There is power when you are baptized and you are ritually being reborn into a new community. There is power when your friends support you in illness and times of stress and administer to you through laying on of hands.

      “Evangelical Blessings” are personal words of counsel that anyone can have at different times in their life, whenever they feel they need personal inspired support from an evangelist, who is generally an older, experienced leader, like my friend Barbara Howard, who is in her 80s and is about the kindest, most giving person I know. Evangelical blessings don’t focus on things that patriarchal blessings tended to focus on in the early church, e.g., “You will be in the 144,000 on Mt. Zion,” “You will live to see Christ in the flesh,” “You will have the power to teleport yourself,” “You are of the Tribe of Ephraim.” I don’t think that LDS practice retains much of that except the tribal designation.

      I don’t know what the “Doctrine of Names” might be. Anyway, hopefully you get the idea from these examples.

      • Glenn Reply

        Thanks John. I’ve got one more for you: Joseph’s First Vision. What is the history of the First Vision in the CoC/RLDS faith? Did it evolve from “angels” to “God and Jesus” — is it just “angels” — is it “two personages?” Is it even important in CoC thought?

        • John Hamer Reply

          The “first vision” was unknown in earliest stage of the church. Apostle William McLellan who rejected Joseph Smith’s leadership in 1837 (but continued to be a Restoration believer) had never heard it told. There are multiple accounts; the one that the LDS Church canonized in the PoGP (a Utah book from the late 19th century) is late and anachronistic — it describes Joseph Smith’s thinking at the time it was written, not at the time it describes. The better account is the earlier account where a young man worried about his sins and his salvation prays fervently and experiences a comforting vision (not a visitation). This contact with the divine can be viewed as a model of the experience open to all. Meanwhile, there are no visitations by personages in any number; substitution of “visitation” for “vision” is a misinterpretation of the way the universe functions.

          If the Restoration is about recapturing the lived scriptural experience of the church in Acts or of ancient Israel, imagining that Joseph Smith and the early Saints experienced science-fiction-like visitations separates us from them, by declaring exactly what the early Saints in the 1830s were against. If you wrongly imagine that the people in 1830 were having visitations and you are personally having them today, you are effectively declaring that revelation is dead and the canon is closed. Or you are imagining that it is closed to you and it is open to just a few key leaders. In the former case you are worshiping ancestors, in the latter case you are worshiping leaders. In either case, you’re cutting yourself off from ancestors, from leaders, and from personal inspiration.

          • John Hamer

            I missed a crucial “not” there:

            I meant to write: “If you imagine people in the 1830s were having visitations, and you know that you are NOT personally having them today…”

  11. Glenn Reply

    Just one more thought for either David or John — do either of you know a CoC version of Mike? I would love to hear the two of them get together and defend their orthodoxy.

  12. Glenn Reply

    Just one more thought for either David or John — do either of you know a CoC version of Mike? I would love to hear the two of them get together and defend their orthodoxy.

  13. Erico Reply

    Fantastic podcast. Thank you to all involved for taking the time to explain the differences. I’m really impressed with the way the RLDS leadership handled the new mormon history movement in a seemingly responsible fashion by gradually yet deliberately aligning the RLDS church with reality versus the LDS church bunker mentality. If the LDS church followed the same path I’d probably still be a member today.

    In keeping with the greater emphasis on having an open canon yet acknowledging the historical problems with the Bible I wonder if even the name “Community of Christ” may one day no longer be feasible because perhaps it would be to exclusive of peace and zion traditions outside of Christianity. Same with the organization of the 12 apostles representing the 12 tribes of Israel. Just wondering about that from a long-term marketing standpoint.

    • John Hamer Reply

      Enrico — In a marketing sense, “Christ” is an elastic concept in that there are widely different, legitimate interpretations of who Jesus was and what the word “Christ” should mean to a faith community. No matter what transformation or reinterpretation those ideas undergo, they will still be our community’s roots — even as we understand that other communities, including those outside Christianity, have truth and special callings of their own.

  14. Erico Reply

    Fantastic podcast. Thank you to all involved for taking the time to explain the differences. I’m really impressed with the way the RLDS leadership handled the new mormon history movement in a seemingly responsible fashion by gradually yet deliberately aligning the RLDS church with reality versus the LDS church bunker mentality. If the LDS church followed the same path I’d probably still be a member today.

    In keeping with the greater emphasis on having an open canon yet acknowledging the historical problems with the Bible I wonder if even the name “Community of Christ” may one day no longer be feasible because perhaps it would be to exclusive of peace and zion traditions outside of Christianity. Same with the organization of the 12 apostles representing the 12 tribes of Israel. Just wondering about that from a long-term marketing standpoint.

    • John Hamer Reply

      Enrico — In a marketing sense, “Christ” is an elastic concept in that there are widely different, legitimate interpretations of who Jesus was and what the word “Christ” should mean to a faith community. No matter what transformation or reinterpretation those ideas undergo, they will still be our community’s roots — even as we understand that other communities, including those outside Christianity, have truth and special callings of their own.

  15. Swearing Elder Reply

    John closed with an account of a woman who wanted a more liberal version of Mormonism and recognized that she was essentially an RLDS/CofC type person. I have to admit that my understanding of the Comm. of Christ was somewhat limited before listening to this, but that final comment summed up perfectly how I feel about that church — I could have totally gotten into it at some point. If Salt Lake Mormonism had taken the same kinds of approaches, would I have felt such a strong need to honestly investigate it and then eventually pull away from it?

  16. Swearing Elder Reply

    John closed with an account of a woman who wanted a more liberal version of Mormonism and recognized that she was essentially an RLDS/CofC type person. I have to admit that my understanding of the Comm. of Christ was somewhat limited before listening to this, but that final comment summed up perfectly how I feel about that church — I could have totally gotten into it at some point. If Salt Lake Mormonism had taken the same kinds of approaches, would I have felt such a strong need to honestly investigate it and then eventually pull away from it?

  17. Swearing Elder Reply

    One more thought: I was going to post a snarky comment about how I would indeed love to join up with a Community of Christ congregation in my area, but alas, sadly, there isn’t one. Turns out there is one — and just a block from where I get my car serviced. Who knew? Wow, I may just have to check it out. If I do, I’ll return and report.

    • Rich Brown Reply

      Just something to keep in mind when visiting Community of Christ congregations: There can be a rather significant difference between individual congregations. But then, perhaps that’s part of our “charm,” I suppose.

  18. Swearing Elder Reply

    One more thought: I was going to post a snarky comment about how I would indeed love to join up with a Community of Christ congregation in my area, but alas, sadly, there isn’t one. Turns out there is one — and just a block from where I get my car serviced. Who knew? Wow, I may just have to check it out. If I do, I’ll return and report.

    • Rich Brown Reply

      Just something to keep in mind when visiting Community of Christ congregations: There can be a rather significant difference between individual congregations. But then, perhaps that’s part of our “charm,” I suppose.

  19. JackUK Reply

    What a great podcast John L. It was good to hear what the CoC believe and how they differ from the SL brand of Mormonism. Particularly good that we heard it from John and David themselves rather than the rehashed myths that LDS missionaries told me about the RLDS in the past. I’ve followed John Hamer’s contributions on Mormon Matters and BCC in the past and always learned lots of really enlightening things about the Restoration. He makes damn good maps too!!!
    Thanks for sharing your insight David and John, lets have a follow up episode soon about the other churches and independant Restoration branches that have emerged from the RLDS over the last few years.

  20. JackUK Reply

    What a great podcast John L. It was good to hear what the CoC believe and how they differ from the SL brand of Mormonism. Particularly good that we heard it from John and David themselves rather than the rehashed myths that LDS missionaries told me about the RLDS in the past. I’ve followed John Hamer’s contributions on Mormon Matters and BCC in the past and always learned lots of really enlightening things about the Restoration. He makes damn good maps too!!!
    Thanks for sharing your insight David and John, lets have a follow up episode soon about the other churches and independant Restoration branches that have emerged from the RLDS over the last few years.

  21. Rhiannon Reply

    John and David,

    Thank you for this podcast. I really enjoy hearing about The Church of Christ. I also wonder what may have been had I landed within the RLDS instead of the LDS branch of the tree. I’m not sure I’d have come to this crisis. Still, there is beauty in all things. I sure enjoy learning more about the other members of the human race and the musings of the spirit that propel us all forward. Thanks again!

  22. Rhiannon Reply

    John and David,

    Thank you for this podcast. I really enjoy hearing about The Church of Christ. I also wonder what may have been had I landed within the RLDS instead of the LDS branch of the tree. I’m not sure I’d have come to this crisis. Still, there is beauty in all things. I sure enjoy learning more about the other members of the human race and the musings of the spirit that propel us all forward. Thanks again!

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  26. Xephrey Reply

    I loved your interview! The mission bit was especially great. I had a companion who struggled with mental illness a great deal and ultimately ended up going home early after we were stuck together for six months. You reminded me of how awful it felt when we found out that we were staying together AGAIN. We didn’t speak to each other for a while after finding that out. We’re super good friends today.

    Thanks so much for sharing. You made my work day a breeze and brought back some memories. Maybe I should do a Voices episode some day.

  27. Jordan M. Reply

    Thanks Hilary. I also served in Taiwan (Taizhong) and I had a jerk of a mission president as well.

    It sounds like you’ve been through a lot but I am glad that things are looking up. Thanks again for sharing your story.

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