President of Community of Christ Q12 Resigns

By: FireTag
May 9, 2011

The Community of Christ announced on May 5 that the President of the Quorum of 12, James Slauter, will resign effective August 1, 2011, in order to be in better position to help his family deal with a serious illness of his 5-year-old grandson. Apostle Slauter will be ordained to the office of an Evangelist (Patriarch in LDS terms), which is not in the administrative line.

Because the CofChrist next meets in a conference which could sustain a replacement Apostle in the spring of 2013, the Quorum of Twelve will be short-handed until that time. This is not unprecedented in the CofChrist; as recently as the mid-20th Century it was actually rare to have a full quorum of Twelve.

The remaining members of the Twelve will meet, probably as soon as their schedules can be meshed, to elect a new quorum president from among themselves. Unlike in the LDS, the Quorum Presidency is NOT chosen by seniority. Currently the only remaining Quorum officer is the Quorum Secretary,  Apostle Linda Booth. Since the Quorum officers tend to be more focused on HQ-related issues than their colleagues, who are more field-oriented, Apostle Booth would be considered a strong possibility to be elected to minimize disruption, IMO.

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21 Responses to President of Community of Christ Q12 Resigns

  1. Mike S on May 9, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    FireTag:

    Thanks for the update. I’ve learned a lot about our “cousin” faith from you. Just out of curiosity, I have a few questions:

    - Do most members of the Quorum of Twelve resign at some point, or do they tend to serve the rest of their lives as in the LDS Church?

    - How are new members of the Quorum of Twelve chosen when there is a vacancy?

    - What relationship is there between the President of the Quorum of 12 and the President of the CofC?

    - If people resign, does the average age of the Quorum of 12 skew younger than in the LDS faith, and do you think this has an impact on church policies, etc.?

    Thanks for your insights.

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  2. FireTag on May 9, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    Mike S.:

    All full time employee ministers supported by the church retire at normal retirement age — with perhaps some minor tweaks for the laws of their home nations — including the Twelve and the Presidency.

    The Prophet calls new Apostles and other “general authorities” in a Letter of Council which is approved by the same process as approval of a Section of the Doctrine and Covenants. Historically, these calls were actually included in the Sections themselves, but more recent practice has been to approve them separately, but not bother to add them to the D&C.

    In the CofChrist, there is a clear hierarchical relationship between the First Presidency and the Second Presidency (the Twelve) and the “third presidency” (the Presidents of the Quorums of Seventy). Steve Veazey is the first President of the Twelve to move directly into the office of the President of the Church — Brigham Young not having worked out too well from the RLDS viewpoint. :D

    The top leadership of the CofChrist is a couple of decades younger than in the LDS, and that definitely makes the church more progressive.

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  3. shenpa warrior on May 9, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    Thanks for the update FireTag.

    It is interesting how the age of the leadership may influence the direction of the organization. I would guess a lot of members of the CoJCoLDS do not want to consider that (e.g. the church might look different and make different decisions with a younger leadership) but it’s definitely true on a local level. One bishop to the next can really change a ward. Same with a stake or mission president.

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  4. MH on May 9, 2011 at 9:07 PM

    Mike, if you want to see the Q12, click here. They’re definitely younger, more colorful, bearded, and there are more women than our Q12. I met the prophet Steven Veazey last summer at the Mormon History Association meetings, and he was not wearing a white shirt! (It was salmon colored.) They seem much more approachable, IMO.

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  5. Troth Everyman on May 9, 2011 at 9:32 PM

    Thank you very much. I recently toured the CoC temple in MO depicted. It was fascinating and I enjoyed the progressive nature the CoC described during the tour. My more conservative in-laws did not, it was an interesting car ride home!

    I have been pondering a liberation theology for Mormonism and many of the principles described on the tour seemed to be consistent with such a construct. Best to you.

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  6. Mike S on May 9, 2011 at 9:35 PM

    MH: Thanks for that – it was really interesting. I obviously can’t “judge a book by its cover”, but they seem a much more diverse and energetic group than I am used to, and they seem to radiate vibrancy. I also agree that they seem much more approachable and down-to-earth.

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  7. Mike S on May 9, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    Also, I do think that Uchtdorf could also look great in a salmon-colored shirt.

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  8. FireTag on May 9, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    Yes, they are definitely more approachable. Of course, that has certain disadvantages: when they want you to do something, they’ve been known to get on the telephone, or even make house calls. :D

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  9. Mormon Heretic on May 10, 2011 at 12:21 AM

    I will also mention that I have met apostles Andrew Bolton and Susan Skoor, as well as Seventy Robin Linkart. They are really wonderful and friendly people! (Here’s a photo of Susan from last year’s MHA meetings.

    I will also note that Susan has attended and spoken at the last 2 Sunstone meetings that I have attended. I think they are proselytizing the Sunstone crowd! She is a powerful speaker. (Can you imagine Uchtdorf at Sunstone????)

    And yes, I think Uchtdorf would look great in a salmon shirt!

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  10. jmb275 on May 10, 2011 at 8:19 AM

    Thanks for the post and the great comments. I’m very fascinated by the CofChrist church and enjoy cataloging the differences and similarities.

    The interesting part of this to me is that someone in that position could resign at all for such a noble purpose. I can’t even IMAGINE any of our Q12 “resigning” for any reason. I haven’t thought enough about why that might be, but I suspect most Mormons would have a hard time imagining such a thing as well.

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  11. Connell O'Donovan on May 10, 2011 at 9:30 AM

    I’m sorry to hear Slauter’s grandson is not doing well and my prayers are with the family.

    The more I get to know the COC and its people, the more I love them. I went to my first John Whitmer Historical Assoc. meeting in Independence MO is 2006 and was genuinely surprised by how authentically welcome I was made to feel. (LDS folks are welcoming but I always take it with a large grain of salt, since they’ve been told to act that way as a proselytizing measure – “every member a missionary.”)

    And I loved the temple! It was so beautiful and odd in a cool way, unlike the two LDS orders of temple architecture: (1) the New Age Disney Castle Order or (2) the Fort Knox Bullion Repository Order. And their temples are open to everyone.

    Unlike the LDS leadership, the COC leaders are very open to the public. If you go their website, you can EMAIL ALL OF THEM!! Boy, try to find the email of an LDS apostle! Later, I had the opportunity to walk right up to Pres. Veazey, introduce myself and talk to him for 20 minutes, telling him my horror story of being an Adult Survivor of Heterosexual Mormon Parents (ASHMP). This was before he had the revelation now known as D&C 164, which allows LGBT members of the COC to be ordained and get married. I like to think that my witness to him of how a church should NOT act helped him along his path to that revelation of a greater understanding of the depth of God’s passionate grace and unbridled compassion.

    I also truly appreciate the fact that they are striving so hard to become an official “Peace Church” (like the Quakers and the Amish).

    Lastly, my favorite thing about the COC is that, as I was told by Carla, one of their High Priests here in northern California, they look at Joseph Smith through God’s eyes, rather than looking at God through Joseph Smith’s eyes.

    Amen to that!

    Connell
    Santa Cruz

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  12. FireTag on May 10, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    Connell:

    Thanks for the comment, but I do need to correct one statement. Section 164 does NOT allow LGBT members to be ordained, to perform marriage sacraments, or to be married in such sacraments. What it does is set up a mechanism that might lead to that result in the US — a National Conference to be held in the summer of 2012 empowered to make recommendations to the 12 and the Presidency IF the conference reaches consensus.

    I wrote an earlier post on what seems likely to happen here:

    http://www.wheatandtares.org/2010/11/06/community-of-christ-after-action-report-part-2/

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  13. Connell O'Donovan on May 10, 2011 at 11:15 AM

    I guess we’re splitting hairs but I do know that D&C 164 has already led to this happening here in California. My friend Keith, an out Gay man in the Oakland area, has been ordained an Elder, and I am quite sure that the local Nor Cal mission does perform same-sex marriages. They may be jumping the gun, but it’s happening…

    Connell

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  14. FireTag on May 10, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    Connell:

    What you describe was happening before 164, but when it attracts attention, the leading authorities HAVE to come down on it because it creates a conflict potential among the other two blocs of the church — the bulk of the conservative members in the US and the socially conservative third world nations.

    It was the feeling on the part of those two blocs (particularly the second) that the OFFICIAL policies still on the books were being winked at behind the scenes that led the presidency to quash attempts to legislate allowing the practices at the 2010 conference.

    I would welcome the church changing its policy to allow gay marriage and the ordination of GLBT priesthood. Our theology, set by revelation when we started baptizing people in polygamous cultures a generation ago, says that “the basis of Christian marriage” is MONOGAMY, not GENDER.

    But what happens in 2012 is not clear.

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  15. Chris H. on May 10, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    John Hamer for Apostle!

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  16. FireTag on May 10, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    Chris:

    I consider John a friend. What did he do to you that you’d wish that job on him? :D

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  17. mh on May 10, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    I would vote for john¬° but he would be a better church historian .

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  18. Rich Brown on May 13, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    Community of Christ President Steve Veazey announced on Wednesday (5/11) that Barbara L. Carter is called to fill the upcoming vacancy in the Council of Twelve (effective 8/1/2011). Although her priesthood call as an apostle will not be presented until the next CofC World Conference in April 2013 (we do this every three years now), she will be given the title of “apostle designate,” which will permit her to function fully within the C-12 until her presumed ordination. This is an unusual step in the CofC, although it’s not an uncommon thing in the denomination to bend the rules to fit challenging situations.

    Here is a bio of Barbara Carter:
    http://www.cofchrist-brushcreek-missioncenter.org/HQBios/Carter-Barbara.htm

    The complete text of the Letter of Counsel Regarding the Presiding Quorums is here.

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  19. FireTag on May 13, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    Thank you, Rich. I was working on a post on this for tomorrow afternoon.

    You saved me some work.

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  20. [...] to assist in caring for his grandchild. As noted by Rich Brown in a comment to my earlier post on the vacancy, the President of the church has now designated Apostle Slauter’s successor in a Letter of [...]

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  21. mark gibson on May 16, 2011 at 3:40 AM

    FireTag #14

    RLDS section 150, regarding polygamous practices, also states “the church must be willing to bear the burden of their sin, nurturing them in the faith, accepting that degree of repentance which is possible for them to achieve, looking forward to the day when through patience and love they can be free as a people from the sins of the years of their ignorance.”

    I do not expect this counsel to be applied to the GLBT community; as they would not sit still for their lifestyle being called a sin, their choice of it sins of the years of their ignorance, and certainly expected to have a degree of repentance!

    I would also refer to section 152 calling fornication one of “the grosser sins of the world” Just how does the CofC define fornication in these tolerant times?

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