In light of all the recent LDS excommunications I want to talk about Community of Christ’s “Faithful Disagreement Policy”.

The policy is a quick read at only one page and I highly recommend reading it. Despite its briefness, it is a profound policy which guides a lot of CoC doctrine and culture.

Essentially this policy states that you remain a member in good standing even if you fundamentally disagree with a policy, belief, principle, or anything else in Community of Christ. It even explicitly states that you shouldn’t be excluded from church life for holding unorthodox beliefs, because there are no tests of faith.

In fact, this policy recognizes that a diversity of thought allows for the church to grow in new ways that it hasn’t before, and give up outdated/harmful ideologies and beliefs. It encourages listening to folks who have different beliefs than your own.

This policy was officially released in 2013, but it cites the Enduring Principles which were deveopled in the early 2000’s, a similar policy released in 1988, and CoC D&C 131 which was canonized in 1914 as primitive versions of this policy.

Additionally, this policy can be enacted by entire congregations. For example, there are still conservative CoC congregations that don’t ordain women, despite the revelation lifting the priesthood ban on women being canonized in 1984. Liberal CoC congregations have used this to justify performing communion through Zoom (a policy which has now been formalized by the World Church Headquarters).

In practice this means that excommunication is nearly impossible within CoC. I talked to Apostle Robin Linkhart a couple months ago and she could only think of a handful of excommunications. To put this in perspective, the ones that she could think of were from, to put it politely, the radical RLDS breakoff which murdered 5 people and plotted to lay siege on the Kirtland Temple.

In an age where we see multiple high-profile LDS excommunications every year, it is a breath of fresh air seeing a sect in the Latter Day Saint movement not engage in such a barbaric practice for frivolous reasons.

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