I recently was talking to a fellow exmormon who converted to Community of Christ, and they noted how different the mission of the LDS church and Community of Christ are. I hadn’t put them side-by-side before, and I was surprised at how stark of a difference they were.
The LDS Mission
On April 3rd, 1981, in the Saturday Morning Session of General Conference, Spencer W. Kimball gave the talk entitled “A Report of My Stewardship“. In this talk, he laid out what later became called the “Three-fold Mission of the Church”:
- To proclaim the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people;
- To perfect the Saints by preparing them to receive the ordinances of the gospel and by instruction and discipline to gain exaltation;
- To redeem the dead by performing vicarious ordinances of the gospel for those who have lived on the earth.
In 2009, 28 years after the mission of the LDS church was initially laid out, a 4th mission was outlined: caring for the poor and needy.
Community of Christ’s Mission
A large part of Community of Christ’s 5-part “Mission Initiatives” comes from Doctrine and Covenants 164, which was formally canonized on April 14, 2010 but was talked about for months or even years beforehand in some form.
On April 10th, 2011, Prophet-President Steven M. Veazey gave a sermon entitled “The Mission Matters Most!“, in which he refined some of what was talked about in D&C 164 and explores more what we believe the mission of Jesus Christ to be. In it, he outlined:
- Invite People to Christ (Christ’s Mission of Evangelism)
- Abolish Poverty and End Suffering (Christ’s Mission of Compassion)
- Pursue Peace on Earth (Christ’s Mission of Justice and Peace)
- Develop Disciples to Serve (Equip Individuals for Christ’s Mission)
- Experience Congregations in Mission (Equip Congregations for Christ’s Mission)
Community of Christ’s mission feels much more understanding and compassionate. It doesn’t expect perfection, but it wants to move toward and help facilitate personal and global improvement. It is much more focused on tangible needs of people in this life, which since we are in this life I believe is the best place to put your focus.