“G-6 A Resolution to Enhance Transparency, Openness, and Disclosure Concerning the First Presidency’s Statement on Community of Christ’s Position on Nonviolence” from the Heart of Texas USA Mission Center

This resolution is an extension of the church-wide discussions on what our relationship with non-violence is. This particular resolution was proposed by the Heart of Texas USA Mission Center.

This discussion has been an important one, and so I would like to take this resolution paragraph-by-paragraph.

Whereas, In April 2019, the World Conference passed World Conference Resolution 1319 providing that the position of Community of Christ on nonviolence be referred to the First Presidency for a report and/or statement (the Nonviolence Statement) to be presented to the next World Conference; and

There’s not much to say here – this is a statement of fact. However, it might be worth it to review what WCR #1319 says:

WCR #1319: Nonviolence

Adopted April 12, 2019

Whereas, the call of Jesus Christ has led Community of Christ to learn from acts of violence in its early history and to seek to embody the peace of Christ in the world; and

Whereas, any discussion on the ethics of violence in the current political and social context can polarize people and provoke worries, concerns, and strong emotions; and

Whereas, Community of Christ has declared itself to be a peace church in the Restoration tradition, affirming the Worth of All Persons and lifting up the cause of Zion; and

Whereas, Community of Christ independently and ecumenically already is exploring different positions on the use of violence; be it therefore

Resolved, that, over the next three years Community of Christ members and leaders discuss the role nonviolence plays in the pursuit of “peace on and for the Earth” (Doctrine and Covenants 165:1d) and in the life and mission of the church; be it further

Resolved, that, scriptural, theological, and historical discussion resources on the principles of nonviolence be produced and suggested for members and friends of Community of Christ as part of our continued commitment to peace education and advocacy; and be it further

Resolved, that, the position of Community of Christ on nonviolence be referred to the First Presidency for a report and/or statement to be presented to the 2022 World Conference.

Whereas, President Stephen M. Veazey informed the church in December 2019 that church leadership is planning, and the church would experience, a significant change in the near future in the magnitude of a caterpillar changing to a butterfly — a metamorphosis; and

This is another statement of fact. This article can be read here.

Whereas, Because the church is undergoing significant changes at the same time as the Nonviolence Statement is being developed, emphasis on transparency, openness, and disclosure in the formation of the First Presidency’s Nonviolence Statement will avoid confusion and allow better understanding of this important statement; and

This is something that I agree with. The First Presidency has, in my opinion, done well at getting the discussions started. For example, Veazey’s 2016 sermon is what inspired many members to create WCR #1319. The First Presidency has also created Herald articles, Reunion Resource articles, and “Draft Definitions” for terms regarding non-violence to help everyone get on the same page as to what we were discussing.

That being said, the First Presidency has still remained fairly aloof in regards to what their official statement is likely to say and the specifics on how it will be directly applicable to our world today. I think the First Presidency could make stronger stances and be more transparent regarding where the church may be going.

Whereas, The church identified critical and diverse issues concerning nonviolence in a Common-consent Survey used to obtain perspectives of delegates at the 2019 World Conference; and

The results of this survey can be found in the “Friday Bulletin” from W.C.. I have made them available here:

2019 World Conference Survey

The survey here is QUITE telling, though. 47.88% either fully or significantly supported the proposed resolved – nearly half of our church.

Those who were against this resolved resoundingly believed that this resolution was unnecessary/unhelpful and that resistance sometimes requires force. Those who were in favor of it beleived that nonviolence is the way of Jesus and that violence is never the answer.

However, the resolution was ultimately substituted at Conference so that we could spend the time between conferences talking about what we believed as a church and this substitute resolution was passed and became World Conference Resolution #1319. Read more about the submitted and substituted resolutions here.

Whereas, A description of the church’s position on those issues identified at the 2019 World Conference, and other issues that have arisen since that Conference, would be beneficial in understanding the church’s position on nonviolence; and

This is essentially saying that a firm statement on the issues discussed in 2019, as well as other concerns that have arisen since then, would be wise to have at this point. These further concerns are talked about more explicitly in the 1st and 2nd Resolveds.

Whereas, The church has made official statements endorsing certain peacemaking actions while not supporting publicly other actions—for example the church issued “A Call to Action on the Mideast Conflict”, May 28, 2021, but did not endorse publicly the recent Abraham Accords—thereby leading to some confusion as to which efforts to promote peace would be consistent with the church’s position; and

This paragraph does not portray the two events, the 2021 Israel–Palestine crisis and the Abraham Accords, in order.

The Israel-Palestine conflict has been ongoing for decades. On January 28th, 2020 US President Donald Trump proposed a compromise which heavily favored Israel and allowed about 30% of the West Bank to be annexed. President Trump has called the “deal of the century”. However, the Palestinians saw this as a very bad deal, and the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called it the “slap of the century.” This did not alleviate tensions between Palestine and Israel.

Abraham Accords were a series of agreement essentially set aside hostilities and established diplomatic relations between Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, and the Republic of Sudan. These agreements happened with the belief that Israel would be annexing 30% of Palestine – the UAE agreement even specifically refers to this.

The Church’s document in question, “A Call to Action on the Mideast Conflict“, was specifically in regards to the 2021 Israel–Palestine crisis, which took place after Trump’s “slap of the century” and after the Abraham Accords. There were hundreds of people actively dying in military actions, and the church wanted this active violence to cease.

While the Abraham Accords DID establish peaceful relations for SOME nations, it did so at the continuing marginalization of an entire other nation which lead in turn lead to violence. I don’t believe that peace is truly peace if it means the oppression of another group of people.

Whereas, Recently the church, members of the World Church Leadership Council, and other leaders have made, directly or indirectly through support of other groups, statements that endorse or disapprove of a specific political party or a movement ; and

The footnotes for this section are crucial to understanding how they are approaching the table. These are the footnotes in full:

  • For example, see adult study guide “Living Jesus … Living Peace”, 2020, editors: Janné Grover, Susan Naylor, and Elaine Garrison, p.12, referencing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oheb3MplSHE (approx. 3:18) which specifies “America First” is theological heresy for followers of Christ;

I will give each of the works that are referenced some more context.

The first, “Reclaiming Jesus“, has a profound and concise message. I have created a transcript for you to read here:

Reclaiming Jesus Transcript

As church elders from around the country – from different denominations, races, and genders – we are witnessing perilous and polarizing times and we believe the soul of the nation and the integrity of faith are at stake. Our country’s leaders have co-opted the name of Jesus, so we are commending this statement and reclaiming the name of Jesus. It’s our duty as leaders of the church to speak truth and humility and love, but when politics undermine our theology we must examine those politics.

Therefore, we believe … each human being is made in God’s image and likeness, and that racial bigotry is a brutal assault of the image of God. Therefore, we reject the resurgence of white nationalism and racism on many fronts, including the highest levels of political leadership, and we reject any doctrines or political strategies that use race as a tool to divide us.

We believe we are one body. In Christ there’s to be no oppression based on race, gender identity, or class. Therefore, we reject the misogyny, harassment, assault, and abuse of women in our churches and country and the silence that allows this sin to endure.

We believe how we treat the hungry, the stranger, the sick, the prisoner is how we treat Christ himself. Therefore, we reject the policies that would abandon the most vulnerable children of God. We deplore the growing attacks on immigrants and refugees. We will not accept the neglect of low-income families and children.

We believe that truth is morally central to our lives; Jesus promises that the truth will set us free. Therefore, we reject the lies that have invaded our political and civil life. The normalization of lying presents a profound moral danger to the fabric of society.

We believe that Christ’s way of leadership is servanthood, not domination. Therefore, we reject any moves toward autocratic political leadership and authoritarian rule, both of which threaten democracy and the common good.

We believe Jesus when he tells us to “go into all nations and to make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). Our churches are part of an international community and we should in turn love and serve all its inhabitants rather than seek first our country’s dominance over all others. Therefore, we reject an “America first” philosophy as theological heresy. We share a patriotic love for our country, but we reject xenophobic or ethnic nationalism that places our country over others.

2,000 years ago claiming “Jesus is Lord” was the dangerous and political act, because if Jesus was lord, Caesar was not. 2,000 years later we are reclaiming that name of Jesus – reclaiming his holy and powerful name from those who had co-opted and wield it to seek their own gain.

Jesus is our light in the darkness. In moments of moral crisis, like this, it is time for a fresh confession of faith.

Will you join us in reclaiming the name of Jesus?

The part that the footnote singles out is only an excerpt of a larger quote. For clarity’s sake, I believe it is important to explicitly read the whole quote:

“We believe Jesus when he tells us to ‘go into all nations and to make disciples’ (Matthew 28:19). Our churches are part of an international community and we should in turn love and serve all its inhabitants rather than seek first our country’s dominance over all others. Therefore, we reject an ‘America first’ philosophy as theological heresy. We share a patriotic love for our country, but we reject xenophobic or ethnic nationalism that places our country over others.”

The second video, “COMMUNITY OF CHRIST: From Violence to Peacemaking“, was a video made by Elray Henriksen and Andrew Bolton, who largely started the church’s discussion on what our relationship is with peace and non-violence. It is critical to understand that this was on Elray’s PERSONAL youtube channel, and was not acting in his capacity as an official representative of the church.

Regardless, I feel a transcript of the chart is important to read along with the chart:

Chart and Transcript

Andrew Bolton: We want now to describe the church’s positional relationship to other movements, ideologies, and theologies.

We are inspired by the Peace Churches, Quakers and Mennonites as we have already mentioned; some members fear them, however, especially in the United States.

We enthusiastically seek ecumenical relationships with Catholics and Protestants. We have embraced interfaith dialogue as far back as 1893.

We have an uncomfortable relationship with our own conservatives, restorationists, who divided from us over the ordination of women. That was very painful.

With the Mormon LDS church we have a lot of cooperation in early church history research. We have dialogue between academics, but there’s still pain and ambiguity.

Politically we will be closest to Greens and Social Democrats, and I’m sure some members vote for the Conservative Party in Britain.

We should be critical of neoliberal economics, given our communal socialism beginnings.

The far right is horrendous and violates our sense of human decency.

Probably 90% of members in the U.K. voted to remain in the Brexit referendum.

We seek to resist resurgent nationalism and hypermasculinity. We are suspicious of empire, be it political or corporate.

In light of this, the only disapprovals I can see can be boiled down to xenophobia and nationalism.

There are several Resolutions and D&C sections which I feel are important to read when determining if xenophobia and nationalism are worth supporting or deploring:


171: Gospel to All People

Adopted April 10, 1875

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this assembly that the gospel is to be offered to all people, irrespective of color, nationality, sex, or condition in life; and that priesthood members are not justified in making, or insisting on being made, any separation in church privileges, worship, or sacrament other than is made in the church articles and revelations in regard to ministerial ordinations and labor; and that we advise all officers of the church to be governed by the spirit and tenor of this teaching and this resolution.

963: Racial Equality

Adopted October 8, 1948

All people are God’s creatures. God created of one blood all nations and races, and in the presence of God divisions of race are transcended; “There is neither Greek nor Jew…Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but Christ is all, and in all.”

1121: Church Mission and World Witness

Adopted April 1, 1974

Resolved, That we sincerely reaffirm our continuous appreciation to the leading councils of this church for their patient efforts as they work together to help us as people of God to more fully understand the evangelistic mission of this church to all nations; and be it further

Resolved, That we unanimously voice our intent to support and uphold our leading councils more diligently in our prayers, and in our Christian witness and mission, and we sincerely encourage them in their quest for ever more effective ways to strengthen us through the Living Christ so that all people of all nations can be united together for the cause of Zion.

1161: Human Freedom and Injustice

Adopted April 11, 1980

Resolved, That we, the members of Community of Christ, affirm our commitment to uphold the sanctity of every person as a divine gift from God; and be it further

Resolved, That we consider it the requirement of the gospel to proclaim justice; and be it further

Resolved, That as a World Church we call on national governments to increase their efforts to secure conditions of peace, justice, liberty, and invite them to support international agencies which so seek to do; and be it further

Resolved, That this Conference calls us to unite in a common commitment to pray and work for the elimination of all inhumane conditions which nations and peoples heap upon the poor, the dispossessed, the imprisoned, and those who suffer other social conditions which limit freedom, such as discrimination by reason of tribe or race, age or sex, and to promote peace, justice, freedom, and respect for personal dignity.

1200: Racism

Adopted April 12, 1988

Whereas, All people are created in God’s image and are accepted as people of worth under God’s image and are accepted as people of worth under God’s grace; and

Whereas, Community of Christ has adopted legislation taking a stand against racism and prejudice for the past 100 years; yet, the issue is one that is still pertinent to our time and purpose; and

Whereas, The promotion of peace within the heart of the individual, the church, and all nations is greatly affected by our lack of understanding regarding prejudice and racism; therefore, be it

Resolved, That an appropriate task force be organized by the World Church to study the issues of prejudice and racism and develop an annotated bibliography of resources which could be a guide for members, their congregations, and/or jurisdictions to help them facilitate a broadening of their understanding of prejudice and racism and encourage them to take more effective action in addressing this problem individually and collectively; and be it further

Resolved, That the First Presidency declare an annual day of fasting and prayer regarding an awareness of our need to address the issues of prejudice and racism on a personal, church, and world level.

1235: Children’s Advocacy

Adopted April 11, 1992

Whereas, Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:12); and Whereas, Restoration scripture affirms that “little children are holy…” (Doctrine and Covenants 74:3d); and

Whereas, Among the rights of every child—regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national or social origin—is the right to affection, love, understanding, adequate nutrition and medical care, special care if handicapped, and to be among the first to receive relief in time of disaster (excerpted from United Nations’ “Declaration of the Rights of the Child”); and

Whereas, The National Council of Family Relations reported at the beginning of the 1990s, in the United States alone, more than 6 million children suffer abuse each year, and three children are killed every day by family members; and

Whereas, Mounting evidence reveals that some children in church families suffer from abuse, neglect, and family violence; therefore, be it

Resolved, That each jurisdiction of the church be encouraged to select an individual who will serve as a children’s advocate to provide a safe person for children who cannot find safety in their homes or communities; and be it further

Resolved, That a children’s advocate will raise issues regarding the rights and welfare of children and keep those issues in the forefront of the jurisdiction, will be a liaison with other organizations working on behalf of children, and will be the voice for children who are voiceless in such arenas as building committees, budget committees, and program planning committees of jurisdictions and in other settings.

1250: The Nurture of Children

Adopted April 19, 1996

Resolved, That we applaud all national efforts to address the needs of children including those nations that have endorsed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; and be it further

Resolved, That we encourage our members, congregations, and jurisdictional leaders, as is appropriate within the nations where the church is organized and with the assistance of World Church headquarters, to support the efforts of governments in respecting the following guiding principles:

  1. The right to affection, love, and understanding.
  2. The right to adequate nutrition and medical care.
  3. The right to protection against neglect, cruelty, and exploitation.
  4. The right to free education and opportunity for play and recreation.
  5. The right to a name and nationality.
  6. The right to special care if disabled.
  7. The right to be among the first to receive relief in times of disaster.
  8. The right to learn to be accepted members of society and to develop individual abilities.
  9. The right to be brought up in the hope and pursuit of universal peace and community.
  10. The right to enjoy these rights regardless of race, color, gender, disability, religion, national or social origin; and be it further

Resolved, That we joyfully acknowledge the ministry of the church in supporting and joining with parents in the responsibility of nurturing children and providing moral direction.

Resolution #1309 directly says the following:

“We as a church affirm that doctrines, policies, and practices that promote superiority of individuals or peoples based on national origin or racial, religious, ethnic, or cultural differences are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable, and socially unjust”


D&C 161: 2-4A, 6-7

2A. Become a people of the Temple—those who see violence but proclaim peace, who feel conflict yet extend the hand of reconciliation, who encounter broken spirits and find pathways for healing.

2B. Fulfill the purposes of the Temple by making its ministries manifest in your hearts. It was built from your sacrifices and searching over many generations. Let it stand as a towering symbol of a people who knew injustice and strife on the frontier and who now seek the peace of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

3A. Open your hearts and feel the yearnings of your brothers and sisters who are lonely, despised, fearful, neglected, unloved. Reach out in understanding, clasp their hands, and invite all to share in the blessings of community created in the name of the One who suffered on behalf of all.

3B. Do not be fearful of one another. Respect each life journey, even in its brokenness and uncertainty, for each person has walked alone at times. Be ready to listen and slow to criticize, lest judgments be unrighteous and unredemptive.

3C. Be patient with one another, for creating sacred community is arduous and even painful. But it is to loving community such as this that each is called. Be courageous and visionary, believing in the power of just a few vibrant witnesses to transform the world. Be assured that love will overcome the voices of fear, division, and deceit.

3D. Understand that the road to transformation travels both inward and outward. The road to transformation is the path of the disciple.

4A. Do not neglect the smallest among you, for even the least of these are treasures in God’s sight. Receive the giftedness and energy of children and youth, listening to understand their questions and their wisdom. Respond to their need to be loved and nurtured as they grow.

6A. Stand firm in the name of the One you proclaim and create diverse communities of disciples and seekers, rejoicing in the continuing fulfillment of the call to this people to prophetically witness in the name of Jesus Christ.

6B. Heed the urgent call to become a global family united in the name of the Christ, committed in love to one another, seeking the kingdom for which you yearn and to which you have always been summoned. That kingdom shall be a peaceable one and it shall be known as Zion.

7 The Spirit of the One you follow is the spirit of love and peace. That Spirit seeks to abide in the hearts of those who would embrace its call and live its message. The path will not always be easy, the choices will not always be clear, but the cause is sure and the Spirit will bear witness to the truth, and those who live the truth will know the hope and the joy of discipleship in the community of Christ. Amen.

D&C 162: 4-6

4A. Listen carefully to the many testimonies of those around the world who have been led into the fellowship of the Community of Christ. The richness of cultures, the poetry of language, and the breadth of human experience permit the gospel to be seen with new eyes and grasped with freshness of spirit. That gift has been given to you. Do not fail to understand its power.

4B. It is for divine purpose that you have been given the struggles as well as the joys of diversity. So must it always be in the peaceable kingdom.

5A. Do not be defined by the things that separate you but by the things that unite you in Jesus Christ.

5B. Over and over again you have been counseled to be reconciled, to seek the unity that is imperative to the building of the kingdom. Again the Spirit counsels the church to not allow the forces of division to divert you from your witness.

5C. Listen together to one another, without judgment or predisposition. Do not assume that the answers to matters of conflict have yet been perceived. There is much labor to be done. Reason together in love, and the Spirit of truth will prevail.

6A. From the earliest days you have been given a sacred principle that declares the inestimable worth of all persons. Do not forget.

6B. The One who created all humankind grieves at the shameful divisions within the human family. A prophetic people must work tirelessly to tear down walls of separation and to build bridges of understanding.

6C. You hold precious lives in your hands. Be gentle and gracious with one another. A community is no stronger than the weakest within it. Even as the One you follow reached out to those who were rejected and marginalized, so must the community that bears his name.

163: 3-4A, 7C, 11

3A. You are called to create pathways in the world for peace in Christ to be relationally and culturally incarnate. The hope of Zion is realized when the vision of Christ is embodied in communities of generosity, justice, and peacefulness.

3B. Above all else, strive to be faithful to Christ’s vision of the peaceable Kingdom of God on earth. Courageously challenge cultural, political, and religious trends that are contrary to the reconciling and restoring purposes of God. Pursue peace.

3C. There are subtle, yet powerful, influences in the world, some even claiming to represent Christ, that seek to divide people and nations to accomplish their destructive aims. That which seeks to harden one human heart against another by constructing walls of fear and prejudice is not of God. Be especially alert to these influences, lest they divide you or divert you from the mission to which you are called.

4A. God, the Eternal Creator, weeps for the poor, displaced, mistreated, and diseased of the world because of their unnecessary suffering. Such conditions are not God’s will. Open your ears to hear the pleading of mothers and fathers in all nations who desperately seek a future of hope for their children. Do not turn away from them. For in their welfare resides your welfare.

7C. It is not pleasing to God when any passage of scripture is used to diminish or oppress races, genders, or classes of human beings. Much physical and emotional violence has been done to some of God’s beloved children through the misuse of scripture. The church is called to confess and repent of such attitudes and practices.

11A. God is calling for a prophetic community to emerge, drawn from the nations of the world, that is characterized by uncommon devotion to the compassion and peace of God revealed in Jesus Christ. Through divine grace and wisdom, this faith community has been given abundant gifts, resources, and opportunities to equip it to become such a people. Chief among these is the power of community in Christ expressed locally in distinctive fashions while upholding a unity of vision, foundational beliefs, and mission throughout the world.

11B. There are many issues that could easily consume the time and energy of the church. However, the challenge before a prophetic people is to discern and pursue what matters most for the journey ahead.

D&C 164: 5

It is imperative to understand that when you are truly baptized into Christ you become part of a new creation. By taking on the life and mind of Christ, you increasingly view yourselves and others from a changed perspective. Former ways of defining people by economic status, social class, sex, gender, or ethnicity no longer are primary. Through the gospel of Christ a new community of tolerance, reconciliation, unity in diversity, and love is being born as a visible sign of the coming reign of God.

D&C 165: 3, 6

3A. More fully embody your oneness and equality in Jesus Christ. Oneness and equality in Christ are realized through the waters of baptism, confirmed by the Holy Spirit, and sustained through the sacrament of Communion. Embrace the full meaning of these sacraments and be spiritually joined in Christ as never before.

3B. However, it is not right to profess oneness and equality in Christ through sacramental covenants and then to deny them by word or action. Such behavior wounds Christ’s body and denies what is resolved eternally in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

3C. You do not fully understand many interrelated processes of human creation. Through its wonderful complexity, creation produces diversity and order.

3D. Be not consumed with concern about variety in human types and characteristics as you see them. Be passionately concerned about forming inclusive communities of love, oneness, and equality that reveal divine nature.

3E. Oneness and equality in Christ do not mean uniformity. They mean Unity in Diversity and relating in Christ-like love to the circumstances of others as if they were one’s own. They also mean full opportunity for people to experience human worth and related rights, including expressing God-given giftedness in the church and society.

6A. Beloved Community of Christ, do not just speak and sing of Zion. Live, love, and share as Zion: those who strive to be visibly one in Christ, among whom there are no poor or oppressed.

6B. As Christ’s body, lovingly and patiently bear the weight of criticism from those who hesitate to respond to the divine vision of human worth and equality in Christ. This burden and blessing is yours for divine purposes.

6C. And, always remember, the way of suffering love that leads to the cross also leads to resurrection and everlasting life in Christ’s eternal community of oneness and peace. Trust in this promise.

The fact of the matter is that, through policy AND doctrine, Community of Christ opposes xenophobia and nationalism. The fact that The Heart of Texas USA Mission Center seems to take issue with this deeply disturbs me.

Whereas, Individual members of the Peace and Justice Team have proposed that the adoption of a nonviolence position would make the church’s repentance of its violent past to be more complete; and

The fact of the matter is that we DO have violence in our past. Our Missouri and Nauvoo eras were rife with physical violence which resulted in the deaths of many. Its no secret that the church has an aversion to that era of our history, and for good reason. However, the church is called to confess and repent of our collective wrongdoing (D&C 163: 7C).

Part of a proper apology is admitting the wrong doing and then committing to not doing it again. At this point, the church has left the door open to collectively engage in physical violence again, which means that we have not truly repented of the violence we committed in our past.

A resolution committing to peace WOULD make it a more full repentance.

Whereas, Individual members of the Peace and Justice Team have proposed that the Book of Mormon ought to be repurposed to be consistent with the church’s position on nonviolence; and

This is where I feel its important to clarify something. This Mission Center, whom I have never even heard of previous to this Resolution, has already called out Andrew Bolton and Elray Henriksen 3 separate times in this resolution, and does so several more times. This feels resolution feels like them airing their grievances and grudges against these men.

They seem upset about what they have said, and have offered no real alternative views to what has been said regarding peace and non-violence, including on a modern interpretation on how to read the Book of Mormon. They simply seem more interested in bullying and silencing Elray and Andrew.

Whereas, The members of the church would benefit if the church’s positions were written using with “Plain Language” standards used in modern day communications in order to make the positions concise, understandable, and actionable by all persons worldwide; now, therefore,

I would agree with this.

There are sometimes when I read something which is written in high and technical language and I say to myself “How does this actually apply in practice?”. A statement for the entire church should be able to be easily understood by the entire church.

Resolved, That the position of Community of Christ be referred to the First Presidency for a report and/or statement to be issued by the First Presidency on the issues identified in the 2019 World Conference’s Official Minutes of Business Meeting Thursday, April 11, 2019, which issues are described below:

• “Resistance sometimes requires force”
• “Concern for members in the military”
• “Violence is never the solution”
• “Concerns about taxes and financing war”
• “Is [a church position on nonviolence] unnecessary or unhelpful?”
• “What do these terms mean?”
• “What about self-defense?”
• “Violence is more than terrorism or war”
• “Is this consistent with the church’s mission”
• “Nonviolence is the way of Jesus”; and be it further

This (and the next) resolved are rather long, but I believe that they bring up important aspects to them. These are things that we shouldn’t dance around; these are things that the church should commit to answering.

Resolved, That the position of Community of Christ be referred to the First Presidency for a report and/or statement to be issued by the First Presidency on the issues identified below:

I also believe that the First Presidency should explicitly talk about these things. I decided to break this section up based on the bullet points in the resolution. The bolded text will be the parts which are part of this Resolved.

If a member of the church serves, or has served, in law enforcement or the military, would that service cause the person to be excluded from being a member or priesthood member in good standing with the church?

I think this is completely ridiculous that this is even being asked. There are still members and congregations that refuse to ordain women to this day, despite the church’s official policy (and doctrine) being full female equality. Despite this, these sexist members and congregations remain members of the church and members of the priesthood.

By taking a stance other than what the church teaches doesn’t mean you’re automatically kicked out. In my experience, you have to do something QUITE drastic to be excommunicated.

Will the church support and advocate for persons who choose to serve in law enforcement or the military thereby going in harm’s way for others (just as Jesus stepped in harm’s way for each of us)?

This is essentially asking if the church believes in the “Just War” concept, which asks “Can violence be justified?” In my opinion, if we endorse the Just War concept we are saying that violence CAN be justified.

They invoke Christ in this bulletpoint. Christ was the man that, rather than engaging in violence, healed the man that was arresting him. Christ was the man that, rather than engaging in violence, died for his peaceful cause. That is the God that I worship; not one that justifies his violence.

Does the position of the church on nonviolence incorporate the church’s repentance for its violent history?

Here again they are referencing Andrew Bolton’s statement.

As I mentioned earlier, the fact that we would be creating such a statement would be a step in the repentance process.

Will the church support all efforts to engage in peacemaking, and if not, what are the standards to be applied in determining which efforts would not be supported?

I assume they are referencing the Abraham Accords that was mentioned earlier in this resolution.

I would also like to know this. Is peace justified if it means the continued oppression of others?

Is it appropriate for the church, including members of the World Church Leadership Council and World Church teams, to endorse or disapprove, directly or indirectly through organizations supported by the church, a political party or movement?

Again, it seems like this mission center is wanting to silence Andrew Bolton and Elray Henriksen, and make it to where individuals are unable to be in church leadership AND hold personal beliefs.

In light of what they referenced in the Resolution earlier, I can’t help but see them asking if they can be members of the church and be xenophobic and nationalists. In my opinion, the answer to that question is no, because those concepts are fundamentally incompatible with the gospel of Christ.

Based on the church’s position on nonviolence, will the Book of Mormon be repurposed in our faith movement as proposed by individual members of the Peace and Justice Team; and be it further

It seems as if this mission center doesn’t want to do any spiritual work themselves; they simply want religion given to them and have it be palatable for them.

The Church creates very little content for the Book of Mormon anymore, and I don’t anticipate that will change.

Resolved, That the foregoing reports and/or statements may be included as deemed appropriate by the First Presidency in the Nonviolence Statement contemplated in World Conference Resolution 1319 or such other report and/or statement to be presented at the next World Conference and the foregoing reports and/or statements may include such other issues and matters as deemed appropriate by the First Presidency; and be it further

This is basically saying that the statement needs to be presented in 2023 or 2026

Resolved, That the First Presidency is requested to consider making the foregoing reports and/or statements in form and substance consistent with “Plain Language” standards.

Again basically just instructing the First Presidency to make it easy to understand.

There is A LOT to unpack in this Resolution. However, I believe it can be boiled down to a couple things:

  1. They are disgruntled regarding Elray Henriksen and Andrew Bolton’s work
  2. They learn towards a Just War approach
  3. They ultimately are again compelling the First Presidency to create a statement on non-violence.

I am leaning towards voting in favor of this resolution, but I clearly have reservations. The reason I am leaning towards voting for it is because I still want to keep the pressure on the First Presidency to create a statement regarding this topic.