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Community of Christ Decision Rooted in Joseph Smith’s Sacred Grove, Professor Says

Dr. David Howlett
Dr. David Howlett

May 28, 2013

Dr. David Howlett

Dr. David Howlett

Delegates “Inspired” to Affirm Same-Sex Marriage

by Hugo Salinas

A professor of American religion who is also a member of the Community of Christ says that church’s recent decision to marry same-sex couples and give the priesthood to worthy LGBT members is rooted in the tradition of receiving new revelation as patterned by Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove.

“In a choir loft to the left of the conference chamber’s immense organ, worship planners constructed a simulated grove of aspen trees,” wrote David Howlett after attending the church’s national (USA) conference. “Priesthood leaders made constant reference to this grove during worship moments interspersed throughout the conference.”

Howlett reports that the Saturday night worship service included the following statement: “Aspen trees only grow in community; they cannot grow alone. Though they appear to be separate trees, they are connected by their roots and in fact an entire grove of aspen trees, though they appear many, is really one organism, one body… And so, we find ourselves here in the grove, the place where we gather together to discover God’s will for the church.”

“During sessions where delegates shared their views on same-sex marriage, I heard several delegates who were pro-GLBT make reference to Joseph Smith, and, every time, they referred to his process of spiritual seeking,” writes Howlett. “The content of Smith’s vision was not as important to these contemporary seekers as was how they positioned themselves as aligned with Smith’s process.”

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