Resolution of the Council of Twelve Apostles

From the Council of Twelve Apostles:

Introduction

The Council of Twelve Apostles unanimously approved the following resolution in formal session on November 30, 2004. The intent of the resolution is to provide clear support to the remaining majority of the First Presidency as they preside over the church until a successor is chosen, and to formally communicate the same to the church throughout the world. During consideration of the resolution, the Council was blessed by the Holy Spirit with an evident sense of peace, unity, and assurance regarding God’s continuing guidance to the church and its leaders as we move into the future.

Stephen M. Veazey, president
Council of Twelve Apostles

Resolution of the Council of Twelve Apostles
Approved November 30, 2004

Whereas, On November 29, 2004, W. Grant McMurray resigned as president of the church; and

Whereas, It is necessary to ensure continuing leadership of the church; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Council of Twelve Apostles, in harmony with established laws and procedures of the church, support and uphold the remaining majority of the Quorum of the First Presidency to preside over the church until a successor to W. Grant McMurray is chosen at the next World Conference; and be it further

Resolved, That the Council of Twelve Apostles affirm its role in support of the remaining members of the Quorum of the First Presidency to assure that the laws and procedures of the church are being followed appropriately in the interim until the Quorum of the First Presidency is reorganized following the selection of a new president.

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Discernment Process for Selection of the President of the Church

From the First Presidency

A joint council of the First Presidency, Council of Twelve Apostles, presidents of Seventy, Presiding Bishopric, presiding evangelist, and president of the Quorum of High Priests met in December 2004 and reviewed a discernment process developed by the Council of Twelve. After considerable discussion, the Council of Twelve finalized the process that is summarized below. It is now shared with the church to assist members throughout the world to prayerfully support the process. For a more complete understanding of the purpose of the process described here, and the special role of the Council of Twelve in leading this process, this material should be read in conjunction with the First Presidency’s Official statement and Questions and Answers on pages 5 and 7 respectively of the January 2005 Herald.

The First Presidency
Kenneth N. Robinson
Peter A. Judd

The Council of Twelve has affirmed the role of each of the other quorums (First Presidency, Council of Presidents of Seventy, Presiding Bishopric) and individuals (presiding evangelist, president of the Quorum of High Priests) composing the joint council in the discernment process and is upholding each one of them in prayer.

The Council of Twelve has requested that each of these quorums and individuals composing the joint council give serious and prayerful consideration to the question, “Who is being chosen by God at this time to serve as president of the church?”

The First Presidency, the Council of Presidents of Seventy, and Presiding Bishopric as groups and the presiding evangelist and president of the Quorum of High Priests individually will provide the Council of Twelve with an official communication indicating any spiritual insight they have gained as a quorum. Each member of the joint council is also encouraged to share specific insight or testimony with the Council of Twelve.

The Twelve will give prayerful consideration to the spiritual insights offered, and will seek the mind and will of God in the process of discerning the one who is called to be president of the church. The Council of Twelve will then offer the name discerned to the joint council for affirmation.

After the joint council has affirmed the name discerned by the Twelve, that individual will be presented with the call and given opportunity to accept. Following acceptance the Council of Twelve will communicate this matter to the church. It is expected that this communication will occur no later than the end of March 2005. The special World Conference called for June 2-5, 2005 will then consider the recommendation that the Council of Twelve has presented.

First Presidency Response to McMurray’s Resignation

From the First Presidency

With regret we announce the resignation of W. Grant McMurray as president of the Community of Christ, effective November 29, 2004.

Brother McMurray’s letter of resignation and request for release from priesthood will be printed in the January 2005 issue of the Herald. After careful consideration of the circumstances, including detailed conversations with Brother McMurray, we have reached the conclusion that it is the correct course of action and so have accepted his resignation and request for release from priesthood office.

Long-established procedures exist to assure continuity of leadership and order in the church in situations where the office of president is vacant. First, the two remaining members of the First Presidency have full rights of presidency over the church until a new president is chosen. The Council of Twelve has met and has offered its support for Presidents Kenneth N. Robinson and Peter A. Judd to preside over the church.

Second, a process is firmly in place that will lead to the designation of a successor in the office of president. In his letter, Brother McMurray indicates that he will not be naming a successor, but rather recommends prayerful discernment on the part of the leading quorums and the presentation of a name to the next World Conference for approval.

Church procedures stipulate a vital role for the Council of Twelve: to ensure that a process is in place for discerning who will be the next president, to set the date for the World Conference at which this name is presented, and to preside over that conference’s consideration of and action on the recommendation. Further details of this process will be shared with the church in a timely manner.

Brother McMurray served as the church’s prophet-president for over eight years, being ordained to that office on April 15, 1996. As his counselors, we offer to him and his family, on behalf of the church, our deepest appreciation for his visionary leadership and dedicated service at a critical time in the life of the church. Brother McMurray has served the church as a full-time minister for more than thirty-three years.

We know that this will be a challenging time for the church. However, we are confident that God’s guiding Spirit will continue to be with us. We ask that all pray for the church, its leaders, and its members during the weeks and months ahead.

We commit our skills and calling to the effective leadership of the church at this time and invite all members to vigorously pursue our mission to follow the Christ.

—The First Presidency

Kenneth N. Robinson
Peter A. Judd

Letter of Resignation – Grant McMurray

November 29, 2004

President Peter A. Judd
President Kenneth N. Robinson
Community of Christ
1001 West Walnut
Independence, MO 64050

Dear Peter and Ken:

With profound sadness, and yet with a strong assurance of the rightness of this action, I hereby submit my resignation as president of the Community of Christ, effective this date.

For a matter of several years I have struggled with personal and family issues that have impacted my ability to function unreservedly in my office and calling. I have done my very best to fulfill my responsibilities in accordance with the needs of the church and believe that God has gracefully blessed me in that effort. However, along the way I have made some inappropriate choices, and the circumstances of my life are now such that I cannot continue to effectively lead the church. I deeply regret the difficulties that this causes for the church I love.

I recognize within myself the need for a time for personal renewal and healing. In addition, I have in recent weeks been diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease, which at this point is very treatable, but will require me to devote more attention to my physical health. For these reasons I would ask your forbearance in my desire to avoid participating in public gatherings around this decision, even though I realize that our church community may wish to give expression in that way. Likewise, it is not appropriate for me to function in a priesthood capacity as I work through these personal issues, and so I request to be released from my priesthood office at this time.

Our practice is that the remaining members of the First Presidency will continue to lead the church as equal partners in the event of the death or incapacity of the president. I know that both of you will do so with skill and dedication and am confident that the leadership of the church is in excellent hands.

On the matter of succession in presidency, our tradition anticipates that I would designate a successor. In my present situation, I do not feel it is appropriate to do so. There is ample instruction in church law regarding the process to be used in identifying who is called to serve in this office. I am assured that after preparation and prayerful deliberation by the quorums and councils, under the leadership of the First Presidency, it will become clear who is divinely called to lead the church in the years ahead.

The greatest privilege and joy of my life has been to join with my wife in parenting our two wonderful sons. Next to that is the privilege bestowed on me to serve the church on a full-time basis my entire adult life, including twelve years in the First Presidency, eight of them as president of the church. We have traveled on a marvelous journey during that time and I am grateful beyond words for the love and support of our people. As we move now to a new era, my fervent prayers will be to sustain and strengthen our church and its leaders in fulfilling its divine call to be a people of peace, reconciliation, and healing of the spirit.

Respectfully submitted,

W. Grant McMurray
President of the Church