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.
W. Grant McMurray
President of the Church