The last 3 weeks we’ve talked about the Church of Christ. The next 3 weeks we will be talking to a completely different group with a very similar name: Christ’s Church. It was fun to sit down with apostle David Patrick & seventy Benjamin Shaffer. We’ll learn more about their church, missionary work, and temple in this first episode. We will get acquainted with them and find out more about the organization of their church and how it relates to the LDS Church.
GT: How big is your church? How many members do you have, would you say?
Benjamin: Just a few hundred at the most. The other thing, too, though, is this brings up the question of how do you count your church membership? We don’t count everyone who’s ever been baptized, until 120 years later, the way that mainstream church does. We really count our membership by those who actually show up to a solemn assembly, which you do need to recommend for, but it’s sort of like our General Conference. People who come to that, then that’s basically what we assume our membership actually is because these are the active members. But, you could come maybe to one and miss one, and we’d still count you, right? If we’re not counting someone as a member, it doesn’t mean we think that they’ve necessarily lost their blessings. We’re not excommunicating them. We’re not assuming that their ordinances aren’t valid. That’s all fine. So I suppose you could add a few hundred more if all those people counted who haven’t been here in a few years, but we figure it’s not exactly accurate to count them as full members if they’re not going to show up.
GT: Yeah, well, that’s fine. So is your church relatively new then? How long has it been in existence?
David: Just over 40 years.
GT: Oh, it’s 40 years. Okay.
Benjamin: So it’s relatively new.
GT: Oh, I should ask you this question. Are you guys Mormons?
Benjamin: Oh, yeah. In fact, I have an “I’m a Mormon” bumper sticker.
GT: Oh, you do?
Benjamin: Yeah. A friend of mine who wasn’t in our church. When Nelson gave the talk, she made up some “I’m a Mormon” bumper stickers. So that we could say, “Hey, you know, if the larger, mainstream church doesn’t want to claim it, we can be the real Mormons and they can be ex-Mormons. (Chuckling)
David: We’re very comfortable with being called a Mormon because I love the Book of Mormon. I just love it. It’s a definite part of our canon of Scripture.
Christ’s Church was organized in 1978. In our next conversation with Apostle David Patrick and Seventy Benjamin Shaffer, we will learn more about their basic beliefs and find out that they have an even larger canon of scripture than the mainstream LDS Church.
GT: So you guys believe in the Book of Mormon. It sounds like you believe in the Doctrine and Covenants.
Benjamin: Yeah. So when it comes to the canon of scripture, we actually have a very expansive body of scripture that we draw from. While it’s true that we don’t actually publish our own editions, that’s a lot of work.
GT: And a lot of money.
Benjamin: And a lot of money. We generally, of course, use the ones printed by the LDS Church. But then on top of that, we use a lot of other materials. We’ve used the Book of Jasher, for example, or the other Midrash. I’ve put together a little booklet for people to insert in their scriptures called the Addendum to the Doctrine & Covenants, which has eight of the uncanonized revelations, or that weren’t canonized, I guess in the mainstream LDS church, but that we also accept and use and then there’s a whole other body…
GT: John Taylor’s revelation, is that’s one of them.?
Benjamin: That’s one of them, John Taylor’s 1886 revelation is, of course, one of the ones that I guess was controversial for the mainstreamers, but we accept that as a revelation. It’s well established historically, at the very least.
For those of you interested in these 8 revelations, they are posted at Christ’s Church’s website. We’ll also talk about claims of priesthood authority for their church. Have you heard of them before? What are your impressions? Do you like the non-white shirts?
Is this the church which was formed a couple of months before the LDS Church’s 1978 revelation which allowed priesthood ordination to all men regardless of race (having foreseen Spencer W. Kimball’s apostasy through revelation) and which still teaches the Curse of Cain doctrine? Or am I confusing this with another group?
Yes they were formed April 6, 1978.
As for the Curse of Cain, I would say that question is not settled. If you are asking if they prohibit blacks from the priesthood, (1) they have no official policy, but (2) they have no black members so it hasn’t exactly come up. I spoke with someone there and he said it was theoretically possible for a black man to hold priesthood, but wasn’t sure how members would react.
I skimmed through some of the things on their website and they do discuss the Curse of Cain, (which I think is regrettable.) Here are 2 pages that discuss their beliefs about race in-depth.
I know many fundamentalists generally prohibit blacks from priesthood, but it sounds like Christ’s Church has no official policy. When I asked Anne Wilde about it, this was her response in 2017: “That’s a tough question to answer for some other group. I can’t answer for FLDS or Allreds. I think generally speaking, this is really general, fundamentalist Mormons do not believe that the time has come for the black race to receive the priesthood…” It should be noted that Anne is independent from all groups. For her full response, see https://gospeltangents.com/2017/11/flds-centennial-park-rivalry/