July 16, 2017 was an important day in my faith journey. On that day I officially became a member of Community of Christ (formerly known as the RLDS church). My local congregation has been a wonderful place for me to heal and grow spiritually. Over two years ago, I felt spiritually broken and lost, because I had just lost the LDS faith I had spent my whole life in. I wondered if I would ever bother with organized religion again, because I felt so burned from my previous experiences. But then I heard John Hamer on Mormon Stories talk about Community of Christ as a potential landing place for transitioning Mormons. I wondered, could that kind of church really exist? Could it work for me? I visited my local Community of Christ congregation and people who were strangers put their arms around me and loved me. They listened to my story, and accepted me for who I was. Later I felt a strong prompting to go to Sunstone in Kirtland. In the Kirtland temple, which is owned by Community of Christ, we sang “For Everyone Born” and tears streamed down my face as I encountered a kind of love and reconciliation I had never dreamed of. I tried visiting other churches, and I had some wonderful spiritual experiences with them too, but my heart was at Community of Christ. I can embrace my heritage there, and yet be true to my spiritual beliefs that have evolved beyond what I grew up with.
Community of Christ doesn’t claim to be the one true church. Instead they say they strive to be a true church. They are what I wish the LDS church would someday evolve into, but at my age I’m not willing to wait around for the LDS church to change. Community of Christ (and I) acknowledge it isn’t the only path to spirituality, but it works for me so I’m thrilled to have joined them.
My wife Royleane asked if she could sit next to me for my confirmation, and they were happy to accommodate us. The woman who confirmed me is like another grandma to me, and the one in the glasses who helped her is a Seventy.