Community of Christ Cross and Spiral
A symbol representing unravelling revelations.
For an unravelling community?
Cross and Spiral
This ribbon-twirling symbol is described by the Community of Christ as:
The presence and placement of the cross reflects recent counsel: "Jesus Christ, the embodiment of God's shalom, invites all people to come and receive divine peace in the midst of the difficult questions and struggles of life" (Doctrine and Covenants 163:2a). The cross, the central Christian symbol of the divine drama of redemption, represents the heart of God, which spirals out in love. The spiral flowing out of and back to the cross is a representation of the out-flowing love of God and the journey into that love.
The Spiral Cross has similarities with the Koru Cross and Celtic Cross inasmuch that these symbols also feature spirals. But there are fundamental differences between mainstream Christianity and the Community of Christ.
Most denominations undergo change from time to time, as they should, and the Community of Christ is no exception. It has suffered several setbacks in its relatively short history, as might be expected for a sect devoid of a formal creed, an ever-changing doctrine and heavy reliance on divine revelations.
The Community is led by its "President of the High Priesthood, Prophet, and President of the Church", Mr Stephen M Veazey, who formulates appropriate sacred text to be added to the Doctrine and Covenants, which is one of the three canonical scriptures of the sect. The other two being their version of the Book of Mormon and the Bible.
Most denominations have supplementary texts — hymnals, prayer books, and so on — but there can be no other reason for extra-biblical scriptures than to make up for the perceived inadequacies of the Bible.
Careful reading of the Bible shows that there is nothing in the Doctrine and Covenants, and certainly nothing in the Book of Mormon, which isn't more than adequately covered better in the Bible. The other two books are not only superfluous but a distraction from the true Word of God. When a sect develops its own scriptures, this is bound to raise suspicions over its motives.
After Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), died in 1844 Brigham Young led most of Smith's followers west to settle in Utah. Those who remained in Illinois organized themselves into a new group led by Smith's son, Joseph Smith III, and called themselves the Restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), known today as the Community of Christ.
They were keen to follow the scriptures of their founder prophet, which stated that subsequent prophets should be direct descendants of Smith. However, in 1995 the direct line was severed by the appointment of W Grant McMurray as their prophet. At that time nobody could have prophesized that McMurray would, a few years later, swiftly resign for making an "inappropriate choice" in his personal / family life. The upper echelon feels it is in everybody's best interest for the details to remain secret, in the true Masonic tradition.
This illustrates one of the problems that cultists must confront when their prophet, their spokesman of God, turns out to be human after all. The members' disappointment is understandable.
Yes, most keep up to date with current trends (see Flexible Truth). For the Community of Christ, one such change was the controversial adoption of the ordination of women to the priesthood. This is becoming accepted more and more in mainstream Christian churches, but for people with a conservative Mormon tradition, elevating womenfolk to a position over men has not gone down well.
Tithing is a good example of making clear to members "what God wants". Tithing is an Old Testament law (Lev. 27:30-34) in which Israelite farmers were to give 10 percent of their profits to the Temple. This law was not echoed in the New Testament but Paul places emphasis (1 Cor. 16:7; 2 Cor. 9:7) on the benefits of giving towards God's work, having first diligently prayed for God's wisdom (James 1:5).
Christian giving is something far more wonderful than the tax the ancient Israelites were obliged to pay. The New Testament refers to "gift", not "tax", and this perceived error has been rectified by an entry in the Doctrine and Covenants (162:7c). Recently the terminology changed slightly by introducing a programme known as "Disciples' Generous Response", but the Doctrine and Covenants still uses the word "tithe". If it is truly a gift to expand the work of God then no entry in the Doctrine and Covenants is required, since Paul has already covered the issue in the New Testament.