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Carole Mikita ReportingThe Community of Christ Church, headquartered in Independence, Missouri, has just named a new leader. That faith has historic ties to our state's largest faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
March 8th, 2005 may come to be remembered by those who worship there as a day of discernment. Stephen Veazey, president of the Council of the Twelve, was named the church's new leader.
Stephen Veazey, New President, Community of Christ: "I work with the other apostles, in terms of church growth and development in their areas. I travel with them throughout the world, as well as working here at our church headquarters."
Former President Grant McMurray resigned last December, he said for health, family and personal reasons. He was the first prophet/president of the faith who was not a descendant of Joseph Smith, the same Joseph Smith who founded The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In June of 1844, when Joseph and his brother, Hyrum, were martyred, their families split, Hyrum's coming West with the main body of Saints, Joseph's staying in Illinois and forming the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, officially renamed Community of Christ in 2001.
Veazey now becomes its seventh president, chosen not because of his seniority, but through a process of prayer and study.
Stephen M. Veazey, new President, Community of Christ: "We refer to it as discernment so that we are emphasizing that we want to be open to the direction of God's spirit in the process."
The presidency of this church stayed in the Smith family until 1996. Wallace B. Smith was the last, he designated his successor, Grant McMurray, who did not name his. The new president says the faith's mission remains two-fold: to proclaim Jesus Christ and to promote the idea of community
Stephen Veazey: "Which historically, would be tied to concepts of Zion or Zionic community, that I think members of the LDS Church could certainly relate to."
Community of Christ Church has several hundred members here in Utah, 250,000 members worldwide. Church delegates must approve Veazey's appointment at a special meeting in June.