An Ecumenical Symposium (Imagine that!) in Independence, Missouri

April 8-9, 2010

The home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Temple Lot) The Sunstone crowd avoids coffee, at least publicly. The John Whitmer people have always avoided plural marriage—that we know of, anyway. Yet these two groups, which have such stark differences in common, are getting together for a year third straight to talk about their shared interests. Billed as the “third annual Restoration Studies/Sunstone Midwest Symposium,” the event will feature scholars from the LDS, Community of Christ (formerly RLDS), and other LDS factions (Bickertonites, Hedrikites, Strangites), prior to the Community of Christ’s annual World Conference, also held in Independence. People attending the symposium may take the opportunity to stay the weekend and observe the Church conference.

The symposium will include sessions on ecumenical Christianity, homosexuality, women’s roles in the Churches (a panel that includes Page Kimball, spouse of our own Tom Kimball), the need for “civil discourse” in public rhetoric, and “one Lord, one faith, and many olive branches.” There will also be presentations on the First Vision, “cultural antecedents of the Restoration” (by our own George Smith), RLDS patriarchal blessings, conflicting views of polygamy, and Mormon theology and cosmology. The official theme this year is “Identities and Relationships: Mormonism, Christianity, and the Community of Christ.” The event is co-sponsored by the Sunstone Foundation and John Whitmer History Association and held at the Independence campus of Graceland University. Registration begins at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday April 8, and 8:00 a.m. Friday. The World Conference begins Saturday. Unlike the LDS Church, the Community of Christ meets annually to vote on measures involving Church doctrine and practice. For more information, see the Sunstone or John Whitmer websites.