Sunstone has been going on since Wednesday here in Salt Lake City. It ends tomorrow, and I thought I would give a few words about the conference. I have been blogging here at Mormon matters for about a year and a half, and have never met any other bloggers here….until this week! It has been nice to nice BiV and Stephen Marsh. I hope to meet others tomorrow. It was also nice to meet with a few apostles.
I met Paul at the MHA convention in May, and he gave a presentation titled “Why Elijah (or John the Baptist) must come before Christ’s Return”. I wasn’t able to attend his presentation, but spoke with him for a few minutes. I learned he is one of 6 apostles for his church, based in Independence, Missouri. Their church believes apostles are the highest office in the church, and they believe that many people can be prophets. He noted that the Ephesians 4:11 lists apostles before prophets, so apostles should be the top of the hierarchy.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
It was fun talking to him. I’ve been reading Scattering of the Saints by John Hamer and Newell Bringhurst, and plan to talk more about Paul’s church in the future. I also enjoyed meeting with Apostle Susan Skoor of the Community of Christ, formerly known as the RLDS church. (I already have a photo of her on my previous post–click here.) She is always extremely friendly, and a treat to meet. She introduced me to Robin Linkart, the President of the 6th Quorum of Seventy. She lives in Colorado, and is in charge of missionary efforts in the western United States from the Canadian border to Mexico, California to Kansas. (Sorry the photos are out of focus–I guess my $40 camera is only worth what I paid for it.)
Mark Scherer, is the historian for the Community of Christ. He gave an interesting presentation on the latest revelation to be canonized in the Community of Christ, section 164 of the Doctrine and Covenants. He said the revelation covers 4 main topics: (1) open communion, (2) open baptism (don’t have to be rebaptized to join the RLDS church anymore), (3) moral and ethical behavior (allows countries to decide if they want to allow same sex marriage), and (4) the RLDS strives to collaborate more with evangelical Christians.
Bridget Jack Meyers, (aka “Jack”–she blogs at Clobberblog), gave a fascinating presentation called “Evidence for Women’s Priesthood in the Earliest Christianity. She is a “never Mormon” that earned a BA degree from BYU and “seduced” (her words) a Mormon man there. She is studying at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. She outlined various scriptures showing early women Christian leaders, including a woman by the name of Junia in Romans 16:7. Jack says Junia was a female apostle, and quoted early Christian theologian John Chrysostum discussing her. Early Christian theologian Origen discussed a female leader by the name of Phoebe. Jack gave many other examples, and it certainly deserves a blog post or two to discuss her research.
Yesterday, I was able to attend Stephen Marsh‘s session called “How an Unpleasant Truth Can Be More Inspirational than a Pleasant Fiction.” I learned that the session was based on his post from October, titled The Stories We Tell. Briefly, Stephen told the true story about his daughter standing up for a disabled classmate. Often stories such as this end with a happy ending where everyone realizes that they shouldn’t tease a disabled person, but in Stephen’s story, his daughter becomes ostracized. Often, we don’t have happy endings, and sometimes it is hard to understand why God doesn’t bless us for doing the right thing. I also learned that Stephen has 5 daughters, but 3 of them have died, despite his prayers to have them live. It was an interesting presentation. Often we learn more from our trials than our triumphs.
I’m excited to attend tomorrow. If you’re in SLC, I encourage you to attend. It’s at the Sheraton Hotel on 150 West 500 South. If you attended, what sessions did you enjoy? Do you have any questions about the sessions I attended?