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Reflecting on the Discernment Process


17 January 2024 | Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

This statement was shared by Katie Harmon-McLaughlin during a meeting of the Joint Council held on 7 January 2024.

I want to first express what a deep privilege it has been to walk alongside the Council of Twelve throughout this discernment journey. It has been a faith deepening experience to witness how the Holy Spirit holds and guides us in all conditions.

My journey with the discernment process began in February 2023, collaborating on a process with the Presidency and Jenn Killpack as the director of Communications to invite the church into discernment, prayer, and opportunities to share responses. Several key questions were identified that guided individuals and groups in discerning and responding, including the World Church Leadership Council. I am grateful to President Veazey for this collaborative approach that truly embodies the vision and call of a prophetic people.

Throughout the process many small groups, congregations, and teams around the world gathered in a variety of ways to discern the next prophet-president, sending reflections to Susan as the world church secretary and through the anonymous form on the church’s website.

When it was announced that the Council of Twelve would be responsible for discerning the next prophet-president, it felt like divine synchronicity that they had already planned a retreat with Linda Booth as a guest minister, in which they could share their feelings about this new responsibility, grow closer relationally, and hear from members of the C12 who had a similar responsibility 18 years ago.

When it was announced that the Council of Twelve would be responsible for discerning the next prophet-president, it felt like divine synchronicity that they had already planned a retreat with Linda Booth as a guest minister, in which they could share their feelings about this new responsibility, grow closer relationally, and hear from members of the C12 who had a similar responsibility 18 years ago. This was the first of many examples of the Holy Spirit working with us to create a way forward. I cannot say enough about the courage, honesty, and integrity of the members of the Council of Twelve. They carried an appropriate sense of weightiness about the impact of this decision, and a deep commitment to stay united in the Holy Spirit and open to where God was leading.

Along with members of this Joint Council, they began participating in small discernment clusters to engage in prayer and reflection, deepen relationally, and listen to each other’s experiences. The Day of Fasting and Prayer resulted in many powerful testimonies and reflections, but most importantly a feeling of being united across the globe in discernment. The joint council gathered for a meaningful time of sharing in prayer and testimony after the Day of Fasting and to offer support for the C12 into the next part of the process.

In November, the Council of Twelve met for a final discernment meeting online before their December retreat. In this meeting they went over organizational responsibilities with the first presidency, processed and reflected on worldwide church responses, and received the first iteration of the list of names shared anonymously by the church. They were invited to hold this list prayerfully and come to the discernment retreat with the 2-3 names most strongly on their heart.

If asked in the future to identify moments when I was strongly aware of God’s presence with us in our history, this will be one of those moments.

In December, the Council of Twelve gathered at Happy Valley Conference Center in the Santa Cruz Mountains. If asked in the future to identify moments when I was strongly aware of God’s presence with us in our history, this will be one of those moments. At this retreat, through deep conversation and in solitary prayer in a redwood grove, the Council of Twelve labored with each other and the Holy Spirit. It was truly for a divine purpose that we were "given the struggles as well as the joys of diversity." The commitment to listen deeply and seek unity in the Spirit was profound and evident.

It was a rich blessing to listen to colleagues speak well of the community of names in consideration as they prayerfully and critically imagined different futures and identified significant priorities.

We went from a community of names and passionate perspectives to times of deep soul-searching and prayer, honest conversation, and critical questions to, on the final morning of the retreat, a recognition that one name was emerging from the group’s deep work together. The testimony I will share from this retreat is the miracle of unity in diversity, the way the Spirit moved in us as we went around the circle after a time of seeking confirmation and realized that among us there was unanimous confirmation that Stassi Cramm was being called as prophet-president.

The testimony I will share from this retreat is the miracle of unity in diversity, the way the Spirit moved in us as we went around the circle after a time of seeking confirmation and realized that among us there was unanimous confirmation that Stassi Cramm was being called as prophet-president.

When Mareva led the council in the final vote, there was an overwhelming spirit of joy, unity, and lightness. The council broke out in spontaneous songs of praise in many languages. I could feel the weight of the past several months beginning to lift as a way into the future opened before us. This is also an evident signal of the confirmation of the Holy Spirit for this process and decision.

It has been an immense privilege to witness all the ways the Holy Spirit is at work across the worldwide church and in each of you as we have journeyed together.

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