Skip Navigation

Judicial Council Decisions Search


Decision No. 885

Back to Search

Share:

May 04 2000
In Re: Request from the General Conference Committee on Correlation and Revision for a Declaratory Decision Relating to Petitions Before the General Conference Which Use the Language "Professing Membership."

Digest of Case

The phrase "professing member" is not inherently unconstitutional. If petitions using the phrase "professing member" can be amended to include a clear definition of the phrase which does not refer to paragraphs or petitions already declared unconstitutional or out of order, such petitions would be constitutional and in order for consideration by the General Conference.

Statement of Facts

Following the release of Decision 884 on May 4, 2000, the General Conference Committee on Correlation and Revision asked the following question of the Judicial Council: In response to Judicial Council decision 884, the Committee on Correlation and Editorial Revision has one further urgent question for clarification. We understand that the language of "baptized member" from the 1996 Discipline is unconstitutional. Given decisions 811 and 884, may the language of "professing membership" be used in lieu of the language of "full membership" if the definition of this term does not suffer from the constitutional infirmity of offering membership without taking vows? As the language of "professing member" appears in several petitions in various committees, the matter is quite urgent to the work of the Conference, we appreciate your earliest possible consideration. Jurisdiction The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under Par. 2616 of the 1996 Discipline. Analysis and Rationale This question arises because Decisions 811 and 884 state that Par. 4 of the Constitution requires "every individual personally to take the appropriate vows to become a member of a local church." Decision 884 states: "[a]ll legislation based on the definitions of ‘baptized members’ and ‘professing members’ as set forth in the 1996 Discipline is unconstitutional." The phrase "professing member" is not inherently unconstitutional. The problem arises when the definition of that term is taken from petitions which have been declared out of order or paragraphs of the 1996 Discipline which have been declared unconstitutional. If petitions using the phrase "professing member" can be amended to include a clear definition of the phrase which does not refer to paragraphs or petitions already declared unconstitutional or out of order, they would be constitutional and in order for consideration by the General Conference. Such a definition must state that a "professing member" is an individual who personally has taken the vows of membership as required by Par. 4 of the Constitution.

Decision

The phrase "professing member" is not inherently unconstitutional. If petitions using the phrase "professing member" can be amended to include a clear definition of the phrase which does not refer to paragraphs or petitions already declared unconstitutional or out of order, such petitions would be constitutional and in order for consideration by the General Conference.

Back to Search

Share: