W. Grant McMurray

Prophet-President of Community of Christ from 1996 until 2004

W. Grant McMurray (born July 12, 1947) was Prophet-President of Community of Christ from 1996 until 2004. He was the first non-descendant of Joseph Smith to head the church, and under his administration, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS Church) changed its name to Community of Christ.



William Grant McMurray was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to parents who were members of the RLDS Church. He lived in Toronto until his teenage years, when his family moved to Independence, Missouri, where his mother accepted employment at the church headquarters of the RLDS Church. He attended Graceland College and St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri, where he earned a master's degree in theology, making McMurray the first president of the RLDS Church who was trained at a seminary.

In 1973, McMurray began employment with the historical department of the RLDS Church. In 1982, he became the church's World Church Secretary, and in 1992, he became a member of the First Presidency as a counselor to church president Wallace B. Smith. In 1995, Smith announced his retirement and named McMurray as his successor; it was the first time that a non-descendant of church-founder Joseph Smith had been named to head the church.

McMurray's presidency and legacy

McMurray became the president of the church in 1996.

In 1997, McMurray called upon what was RLDS Church to transform itself by articulating a Christ-centered theology of peace. In 2001, the church changed its name to Community of Christ, evoking the original name of the church "Church of Christ," affirming the centrality of Christ to the church, and commemorating the Latter Day Saint movement's long-held tradition of building up "Zionic communities".

McMurray presided over the first ordination of a woman to the office of apostle in the ...read more

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