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Reorganized Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints

Doctrinal Development Prior To 1830

Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Independence, Missouri

The first Latter Day Saint references to the “church of Christ” are found in passages of the that Smith dictated from April to June 1829. During the course of this dictation, the outlines for a community of believers or church structure gradually became apparent. Such a structure would have authority from God, ordinances such as , and ordained . Some time in April 1829, Smith dictated a story of , the former priest of a wicked king, who baptized his followers by immersion, “having authority from the Almighty God”, and called his community of believers the “church of God, or the church of Christ”. The book described the clergy in Alma’s church as consisting of priests, who were unpaid and were to “preach nothing save it were repentance and faith in the Lord”. Alma later established many churches , which were considered “one church” because “there was nothing preached in all the churches except it were repentance and faith in God.” In addition to priests, the book mentions that the clergy of these churches also included teachers.

Location Of The Organization

Prior to 1834, all church publications and documents stated that the church was organized in the Smith log home in Manchester, New York. The first Smith log home was located on the Samuel Jennings property in Palmyra, just north of the town’s southern border and subsequent the Smith Manchester property. The Smiths may have constructed a second log home on their own property. Beginning in 1834, several church publications began to give the location of the organizational meeting as Fayette, at the home of The Whitmer home had been the site of many other meetings near the same time period. After 1834, several official church accounts said the meeting was in Manchester and several eyewitnesses said the event took place in Manchester.

Independent researcher argues that the evidence suggests the organization occurred in Manchester, and that the confusion was likely due to the effect of memory tending to conflate memories of several meetings in Manchester and Fayette years earlier. Critics suggest that the location of the organization was intentionally changed in 1834 around the same time the church’s name was changed to the “Church of the Latter Day Saints”, in order to make it seem like the new church organization was different from the “Church of Christ”, as a tactic to frustrate the church’s creditors and avoid payment of debts.

The largest successor organization to the Church of Christ, the LDS Church, accepts Fayette as the official location of the organizing meeting.

History Of The Reorganized Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints


In September 1969, the leaders of the Reorganized LDS Church published Volume Five of their Church history. The first four volumes included the history through the year 1890 and were authored principally by Heman C. Smith, who served as both Church Historian and one of the Twelve Apostles. Volume Five is a history of the Church from 1891 through 1902, compiled by F. Henry Edwards, long-time counselor in the First Presidency. Close family ties and years of devoted Church service have earned Mr. Edwards the confidence of the Reorganized Church officials as well as complete access to Church documents and records and minutes of the meetings of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles. He has drawn heavily from The Saints Herald, official organ of the Church, and is frank to admit in his preface that this volume is not an impartial record, as the material in the book was selected from a mass of material available, and that selected has been influenced by the authors interests and prejudices.

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Changes In Beliefs And Practices

Since the 1960s, the church’s proselytizing outside North America have caused a re-assessment and gradual evolution of its traditional practices and beliefs.

A revelation presented by Wallace B. Smith in 1984 decreed the construction of the Independence Temple and the ordination of women to the priesthood, after long-standing calls for both. Following the retirement of Smith as Prophet-President of the Church, W. Grant McMurray was appointed as the new President. Although McMurray had been designated prophet-president by Smith, some members objected because he was the first church president who was not a direct descendant of Joseph Smith, which they considered to be a distinguishing trait from other denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement.

The current vision and mission statements of the Community of Christ were initially adopted in 1996 by the leading quorums of the church’s leadership and reflect the peace and justice centered ministries of the denomination. In its mission statement, the church declares that “e proclaim Jesus Christ and promote communities of joy, hope, love and peace.” The vision statement states that “We will become a worldwide church dedicated to the pursuit of peace, reconciliation, and healing of the spirit.”

One God In Three Persons

Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by Alden B. Dow ...

In Trinitarian doctrine, God exists as three persons but is one being, having a single divine . The members of the Trinity are co-equal and co-eternal, one in essence, nature, power, action, and will. As stated in the , the Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, and the Holy Spirit is uncreated, and all three are eternal without beginning. “The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” are not names for different parts of God, but one name for God because three persons exist in God as one entity. They cannot be separate from one another. Each person is understood as having the identical essence or nature, not merely similar natures.

According to the “For, when we say: He who is the Father is not the Son, we refer to the distinction of persons but when we say: the Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, and the Holy Spirit that which the Father is and the Son is, this clearly refers to the nature or substance”.

Because such is the case , rejects the “psychological” theories of Trinity which define the Father as Knower, for example, and the Son as the Known . Scripture in one place or another identifies Knowing with each of the three Persons all told. Which is to say, according to the relationis oppositio, Knowing does not define the Persons at all, but the Unity of God instead. .

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Latter Day Saint Movement

The Latter Day Saint movement is the collection of independent church groups that trace their origins to a Christian Restorationist movement founded by Joseph Smith in the late 1820s.

Collectively, these churches have over 16 million members, although about 98% belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . The predominant theology of the churches in the movement is Mormonism, which sees itself as restoring the early Christian church with additional revelations.

A minority of Latter Day Saint adherents, such as members of Community of Christ, have been influenced by Protestant theology while maintaining certain distinctive beliefs and practices including continuing revelation, an open canon of scripture and building temples. Other groups include the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which supports lineal succession of leadership from Smith’s descendants, and the more controversial Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which defends the practice of polygamy.

Historical Differences Between The Churches

The RLDS Church was founded by the confederation of a number of smaller groups that declined to migrate with Brigham Young to Utah Territory or follow any of the others vying to become the successor to Joseph Smith. Prior to the 1860 Amboy Conference, in which the church was formally “reorganized” into the RLDS Church, numerous doctrinal differences were espoused by the leaders of the various splinter groups. Following the reorganization, these differences were solidified into a litany of what might now be called “wedge issues” that would distinguish it from Young’s LDS Church in Utah.

The differences enumerated below characterize the major differences between Community of Christ and the LDS Church.

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How Members View God The Book Of Mormon Salvation Priesthood Baptism Zion And More

The Church of Christ, left, Temple Lot and the Community of Christ’s temple and world headquarters, right, in Independence, Mo., in 2001.

The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was formed in 1860 by followers who dissented against the Nauvoo theology of founder Joseph Smith, says a Community of Christ theologian.

The RLDS faith, as it was known until 2001, drew on Smiths teachings that seemed to continue to make sense, says Tony Chvala-Smith, who teaches at the Community of Christ seminary in Independence, Mo. We are so significantly different from Mormons that I dont even use the term cousins.

As the church evolved, he says, increasingly there were parts of the Latter Day Saint past that did not square with our best understanding of Christian teachings.

Here are some concepts that Chvala-Smith says the Community of Christ views differently than the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Reorganized Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints

Remnant Profiles – The First Presidency – Terry Patience

The RLDS church emerged during the 1850s from the conflict and schism that arose in Mormonism after the June 27, 1844, murder of Joseph Smith, Jr., its founding prophet. From 1834 to 1844, Smith had indicated as many as eight possible modes of prophetic succession. One of these was a designation of his son Joseph III to succeed him as prophet-president. He had not, however, chosen anyone to lead pro tempore until his son should be old enough to preside. During the decade following Smith’s assassination, Mormonism split into more than a dozen factions. The main body of believers accepted the quorum of twelve apostles as their leaders. They remained headquartered at Nauvoo, Illinois, until 1846, when they fled to the Great Salt Basin of present-day Utah. Brigham Young, the senior apostle, who had been President of the Quorum of the Twelve since April 14, 1840, organized the westward trek and was sustained as President in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1847 .

Jason W. Briggs , leader of the Beloit, Wisconsin, branch, rejected Brigham Young’s leadership in 1848 to affiliate with the faction led by James J. Strang . After Strang opted for polygamy in 1850, Briggs left to join a colony led by the slain prophet’s younger brother, William B. Smith . Briggs left Smith in the fall of 1851 on learning that Smith was also a polygamist.


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Latter Day Church Of Christ

Latter Day Church of Christ
Davis County Cooperative Society Inc.
Ortell Kingston
Members 3,500

The Latter Day Church of Christ is considered a Mormon fundamentalist denomination by some in the Latter Day Saint movement. Also known as the LDCJC, it is a religious organization created by members of the Davis County Cooperative Society or DCCS in 1977. The Cooperative itself was established in 1935. Upon the creation of the LDCJC, most members of the DCCS became members of the church and most retain dual membership in both organizations to this day. There are approximately 3,500 members, some of whom are known to practice polygamy.

Community Of Christ Transformation Since 1960

Significant doctrinal, organizational, and attitudinal changes in Community of Christ since 1960 have narrowed the similarities that remain between it and the LDS Church. While the doctrine and belief system of the LDS Church is highly centralized, systematic, and static, Community of Christ has adopted an adaptive, decentralized, and progressive approach to doctrine. In 1997, Community of Christ initiated a three-year period of transformation entitled Transformation 2000, that was seen by its president W. Grant McMurray as the culmination of a series of changes dating back to 1960. McMurray identified these changes as a movement away from a belief that the denomination was “the restored church” and towards a position within mainstream Christianity. At the World Conference of 2000, by vote of 1,979 to 561, the name of the church was changed from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to Community of Christ. In so doing, the church was attempting to distance itself from comparisons with the LDS Church and in the process transform itself into a unique body among mainstream Christian denominations.

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First Members Of The Church

According to the LDS Church, the first six members of the Church of Christ were:

  • Oliver Cowdery
  • Samuel H. Smith
  • David Whitmer

Early membership also included the Three Witnesses and the Eight Witnesses to the Book of Mormon and members of the extended Whitmer and Smith families. Other early members included friends and acquaintances of the Smith and Whitmer families, such as Porter Rockwell.

What About The Reorganized Latter

Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter

United we stand, divided we fall has always been an encouraging reminder that there is strength in unity. However, there is also strength found in diversity.

This is especially so when comparing some of the differences in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and Reorganized Latter-Day Saints churches.

When one looks at the more than 60 divisions and splits in the Mormon Church in the 160 years of its existence, it is hard to understand how it can keep growing, but both the LDS and the RLDS are growing very well.

As a matter of fact, too well with the differences they have. Gordon H. Fraser in his book , Sects of the Latter-Day Saints, Says the RLDS rejects the designation Mormon, and at present, uses the terms: The Saints Church, RLDS, or simply The Saints. Sometimes they are divisively called Josephite Mormons or Reorganites. The term, Reformed Mormons, is also thrown in from time to time. This is incorrect since there has been no reformation in the overall body, although many divisions.

The RLDS have two liberal Arts colleges: Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa and Park College in Independence, Missouri. Their publishing house is Herald Publishing House, Independence, Missouri.

Some of the doctrinal differences in the RLDS and LDS can be summarized in the headings below:


The LDS believe strongly in the doctrine but claims not to be practicing in the present day.


Baptism for the Dead


The RLDS as a Christian Church

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Revelation And Prophetic Leadership

The belief in continuing divine revelation is a distinctive aspect of the church. The Community of Christ states that “he process through which God reveals divine will and love is called revelation. God continues to reveal today as in the past. God is revealed to us through scripture, the faith community, prayer, nature, and in human history.”

Referencesisbn Links Support Nwe Through Referral Fees

  • Bolton, Andrew, and Jane Gardner. The Sacraments: Symbol, Meaning and Discipleship. Independence, MO: Herald House, 2005. ISBN 0830911731
  • Community of Christ, The Priesthood Manual, 2004 Edition. Independence, MO: Herald House, 2004. ISBN 0830910166
  • Community of Christ, Church Administrators’ Handbook: 2005 Edition. Independence, MO: Herald House, 2005. ISBN 0830911197
  • Community of Christ, World Conference Resolutions: 2002 Edition. Independence, MO: Herald House, 2003. ISBN 0830910530
  • Howard, Richard P. “Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints .” In Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Volume 3. Toronto: Maxwell Macmillan Canada, 1992. 1211-1216. ISBN 0028796020
  • Howard, Richard P. The Church Through the Years. Independence, MO: Herald House, 1992. Volume 1: Beginnings to 1860: ISBN 0830905561 Volume 2: ISBN 0830906290
  • Launius, Roger D. Joseph III: Pragmatic Prophet. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1995. ISBN 0252065158
  • Nieft, Jerry . Walking with Jesus: A Member’s Guide in the Community of Christ. Independence, MO: Herald House, 2004. ISBN 0830911057
  • Smith Davis, Inez. The Story of the Church: A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and of Its Legal Successor, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 12th edition. Independence, MO: Herald House, 1981. ISBN 0830901884

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Content Descriptionreturn To Top

This collection contains various typed and handwritten manuscripts ostensibly originating from members of the RLDS church in Missouri . Documents include histories, sermons, stories, poems, aphorisms, articles, and notes that mostly originate from around the turn of the 20th century, though some date from as late as 1950.

Before The Council Of Nicaea

Remnant Profiles – First Presidency – David Van Fleet

While the developed doctrine of the Trinity is not explicit in the books that constitute the , it was first formulated as early Christians attempted to understand the relationship between Jesus and God in their scriptural documents and prior traditions.

An early reference to the three âpersonsâ of later Trinitarian doctrines appears towards the end of the first century, where rhetorically asks in his as to why corruption exists among some in the Christian community “Do we not have one God, and one Christ, and one gracious Spirit that has been poured out upon us, and one calling in Christ?” . A similar example is found in the first century , which directs Christians to “baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.

similarly refers to all three persons around AD 110, exhorting obedience to “Christ, and to the Father, and to the Spirit”. Though all of these early sources do reference the three persons of the Trinity, none articulate full divinity, equal status, or shared being as elaborated by Trinitarians in later centuries.

The pseudonymous , written sometime between the end of the first century and the beginning of the third century, possesses a “proto-trinitarian” view, such as in its narrative of how the inhabitants of the sixth heaven sing praises to “the primal Father and his Beloved Christ, and the Holy Spirit”.

Adoration of the Trinity

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