Portal:Community of Christ

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The Community of Christ Portal

Church seal on a set of doors to the Independence Temple

Community of Christ, known from 1872 to 2001 as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), is an American-based international church with roots in the Latter Day Saint movement. The church reports approximately 250,000 members in 60 nations. The church traces its origins to Joseph Smith's establishment of the Church of Christ on April 6, 1830, with the church formally reorganizing on April 6, 1860, following the death of Smith in 1844.

The Community of Christ is rooted in Restorationist traditions. Although in some respects it is congruent with mainline Protestant Christian attitudes, it is in many ways theologically distinct, continuing such features as prophetic revelation. It is the second-largest denomination within the Latter Day Saint movement.

Community of Christ follows a largely non-liturgical tradition based loosely on the Revised Common Lectionary. From its headquarters in Independence, Missouri, the church offers a special focus on evangelism, peace and justice ministries, spirituality and wholeness, youth ministries and outreach ministries. Church teachings emphasize that "all are called" as "persons of worth" to "share the peace of Christ".

Selected article

In the Community of Christ, formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, priesthood is God's power and authority to minister in the church and to conduct God's business on the earth. Although the church believes that all Christians are called by their gifts and talents to the ministry, priesthood is seen as a particular expression of universal ministry to which all are called. In the Community of Christ, both women and men can be ordained to the priesthood. All offices are deemed equal in importance, but the duties and responsibilities of each differ.

For a person to be called to the priesthood for the first time, his or her calling is typically discerned by the pastor of the local congregation. These priesthood calls are approved after review by a Mission Center President and vote of a congregational conference. For certain calls, the discernment will come through other church officials and approval will be voted upon at a Mission Center Conference or World Conference. Once the call has been administratively processed it is presented to the individual called. If that individual accepts the call and is sustained by a conference vote, he or she will be ordained to that office. Read more...

Selected history

Kirtland Temple in Kirtland, Ohio, USA. Dedicated in 1836

The history of the Community of Christ, formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, covers a period of approximately 200 years. The church's early history traces to the "grove experience" of Joseph Smith, who prayed in the woods near his home in Palmyra, New York, in the early-19th century. Several accounts of this experience have surfaced over the years. Most of the accounts share a common narrative indicating that when he went to the woods to pray, he experienced a period of encountering evil or despair, but then experienced an epiphany or vision in which he came to know and understand God's goodness. Later, as an adult, Smith founded the Church of Christ on April 6, 1830. Read more...

Selected biography

Photo of Fred M. Smith

Frederick Madison Smith (January 21, 1874 – March 20, 1946), generally known among his followers as "Fred M.", was an American religious leader and author and the third Prophet-President of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (renamed the Community of Christ in 2001), serving from 1915 until his death.

Smith's paternal grandfather was Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, and his father was Joseph Smith III, the first president after the Church's "Reorganization." The first graduate of Graceland University, Fred M. earned a Ph.D. in psychology from Clark University in 1916, setting him apart as one of the most highly educated members of his church at the time.

Smith's leadership was controversial. One biographer has called him "a man of paradox" and "one of the most controversial figures in Reorganization history." His presidency saw the church initiate a series of major projects, but it was also marred by the controversy over what became known as "Supreme Directional Control." Read more...

Selected Location

Side of the church

The Plano Stone Church, also known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was constructed in 1868 to serve as the headquarters for the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS) under the leadership of Joseph Smith III. Smith moved to Plano, Illinois, in 1866 and in 1867 was appointed head of the Stone Church's building committee. Smith and the committee selected the site, design and builder for the structure. The Plano Stone Church served as the headquarters of the RLDS from its completion in 1868 until Smith, his family, and the church moved to Lamoni, Iowa, in 1881.

The building is constructed in the Greek Revival style with exterior walls of sandstone. The interior consists of two rooms, a vestibule and the main room. The structure underwent a series of changes during the 1940s including the enclosure of two alcoves in the vestibule. Plano Stone Church was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1990. Read more...

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