Last modified on December 19, 2010, at 00:07

Community of Christ

The Community of Christ is a denomination based in Independence, Missouri with its roots in the Latter-day Saints movement of Joseph Smith. It was founded in 1860 and, until 2001, was known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS).


After the assassination of Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1844, there was a debate over whom his successor as leader of the church would be. The largest group followed Brigham Young to Utah and became the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or "Mormons)." It is by far the largest of the Latter-day Saint groups. Smaller groups followed other leaders who claimed to be Joseph Smith's successor, such as James Strang who led a group to Wisconsin.

Many of Smith's followers remained behind in Missouri. Along with other scattered Saints, they eventually organized as the RLDS church. The RLDS church accepts the Book of Mormon and the Inspired Version of the Bible as scripture, as well as an RLDS-specific edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Recent years

In recent years the RLDS church has altered some of its beliefs dealing with the nature of God and the sacraments, moving in the direction of conventional Protestant theology but without giving up the Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants. It sought to establish ties to the National Council of Churches. Unlike the Utah-based church, the Community of Christ rejects the name 'Mormon' as a term applying to itself.

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