The Re-organized Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints
Community of Christ
Smith was killed several prophets
claimed that God or some heavenly messenger had told them that the mantle had fallen
recently changed their name to Community of Christ for the public. The Re-organized
Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saint will continue to be their legal name.
The headquarters stayed in Illinois through the 1800s
then in the early years of 1900 the headquarters moved to Independence.
Over the years members have quit attending over issues such as presidential succession, more open Communion, and especially ordination of women. Instead of formally withdrawing their membership, former attendees have started their own congregations with the aim of retaining Smith's original intention. These spinoffs have names such as the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Church of Jesus Christ Center Branch Restoration.
The tradition of having a descendent of Joseph Smith as
president which was the original reason they separated from Brigham Young was broken
in 1996. W. Grant McMurray was appointed the head and for the first time since the
RLDS organized in 1860 that a descendant of smith had not led the church. McMurray
whose vote was nearly unanimous into
the RLDS church office Smith's
great-grandson, Wallace B. Smith who had no male heir, he chose McMurray as his
successor. McMurray earned his master of divinity degree at a United Methodist
seminary. In an effort to increase membership, the RLDS has abandoned language that
defined the church as the truest reflection of Smith's vision. The RLDS, with its
leaning toward Trinitarian theology, no longer emphasizes the beliefs that make it
distinct from Protestants.
In 1984 they began ordaining women and now have more than
5,000 women among its 19,000 ordained leaders. In April, the RLDS World Conference
approved appointing two women to the church's Council of Twelve Apostles. The Mormon
Church has only male leadership, from the local to national levels.
Basic doctrinal Agreements with Mormonism
There was a complete apostasy in the
early Christian church, there needed a restoration. God and Christ spoke to Joseph
Smith Joseph and
raised him up as the prophet of this final restoration. The Angel, Moroni appeared to
Joseph Smith and led him to the discovery of the gold plates.
The RLDS versions of the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants
[D&C] are considered to be scripture
containing the continuity of divine revelation, through Joseph Smith (and their own
individual prophets (as edited by their own group). They also accept Joseph
Smith's rewritten version of the Bible, as the Inspired Version as scripture. The copyright which has always been in the possession of the RLDS group.
Those who do not hear the RLDS gospel in this life will have another opportunity in
the next (D&C 76:6c). This is the very same teaching of the Mormon church has
with Spirit missionaries The restoration of the
Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood. Baptism For the remission of sins (Baptismal
regeneration). Jesus will return to, Independence, Missouri for
His thousand year reign of peace. (I.V.
of Gen. 7:20-25, D and C 57, Times and Seasons, Vol. 3, p. 710).
has three levels (D and C 76:5-7). The holy Sprit is mostly regarded as `the living
power and presence of God.' The Church
believes in an open canon and present-day revelation. their doctrines are in a
state of change.
They do not accept the pearl of
Great Price. They reject baptism for the Dead. Marriage is for our time not eternity.
The RLDS church rejects the LDS doctrine of the nature of God and Man's progression
to Godhood on another planet entirely. They
do not hold to Adam being the God of this world as Brigham young taught. They do not
believe in temple secret initiation rites, or closed temples or services from which the
public is barred. They reject the whole
system of temple rituals, secret names, signs, oaths, and handshakes for salvation
believing them not to have any effect in this
life or in the next. According to the RLDS Church has always denounced
polygamy and rejects that Joseph Smith was ever a
practicing polygamist, or the originator of this teaching. The RLDS Church has never held the
view of the blacks not able to hold the priesthood (as the LDS church did until 1978)
although Joseph Smith III claimed to have received a revelation which warned the RLDS
Church to not be hasty in ordaining men of the Negro race to offices in my
church since all are not acceptable unto me as servants ... (Reorganized
Doctrine and Covenants 116:4.) The LDS Church practices the tithe as 1/10 of one's
net income after all obligations are met. The
RLDS rejects the doctrine that Adam is the God of this present world and in so doing
rejects Brigham Youngs revelation . One of the major differences is that the RDLS
do not send missionaries which may explain the lack of growth over the years.
While the RLDS church operates from a base that seems like orthodox doctrine regarding the nature of God and man, they still uphold many of the doctrines of Joseph Smith.
Recognize that the perception of truth is always qualified by human nature and
experience, there is no official creed of the church that must be accepted by all
members, the creed of the Church is all truth. They do encourage people to
pursue the scriptures on their own.
The Nature of God
reinterpretation of Jn.1:1 In the beginning was the gospel preached through the
son, and the gospel was the word and the word was with the son,
and the son was with God, and the son was of God.
they affirm the son is the word they ignore the intended meaning that he is God. They
quote Isa.9:6 The Jews never conceived of him as God the ultimate being. They
interpret the Christian view of Jesus as a creature called into existence by a
God exists in modes of being which mortals describe as Creator (Father), the Word made flesh (Son), and quickening power (Holy Spirit)
This is called modalism which J. Smith had first taught before he progressed further away form understanding the Scriptures.
Jesus Christ is God with us, the Son of God, and the living expression of God in the flesh. Jesus Christ lived, was crucified, died, and rose again. The nature, love, and purpose of God are most clearly seen in Jesus Christ, our Savior.
The Holy Spirit is the continuing presence of God in the world. The Spirit works in our minds and hearts through intelligence, comfort, guidance, love, and power to sustain and inspire us. God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are One.
They may say it this way but they do
not mean theyre are one God. Kurt
Goedelman of Personal Freedom Outreach, points out, While it is easy to find
stated that the Father and Son are regarded as persons in RLDS literature, it is
difficult to find references to the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost) as a person. Rather,
He is mainly regarded as `the living power and presence of God' (Quarterly
Journal, Vol. 8, No. 1, p. 7).
salvation -Those who accept the gospel are called to respond to Christ though baptism
and by becoming committed disciples. As individuals exercise faith in Christ, and
mold their lives to his example and teachings, they become new people.
of this can be agreed upon but what do they mean by these terms and how is this
practiced? What gospel, which Christ?
They agree that the authority of Christ was lost and the
church went into a total apostasy. That it required a restoration by Smith. There is
the need for a continuing prophet/revelator. Their restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods
are necessary to function. While the RLDS church operates from a base of orthodox
doctrine regarding the nature of God and man, they have added many of the doctrines
of Joseph Smith to the gospel of grace. Their extra-Biblical scripture all take away
from the bibles revelation the finished work of Christ as well as salvation by the
grace of God. Change is good even if it is in the wrong direction at least they are
open. They have along way to go but there is still hope as they are heading for
change in the right direction.