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Splinter Group Community of Christ Part 4

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
October 2, 2020 11:57 am

Splinter Group Community of Christ Part 4

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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October 2, 2020 11:57 am

We are in the final week at looking at splinter groups of the “Restoration” of Joseph Smith. This is the largest of all groups (after the LDS Church), which was founded by Smith’s son Joseph III. It is based in Independence, MO and looks more like a liberal Protestant church than anything related to Mormonism. … Continue reading Splinter Group Community of Christ Part 4 →

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Viewpoint on Mormonism, the program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from a Biblical perspective. Viewpoint on Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism Research Ministry. Since 1979, Mormonism Research Ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's Viewpoint on Mormonism. You can be with us for this edition of Viewpoint on Mormonism.

I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism Research Ministry, and with me today is Eric Johnson, my colleague at MRM. We've been talking about the Community of Christ, one of many of the splinter groups of the Restoration Movement. Many of the groups that we've been covering, as we've mentioned, feel that they alone represent the church that Joseph Smith was called to restore. The community of Christ held a position like that in its earlier years, but it's kind of relaxed that position, whereas today, you could even break bread in communion with the church.

So we've been looking at some of these differences and similarities of these smaller groups, and this would be, as you said, Eric, one of the larger of the smaller groups, still claims to this day to have about 250,000 members. Today, we're going to look at this church's mission as well as its scripture, because even when it comes to scripture, there's going to be differences among these groups that come to this church. We claim that their church more closely represents what Joseph Smith was called to restore. They have several different mission initiatives, including inviting people to Christ and developing disciples to serve, experience congregations and mission, but I want to spend a little time talking about two of the other ones. One is abolish poverty and suffering, and it says helping those who are hurt, feeding the hungry, supporting compassionate ministries, and responding in times of crisis. And another one is pursue peace on earth.

It includes a daily afternoon prayer for peace, working with children, seeking justice, and uniting with others to make peace. I had said on an earlier broadcast that this church is very liberal, like a liberal Protestant denomination, perhaps, would think in the same way. They have attracted a lot of former Latter-day Saint members.

I don't know if many would be the right word, but we know they have two congregations here in Utah, one in Salt Lake City and one in Ogden. And a few years ago, they were very excited because there were many people leaving the LDS Church looking for something more liberal than the LDS Church. And so there are many socially liberal types of issues that the LDS Church does not agree with, such as homosexual marriage. They do not agree with a lot of the social justice issues that the community of Christ Church holds to. And with so many people leaving in the last few years, from the LDS Church, they have tried to get many of the younger members to join with them in accepting the social gospel that they have.

And so they're very much into social justice. And you can see that with those two points, abolishing poverty, ending suffering, pursuing peace on earth, very much a part of what this church is about. Bill, at Scripture, they do hold to similar but different Scriptures from what the LDS Church holds.

I want to read from their website. It says, Scripture is writing inspired by God's Spirit and accepted by the Church as the normative expression of its identity, message, and mission. We affirm the Bible as the foundational Scripture for the Church. In addition, community of Christ uses the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants not to replace the witness of the Bible or improve on it, but because they confirm its message that Jesus Christ is the living Word of God.

When responsibly interpreted and faithfully applied, Scripture provides divine guidance and inspired insight for our discipleship. Well, let's look at their Bible because we know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints uses as its official version the King James version of the Bible. The community of Christ, not so much. It used to use the Joseph Smith translation. In fact, if you were to buy a copy of the Joseph Smith translation, you're probably going to have to go to the community of Christ to buy one. It's not that there aren't others out there, but they're the ones that are pretty much known for selling that version of the Bible. But they don't often cite from the Joseph Smith translation. In fact, they don't even often cite from the King James version like their LDS counterparts. What version of the Bible do they mostly use? They don't have a literal interpretation of the Bible.

They give you freedom to be able to interpret the way you would like. They don't teach inerrancy of Scripture. It's not taught because what they say, quote, the things that I notice on their website is they believe that there have been many errors that have gotten into the biblical transcripts. And they even quote a liberal scholar, a liberal biblical scholar, Bart Ehrman, to say there are more variants than there are words in the manuscripts. And so they shed doubt as far as the accuracy of the Bible. So that makes me also wonder why are they using the NRSV rather than the inspired version when Joseph Smith supposedly fixed all of those errors?

You would think so. I mean, as you mentioned, Joseph Smith himself claimed that he finished this translation—and that word is in quotation marks, folks—but he did claim to finish it in 1833. You would think if he accomplished what God had told him to do, and he was commanded to do this in one of the Doctrine and Covenants, that they would be using that particular edition of the Bible.

But they don't. Bill, another Scripture they have is the Book of Mormon, and they have two official versions. The first one is from 1837. It's the second edition to the LDS Church, but they call it the Kirtland edition of the Book of Mormon. In 1966, the Church decided to print a revised, authorized edition that modernized the language. But they have backed off as far as their belief about what the Book of Mormon teaches, because in 2007 at a World Conference, the president, Stephen M. Veasey, did not allow a resolution to be brought to the floor to quote-unquote, re-affirm the Book of Mormon as a divinely inspired record.

And he went on to say, in the 1966 version, we were looking through that. It does have different chapters and verses and all the rest, but it has something interesting at the very beginning of it. Yeah, before I get into that paragraph called—it's under the heading of an invitation to read the Book of Mormon—how would you, Eric, as a Latter-day Saint, accept that statement from Stephen M. Veasey? Wouldn't you think a Latter-day Saint would think, that's anathema, that you would not consider the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God, especially since many Latter-day Saints see the production of the Book of Mormon as a vindication to Joseph Smith's calling? You take away the Book of Mormon, even Mormon leaders have said, you get rid of the Book of Mormon, and where is our religion?

We have none. They need this book to vindicate their founder. This is what it says under an invitation to read the Book of Mormon.

And again, I'm reading from the 1966 edition that is used by the community of Christ. Have you ever wondered about the source of the prehistoric ruins now being discovered on the American continents? Have you ever been curious to know who some of the prehistoric forefathers of the American Indian were? In the Book of Mormon, you'll find answers to these questions and many, many more. I would not think that a lot of Latter-day Saints would ascribe to that statement, because even the church has had to back off regarding the literal ancestry of the American Indian. I wonder if this is even still in their edition of the Book of Mormon, because again, this is an older copy that they produced many years ago. Bill, we talked to a local pastor of the community of Christ, and he said that the church pretty much allows people to believe whatever they want to believe. So I'm sure within this church of 250,000 people, there are some who believe in a literal Book of Mormon in the history, whether it's in Central or South America, whether it's on North America, you're free to choose that. But I find it interesting what he said in 2007 seems to be a step back as far as its authority.

And I'm going to tell you something. In all the research that I did on this church, I rarely saw anything from the Book of Mormon quoted. They like to quote the Bible a lot when they're talking about spiritual issues, but rarely will they do that with the Book of Mormon. There's one other scripture they have. It's called the Doctrine and Covenants, and they use different sections and verses. They do not have Doctrine and Covenants section 132. Joseph Smith talks about celestial marriage there. They don't hold to any kind of celestial marriage or polygamous marriage, so they're different there. But they also took out in 1970 verses supporting the baptism for the dead.

They don't hold to that. But they do have new sections written in recent years from the presidents, including sections 163 to 165, and the current president, Stephen Veazey, wrote those. And they're not written in the same style as you would find in the LDS version of the Doctrine and Covenants. It's almost written like advice that he's giving to his people.

But we talked to this local pastor I mentioned earlier, and he said those three sections are the most important sections in all of the Doctrine and Covenants. It was interesting in talking to that gentleman. A lot of it was his personal opinion.

He seemed to always want to qualify what he was about to say as, well, this is my position. It does go along with what you're saying. It's kind of like you can believe pretty much whatever you want and be a part of this church that are not going to be all that strict regarding perhaps even what doctrine you believe. And that's what we want to talk about in tomorrow's show. We want to look more closely at what the community of Christ, formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, believes when it comes to the subject of the Godhead, the subject of humanity, the subject of salvation in the church. Bill, if people would like to read more about this, my article is on slash C-O-C.

There's a lot of information we've covered this week. We haven't covered every single issue, but I think if you want to find out more about this church so that when somebody comes to you and says, well, what church do you go to? And you tell them your church or what denomination, and they say, well, I belong to the One True Church. I think it's important for people to know that there are other churches out there also claiming that they have a direct connection to Joseph Smith and his teachings.

Thank you for listening. If you would like more information regarding Mormonism Research Ministry, we encourage you to visit our website at, where you can request our free newsletter, Mormonism Researched. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint on Mormonism. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, is a huge topic of interest among many Bible-believing Christians who want to reach their LDS friends and loved ones with the biblical message of hope and grace. If you're a Christian who wants to be better informed about the beliefs of the Mormon people, Mormonism Research Ministry wants to be a resource for you. Since 1979, Mormonism Research Ministry has worked hard to clearly articulate Mormon doctrine and history in order to better understand the issues that separate Mormonism from the Christian faith.

At, you'll find links to hundreds of articles as well as dozens of videos that will effectively educate you on this fascinating topic. Should your church need a live presentation? Simply contact MRM and schedule one of our several PowerPoint presentations that have helped thousands of Christians better understand the beliefs of their LDS neighbors. To schedule MRM at your church, write us at or call 801-572-2153. Let MRM help you become a confident ambassador for Christ.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-25 00:43:37 / 2024-02-25 00:48:50 / 5

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