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October 2, 2020 11:50 am
Reason 101 for teams is a valuable resource for anyone wanting a simplified view of the Mormon religion from a Christian perspective.
Mormonism 101 for teens is available at the Utah lighthouse bookstore in Salt Lake City or MRM.org's commandment examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective view .1 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. What is the community of Christ. Welcome to this additional viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM we been looking at a member of the what we call splinter groups, organizations with in the restoration movement and what I mean by that phrase restoration movement is of course the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints claims that it has a restored gospel. It is a restored church. In other words, they feel that they more closely represent the church that Christ wanted and had to found through their prophet Joseph Smith Junior there are a number of groups, however, that are broken away and gone in their own direction but still claiming Joseph Smith to be the primary mover within their organization.
Even though these organizations are not really connected organizationally, but the community of Christ and this is the largest of the groups that claim Joseph Smith as their founding prophet, headquartered in Independence, Missouri.
It used to be known as the reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and that's what were going to be talking about this week. It is pretty prominent. They don't have a whole lot of members you would say for how long they've been around, but they do claim to have about 1/4 of a million, but Eric you were telling me that trying to find the specific membership number is very difficult.
They've gone through periods of losing a lot of members and did they get all those members back today make up for those members in foreign countries.
It's kind of hard to tell because even though this is one of the groups that has its own website and there is a lot of information on their website. Some of the information is not as specific as we would like a bill this church. As you mentioned, was once called the reorganized Church of Jesus Christ are LDS.
In fact, many people may know the term are LDS but not know the term the community Christ, but they changed their name a couple of decades ago when the founder of this church in 1860 was Joseph Smith the third. He is the son of Joseph Smith that we should mention that a lot of these groups broke away from other groups mainly for doctrinal problems that they saw. This is one of those groups that I would say kind of fell victim to the fact that Joseph Smith did not have an endgame should he die sooner than expected, and I guarantee you folks Joseph Smith did not plan on dying at the age of 38 in Carthage jail in 1844 and what that does is it leaves this big huge question as to who is going to be Joseph Smith's successor. Now we know that Sidney Rigdon Rigdon was very close to Joseph Smith in the early years of this movement and then Brigham Young comes later on in Brigham Young ends up taking over the leadership after the death of Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, as we've mentioned in this series, goes off into the sunset and you don't hear much of him anymore, but there is controversy as to whether or not Brigham Young should be the rightful heir or should it have been Joseph Smith, the third Joseph Smith's son, and of course this movement interesting enough, has had leaders for much of its history that were Smith's they were related to Joseph Smith and will talk about how that changed in the 1990s, but still this was kind of like their claim to fame that all their leaders were related to Joseph Smith while the church is not really related to the LDS church.
As far as his belief system and the way that they do things they do have a first presidency. Today, the current leader is not a Smith but he has been around for a while. Pres. Steven M. Veazey, and he has two counselors K. Scott Murphy and a female Becky L Savage so they do have the first presidency just like the LDS church does along with 12 apostles and the reason why Becky L Savage is a part of that first presidency is because Wallace Smith was the one who initiated ordaining women within the are LDS or community of Christ should also be mentioned that it was Wallace B. Smith, who did not have a male heir to succeed him and and so this opening up the priesthood to females. I guess you could say became an active necessity.
There was no way they were going to have a male related to Joseph Smith because there were none to be found. You mentioned Bell that the church is centered in Independence, Missouri, or its headquarters are. They have a temple there that has a spiral echo like a conical shaped look to it and it's very unique. If you want to go online you can actually see that or you go to our website and MRM.org/COC. I have a picture of that at the very top. You can see that temple but you mentioned the numbers 250,000 is what they say they have and that has been consistent over the past decade, at least they have said this for a while. It seems kind of strange. They don't have exact numbers like the LDS church will come out every April and say what their exact number is. So if you believe it 250,000. They say they have 1100 congregations in 59 countries and 60% live in North America and the rest are from around the world. But what's an interesting fact, more than half of all the active members speak a primary language other than English, and we have found that in the series that we have done with the splinter groups is that many of them are in other countries outside of North America. Now they do have temples and one is in Kirtland, Ohio and the other is in Independence Missouri that you just mentioned, the one in Kirtland, Ohio goes back to the 1830s. It has a lot of historical significance, but they do not have similar rituals as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints of course in Mormonism marriages play a prominent role in temples in their temples for time and eternity as well as baptisms for the dead. This organization does not have baptism for the dead and they do not believe that men can become gods in the next life and rule their own worlds, as many in the LDS church believe we been to both of those temples and the one in Kirtland Ohio is is kind of interesting but it was more of a meeting house if anything else and you might say that the one in Independence Missouri is used very similarly, as let's say the conference center that is used by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which is across from the Salt Lake Temple, and when you say that we been inside of them.
You're allowed to go into these temples. It's not like the LDS temples and will talk about this a little more later in the week, but they do have one other visitor center in Naboo. They have several different historical sites heir you and I have been to the red brick store and a few other places. So if you were to want to learn more at visitor centers.
These would be the places you would go, you go to the temple in Kirtland you go the temple in Independence, or you go to the places they have another that you mentioned love who I recall when you and I were in Nauvoo we were visiting a lot of these buildings and it's kind of divided up the community of Christ owns buildings in one area of town. The LDS own buildings and the other part of town but there was one thing that we both recognized and that is when you went to the sites owned by the community of Christ and you ask questions of the tour guides.
They seem to be much more willing to talk about some of its controversy all history, more so than the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I remember being in the red brick store and having a conversation with the tour guide there and I was amazed at how much information we receive from this individual not afraid to talk about some of those areas of history that I find most Latter Day Saints if they even knew about this history would probably not want to talk about so freely. One of the things we talk about later in the week is doctrine and they are very liberal in their doctrine.
They emphasize social justice issues. Issues involving peace in the world very much. I would say like a liberal Protestant denomination.
There are two churches in Utah.
One is in Salt Lake City and outside of where this church in Salt Lake City is located. They are flying a rainbow flag which tells you a lot about what their perception is as far as social issues like sexuality, they do have four scriptures and that would be the Bible, the book of Mormon and him and it's its own version from 1966 and they also have their own version of the doctrine and covenants and still been added to infect Stephen Veazey, the president of the church today has added three of his own doctrine and covenants sections as far as the church's motto. The church has a motto that it has the very top of its website and it says this we proclaim Jesus Christ and promote communities of joy help love and peace and as you look through their website. As you study this religion, you'll see that you will get a very good dose of peace in the world and the hope that we can all just get along together.
In fact, we were talking to one minister of this church and very much into social justice issues that he would say black lives matter. He's 100% behind as far as that organization. I think one other thing that needs to be said to our audience because we usually are talking about Mormonism. If you're going to talk to somebody from the community of Christ realize that people who belong to this church. Normally, not all of them but most of them are offended if you call them Mormon, and so would Latter Day Saints. But even if you try to say are you an extension of the LDS church. They don't like to be associated because there is no official relationship between the LDS church and the community of Christ. Now, in the earlier days the two groups did not have a lot of fondness for one another, but they seem in recent years to have reached out to each other in a friendly gesture yeah goes back to when I said earlier that Smith did not have plans for what would happen after he was to pass away, or any rules for a new successor that caused a lot of confusion. So you would have the community of Christ would look at themselves as perhaps being the rightful heir to this movement because of the fact that their first president was Joseph Smith the third related to Joseph Smith Junior, the founder of the church of Christ, later to be known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and they would say that Brigham Young did not have the authority to be the next leader of the church. Now you have to understand folks, Emma Smith, the widow of Joseph Smith did not like Brigham Young at all. And Brigham Young did not like her. He had some pretty bad things to say about Emma Smith. Later on in his life. Many Latter Day Saints have left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the last few years because of some of the issues they disagree women not being able to hold the priesthood and other issues like that and we have found out that many former members of the LDS church have moved over here because they felt more comfortable to go to a place where you did not have as much dogmatism being thrown your way that you had a chance to believe what you wanted to believe and I think that is a big attraction of this church were those who are leaving the LDS church tomorrow are going to continue looking at history, as well as some of the doctrines that they consider to be important. Thank you for listening you would like more information regarding this research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website www.mrm.org you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint is sharing your faith with the Latter Day Saints helps to know what their church is taught in several basic topics. For this reason, the research ministry has provided its crash course Mormonism crash course, Mormonism includes concise articles highlighting what LDS leaders and church manuals have taught one issues that will probably come up in a typical conversation. You can find these informative articles and crash course Mormonism.com that's crash course Mormonism.com