ALL the News about
Mormons, Mormonism
and the LDS Church
Mormon News: All the News about Mormons, Mormonism and the LDS Church
Posted 09 Apr 2002   For week ended January 25, 2002
Most Recent Week
Front Page
Local News
Arts & Entertainment
·New Products
·New Websites
·Mormon Stock Index
Letters to Editor
Continuing Coverage of:
Boston Temple
School Prayer
Julie on MTV
Robert Elmer Kleasen
About Mormon News
News by E-Mail
Weekly Summary
Submitting News
Submitting Press Releases
Volunteer Positions
Bad Link?

News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 28Jan02
By Rosemary Pollock
Download to My Handheld!

Community of Christ Takes Its Own Road

INDEPENDENCE, MISSOURI -- While the Olympic world will be focusing on Salt Lake City and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, members of the former Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took on a new name last year and swapped the "RLDS" moniker for the new "Community of Christ." Shifts at the Independence-based church go deeper than the name change and some say the focus is away from the Book of Mormon and more into the mainstream.

"Our old name was definitely an impediment to us expressing who we are rather than who we are not," said Linda Booth, a member of the Community of Christ's Council of the Twelve Apostles. "Now we're not being defensive about who we are not."

Jan Shipps, professor emeritus of religious studies and history at Indiana University-Purdue University and author of the book "Sojourner in the Promised Land: Forty Years Among the Mormons" views the change as more than a name. "Members of the Community of Christ have taken a very different path. They have always been more in the pattern of creating themselves as a denomination than as a separate religious tradition," Shipps said.

The futuristic appearance of the Community of Christ's church with its towering conch shell of a temple is enough to convince a casual visitor that this church is not from old-line denominations like the Presbyterians or Episcopalians. Built in 1994 at a cost of $60 million, the asymmetrical glass spiral towers above the quiet town of Kansas City like a science fiction fantasy.

Open to the public, church members hold a "Prayer for Peace" dedicated to different countries. "We proclaim Jesus Christ and promote communities of joy, hope, love and peace," a statement reads as part of the mission statement. The group unites around two principles: first, that Joseph Smith III was the church's true head; and second, that polygamy had no place in the church doctrine. Many members, according to Booth, don't believe that the Book of Mormon should be taken literally. "You will find those who believe that it's the most important scripture," she said. "That's the wonder of the church: that so many people can have different beliefs and come together."

Today, as many as 50,000 members worldwide have left their names on the Community of Christ's membership rolls. But some like Tim Davis, an inactive member of Community of Christ in Independence feels differently. "Unfortunately, I personally am friends with many others like myself who have become disenchanted with the church," he said. "The sense that we get is of a church that's becoming more like some liberal Protestant denomination as opposed to a more conservative Protestant group."

"We went through a time when we were called to be a people transformed," Booth said. "Often with those experiences you have a new sense of identity. We do still honor our history, but it's a calling forth from our history to always be aware of our mission."


Mormons' Cousins in Missouri on New Path
Salt Lake Tribune 19Jan02 N5
By Hannah Wolfson: Special to the Salt Lake Tribune


[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information