Topic Pages: Community of Christ

June 20, 2022


2020: Emily Clyde Curtis, “Mormon Women in the Ministry,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 53 No. 1 (2020): 129-142.

Interview with Brittany Mangelson who is a full-time minister for Community of Christ. She has a master of arts in religion from Graceland University and works as a social media seeker ministry specialist

2018: Andrew Bolton, “British Latter Day Saint Conscientious Objectors in World War I,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 51 No. 4 (2018): 49-76.

What of the Latter Day Saint movement that claimed to prophetically discern the times and seasons of these latter days and also boldly proclaimed that they were the restoration church?

2017: Chrystal Vanel, “Community of Christ: An American Progressive Christianity, with Mormonism as an Option,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 50 No. 3 (2017): 89-115.

I thus argue that Mormonism exists wherever there is belief in the Book of Mormon, even though many adherents reject the term “Mormonism” to distance themselves from the LDS Church headquartered in Salt Lake City.

2014: Hugo Olaiz, “The Kirtland Temple as a Shared Space: A Conversation with David J. Howlett,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 47 No. 1 (2014): 104-124.

Of all the Mormon historical sites that ended up in the hands of the RLDS Church (today known as the Community of Christ), none is more significant for the LDS Church than the Kirtland Temple.

2007: David J. Howlett, “The Death and Resurrection of the RLDS Zion: A Case Study in “Failed Prophecy 1930-70,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 40 No. 3 (2007): 112-134.

On Resurrection Sunday, April 1930, Bishop J. A. Koehler of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints attended a priesthood prayer meeting at the Stone Church RLDS congregation in Independence, Missouri.

2006: Roger D. Launius, “Is Joseph Smith Relevant to the Community of Christ?,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 39 No. 4 (2006): 59-69.

I spoke as a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints/Communit y of Christ. As a result, I had a decidedly different perspective on Joseph Smith than my co-panelists.

2006: William Russell, “Grant McMurray and the Succession Crisis in the Community of Christ,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 39 No. 4 (2006): 67-90.

Members of the Community of Christ were shocked when our president, W. Grant McMurray, announced that he had resigned on November 29, 2004 , effective immediately.

2005: William Russell, “The Remnant Church: An RLDS Schismatic Group Finds a Prophet of Joseph’s Seed,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 38 No. 3 (2005): 26-54.

When the 1984 conference approved Section 156 , which also indicated that the soon-to-be-built temple in Independence would be dedicated to the pursuit of peace, it became clear that the largest “schism”—separation from the unity of the Church—in the history of the RLDS Church was in the making.

2004: O. Kendall White Jr. and Daryl White, “Ecclesiastical Polity and the Challenge of Homosexuality: Two Cases of Divergence within the Mormon TraditionDialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 37 No. 4 (2004): 67-90.

The respective websites of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and th e Community of Christ, provide explicit access to the public images both churches wish to project. Upon these website’s denominations articulates its position on homosexuality. 

2004: Andrew Bolton, “Anabaptism, the Book of Mormon, and the Peace Church OptionDialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 37 No. 1 (2004): 75-94.

However, Mennonites and Latter Day Saints may be spiritual cousins. A sympathetic comparison of the origins of both movements may illuminate their past and also assist in contemporary living of the gospel of shalom.

2004: Matthew Bolton, “Postscript from Iraq: A Flicker of Hope in Conflict’s Moral TwilightDialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 37 No. 1 (2004): 180-187.

It was as I waded through the sewage, stagnant in the streets of one of Africa’s biggest slums—Mukuru, Nairobi, Kenya—while on an assignment with the Community of Christ-sponsore  WorldService Corps in summer 2000, that I was first struck by the enormity of the world’s problems and the horrifying conditions faced by the majority of its inhabiants.

2003: William D. Russell, “The LDS Church and Community of Christ: Clearer Differences, Closer FriendsDialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 36 No. 4 (2003): 177-192.

In this paper I will briefly discuss what I see as the six major differences between the two churches during the first century of their existence, and then I will look at eight new differences that have emerged over the past forty years or so. I make no claim that either is a complete list.

2003: William D. Russell, “Ordaining Women and the Transformation from Sect to DenominationDialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 36 No. 3 (2003): 61-64.

Over the past forty years the top leadership of the Community of Christ church (until recently the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ o f Latter -Day Saints) has gone through significant changes in religious thought. I have contended elsewhere that the decisive changes occurred in the 1960s.

1998: Roger D. Launius, “The Reorganized Church, the Decade of Decision, and the Abilene ParadoxDialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 31 No. 1 (1998): 47-65.

In this essay I intend to build on my earlier work on the Reorganized Church and the decade of decision it faces in the 1990s.

1997: Roger D. Launius, “Pretender to the Throne? R.C. Evans and the Problem of Presidential Succession in the ReorganizationDialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 30 No. 2 (1997): 47-65.

Born into a Canadian family living in St. Andrews, Ontario Province, on 20 October 1861 , Richard C. Evans rose to fame and power experienced by few other members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

1996: Paul Edwards, “Scripture, History, and Faith: A Round Table DiscussionDialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 29 No. 4 (1996): 89-120.

Scripture is both relevant and irrelevant. That which makes it scripture, its relevance for all time, makes me believe that scriptures available to the Mormon community are just as valid now as they would be in any other day and age.

1995: Roger D. Launius, “Coming of Age? The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the 1960sDialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 28 No. 4 (1996): 31-55.

In many respects the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints of the 1960s mirrored the general tumult, if not the details, of the larger American society.

1994: Roger D. Launius, “The “New Social History” and the “New Mormon History”: Reflections on Recent TrendsDialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 27 No. 1 (1994): 109-123.

My own analysis of the state of Mormon history suggests that the field, while other factors have also been at work, suffers from some of the exclusiveness and intellectual imperialism that were nurtured during the glory days of the “New Mormon History ” in the 1970s.

1991: Lee Copeland, “Speaking in Tongues in the Restoration ChurchesDialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 24 No. 1 (1991): 13-35.

However, during the mid-1800s, speaking in tongues was so commonplace in the LDS and RLDS churches that a person who had not spoken  in tongues, or who had not heard others do so, was a rarity.

1991: Richard A. Brown, “The Temple in Zion: A Reorganized Perspective on a Latter-day Saint InstitutionDialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 24 No. 1 (1991): 97-100.

Bewilderment etched on the man’s face. “You mean, there will be absolutely no rites or special ordinances at all in your temple? Well, then, why build it?” Such comments maybe typical of LDS responses to the RLDS temple in Independence , Missouri.

1990: Roger D. Launius, “An Ambivalent Rejection: Baptism for the Dead and the Reorganized Church Experience,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 23 No. 2 (1990): 61-84.

While midwestern and mountain Mormonism sprang from the same historical roots, their theological development took such different courses that today they probably diverge to a greater degree than do the doctrines of the Reorganization and many other contemporary American Christian churches.

1990: Grant Underwood, “Baptism for the Dead: Comparing RLDS and LDS Perspectives,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 23 No. 2 (1990): 99-105.

The matter came to a head at the 1970 RLDS World Conference. There, the body of the church rejected as revelations the three sections of the Doctrine and Covenants dealing with baptism for the dead.

1989: Gary Shepherd, “The RLDS Conference: The Conferring Church by M. Richard Troeh and Marjorie Troeh,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 22 No. 2 (1989): 146-147.

In The Conferring Church, Richard and Marjorie Troeh present a detailed description of the RLDS conference process.

1989: Robert J. McCue, “The Restoration in British Columbia,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 22 No. 1 (1989): 69-75.

This essay focuses on the efforts of both groups to establish congregations in Canada’s far west and explores why the growth of the Latter-day Saint and Reorganized Latter Day Saint churches in British Columbia became so lopsided after World War II.

1987: Roger D. Launius, “Methods and Motives: Joseph Smith III’s Opposition to Polygamy, 1860-90,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 20 No. 4 (1987): 77-85.

When Joseph Smith III preached his first sermon as a leader of the Reoganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at Amboy, Illinois, on 6 April 1860, he expressed his unqualifed aversion to the Mormon doctrine of plural marriage. 

1986: Paul M. Edwards, “Leadership and the Ethics of Prophecy,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 19 No. 4 (1986): 77-85.

The role of leadership within the Mormon community is vastly interrelated, and thus often confused , with management.

1986: A. Bruce Lindgren, “Sign or Scripture: Approaches to the Book of Mormon,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 19 No. 1 (1986): 69-75.

How does the Book of Mormon present the basic doctrines of the gospel? What role should the Book of Mormon play in our religious and intellectual lives?

1985: Sterling M. McMurrin, “To Sustain the Heart – Preface to Faith: A Philosophical Inquiry into RLDS Beliefs by Paul M. Edwards,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 18 No. 4 (1985): 189-190.

It is perhaps fair to say that Edwards’s work is almost a pioneering effort in defining and systematizing the basic ingredients of RLDS philosophy.

1985: Larry W. Conrad and Paul Shupe, “An RLDS Reformation? Construing the Task of RLDS Theology,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 18 No. 2 (1985): 92-113.

During the last twenty-five years, Reorganized Latter Day Saints have struggled to discover what it means to be the body of Christ in the modern world.

1984: L. Madelon Brunson, “Stranger in a Strange Land: A Personal Response to the 1984 Document,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 17 No. 3 (1984): 11-16.

Delegates of the 1970 conference moved to adopt a resolution which stated that women constituted a majority of the church membership but had limited opportunity to act as representatives.

1984: Paul M. Edwards, “Women and Priesthood: RLDS Priesthood: Structure and Process,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 17 No. 3 (1984): 6-10.

It sometimes appears that RLDS members are more impressed with receiving an inspired document from the Prophet than they are with what it says.

1984: Paul M. Edwards, “Being Mormon: An RLDS Response,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 17 No. 1 (1984): 106-112.

To be a Mormon — in the generic use of that term — is an attitude: an attitude of uniqueness — of peculiarity — • which makes itself known in behavior, in beliefs, in relationships, in inquiries and, most of all, in religious expression.

1983: Robert D. Hutchins, “An RLDS Leader – F. M. Smith: Saint as Reformer 1874-1946 by Larry E. Hunt,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 16 No. 4 (1983): 154.

Few scholars have studied the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and fewer still have studied its leaders.

1983: Paul M. Edwards, “‘Moonbeams From a Larger Lunacy”’ Poetry in the Reorganization,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 16 No. 4 (1983): 22–31.

This study addresses poetry within the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and defines an RLDS poet as someone who belongs to the RLDS church and who has published poetry in some form or other.

1983: Karen Lynn, “The 1981 RLDS Hymnal: Songs More Brightly Sung,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 16 No. 4 (1983): 33–42.

About ten years ago the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints decided that its 1956 hymnal was already becoming out of date. An RLDS Hymnal Committee was commissioned to begin work on a new volume, and the result, Hymns of the Saints, was published in 1981. Hymns of the Saints is more than just a revision or reediting of the 1956 hymnal; out of 501 hymns and responses, more than a third are new to this collection.

1979: William L. Russell, “A Priestly Role for a Prophetic Church: The RLDS Church and Black Americans,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 12 No. 2 (1979): 37–50.

In recent years many RLDS Church members have been proud of the fact that the church has been ordaining blacks into the priesthood since early in its history. Sometimes they have made unfavorable comparisons between RLDS policy and that of their cousins in Utah who denied holy orders to black men and women until last year when half of the restriction was lifted.

1978: Douglas D. Alder and Paul M. Edwards, “Common Beginnings, Divergent Beliefs,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 11 No. 1 (1978): 19–31.

Within two years of his assasination, however, the Church was torn by succession struggles that led to dispersion. Almost a century and a half later, the whereabouts of many of these saints is still unknown.

1978: William L. Russell, “The Rise and Fall of Courage, an Independent RLDS Journal,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 11 No. 1 (1978): 115–119.

Although Courage struck a responsive chord in quite a few hearts, its readers did not support it to the extent the editors had expected. Appealing only to a minority in a small church, and without either sufficient subscribers or a financial “angel/  Courage died after its eleventh number (Winter/Spring 1973).

1977: Edna K. Bush, “‘And It Came To Pass’ – The Book of Mormon, RLDS 1966 editing,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 10 No. 4 (1977): 139–143.

Most Latter-day Saints probably would be surprised to learn the Book of Mormon is available in modern English and has been for over a decade. More recently the 1966 RLDS “reader’s edition” has been republished in paperback by Pyramid Publications and is now turning  up at local bookstores.

1976: Robert Flanders, “Some Reflections on the New Mormon History,Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 9 No. 1 (1976): 34–42.

Historical studies embrace the most extensive, intensive, and well-matured of the scholarly endeavors which have the Restoration as their subject. The paucity of critical writings in the various fields of theology and philosophy is by comparison especially striking.

1966: Robert Bruce Flanders, “Writing the Mormon Past.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 1 No. 3 (1966): 47–62.

Understanding Mormon history involves appreciating some of the formidable obstacles which confront throse who seek to write it. There is still sensitivity among Mormons to probing that might bring embarrassment to cherished offical views of Latter-day Saint orgins, martyrs, or heroes.