Open Dialogue With Latter-Day Saints


hile we seek dialogue with all members of the Restoration, Community of Christ does not proselytize active Latter-day Saints. In fact, we do not proselytize anyone in an effort to change their faith.

We call investigators of our church “Seekers;” We call our LDS friends, “Latter-Day Seekers.” Recognizing that some individuals who visit our page may be of the Restoration background, we have a website where those interested in Community of Christ can go to learn more about some parallels and differences:

If you are disaffected—deeply frustrated, and perhaps thinking of leaving, or who have left the LDS Church—we encourage you to consider Community of Christ Salt Lake City as a spiritual home  We honor the journey of each of our members. We invite you to come and see!

Differences Between LDS & Community of Christ

While Community of Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have a similar tradition and history, they are not related ecumenically. While we acknowledge our past, we have claimed a very different future for our Restorationist beliefs.

Does Community of Christ have an open canon?

Yes, similar to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Community of Christ also believes in an open canon.


What does open canon mean? 

In a spiritual context, "open canon" refers to the belief that divine revelation is not confined to a closed set of scriptures but continues to unfold over time. This principle allows for the possibility of new revelations, teachings, or scriptures to be added to the body of spiritual texts considered authoritative or sacred by a religious community. Community of Christ, a Christian denomination originating from the Latter Day Saint movement, is an example of a faith tradition that embraces the concept of an open canon.


We hold that God continues to inspire and reveal new insights and directions to humanity, which can complement or expand upon existing scriptures. This openness to ongoing revelation means that our canon of scripture includes not only the Bible and the Book of Mormon but also the Doctrine and Covenants, which is a collection of revelations and inspired documents that have been accepted by the church over time. We periodically add to the Doctrine and Covenants as they discern new revelations through their leadership and community consensus, reflecting our belief in a living faith that evolves in response to God's continuing guidance.


This belief in an open canon underscores a broader theological stance that God's communication with humanity is not limited by time or by previously established texts. It emphasizes the dynamic and living relationship between the divine and the faithful, suggesting that revelation is an ongoing process that can address the changing needs, challenges, and understandings of a religious community.

What does Community of Christ believe about the Bible?

Community of Christ has a distinctive view of the Bible that reflects its unique theological and historical context. Here are the key aspects of our views on the Bible:


The Bible as Scripture: Community of Christ regards the Bible as sacred scripture. We teach that the Bible is an essential witness to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and is foundational for the church's doctrine and practice.

Open Canon Principle: Unlike many traditional Christian denominations that consider the canon of the Bible closed, we operate with an open canon principle. This means that while the Bible is highly valued as scripture, it is not the church's only scripture. We also regard the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants—two texts originating from the early Latter Day Saint movement—as scripture. This open canon approach reflects the belief that God continues to reveal divine will and guidance to the church.

Interpretation and Context: We emphasize the importance of interpreting the Bible within its historical and cultural context. We encourage scholarly study of the Bible and recognizes that understanding the context in which biblical texts were written is crucial for applying their teachings today.

Authority and Revelation: While the Bible holds authoritative status within Community of Christ, we also teach that scripture must be interpreted in the light of continuing revelation. This means that current revelation, as understood through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and through the prophetic leadership of the church, can complement, enrich, and in some cases, reframe the understanding of biblical texts.

Diverse Perspectives: We acknowledge that there are diverse interpretations of the Bible within the Christian community. We encourage respectful dialogue and exploration of these differing perspectives as a means of deepening faith and understanding.

Practical Application: We stress the importance of the Bible for guiding personal behavior and ethical living. The teachings of Jesus, including love, justice, and peacemaking, are emphasized as central to the life and mission of the church.

What are Community of Christ's views on the Book of Mormon?

We regard the Book of Mormon as an important scripture that complements the Bible and further illuminates the teachings of Jesus Christ. Our perspective on the Book of Mormon has evolved over time. Historically, we have valued it as a record of God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and as a testament of Jesus Christ's ministry to the people of the New World.


However, our approach to the Book of Mormon and other scriptures is not fundamentalist. We emphasize the importance of interpreting scripture in its historical context and applying its teachings to the contemporary world through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We see the Book of Mormon as one of many valuable resources for understanding God's will, but we also encourage a thoughtful and critical approach to all scripture, recognizing that God's revelation is not limited to any single text or time period.


In our faith community, the Book of Mormon is used in worship, personal devotion, and theological study, but its use and interpretation can vary among members. We affirm the value of the Book of Mormon in promoting faith in Jesus Christ and in guiding ethical and moral living. Yet, we also respect the diverse views and experiences of our members and do not mandate a uniform belief or interpretation of this or any scripture.


Our stance reflects a broader commitment to exploring our faith through scripture, reason, tradition, and experience, always seeking to understand how God is moving in our lives and in the world today.

How are the Doctrine & Covenants different in Community of Christ?

The Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) of Community of Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) share a common foundation but have diverged significantly over time due to differences in belief, practice, and additional revelations received by each church. Here are some key differences:


Historical Context and Development: Both versions of the D&C contain revelations given to Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. However, after Joseph Smith's death in 1844, the movement split into several factions. The LDS Church, led by Brigham Young, moved west to Utah. The RLDS Church, which later became the Community of Christ, was formally organized in 1860 and led by Joseph Smith III, Joseph Smith's eldest son. Each group continued to receive revelations that were added to their versions of the D&C, reflecting their distinct paths.


Content and Revelations: The LDS Church's D&C includes revelations not accepted by Community of Christ, especially those related to temple ordinances and practices such as celestial marriage (including plural marriage), which were introduced by Brigham Young and his successors. Conversely,  Community of Christ's D&C includes revelations given to their church leaders after the schism, focusing on issues like church governance, peace and justice, and the construction and maintenance of the Temple in Independence, Missouri.


Open Canon Principle: Both churches believe in an open canon, meaning new revelations can be added to their D&C. However, the process and criteria for these additions differ. Community of Christ has a more centralized process involving their World Conference and the Prophet-President of the church. The LDS Church requires new revelations to be presented by the President of the Church (considered a prophet, seer, and revelator) and then accepted by the body of the church. 


Number of Sections: As a result of their historical divergence and open canon principle, the number of sections in each church's D&C is different. The LDS Church's D&C contains 138 sections and two Official Declarations as of my last update. Community of Christ's D&C has over 160 sections, reflecting additional revelations recognized by their faith community.


Theological Emphasis: The theological emphasis in the revelations also differs. Community of Christ's more recent revelations reflect a focus on peace, the worth of all persons, and the community's role in social justice. The LDS Church's D&C contains more instructions on priesthood authority, temple work, and the gathering of Israel in the last days.


Use and Interpretation: Both churches use their version of the D&C as scripture, alongside the Bible and other sacred texts. However, the way they interpret and apply these texts can differ, reflecting their unique theological perspectives and church practices.

How does Community of Christ view the Pearl of Great Price?

We, as a church, have not canonized the Pearl of Great Price. Selected portions of the Inspired Version of the Bible have been included in the officially transcribed Bible, but the Community of Christ has increasingly moved towards the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, and away from the Joseph Smith Inspired Version of the Bible. 


Moses 1 and Moses 7 have been integrated into our Doctrine & Covenants (D&C 22 and D&C 36). 


The rest of the Pearl of Great Price is not canonized, nor recognized as scripture or inspired revelation.

How does Community of Christ select the President of the Church?

In stark contrast to the LDS church, Community of Christ's Prophet-President may choose to retire and may appoint his or her successor.


The Prophet-President is also a called member of the Priesthood, typically an Elder, but sometimes a Bishop, and can be any gender. 


The succession of the Prophet-President was traditionally based on lineal descent from Joseph Smith, but it has been abandoned by revelation in favor of appointment by the retiring president or apostolic selection by inspiration. 


The current President of the Church is President Stephen M. Veazey. 


Our current Prophetess-President-designate is Stassi Cramm. 

Does Community of Christ believe in the trinity?

Community of Christ formally believes that "God is a community of three persons." We identify, in communion with other ecumenical faiths, in the trinity. 


In contrast to the LDS church, Community of Christ does not believe in exaltation, and we specifically believe that God is unchanging, has always been God. This is a view supported by the Book of Mormon and the Holy Bible.


Community of Christ further rejects the Adam-God doctrine. 

What are Community of Christ's views on polygamy?

Community of Christ (formerly known as the RLDS Church) has a unique history regarding polygamy that distinguishes it from the larger Latter Day Saint movement, particularly the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).


Community of Christ was founded in the 1860s by Joseph Smith III, the eldest surviving son of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. Joseph Smith III and the early leaders of the RLDS Church were adamantly opposed to polygamy, which was practiced by Brigham Young and the LDS Church in Utah.


Early Opposition to Polygamy

From its inception,  Community of Christ positioned itself against polygamy for several reasons:


Joseph Smith III's Denial of His Father's Polygamy: Joseph Smith III believed his father was not involved in polygamy, and he consistently denied that Joseph Smith taught or practiced it. This belief was foundational to the early RLDS Church's identity and differentiation from the Utah-based LDS Church.


Doctrinal and Scriptural Stance: The RLDS Church emphasized scriptures and interpretations that did not support polygamy. Their reading of the Doctrine and Covenants (a book of revelations considered scripture by both LDS and RLDS traditions) did not include the sections that endorse polygamy, which were accepted by the LDS Church.


Legal and Social Pressures: During the time the RLDS Church was being established, there was significant legal and social pressure against polygamy in the United States. Aligning against polygamy helped the RLDS Church to navigate these pressures more smoothly.


Historical Developments

Over time, as historical evidence of Joseph Smith's involvement in polygamy became more widely available and accepted,  Community of Christ underwent a significant theological and historical reassessment. This process was part of a broader transformation in the church that included changing its name from the RLDS Church to Community of Christ in 2001, and adopting a more inclusive and open approach to historical scholarship and contemporary issues.


Modern Stance

Today, Community of Christ does not practice polygamy and is firmly opposed to it, consistent with its historical stance. The church focuses on principles such as peace, reconciliation, and community well-being. Its approach to history acknowledges the complexities and controversies of the early Latter Day Saint movement, including Joseph Smith's polygamy, while emphasizing a forward-looking faith commitment.


The transition in understanding its own history, including the issue of polygamy, reflects Community of Christ's broader evolution towards a church that values historical integrity, inclusivity, and the pursuit of peace.

What does Community of Christ believe about the priesthood?

The ministry of the priesthood is a calling assigned by the local congregation. Since 1878, Community of Christ has ordained any race and affirmed it in the Doctrine & Covenants section 116. 


The priesthood is also open to women and members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.


At present, the LDS Church is open to men only and only open to boys beginning the year that they turn twelve (12) years old.

What is Community of Christ views on the temple and endowments?

Community of Christ has only one temple, the Independence Temple in Independence, Missouri. The church has a stance that it doesn't build temples, it serves missions.


Temples in Community of Christ are constructed in response to canonized revelations commanding the construction of that specific temple and detailing its purpose. 


All persons are welcome to enter Community of Christ temples. 


Our temples are dedicated to peace, spiritual learning, and church administration and history.


Community of Christ rejects endowment, the doctrine of the baptism of the dead, celestial marriage, and family sealing.

How does Community of Christ view the cross and the Angel Moroni?

We accept the cross as a symbol. 

We reject the Angel Moroni as a symbol.

What does Community of Christ believe about tithing?

Tithing in the Community of Christ is similar to the LDS Church, but it is not compulsory. The tithe is one-tenth of your discretionary income.


The church has also adopted the Disciple's Generous Response, which provides for tithing of time and gifts, not just income.

What does Community of Christ believe about the First Vision?

Community of Christ has no position on the historicity of the First Vision, and it is often referred to it as the "grove experience". 


There is a focus in our doctrine as it is the healing presence of God and the forgiving mercy of Jesus Christ for Joseph Smith. 


The LDS Church believes and accepts it as a foundational historical event. Unlike Community of Christ, the LDS Church canonized the 1838 account.

Does Community of Christ believe it is the "one true church"?

In the beginning, the RLDS believed it was. Community of Christ has de-emphasized this and have even questioned it doctrinally. 


In Community of Christ, we practice the doctrine of Faithful Disagreement, allowing for differing views.

How does Community of Christ view the priesthood?

Community of Christ has identically sounding priesthood offices both in the Aaronic and Melchisedek priesthoods.


Priesthood callings are not age specific and are not designed for a specific age group. It is not a progression. It is a calling to a specific ordination in order to meet your own spiritual needs and how you personally minister to your congregation and the church as a whole.


All members of Community of Christ are eligible for the priesthood, including all genders and members of the LGBTQ2S+ community. 

Change Your Life, Change Your World

Watch a quick, 3 minute video overview on Community of Christ and what it means to its members.