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,” and have a website where those interested in Community of Christ can learn more about parallels and differences:

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

Community of Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: A Brief Comparison

Community of Christ shares fourteen years of founding heritage with the LDS Church (1830-1844). Since that time the trajectories of the two denominations have been distinctly unique. Community of Christ’s Restoration roots have born the fruit of new creation marked by the liberating truths of the gospel.

Views on Scripture

With other Christians, Community of Christ affirms the Bible as the foundational scripture for the church. In addition, Community of Christ uses the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants as scripture. These sacred writings do not replace the witness of the Bible or improve upon it; they confirm its message that Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God (Preface of the Book of Mormon; Doctrine and Covenants 76:3g). We have heard Christ speak in all three books of scripture, and bear witness that he is “alive forever and ever” (Revelation 1:18). 


The Bible is accepted by both churches as scripture. For Community of Christ, the Bible is the foundational scripture of the church. 


  • Community of Christ encourages its members to use the most up-to-date translations of the Bible translations available. In English, the current preferred translation is the New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition (NRSVUE). Since 1867, Community of Christ also publishes the Inspired Version of the Holy Scriptures, or Joseph Smith Translation (JST). 
  • The LDS Church officially designates the King James Version (KJV) as its English-language edition of the Bible.  For many other languages, the church has approved one specific translation as its official version.

The Book of Mormon is accepted by both churches as scripture. The LDS Church believes the Book of Mormon restores “plain and precious truths that have been lost from the Bible,” and as such sees it as foundational. 


  • Due to how the text developed within each of the two traditions, Book of Mormon editions published in each church differ in versification and some textual content.  
  • Community of Christ members hold various views on the Book of Mormon. Some see it as literal history. Many believe the book to be an inspired metaphor with 19th century origins proclaiming a message of hope to poor and oppressed peoples. The Book of Mormon helps shape the church’s understanding of community and inform its mission. In Community of Christ, one’s perspective on the Book of Mormon is not a test of faith or fellowship. 
  • Most LDS Church members view the book as a literal translation of an ancient document that recites the history of communities of Hebrew people who migrated to the Americas. 

Doctrine and Covenants is a compilation of the open canon of scripture received or submitted by prophet-presidents and other leaders throughout the history of the restoration movement. This process of Continuing Revelation is affirmed by both Community of Christ and the LDS Church and is based on the understanding that God reveals divine will today as in the past. 


  • Each church believes God reveals Divine will through the Holy Spirit’s inspiration to the prophet-president of the church.
  • Community of Christ has added about 50 sections (revelations) since 1860.
  • The Pearl of Great Price is unique to the LDS Church, which was added as a fourth book of scripture in an 1880 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints General Conference vote. 

Scripture in Community of Christ is vital and essential to the church, but not because it is inerrant (in the sense that every detail is historically or scientifically correct). Scripture makes no such claim for itself. Rather, generations of Christians have found scripture simply to be trustworthy in keeping them anchored in revelation, in promoting faith in Christ, in nurturing the life of discipleship, and in 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. For these purposes, scripture is unfailingly reliable (2 Timothy 3:16–17). 


Faith, experience, tradition, and scholarship each have something to contribute to the church’s understanding of scripture. In wrestling to hear and respond to the witness of scripture, the church must value the light that each of these sources may offer. 


As the church tries to interpret scripture responsibly, it seeks the help of the Holy Spirit. Jesus   promised that the Spirit would guide his disciples into new truth (John 16:12–15). By the Spirit, the ancient words of scripture can become revelatory, allowing us to grasp what may not have been seen or heard before. 


Community of Christ acknowledges 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.

Views on the First Vision and the Nature of God
  • Both churches agree that Joseph Smith, Jr., while engaged in prayer over the question of religion, had a divine encounter, which later came to be called the “First Vision.”  
  • Community of Christ and the LDS Church interpret the “First Vision” differently, particularly as it applies to the nature of God. Community of Christ Church Historian Richard Howard provided an analysis of the six accounts of Joseph Smith Jr.’s “First Vision” which many members received “as a reaffirmation of Smith’s earnest search for truth and evidence of Smith’s personal conversion experience, rather than a statement that all other churches are hopelessly corrupt.” 
  • For both, Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Community of Christ believes that through Christ, God reconciles the world. The LDS Church calls this the Atonement.
  • Both churches believe the Holy Spirit influences men and women to accept Christ and become his disciples and work together to make the world a better place.
  • The LDS Church understands God the Father and Jesus Christ as two embodied beings, separate and distinct. The LDS Church understands the Holy Spirit as a personage of spirit. The three members of the “Godhead” are one in purpose.

Community of Christ upholds the unity and singularity of the Triune God. One of their Basic Beliefs declares, “We believe in one living God, who meets us in the testimony of Israel, is revealed in Jesus Christ, and moves through all creation as the Holy Spirit. We affirm the Trinity—God who is a community of three persons.”

Views on Priesthood and Authority
  • Both churches have two groups of priesthood offices: Aaronic and Melchisedec (or, Melchizedek). Priesthood office names are identical except for the LDS office of “Patriarch” which corresponds to the office of “Evangelist” in Community of Christ, reflecting ordination of women in Community of Christ.
  • Community of Christ ordains both men and women, usually as adults. Provision for the ordination of women was provided through revelation to the church in Doctrine and Covenants Section 156 given in 1984. The first women were ordained in November 1985. Beginning in 2012, many nations of the church support ordination for persons in same-sex marriages; the LDS Church has an all-male priesthood, usually starting at age 12 with ordination to deacon.
  • Although similar in function, duties of each priesthood office often differ between the two churches. 
  • Both churches depend on the volunteer service of its members and priesthood. Employees at each church headquarters, and some full-time leaders, are paid. 
  • The LDS Church views priesthood as progressive, with the Aaronic offices as preparatory for Melchisedec offices. Community of Christ views ordination as a response to a call to service, without implying progression or preparation for a different office.
  • Community of Christ believed that Joseph Smith Jr. named his son, Joseph Smith III to become prophet and president of the church and that succession authority rested with him; the LDS Church believed the apostles had the keys and authority to lead the church.

The LDS Church believes it is the only true church on Earth and that only its sacraments are valid through its one true restored priesthood and authority; Community of Christ holds there is one universal church, and that it is not restricted to any one institution on the Earth. Community of Christ seeks to be a true and faithful expression of Christ’s church.

Views on Temples, Sacraments, and Salvation
  • Temples are important for Community of Christ; they are essential for the LDS Church.
  • Community of Christ has one temple in Independence, Missouri, which is open to the public. The use of this temple is patterned after the first Restoration Temple built in Kirtland Ohio. Temples are places of worship, education, and church administration (for leaders to meet and direct the affairs of the church). The sacraments (or, ordinances) of the church can be conducted anywhere. The Temple is a vibrant symbol of Community of Christ’s identity, mission, message, and beliefs. It actively functions as a place of prayer, gathering, learning, worship, and spiritual growth.
  • As of May 2024, the LDS Church has 350 temples at various phases of operation worldwide, open only to worthy LDS members. Ordinances such as the endowment, eternal marriage, and baptism for the dead can only be conducted in dedicated temples.  
  • The LDS Church believes that temple ordinances are crucial, without which a person may be saved but cannot receive exaltation (receiving the full glory of God’s presence). For the LDS Church, salvation without exaltation is its own form of damnation.  
  • Community of Christ is more focused on salvation in this life. Sacraments are seen as helping humanity taste God’s all-sufficient and abundant grace.
  • In both churches, only those 8-years-of-age and older are accountable and can be baptized.

Neither church believes that God damns those who die before accepting Christ through baptism; the LDS Church, within their temples, works to vicariously baptize everyone, so that dead non-LDS persons might have the chance to accept Christ. Community of Christ experiences salvation through Jesus Christ and affirms that God’s grace has no bounds.

Selection of Prophet-President

Historically, in Community of Christ, each prophet-president named his successor and lineal descent was followed. In 1996, Prophet-President Wallace B. Smith broke with that tradition and named W. Grant McMurray as his successor. McMurray was ordained at the 1996 Community of Christ World Conference. McMurray resigned from his role in 2004 leaving instructions for the Council of Twelve Apostles to prayerfully discern the next prophet-president according to previous instructions. The Council invited the whole church into a time of discerning prayer. Stephen M. Veazey was ordained the eighth prophet-president at a special World Conference in 2005. After announcing to the church in 2023 that he would retire at World Conference 2025, President Veazey charged the Council of Twelve with prayerfully discerning and naming his successor. Stassi D. Cramm will be ordained prophet-president at World Conference 2025, the first woman to hold this office.  

In the LDS Church, if a motion to reorganize the First Presidency is passed, the Quorum of the Twelve unanimously selects the new president of the Church. The new president chooses two counselors and the three of them become the new First Presidency.

Views on Polygamy

Consistent with scripture and the public position of the early 19th century Restoration Church, Community of Christ upholds the principle of monogamy. The Reorganized Church denounced the practice of polygamy and claimed Joseph Smith did not practice or institute polygamy in the life of the church. The day he was ordained prophet-president Joseph Smith III shared these words with the assembled conference. 


"There is but one principle taught by the leaders of any faction of this people that I hold in utter abhorrence. That is a principle taught by Brigham Young and those believing in him. I have been told that my father taught such doctrines. I have never believed it and never can believe it. If such things were done, then I believe they never were done by Divine Authority. I believe my father was a good man , and a good man never could have promulgated such doctrines."


Monogamy has remained a distinctive in Community of Christ.


While education was highly valued from the founding of the church in 1830, formal theological training in the Reorganization emerged in the 1920s when Roy Cheville (Presiding Patriarch/Evangelist 1958-1974) attended a college seminary, later earning a PhD in religion from the University of Chicago in 1942. In the early 1960s other church leaders began attending college seminaries and eventually all full-time appointee ministers were expected to attend college seminary to enrich their theological studies and ministerial education.


Learning about the greater Christian Tradition broadened Community of Christ’s understanding of other Christians, the world, God, and themselves. The continuing journey of faith seeking understanding led to the understanding “that we were a tributary to a stream that was and is the church universal. We began to discern that as a movement, were called to a marvelous work and wonder that extends beyond ourselves and embraces all people of faith.” The increased professionalism of historical research across the world led to “the New Mormon History” movement in the 1960s bringing new information about Restoration history from its earliest beginnings, including polygamy. This shed light on Joseph Smith Jr.’s redefining of marriage and family, and the beginning practices of celestial or plural marriage. It has been difficult to reconcile new information about church history, but ultimately it strengthened Community of Christ’s sense of identity and purpose.


The Church History Principles, provided by Prophet-President Stephen Veazey further supported the church’s journey of learning and becoming. As Veazey states, "History informs but does not dictate our faith and beliefs. The foundation and continuing source for our faith is God’s revelation in Jesus Christ. Studying history is not about proving or disproving mystical, spiritual, or revelatory experiences that birth or transform religious movements. Sound history informs faith, and healthy faith leads to insights about history. Theology and faith, guided by the Holy Spirit, must play an important role in discovering the enduring meaning of such events as well as the deeper truths found in them. Our understanding of our history affects our faith and beliefs. However, our past does not limit our faith and beliefs to what they were historically."


The LDS Church publicly taught and practiced polygamy until it was officially rejected in 1890. Today church members honor and respect the sacrifices made by those who practiced polygamy in the early days of the church. However, the practice remains outlawed, and no person can practice plural marriage and remain a member.

Views on Tithing

Community of Christ recognizes “tithing (as) a spiritual practice that demonstrates willingness to offer every dimension of one’s life to God” (Doctrine and Covenants 165:2d). As these words find expression in the church, the following affirmations guide members and friends: 

    • Stewardship is whole-life response to God’s grace and the ministry of Jesus Christ. 
    • One way stewardship is expressed is through the spiritual practice of tithing. 
    • Although tithing literally means a tenth, giving generously to one’s true capacity is the spirit of tithing. 
    • Tithing of time, talent, treasure, and testimony supports local and worldwide church ministries in pursuit of Jesus Christ’s mission.
    • All disciples are called to live as faithful stewards who tithe.
    • Community of Christ teaches the six principles of a generous disciple: Be Generous, Be Dependable, Manage Your Money, Share Joyfully, Save Wisely, Spend Carefully


The LDS Church considers tithe God's scriptural law. To fulfill this law/commandment, members give one-tenth of their income to the Lord/church. These funds are used to build up the church and further the Lord’s work throughout the world. Only church members who pay a full tithing can receive temple ordinances. The church teaches that those who pay tithing will not be burned at the Second Coming (see LDS D&C 64:23)

Change Your Life, Change Your World

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