Our History


he history of the Salt Lake City congregation of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), now known as Community of Christ, in Utah is a story of resilience, growth, and eventual establishment in a region where the LDS Church was predominant.

Alexander Hale Smith
RLDS Missionary to Utah

The RLDS Church made its initial foray into Utah in the early 1860s, with missionaries including Alexander H. Smith, son of Joseph Smith Jr., the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. The first Reorganized baptismal service in Salt Lake City was held on September 6, 1863, marking the beginning of formal missionary work and the establishment of a small branch in the city.

Efforts to solidify the presence of the RLDS Church in Salt Lake City included the ambitious project of building a chapel, which was seen as a symbol of Reorganized strength in the Mountain West. Property was purchased, and on March 5, 1877, ground was broken for the chapel, which was completed in December 1881. This endeavor was supported by contributions from the membership in Utah and a call for financial assistance issued by the Reorganized General Conference to the wider membership.

W. Wallace Smith
President, RLDS Church

Despite facing significant challenges from within and external opposition, the Salt Lake City congregation persevered. The early years saw fluctuating membership due to migration and internal strife within the local branches. By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, efforts to stabilize and grow the congregation led to a more solid foundation, with the Reorganized Church making a significant impact through missionary work and community engagement.

In 1966, W. Wallace Smith, then President of the Reorganized Church, visited Utah for a district conference and dedicated a new chapel in Salt Lake City. This marked a period of rejuvenation for the congregation, reflecting the ongoing commitment of the RLDS Church to its mission and members in Utah. The latter part of the 20th century saw a more stable congregation emerging, with increased missionary efforts and engagement with the wider community.