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With roots in the Latter Day Saint movement of Joseph Smith, the Community of Christ was one of the earlier departures from the LDS Church.

Originally known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the denomination split off of the larger body shortly after the death of Joseph Smith, as its leadership considered Joseph Smith III, the eldest surviving son of Smith, to be the legitimate head of the church.

The Community of Christ considers the period from the death of Smith in 1844 until 1860 to be a period of disorganization. It was in 1860, that the denomination officially split from the larger Mormon body, originally as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

In 1872, the denomination changed its name to the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Since 1844, the denomination's teachings and practices have evolved separately from the other Mormon denominations.

In the latter part of the 20th century, the denomination's leadership came to believe that its mission work outside of North America was hampered by its association with the LDS Church and its more fundamentalist breakaways. Beginning in the 1960s, a gradual evolution within the church included the ordination of women to the priesthood, open communion with members of other Christian churches, and a change in its name to the Community of Christ in 2001.

Not everyone agreed with these changes, and this led to divisions, including the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and some smaller groups. In 1994, a church historian estimated that there had been a drop of about one-third in new baptisms in the United States and a fifty-percent drop in contributions.

The denomination has two temples. Its original temple, dedicated in 1836, the Kirtland Temple, is now operated as a historic site and part of the church's educational ministries. Its newest is the Independence Temple, which serves as the denomination's headquarters in Independence, Missouri. The denomination also owns some Latter Day Saint historic sites in Iowa and Illinois, and The Auditorium, a house of worship and office building in Independence, Missouri.

The Reorganized Church did not accept Brigham Young's advocacy of polygamy, holding that plural marriage was contrary to the teachings of Joseph Smith.

The Community of Christ also differs from the LDS Church in its teachings of the Godhead, celestial marriage, and baptism of the dead.

The church teaches that God is triune, a community of three persons, and worthy of worship. Jesus is viewed as both Savior and a living expression of God, who lived, died, and was resurrected. As such, its view of the Godhead is more similar to the mainstream Protestant view.

In 2007, the church added language into the Doctrine and Covenants which insinuates that God loves everyone equally and unconditionally.

The church holds to eight sacraments, including baptism, confirmation, the blessing of children, the Lord's Supper, marriage, ministration to the sick, ordination, and an evangelist's blessing. The laying on of hands is used in confirmation, ordination, the blessing of children, ministration to the sick, and the evangelist's blessing.

The Scriptures are viewed as being open, as the church believes in the continuity of revelation. The church holds that Scripture is inspired by God, but it does not suggest that the Bible represents the literal words of God.

The Community of Christ considers the Bible to be the foundational scriptures of the church. It also uses the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants as scripture, but not the Pearl of Great Price.The concept of Zion in the Community of Christ is founded upon the kingdom parables of Jesus. Originally viewed as an actual city, the church now understands Zion as being more of a cause or a way of living.

Nearly one in ten members of the Community of Christ hold offices as a priest. These are mostly unpaid ministers, although the denomination does include a group of professional ministers who largely serve as administrators. At the congregational level, the ministry of the church is led by lay priesthood members and fulfilled by all members of the priesthood and laity. Women have been ordained into the priesthood since 1984.

In 2012, the church came under criticism when the church president allowed the ordination of practicing homosexuals. Although the church later renounced this practice, national conferences in Australia, Canada, and the United States have recommended the ordination of practicing homosexuals, as well as extending the sacrament of marriage to same-sex couples.

Topics related to the Community of Christ are the focus of sites listed in this category, including those offering an oppositional view.



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