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Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints)

The Church of Christ was the original name of the

  • Berge, Dale L. (August 1985), "Archaeological Work at the Smith Log House", .  
  • .  
  •  .
  • Marquardt, H. Michael (February 1992), "An Appraisal of Manchester as Location for the Organization of the Church" (PDF),   .
  • Marquardt, H. Michael (2005), The rise of Mormonism, 1816–1844, Xulon Press .
  • - (see also)  
  • .  
  • .  
  • Whitmer, John C. (August 7, 1875), "The Golden Tables",  .
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  1. ^ a b "Minutes of a Conference", Evening and Morning Star, vol. 2, no. 20, p. 160 (May 1832).
  2. ^ a b c Joseph Smith (B. H. Roberts (ed.)) History of the Church vol. 3, p. 24, footnote.
  3. ^ a b Richard Lloyd Anderson, "I Have a Question: What changes have been made in the name of the Church?", Ensign, January 1979.
  4. ^ a b Susan Easton Black, "Name of the Church" in Daniel H. Ludlow ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism (Macmillan: New York, 1992) p. 979.
  5. ^ a b Manuscript History of the Church, LDS Church Archives, book A-1, p. 37; reproduced in Dean C. Jessee (comp.) (1989). The Papers of Joseph Smith: Autobiographical and Historical Writings (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book) 1:302–03.
  6. ^ a b H. Michael Marquardt and Wesley P. Walters (1994). Inventing Mormonism: Tradition and the Historical Record (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books) p. 160.
  7. ^ Mosiah 18:13-17
  8. ^ Mosiah 18:20
  9. ^ Mosiah 25:22
  10. ^ Mosiah 25:21
  11. ^ Alma 4:7
  12. ^ Book of Commandments 9:16
  13. ^ 1 Nephi 14:10
  14. ^ Smith, History of the Church 1:6, 59.
  15. ^ Book of Commandments __:3–4.
  16. ^ a b (Whitmer 1887, p. 33)
  17. ^ Marquardt (2005, pp. 224–25).
  18. ^ Marquardt (2005, pp. 212–219).
  19. ^ (Berge 1985)
  20. ^ Marquardt (2005, p. 220).
  21. ^ Eye-witnesses include Joseph Smith (Smith 1844) (who had also said in other statements that it was in Fayette), William Smith (Smith 1883, p. 14), Joseph Knight, Sr. (Jessee 1976), and several non-believing Palmyra residents who had attended (Tucker 1867, p. 58).
  22. ^ Marquardt (2005, p. 221).
  23. ^ Marquardt (2005, pp. 226–228).
  24. ^ Joseph Smith Papers, (need citation).
  25. ^ Book of Commandments, chapter XXII, p. 45.
  26. ^ Joseph Smith (B. H. Roberts ed.). History of the Church 1:75–77.
  27. ^ (Whitmer 1875)
  28. ^ Marquardt (2005, pp. 222–23).
  29. ^ Ensign, February 1989.
  30. ^ Joseph Smith History, 1839 draft.
  31. ^ "Articles and Covenants of the Church of Christ", Painesville Telegraph, April 19, 1831.
  32. ^ D&C 20:2–3 (LDS Church ed.).
  33. ^ "Chapter Six: Organization of the Church of Jesus Christ", Church History In the Fulness of Times Student Manual, LDS Church, 2003, pp. 67–78 
  34. ^ Joseph Smith (B. H. Roberts (ed.), History of the Church 1:76, footnote.
  35. ^ LDS Church edition Doctrine and Covenants 21:11 (April 1830); 42:78 (February 1831); 107:59 (March 1835).
  36. ^ Roberts, B.H, ed. (1904), History of the Church 3, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News,  
  37. ^ "The Saints", Evening and Morning Star, vol. 2, no. 20, pp. 158–59 (May 1834).
  38. ^ Lesson: Law and the Church as an Institution.
  39. ^ "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: Name of the Church",, accessed 2011-04-07.
  40. ^ Saints' Herald, 19 March 1972, p. 6.
  41. ^ "A Brief History of Mormonism", Mormon History Association.
  42. ^ Lovalvo, V. James (1980), It is Written: Truth Shall Spring Forth Out of the Earth, Fresno, California: Midcal Publishers, p. 318 
  43. ^ "Early Church History",, accessed 2015-10-22.
  44. ^ "A Journey People",, accessed 2015-10-22.
  45. ^ "History and Succession",, accessed 2009-04-03.
  46. ^ "A Brief History of the Church of Christ,, accessed 2015-10-22.
  47. ^ Brief Historical Background of The Church of Christ: "The Church With The Elijah Message", accessed 2010-06-30.
  48. ^ "Our Mission",, accessed 2009-04-03.
  49. ^ a b Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints v. Williams, Record T, 1880, p. 488, Court of Common Pleas, Lake County Courthouse, Painesville, Ohio.
  50. ^ Kim L. Loving, "Ownership of the Kirtland Temple: Legends, Lies, and Misunderstandings", Journal of Mormon History 30(2): 1–80 (Fall 2004); Eric Paul Rogers and R. Scott Glauser, "The Kirtland Temple Suit and the Utah Church", Journal of Mormon History 30(2): 81–97 (Fall 2004).
  51. ^ Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints v. Church of Christ, 60 F. 937 (C.C.W.D. Mo. 1894).
  52. ^ Church of Christ in Missouri v. Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 70 F. 179 (8th Cir. 1895).


See also

In 1894, a federal United States court in Missouri held again that the RLDS Church was the lawful successor to the original church.[51] However, on appeal the entire case was dismissed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit without any discussion by the court of the issue of legal succession.[52]

In an 1880 lawsuit, an Ohio court held that the RLDS Church was the lawful successor to Smith's original Church of Christ.[49] The court also explicitly held that the LDS Church was not the lawful successor because it "has materially and largely departed from the faith, doctrines, law, ordinances and usages of the said original Church".[49] These holdings were preliminary findings of fact based on the RLDS Church's unopposed legal submissions; the court issued no final judgment on the matter because the case was dismissed.[50]

acknowledge that their organizations were created after this date, but nevertheless claim to be a re-establishment of the original church. [48] and [46] Church of Christ (Temple Lot),[45] Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite),[44] Community of Christ,[43] Virtually every Latter Day Saint denomination claims to be the rightful successor to the original Church of Christ and claims Joseph Smith as its founding prophet or first president. For example, the LDS Church,

Succession claims

The The Church of Jesus Christ".[42] Other Latter Day Saint denominations returned to the original name or a variation of the name, including the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), the Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite), and the now-extinct Church of Christ (Whitmerite).

The name "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" was also used by members who recognized Smith's son, [40] to distinguish it from the larger Utah church, at the time in the midst of federal issues related to polygamy.[41] In 2001, the RLDS Church changed its name again to "Community of Christ"—consciously echoing the original "Church of Christ" name.

Up to the time of Brigham Young and now based in Salt Lake City, Utah, continued using "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" until incorporating in 1851, when the church standardized the spelling of its name as "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (LDS Church).[38] Followers of James J. Strang use the spelling of the public domain name, "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints", as the name of their church.[39]

Later variations

In the late 1830s, Smith and those loyal to him founded a new headquarters in [5][6]

The fact that a number of the churches of the Restoration Movement, including the Campbellites, were also named the "Church of Christ" caused a considerable degree of confusion in the first years of the Latter Day Saint movement. Because of the distinct belief in the Book of Mormon among Smith's followers, people outside the church began to refer them as "Mormonites" or "Mormons." Smith and other church elders considered the name "Mormon" derogatory.[37] In May 1834, the church adopted a resolution that the church would be known thereafter as "The Church of the Latter Day Saints".[1] At various times the church was also referred to as "The Church of Jesus Christ", "The Church of God",[2] and "The Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints".[3][4]

Early changes

Smith's revelations authorized and commanded the organization of the "Church of Christ" in 1830, and in several of the revelations Smith claimed to receive, God referred to the church by that name.[35] Smith taught that this church was a restoration of the primitive Christian church established by Jesus in the 1st century AD. Smith also taught that this restoration occurred in the "Latter Days" of the world, that is, the time immediately prior to the Second Coming of Jesus.[36]

Historical background

The name of the church

Early membership also included the Three Witnesses and the Eight Witnesses to the Book of Mormon and members of the extended Whitmer and Smith families. Other early members included friends and acquaintances of the Smith and Whitmer families, such as Orrin Porter Rockwell.

According to the LDS Church, the first six members of the Church of Christ were:[33][34]

First members of the church

By later accounts, the April 6 organizational meeting was a charismatic event, in which members of the congregation had visions, prophesied, spoke in tongues, ecstatically shouted praises to the Lord, and fainted.[30] At this meeting, the church formally ordained a lay ministry, with the priesthood offices of deacon, teacher, priest, and elder. Smith and Cowdery, according to their 1831 account, were each ordained as "an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church".[31] This account was edited in 1835 to state that Smith was ordained the "First Elder", and Oliver Cowdery was ordained the "Second Elder".[32]

Events at the organization

The largest successor organization to the Church of Christ, the LDS Church, accepts Fayette as the official location of the organizing meeting.[29]

[28] Marquardt argues that the event described by Whitmer in 1887 bears more resemblance to Fayette meetings such as the founding of the church's Fayette branch five days later on April 11, 1830.[27] However, years earlier, in 1875, Whitmer had already told a reporter that the event occurred in Manchester.[16], also recollected that the event occurred in his father's home in Fayette.David Whitmer In 1887, one other eye-witness, [26] Officially, the major denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement claim Fayette as the birthplace of the religion, and Smith's official history, begun in 1838, listed Fayette as the founding place.[25] For some unexplained reason, this was changed to "Manchester" when the book was published in 1833.[24] There is also evidence pointing to Fayette as the place of organization. For example, a headnote to the earliest known version of chapter XXII of the

Independent researcher Michael Marquardt argues that the evidence suggests the organization occurred in Manchester, and that the confusion was likely due to the effect of memory tending to conflate memories of several meetings in Manchester and Fayette years earlier.[22] Critics suggest that the location of the organization was intentionally changed in 1834 around the same time the church's name was changed to the "Church of the Latter Day Saints", in order to make it seem like the new church organization was different from the "Church of Christ", as a tactic to frustrate the church's creditors and avoid payment of debts.[23]

A reconstruction of the original Peter Whitmer Home in Fayette, New York.

Prior to 1834, all church publications and documents stated that the church was organized in the Smith log home in Manchester, New York.[18] (Technically, the log home was just barely north of the town border in Palmyra,[19] a fact likely unknown to early Mormons.) Beginning in 1834, however, several church publications began to give the location of the organizational meeting as Fayette, at the home of Peter Whitmer, Sr. The Whitmer home had been the site of many other meetings near the same time period. Even after 1834, however, several official church accounts said the meeting was in Manchester,[20] and several eyewitnesses continued to say the event took place in Manchester.[21]

Location of the organization

[17] On April 6, 1830,

Organization of the church

In June 1829, Smith dictated a revelation stating that "in [the Book of Mormon] are all things written, concerning my church, my gospel, and my rock. Wherefore if you shall build up my church, and my gospel, and my rock, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you."[15] Some time between June and December 1829, Cowdery said he received a revelation about "how he should build up his church & the manner thereof". This revelation was called the "Articles of the Church of Christ", and it indicated that the church should ordain priests and teachers "according to the gifts & callings of God unto men". The church was to meet regularly to partake of bread and wine. Cowdery was described as "an Apostle of Jesus Christ". According to David Whitmer, by April 1830, this informal "Church of Christ" had about six elders and 70 members.[16]

As a result of the book's references to baptism and the organization of churches, Smith prayed for clarification and direction. Soon thereafter, in May 1829, Smith and Fayette, Manchester, and Colesville.

Nevertheless, in May 1829, a revelation by Smith described the "church" in informal terms: "Behold, this is my doctrine: whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church: whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me: therefore, he is not of my church."[12] Smith's further dictation of the Book of Mormon also stated that there were "two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil".[13]

The first Latter Day Saint references to the "church of Christ" are found in passages of the Book of Mormon that Smith dictated from April to June 1829. During the course of this dictation, the outlines for a community of believers or church structure gradually became apparent. Such a structure would have authority from God, ordinances such as baptism, and ordained clergy. Some time in April 1829, Smith dictated a story of Alma the Elder, the former priest of a wicked king, who baptized his followers by immersion, "having authority from the Almighty God", and called his community of believers the "church of God, or the church of Christ".[7] The book described the clergy in Alma's church as consisting of priests, who were unpaid and were to "preach nothing save it were repentance and faith in the Lord".[8] Alma later established many churches (or congregations), which were considered "one church" because "there was nothing preached in all the churches except it were repentance and faith in God."[9] In addition to priests, the book mentions that the clergy of these churches also included teachers.[10] Later, the book mentioned that the churches had elders.[11]

Doctrinal development prior to 1830


  • Doctrinal development prior to 1830 1
  • Organization of the church 2
    • Location of the organization 2.1
    • Events at the organization 2.2
    • First members of the church 2.3
  • The name of the church 3
    • Historical background 3.1
    • Early changes 3.2
    • Later variations 3.3
  • Succession claims 4
  • See also 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7

This church is unrelated to other bodies bearing the same name, including the United Church of Christ, a Reformed church body, and the Churches of Christ, an offshoot of the Campbellite movement. Today, there are several Latter Day Saint churches called "Church of Christ", largely within the Hedrickite branch of the movement.

Smith and his associates asserted that the Church of Christ was a restoration of the 1st-century Christian church, which Smith claimed had fallen from God's favor and authority because of what he called a "Great Apostasy". After Smith's death in 1844, there was a crisis of authority, with the majority of the members following Brigham Young to Utah Territory, but with several smaller denominations remaining in Illinois or settling in Missouri and in other states. Each of the churches that resulted from this schism considers itself to be the rightful continuation of Smith's original "Church of Christ", regardless of the name they may currently bear (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), Community of Christ, The Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite), Church of Christ (Temple Lot), etc.).

[6][5] (by an 1838 revelation).Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the [4][3],Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints the [2],Church of God the [2],Church of Jesus Christ the [1]

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