Community of Christ, formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, religious group that regards itself as the successor of the church founded by Joseph Smith. They organized in 1852, five years after Mormons under Brigham Young began settling in Utah, formally becoming the Reorganized Church in 1860, with Joseph Smith 3d (son of the Mormon founder), as their first president. Since that time the church has been separate and distinct from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with its headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. The headquarters of the Community of Christ were first at Plano, Ill., until 1881, then at Lamoni, Iowa, until 1904, and since 1904 in Independence, Mo. The church adopted its present name in 2001. The doctrines of the church are derived from the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants (recognized revelations to church leaders). Brigham Young and his position on polygamy are rejected; there are other beliefs and practices they do not share with the Mormons, including the ordination of women. In 1997 there were about 249,000 members.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.