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ohio temple
Kirtland Temple in Ohio. Public domain.

Community of Christ sells historic Ohio temple to Mormon Church

The Kansas City-based Community of Christ has sold the historic Kirtland Temple in Ohio to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was the first Mormon temple to be built.

“The responsibility and ownership for the Kirtland Temple, several historic buildings in Nauvoo and various manuscripts and artifacts officially transferred from Community of Christ to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for an agreed-upon amount,” the LDS church said in a statement. It paid the Community of Christ $192.5 million “without assigning specific values to the properties and items,” its website said.

The Kirtland Temple is located in Kirtland, Ohio. Nauvoo, another city that is important to adherents of the LDS faith, is located in Illinois.

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“This exchange of assets is significant for our church,” said Stephen M. Veazey, president of Community of Christ. “Through funding from increased endowments, Community of Christ will have greater capacity to pursue our mission priorities around the world, including continuing to fulfill the divinely envisioned purposes for our temple in Independence..”

The Community of Christ, known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints until 2001, dates back to Joseph Smith’s creation of the Church of Christ in 1830. Following Smith’s death, the RLDS believed that his eldest son, Joseph Smith III, was to lead the Latter Day Saint movement, rather than Brigham Young. There are about 250,000 members of the Community of Christ around the world, according to its website, making it the second-largest Latter Day Saint denomination.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as Mormons, expressed gratitude for the work the Community of Christ did over the last century to maintain the buildings and artifacts.

“We are deeply honored to assume the stewardship of these sacred places, documents and artifacts,” said Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “We thank our friends at Community of Christ for their great care and cooperation in preserving these historical treasures thus far. We are committed to doing the same.”

In a statement published on its own website, the Community of Christ said the sale was necessary to allow for the church to continue its ministry. “The current and future needs of the church, coupled with discerning God’s continuing call to pursue Christ’s peace in all its dimensions, created a compelling case for decisive action,” it said.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice


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