Church History in Missouri

In Independence, MO we went to the LDS visitor’s center and the temple of the Community of Christ (a church formerly called the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a group that broke off from the mainstream LDS church after Joseph Smith’s death). Their temple is a little different from our LDS temples. It was modelled after a nautilus shell, which symbolizes going toward God while he comes toward us. The Community of Christ uses it for community events and prayers, and also for their church HQ. We had a very nice young tour guide who answered all of our questions.

Here’s an older RLDS (Community  of Christ) church, corner stone placed by Joseph Smith III:

I got to meet up with Kristen, an old friend from my first year at BYU-Idaho, who came with us to the Community of Christ temple and then to Liberty, MO.

At Liberty jail, Joseph Smith and five other church leaders were thrown in prison from December 1838 to April 1839. The local government at the time wouldn’t allow them a real trial to defend themselves of their made-up offences. They just wanted the Mormons gone (later they issued a Mormon extermination order) and hoped that putting their prophet in jail would weaken the membership of the church and get them out of the state. The jail was a tiny, filthy, and cold place. But miracles still happened here and Joseph and all of the men learned a lot. Jesus Christ gave Joseph this revelation while he was in Liberty Jail.

After Liberty, we made our way to Nauvoo, Illinois. On the way we stopped at Far West, which used to be a Mormon town with over 2000 people. All that’s left is the site where they started building a temple. The pioneers of that town must have been very excited for that temple and it must have been heartbreaking to have to leave before they finished it. I could feel their faith and hope while wewalked through the temple site. That was one of the highlights of the trip for me.

We also stopped at Adam-Ondi-Ahman. This place is fascinating in its history, even if it’s not much to look at (besides a beautiful view) now. Adam held councils here thousands of years ago, the Mormon pioneers built a settlement here 170 years ago, and Jesus Christ will come here in the future.

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