The End of the RLDS Church

I grew up in this church – a small, insignificant church, but one that was everything for my parents, and their generation.

I have given a lot of thought to its history – and concluded that it was very much a product of its time – something they would never admit – and when its time ended – it ended also.

Which leaves me with a question – what was its time? And how did it differ from the time of the LDS church – which is still going strong?

This is not a hard question to answer. The RLDS (the Reorganized LDS) was organized by some rich Illinois farmers, originally members of the LDS church – who wanted their church back. They needed someone to head their church, and finally got Joseph Smith III, Joseph Smith’s oldest son, who was only a child when he was murdered, to act as the head of their church.

He was not interested in reviving his father’s church, at first – he grew up in the ruins left by his father. But after trying some other occupations – becoming the head of his own church didn’t seem like such a bad job.

JS III always let his bakers run the show, after all they had all the money – and concentrated on making the church grow, and him along with it. He was successful, and the church grew rapidly. But after his death, his sons were much less capable – and provided poor leadership. The church grew less rapidly – and then, in the Fifties, none at all.

It was a church of farmers, in a nation where farmers had become unimportant. The LDS church, by contrast, became part of Corporate America –  and had capable leadership. They were strongest in the western states – but eventually moved eastward and now own most of my hometown of Nauvoo, Illinois – which they are converting into a historical museum.

History as they want it remembered.


3 thoughts on “The End of the RLDS Church

  1. I do not feel my Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now renamed Community of Christ since 2001) has ended. A church of 257.000 plus members is still a good sized church compared to many other churches. I retain based on realistic internal evidences for the Book of Mormon. Blake Ostler at his website has an 1987 paper presents evidence countering claims the book is just a 19th century book. As a person who was LDS turned RLDS I have read lots of pros and cons regarding my history. The concerns I had I resolved for myself. I do not have a testimony based only on church history, but rather my testimony is based on a testimony of Jesus Christ. I am not one for just having faith or relying on prayers feelings alone.(Acts 17:11)

  2. Hal, as usual you have an interesting view of the church’s history, one you have struggled with–as you have noted. I would comment that the RLDS church has not died, as noted in the response by an earlier reader. It has re-envisioned itself, which it did under JSIII as well, and in recognition of that has adopted a new name as the Community of Christ (although it has legally kept its old name as well).

  3. The Community of
    ut a new video out on YouTube called “Change your life, Change your world”. Take a look at what this church that you feel has died is doing (I don’t know how to attach it somehow here, sorry)

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