Are members of the 'Community of Christ' Christians?

The Community of Christ, also known as the “Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”, is a sect of Mormonism that separated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1860. They number about 250,000 members and share many doctrines and beliefs in common with the mainline LDS movement such as accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet, believing the Book of Mormon to be scripture, belief that Jesus came to America, belief in the restoration of the Church, belief in the Mormon priesthood etc. However, the one thing that causes them to stand out the most from any other Mormon sect including the mainline LDS Church is their belief in the doctrine of the Trinity. They accept the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity as fully defined by the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. A quote from their website states:

"We believe in one living God who meets us in the testimony of Israel, is revealed in Jesus Christ, and moves through all creation as the Holy Spirit. We affirm the Trinity—God who is a community of three persons. All things that exist owe their being to God: mystery beyond understanding and love beyond imagination. This God alone is worthy of our worship."

Wikipedia also states:

"Community of Christ generally accepts the doctrine of the Trinity and other commonly held Christian beliefs. The concept of Zion as both a present reality of Christian living and as a hoped for community of the future is a rather strongly held belief in the Community of Christ and it ties closely to the peace and justice emphasis of the denomination. The movement also differs from most other Christian faiths in its belief in prophetic leadership, in the Book of Mormon, and in an open canon of scripture recorded in its version of the Doctrine and Covenants, which is regularly appended."

This calls into question on whether or not we can consider them Christians. Like all Mormon groups they baptize in the name of the Trinity. However, Mormon baptism is not consider valid by the Church because of how Mormons generally view the Trinity. Therefore, Mormons are not Christians. But the Community of Christ accept the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. So, is this one “Mormon sect” the only group of Mormons that are actually Christians?

The CoC baptisms are considered valid, which means to a RC they have been incorporated into the Body of Christ. So yes, they are Christians.

They need to define “Trinity”, as LDS/offshoot definitions can be vastly different. I see “eternal” nowhere in the above description of Christ. “Revealed in Jesus Christ” can mean that they believe He was a created being for the purpose of revealing God, but is not, in fact, either eternal or God. :confused.

Mormons are believed to be in a purgatorial state. International theological commission clarifies the integrity of the purgatory. Rather, a migration including the ex cathedra knowledge of the Pontifical Pope assures a centralized meaning of the concept.

I think you’re being nitpicky.

The LDS Church teaches that there is a myriad of Gods on various worlds. The LDS Godhead is tri-theistic, or composed of three separate and distinct Gods, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. According to its official website, the CofC states, “We affirm the Trinity – God who is a community of three persons. All things that exist owe their being to God: mystery beyond understanding and love beyond imagination. This God alone is worthy of our worship.”

(Source)

Wikipedia also states: “Community of Christ generally accepts the doctrine of the Trinity and other commonly held Christian beliefs,” and we can assume that it’s the “common Trinity” as accepted by us.

So it’s safe to think that the Community of Christ accepts the Nicene Trinity like Catholics, Eastern/Oriental Orthodoxy, and most of Protestantism.

Seems odd to state that Mormons baptize in the name of the Trinity when we don’t believe a Trinity exists.

Hey, you explain it to us! It’s your religion! :smiley:

Sigh. No it’s not. The LDS and CoC are two very different churches with very different beliefs.

Sigh. Maybe it’s because he was responding to this statement by a LDS poster (which was in reference to a statement that the CoC, like other LDS-related churches, baptizes in the name of the “Trinity”):

Emphasis added.

Well you baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit which is the Trinity in orthodox Christianity. I was referring to it from my perspective which is that of the orthodox.

You are different churches, but you are both apart of the Mormon tradition in that you believe in Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. The vast majority of Mormons belong to the LDS church but there are small sects within Mormonism that split from the LDS.

Or the LDS split from them…depends on your PoV.

Well they split from the LDS in 1860 under Joseph Smith III.

After the murder of JS Jr in 1844, there was a succession crisis, which is where this split happened. JS had anointed his son Joseph III, as recorded three times. The boy was 11 years old at the time his father was killed; too young to lead. Emma Smith remained removed from all claimants to the succession of her husband, of course her young children followed their mother.

James Strang, who succeeded Joseph Smith Jr, in the eyes of his followers, made early overtures to Emma Smith and her sons, with the intent to have them join up with his group and for one of her sons to eventually lead their church. Emma refused to align herself and her family to any of the Mormon groups, and particularly refused Strang because he took up the practice of polygamy.

At Strang’s death in 1856, JS III was old enough to lead, and the Mormons who had followed Strang, at the succession crisis, approached JS III asking him to take his rightful place as their leader. He did not consent, at first, but eventually he and his mother joined up with this group. JS III became the leader of the RLDS in 1860, at the age of 27.

Both what is now the CoC and the LDS Church claim they have valid continuity of leadership to JS Jr. Each views the other as pretenders. The followers of Strang never followed Young. Young on his part had a strong stance against the RLDS and in particular Emma Smith.

Interesting factoid, JS Jr. named his successor, his oldest son, in what he perceived as the Biblical manner of the eldest son “taking on the mantle” of his father. The RLDS followed this Biblical method, until there came a Smith who didn’t have any sons. But, they have retained the method of the current leader naming a successor, to this day. With exception of Strang, who had taught from the succession crisis that their rightful leader was one of JS Jr sons, and he refused to name any other successor.

At the succession crisis Young claimed that the task of replacing the deceased leader was for the remaining living apostles, which is the method the LDS Church follows to this day.

I know they’re not, but I thought he was referring specifically to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in his post.

This is an example of something often found in the Brighamite division of the latter-day-saint movement. They my use the same words familiar to Christianity but mean something completely different. In this case, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are three different Gods; not the Trinity. As you suggested in your OP: not the Trinity, not Christian.

Ok, thank you for the clarification.

The cummunity of Christ is a Christian church

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.