More on Mormonism

Since Mormonism seems to be the big thing lately and I know that LDS and FLDS Baptisms are invalid because of their different understanding from traditional Christians on the Godhead, what about the Community of Christ? Are their Baptisms valid since they have a more traditional understanding of God?

Are they Trinitarian in their beliefs?

(edited to add). I just checked their webstie and they say that they are. I would say that, based on that, that they have valid baptisms.

And based on their website, they are so not Mormon. They ordain women.

As a Mormon, I doubt my vote will count; but the Community of Christ is very much trinitarian or even unitarian in what they accept. Is a Unitarian baptism acceptable to Catholics (provided they baptise?)

AA

I would say probably they are since they declare that “the one living God is triune”. They do recognize the Trinity.

The Community of Christ church is the former Reformed Church of Latter Day Saints, which was formed by Joseph Smith’s family after Brigham Young’s group left for Utah. Their position on the Trinity is changing. The Catholic Church has no clear position on their baptisms.

jimmyakin.com/2007/01/rldscommunity_o.html

Close. The main body of Mormons was evicted from Illinois in 1846. Those who didn’t follow Brigham Young were left alone. Among those who stayed in the east there arose several who claimed to be Joseph Smith’s true successor (as opposed to Brigham Young.) Granville Hedrick, William Smith, James Strang, Jason Briggs, Zenos Gurley and W. W. Blair each led a faction of the remaining population of Mormons. In 1860, Gurley, Briggs and Blair convinced Joseph Smith III, to accept the presidency of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The RLDS turned out to be the largest of these groups that opted not to follow the 12 Apostles of the LDS Church with Brigham Young at their head.

Alma

So are the Community of Christ Mormon or Christian?

Do you walk to school or carry your lunch?

Alma

It’s a valid question. Mormons are not Christians.

That’s a pretty disrespectful way of approaching the issue.

I’ve been on this merry go round lots of times; and it’s merely a matter of perspective. I know Protestants who don’t believe Catholics are Christians. They have have the right to their own perspectives. I think there are lots of people who are Christians; but I don’t have fellowship with them and don’t accept their baptism. It all gets down to your own definition. I define Christian as someone who claims to be a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth. Someone else might limit that classification to someone who embraces the Nicene or the Apostles’ creed. I find that problematic concluding that such a person would have to exclude everyone who claimed to be a Christian during the first 150 years of Christianity.

AA

After reading the link Paul provided, it seems they are neither, so should get conditionally baptized.

The Catholic Church does not recognize the LDS as a Christian faith, therefore they are not Christians. This does not mean many of the LDS are capable of Christian like behavior, but behavior alone does not a Christian make.

I asked a valid question. Is this off-shoot of the LDS considered Christian or Mormon. The article cited seems to state this particular branch is moving more toward a Christian like belief system but yet retains the Book of Mormon as scripture thus the question.

The OP was asking what the Catholic Church believed about the Community of Christ.
The Catholic Church has ruled that Mormons baptisms are not valid. The Community of Christ originated from the same latter-day-saint movement, so one would wonder if their baptisms are valid also. The link makes it seem like the Community of Christ is moving back to the original Christian belief about God where the latter-day-saint movement started, but it doesn’t seem like they are all the way there yet.

The BoM is Trinitarian. Mormonism is not. The Community of Christ no longer requires its people to believe in the BoM as scripture. People in CoC are at various stages in moving away from Mormonism.

Not quite so. Sidney Rigdon made the first claim as Smith’s successor, based on being the only surviving member of the First Presidency. James Strang claimed visions that indicated he was the successor. Brigham Young claimed the Quorum of the Twelve, as a body, held the keys to the priesthood, and not any one person.

At an August 1844 General Conference, Rigdon and Young presented their positions, and a vote by the congregation sided with Young. Young’s position being that the succession to Smith’s leadership of the church passed onto the Quorum of the Twelve. The dissenters (nay voters) were excommunicated by Young. Young announced via the Times and Seasons that Smith’s followers no longer had a prophet, but a Quorum.

Sidney Rigdon did not abandon his claim, and continued to build his own followers. He was excommunicated by the Brigham Young faction, and he fled to Pittsburgh, in fear of Young and his followers. Rigdon’s followers, from Nauvoo, followed him there. In 1845 he claimed, officially, to be the successor, and named himself President of the church (Smith’s church).

Meanwhile, James Strang built up followers by claiming to be a prophet (in contrast to Young’s announcement that there was no longer a prophet, but a quorum). He attracted those who were attracted to the claim of continuing prophecy. His followers, from Nauvoo, followed him to Wisconsin, including Joseph Smith’s last surviving brother, William.

Young reorganized a new First Presidency in December of 1847, in Utah, with himself as the new President. The Rigdon and Strang churches failed, though the both have a small group of loyal followers today.

Many who remained in the Midwest, believed the rightful successor to be Joseph Smith’s son, Joseph Smith III., who Smith Jr. had annointed at least three separate times as his named successor. At the time of Smith’s murder, the boy was too young to lead, thus, the succession crisis. After Smith III had grown up, the various groups of Mormons, including Young, approached Smith III and his brother David Hyrum, asking them to join the leadership of their respective churches. Smith III said he would not, unless inspired to do so, and more particularly, would not join the Brighamite group because of their practice of plural marriage.

Smith III, in 1860, agreed to lead a group of Midwest Mormons, who had coalesced under the leadership of Jason W. Briggs, Zenas H. Gurley and William Marks, as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. His mother Emma and his three brothers became affiliated to this group. This church later added “Reorganized” to the church name (RLDS), and this name was changed much later to Community of Christ.

Seems to me the splits divided along lines similar to those which occurred with the death of Mohammed: those claiming a familial descent, those claiming an appointed descent through the next highest authorities, and small segment claiming more supernatural inspiration to authority.

Their were other schisms with the RLDS in the 1980s. At least two significant branches in the Jackson County area (MO). I’m quite familiar with the Restoration Branches, who themselves hold to a pretty mainline Protestant tradition and Trinitarian view, though adding back in a belief in priesthood authority, requisite works (not Sola Fide) and of course the BoM and D&C (no Sola Scriptura). They don’t have a prophet, though they believe there should be continuing revelation through one.

My marriage was approved as a marriage between two Christians with disparity of cult; my wife’s baptism is accepted as validly Trinitarian. The Restoration Branches seem inconsistent about some of the finer points of Trinitarian doctrine–admittedly, it can be easy to lean into Modalism or Monarchianism/Sabellianism, especially considering how it took the Church some time to figure out how to describe that balance of the One God in Three Persons, with even the Early Church Fathers describing the difficulty of explaining this mystery and its interplay, and the insufficiency of most analogies. So I don’t really blame them; they’re trying to be Trinitarian :). I think most Christian groups today, even though they inherit and essentially agree with the established Catholic position on the Trinity and the Hypostatic Union, still often struggle to explain them and often describe them in terms that fit more into the more nuanced heresies, like Monothelitism and Monophysitism.

Of course, there are other influences. All the BoM-believing sects I have encountered have Gnostic and Sethian influence for example.

Well, I’d disagree with a couple of your claims; but mainly because I wasn’t trying to provide an exhaustive summary.

From earlier statements of Joseph Smith, the First Presidency ceased to exist on his death, so Sidney Rigdon couldn’t technically be a surviving member of that quorum. If so, Amasa Lyman was also a surviving member, having been placed in the FP when Orson Pratt was restored to the quorum of 12.

There were no “nay voters” at the Special Conference (rather than General Conference) as the minutes reflect that the vote was unanimous with no dissenting votes. (Times and Seasons, Vol.5, p.638).

Rigdon was excommunicated by the Presiding Bishop, assisted by the Nauvoo high council, not by Brigham Young who appeared along with others of the twelve only as witnesses. (p. 648) Others were subsequently excommunicated by the action of the 12 or the Conference.

I’d be interested to get a citation from you for the Times and Seasons, where you claim BY said they “no longer had a prophet, but a quorum.” I don’t believe you can, because BY believed that the apostles were all prophets–in fact, he claimed that Joseph was a prophet by virtue of the fact that he was an apostle. (“When did Joseph become a prophet? I can tell you, when he became an apostle.” (T&S 5:683)

Young reorganized a new First Presidency in December of 1847, in Utah, with himself as the new President.

Actually, that took place in Iowa at Winter Quarters.

After Smith III had grown up, the various groups of Mormons, including Young, approached Smith III and his brother David Hyrum, asking them to join the leadership of their respective churches.

A source for that would be remarkable.

…under the leadership of Jason W. Briggs, Zenas H. Gurley and William Marks, as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. His mother Emma and his three brothers became affiliated to this group. This church later added “Reorganized” to the church name (RLDS), and this name was changed much later to Community of Christ.

Yes, it was problematic to claim to be the leaders of the LDS Church when the Church had continued to exist as a legal body all through those years. Almost as though Martin Luther had decided to call himself the Pope and his church the Holy Catholic Church–n’est-ce pas?

AA

It is not my claim, it was Rigdon’s. I don’t have a horse in this race.

There were no “nay voters” at the Special Conference (rather than General Conference) as the minutes reflect that the vote was unanimous with no dissenting votes. (Times and Seasons, Vol.5, p.638).

According to D. Michael Quinn, about 20 people dissented.

Rigdon was excommunicated by the Presiding Bishop, assisted by the Nauvoo high council, not by Brigham Young who appeared along with others of the twelve only as witnesses. (p. 648) Others were subsequently excommunicated by the action of the 12 or the Conference

.
Sure, after Young had arranged each position to be held by his supporters. Young was adept at removing himself from the appearance of direct action when it suited his purpose.

I’d be interested to get a citation from you for the Times and Seasons, where you claim BY said they “no longer had a prophet, but a quorum.” I don’t believe you can, because BY believed that the apostles were all prophets–in fact, he claimed that Joseph was a prophet by virtue of the fact that he was an apostle. (“When did Joseph become a prophet? I can tell you, when he became an apostle.” (T&S 5:683)

Obviously Young’s views changed over time.

Times and Seasons, Number 15 (August 15, 1844) centerplace.org/history/ts/v5n15.htm
“You are now without a prophet present with you in the flesh to guide you; but you are not without apostles, who hold the keys of power to seal on earth that which shall be sealed in heaven, and to preside over all the affairs of the church in all the world; being still under the direction of the same God, and being dictated by the same spirit, having the same manifestations of the Holy Ghost to dictate all the affairs of the church in all the world, to build the kingdom upon the foundation that the prophet Joseph has laid, who still holds the keys of this last dispensation, and will hold them to all eternity, as a king and priest unto the most high God, ministering in heaven, on earth, or among the spirits of the departed dead, as seemeth good to him who sent him.
Let no man presume for a moment that his place will be filled by another; for, remember he stands in his own place, and always will; and the twelve apostles of this dispensation stand in their own place and always will, both in time and in eternity, to minister, preside and regulate the affairs of the whole church.”

Actually, that took place in Iowa at Winter Quarters.

Ha, we are both off. It took place at Council Bluffs.

A source for that would be remarkable.

I’ll get it, just it is not at hand and it is late.

Yes, it was problematic to claim to be the leaders of the LDS Church when the Church had continued to exist as a legal body all through those years. Almost as though Martin Luther had decided to call himself the Pope and his church the Holy Catholic Church–n’est-ce pas?

AA

Those who did not follow Young were not concerned with his legal claims.

can you provide some statements and their source?

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