Missouri Mormons

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Missouri Mormons


Center Branch of the Lord's Remnant

709 W. Maple
Independence, MO 64050

Among the people who left the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints following the 1984 revelation given by President Wallace B. Smith on women's ordination were Robert E. Baker and members of the church's Seventy. Because of Baker's longtime dissent to the direction the church was taking, he was silenced. In the fall of 1984 he withdrew and established the Gathering Center, a center, as the name implies, to facilitate the latter-day gathering of the Saints into the Center Place (Independence, Missouri). Alternative church services are held at the Gathering Center and a number of services for members are provided.

More recently, Baker has left the Center Branch which continues as an indpendent Restoration congregation in Independence.

It holds regular church services and has a program for feeding and clothing the needy.

Membership: Not reported. It is estimated that several hundred people are afiliated with the single congregation in Independence, Missouri.


Baker, Robert E. As It Was in the Days of Noah. Independence, MO: Old Path Publishers, 1985.


Church of Christ at Halley's Bluff

Schell City, MO 64783

The Church of Christ at Halley's Bluff, also known as the Church of Christ at Zion's Retreat, was founded in 1932 by former members of the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) who left in a dispute over the messages of Otto Fetting. A group centered in Denver, Colorado, and led by E. E. Long and Thomas B. Nerren had accepted Fetting's messages but had remained within the Temple Lot when the majority of his followers had left. The original congregation was located in Denver, Colorado, but by the end of the decade five other congregations had joined the small denomination. Nerren began to receive revelations. In 1941, in response to such a revelation, the church moved its headquarters to Zion's Retreat, a 441-acre tract of land in northeast Vernon County, about seventy miles south of Independence, Missouri, the site of Zion according to Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, Jr.

In 1942 the congregation in Cranston, Rhode Island, moved to Zion's Retreat. They were soon joined by the remaining members in Denver, and the group in Independence came in 1946. The remaining congregation, located in Delevan, Wisconsin, separated from the group in Missouri in 1966 and continues to exist today as an independent congregation.

The peace within the church in Missouri was disturbed in the 1960s after Daniel Gayman, one of its pastors, became editor of the church's periodical. He began to advocate strong racist and antiblack sentiments. Then in 1972 Gayman called a meeting of the church, deposed several bishops, and had himself elected to lead the church. The deposed bishops, General Hall and Duane Gayman, and their supporters filed suit and the court returned the property and the use of the church's several names to them. Meanwhile, the Hall-Gayman group had reincorporated as the Church of Christ at Halley's Bluff.

With the loss of its members in Wisconsin and the defection of Daniel Gayman's supporters, the Church of Christ at Halley's Bluff remains as but a small remnant within the family of Latter Day Saint Churches.

Membership: There are less than 100 members.


Church of Christ (David Clark)

PO Box 126
Oak Grove, MO 64075

The Church of Christ (David Clark) was founded in 1985 by David B. Clark, a former member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and his wife Gwyn Clark. The Clarks had come to feel that the Reorganized Church had drifted far away from the standards and teachings of the Bible and the Book of Mormon and were actually teaching doctrines in contradiction to them. The Clarks teach that the church was established on May 15, 1829, when an angelic messenger bestowed ministerial authority upon Joseph Smith, Jr., and Oliver Cowdery, who subsequently baptized each other. The Church of Christ that was established in 1829 has continued as a remnant though the larger organization fell away into apostasy.

The Church of Christ began in November 1985 when the Clarks began to hold a scripture study in their home. They developed a small following, acquired a meeting house, and in May 1987 began to issue a newsletter, The Return.

While adhering closely to the King James Version of the Bible and the The Record of the Nephites, (Book of Mormon), the church does not consider other Mormon scripture, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, or the Inspired Version of the Bible, to be authoritative.

Members of the Church of Christ obey the commandments to observe the seventh day of the weel as the Sabbath. They also keep the annual feasts, including Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles, etc.

Periodicals: The Return.


Clark, David. The Path Which Leads to the Kingdom of God. Oak Grove, MO: The Church of Christ, 1991.

Shields, Steven L. Divergent Paths of the Restoration. Los Angeles: Restoration Research, 1990.


Church of Christ (Fetting/Bronson)

1138 E. Gudgell
Independence, MO 64055

On February 4, 1927, Otto Fetting, one of the twelve apostles of the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), claimed that John the Baptist had appeared to him and told him that it was time to build the temple. Other messages gave instructions concerning the building of the temple.

The twelfth message became the matter of lengthy controversy. It said, "Let those who come to the church of Christ be baptized, that they may rid themselves of the traditions and sins of men." The members of the Temple Lot church had great difficulty with this passage. Many had come into the church by transfer from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and had not been baptized upon entering the Temple Lot church. They intepreted the message to call for a rebaptism of the entire church membership. A conference held in October 1929 denounced the idea of rebaptizing the church. Fetting was not allowed to speak on the baptism question. After the conference, he was silenced and told to wait for a referendum vote at the conference the following April. For whatever reason, he did not wait, and after the conference, he, Apostle Walter L. Gates, and Thomas B. Nerren were baptized. Others also received a new baptism and in the fall of 1929, all who had been baptized were disfellowshipped. The Church of Christ (Fetting) was begun by Fetting's followers, approximately 1,400 or about one-third of the Temple Lot church at the time.

Fetting continued to report receiving messages until his death in 1933. There were thirty messages in all. Several years after Fetting's death, a member in Colorado, W. A. Draves, began to report receiving messages. At first, these messages were accepted by the larger body of the church. However, some members, especially those in Louisiana and Mississippi, rejected Draves almost from the beginning and before the end of the decade reorganized as the Church of Christ (Restored). Eventually, in 1943, the church rejected Draves. After a court suit, which the Draves' supporters lost, they reorganized as the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message.

During years following the departure of Draves' supporters, leaders of the Fetting church began to advocate the keeping of the Saturday Sabbath. The issue was debated for many years until 1956, when the Twelve Apostles, having reached an agreement on the issue, adopted sabbatarianism for the entire church. The church is organized like the Church of Christ (Temple Lot). The church uses the Book of Mormon(1908 edition), but does not accept either the Book of Commandments or the Doctrine and Covenants, used by other Restoration groups.

Membership: In 1988, the church reported approximately 1,500 members, 24 ministers, and 12 congregations in the United States and an additional 500 members in Nigeria.

Periodicals: The Voice of Warning.


Fetting, Otto. The Midnight Message. Independence, MO: Church of Christ (Temple Lot), [1930].

Smith, Willard J. Fetting and His Messenger's Messages. Port Huron, MI: The Author, [1936].

The Word of the Lord. Independence, MO: Church of Christ, 1935.


Church of Christ Immanuel

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Church of Christ Immanuel orginated in a split in the Flint, Michigan, congregation of the Church of Christ (Temple Lot). C.W. Morgan, the pastor of the group and one of the apostles in the Temple Lot church, began to teach that there was but one person in the Godhead (rather than the idea of multiple persons common to most Mormon churches) and in the 1930s was silenced. Under Morgan's influence, this group left the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) and sued for the local church property. In an out-of-court settlement, the new church, which became known as the Church of Christ Omnipotent, abandoned its original building and constructed a new meeting house. During this period they became familar with the Church of Christ (Bible and Book of Mormon) led by Pauline Hancock (d. 1962) in Independence, Missouri, which had been established for similar reasons. From them they absorbed some practices, such as using fermented wine in their communion services instead of grape juice.

After a period, some of the members formed a second congregation at Davison, Michigan, under the leadership of Leland Cory, Harold Graves, and Atwood Shelley. The new congregation was merely a convenience for members who did not wish to drive all the way to Flint. However, in 1975 C. W. Morgan died, and the small group of members in Flint, without a leader, sold their property and began to meet with the group in Davison, which had taken the name Church of Christ Immanuel.

Membership: Not reported. There are less than 100 members.


Church of Christ (Leighton-Floyd/Burt)

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Church of Christ (Leighton-Floyd/Burt) was founded in 1965 by former members of The Church of Christ "With the Elijah Message," Established Anew in 1929. That church had been established in 1943 as the Church of Christ Established Anew. However, between the 1964 and 1965 assemblies of the church, Elder W. A. Graves, whose messages from Elijah were guiding the church, reincorporated the church under its present name. Although nondoctrinal, that action led to a disagreement at the 1965 assembly. Apostle Howard Leighton-Floyd and Bishop H. H. Burt rejected the name change and led a withdrawal of members. The membership of the new church they established centered on an agricultural cooperative near Holden, Missouri, where Leighton-Floyd resided.

Shortly after the formation of the Church of Christ, Leighton-Floyd resigned from the new church and joined the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), leaving the small body without an apostle. It is their belief that someday Christ will restore the apostleship to them. Ater Leighton-Floyd's withdrawal, Burt assumed leadership of the group. He resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado. From 1965 to 1968 the church published a periodical, The Banner of Truth.

The church accepts the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the messages of Otto Fetting and some of the messages of W. A. Graves (up to the split in 1965). It also accepts some of the Doctrines and Covenants(without some of the recent additions by the Reorganized Church) and parts of the Book of Commandments. They have a strong belief that in the near future the Lord will take the lead in the building of a temple in Independence, Missouri. The church practices baptism by immersion and uses the sacramental prayers in the book of Mormon (Moroni 4 & 5) in the ordinance of the Lord's Supper. Wine is used in the Lord's Supper.

Membership: Not Reported. At last report, some 35 members resided at the cooperative in Holden, Missouri.


Shields, Steven L. Divergent Paths of the Restoration. Los Angeles: Restoration Press, 1990. 336 pp.


Church of Christ, Nondenominational Bible Assembly


The Church of Christ, Nondenominational Bible Assembly, grew out of a splintering movement among former members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) in the 1940s. The church was founded and led in its first generation by Pauline Hancock. Hancock was the daughter of a leader in the Reorganized Church. In the mid-1920s she sided with those church members who protested the realignment of authority in the Reorganized Church into the church president's hands and in 1926 she joined the Church of Jesus Christ (Protest Group). She was the church's secretary for most of the years of its existence, but also worked within a congregation of the Church of Christ (Temple Lot). In 1931, when the Protest Church disbanded, she followed the majority of members in joining the Church of Christ (Temple Lot). Hancock continued as a powerful figure and teacher in the congregation of the former Protest group.

Over the years Hancock began to absorb the idea of the single Godhead, a more orthodox Christian understanding of God, as opposed to the generally accepted understanding of Mormonism of God as being several personages. This was an opinion which some Mormons held, but was not generally taught within the church. During the 1940s, she also began to lead a Friday evening study group which researched apparent discrepancies in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine & Covenants (the third Mormon scripture). Gradually, the group began to believe that the Reorganized Church taught a number of ideas which contradicted the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

Underlying her teaching role, Hancock had experienced several visions over the years. In January 1950, responding to another vision, she baptized a number of the people attending her church. She began to assume the full duties as pastor of the congregation, including leadership of the Sunday meetings. She cited Joseph Smith's "ordination" of Emma Smith, his wife, as precedent for her assuming the pastoral role. Asked to leave the church property, the new Church of Christ purchased a lot at Crysler and Linden streets in Independence, Missouri. The congregation became known as the Church of Christ (Bible and Book of Mormon Teaching). Over the next decade Hancock and the church departed from numerous doctrines held by most Mormons.

The early 1970s became a critical period in the history of the group. During 1973 the group discovered and accepted as factual evidence that Joseph Smith, Jr. was a fraud. At that point the group decided it must discontinue any use of the Book of Mormon. On November 24, 1973, the church issued a statement which appeared in the local newspaper to the effect that the Book of Mormon was not of divine origin and that the group would henceforth rely solely upon the Bible.

In subsequent years the church moved toward an orthodox evangelical Christian position. It taught the exclusive authority of the Bible, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and the destiny of humanity in an afterlife in heaven or hell. Dissenting from Mormon beliefs, the church denied that the gospel was ever taken from the earth and hence there has been no need for a restoration. Baptism by immersion has been retained. After a generation of activity the church disbanded in the early 1990s and its members moved into other evangilical churches.


Correspondence between Israel Smith and Pauline Hancock on Baptism for the Dead. Independence, MO: Church of Christ, [1955].

Hancock, Pauline. The Godhead, Is There More Than One? Independence, MO: Church of Christ, n.d.

——. Whence Came the Book of Mormon? Independence, MO: Church of Christ, [1958].

Wood, Samuel. The Infinite God. Fresno, CA: The Author, 1934.


Church of Christ/Order of Zion


The Church of Christ/Order of Zion was organized in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1918 by John Zahnd, a former member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Zahnd emerged during World War I as a critic of church organization. He rejected the idea of a First Presidency, seeing it as an umbilical office, and suggested that the church should be headed by the Twelve Apostles. His conclusions led him to believe that Joseph Smith, Jr., the prophet to whom Mormons look as their founder, should never have taken the authority to assume the presidency of the church, though he was undoubtedly a prophet of God. Equally important, Zahnd believed that the entire church should be living according to the united order, that is, communally.

The church was organized in September 1918. He began a periodical, The Order of Zion. The next month Zahnd received a revelation designating him an apostle (elder) and naming several men as priests and apostles. Two men were also named as bishops to handle the temporal afairs of the church. At the annual meeting of the church, 12 men among the elders were chosen by casting lots as the Twelve Apostles to head the church.

The church seems to have survived approximately a decade in the Kansas City area.


Zahnd, John. All Things Common. Kansas City, MO: Church of Christ/Order of Zion, 1919. 68 pp.

——. The Old Paths. Kansas City, MO: Church of Christ/Order of Zion, 1920. 28 pp.

——. The Order of Zion. Kansas City, MO: Order of Zion, n.d. 89 pp.


Church of Christ (Restored)

4717 NE 15th Ave.
Vancouver, WA 98663

The Church of Christ Restored was founded in 1976 following the formal silencing of Paul Fishel, a patriarch/evangelist with the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Vancouver, Washington. The action by the reorganized church culminated a seven-year battle which had begun when the church published a set of position papers in 1969. These papers reflected the rise of a set of theologically trained leaders in the Independence, Missouri, headquarters. It was the opinion of conservative leaders, such as Fishel, that, among other problems, the papers presented a deviant concept of God and questioned the authority of the Book of Mormon. Fishel became a vocal critic of the "apostasy" he saw in the church leadership; he was warned by the church to stop his agitation.

Finally in 1976, the Reorganized Church formally silenced Fishel, disorganized the congregation, and established a new mission. With his supporters Fishel reorganized his congregation and, for a while, tried to remain within the reorganized church structure. Eventually, however, he incorporated the Church of Christ Restored. Hearing of the action in Vancouver, Robert Buller, a conservative leader in Michigan, contacted Fishel and subsequently opened several centers in that state. In 1984 Fishel traveled to Australia, and as a result congregations were formed in the states of Victoria and South Australia.

Membership: In 1992 the church reported several hundred members in the United States and approximately 50 in Australia.


"Church of Christ Restored."Restoration4, no. 3 (July 1985): 7.

Shields, Steven L. Divergent Paths of the Restoration. Los Angeles: Restoration Research, 1990.


Church of Christ (Restored)

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Church of Christ (Restored) is one of several groups which grew out of the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) and the revelations received by Otto Fetting (1871-1933). Fetting was a member of the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) in 1927 when a heavenly Messenger, who identified himself as John the Baptist, began to appear to him. These messages, which concerned the building of the temple in the lot owned by the church, they were received warmly. However, the twelfth message ordered that all new members, including those transferring from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints be rebaptized. This admonition led to great controversy. Eventually, in 1929, Fetting and his followers left and founded the Church of Christ (Restored). Fetting continued to receive messges, 30 in all.

Two significant events for the Church of Christ (Restored) were initiated in 1938. First, W. A. Draves claimed to have received messages from the same source as Fetting. The Church received these messages until 1943 when the majority of the church membership rejected them. Draves' supporters withdrew and founded the The Church of Christ "With the Elijah Message," Established Anew in 1929. Second, A. C. DeWold, being uninterested in Draves' mesages had left Missouri for Mississippi. He began to make converts and build the church in the South.

After the departure of Draves, the church enjoyed a period of relative calm until the late 1950s. At this time, Apostle S. T. Bronson began to advocate the keeping of the seventh-day sabbath. This proved unacceptable to some, and the church split the Independence, Missouri, area established the Church of Christ (Fetting/ Bronson).

Beliefs. The Church of Christ (Restored) have teachings similar to the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), except that it accepts the revelations of Otto Fetting. These are published in a small volume entitled, The World of the Lord. Worship is on Sunday.

Organization. The Church is headed by the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and the several bishops. There is an annual assembly at which church business is conducted. Congregations are found in the South, in Missouri, along the West Coast. Foreign affiliated work can be found in Wales, Germany and the Netherlands.

Membership: Not reported.

Periodicals: The Gospel Herald.


Daniel, William A. Rediscovering the Messages. N.p., n.d.

Fetting, Otto. The Word of the Lord. Independence, MO: Church of Christ, 1938.


Church of Christ (Temple Lot)

200 S. River St.
Independence, MO 65051

The Church of Christ whose headquarters is located on the dedicated temple lots in Independence, Missouri, considers itself a true remnant of the Church of Christ organized April 6, 1830, in Fayette Township, Seneca County, New York. It has claim to the original church from the time of its organization, through the years of persecution and after the death of Joseph Smith, Jr., having never been reorganized nor its membership re-baptized.

In the winter of 1852, a number of church members met in the home of Granville Hedrick near Bloomington, Illinois. Word of polygamy in Utah had reached them, and they withdrew they fellowship from the Utah brethren. Over the next few years they met regularly, and in 1857 Granville Hedrick was set apart as their presiding elder. The group further declared their belief in the Book of Mormon and the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and its Covenants. They took their stand against polygamy and baptism for the dead as practiced in Utah, and against the idea of "lineal succession of the presidency," which the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (then called the New Organization) advocated. They commenced using the name Church of Christ, which was the name of the church when it was organized in 1830.

In 1863, Hedrick was ordained to the first president of the church. Shortly thereafter he received a revelation that the saints should be gathered back to Independence, Missouri, which through revelation in July, 1831, was designated to be the city of Zion and the place of the temple of the Lord. The saints had been driven out of Independence in 1833 and from the state of Missouri in 1838-39. While most of the saints settled in Nauvoo, Illinois, some went to Bloomington, Woodford County, Illinois. A caravan of the saints returned to Independence with Granville Hedrick in the winter of 1866-67 and within a few years had purchased the land that had been dedicated by Joseph Smith, Jr., as the place for the temple of the Lord. In 1891 the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints went to court to get possession of the temple lots and succeeded in winning the case. The Church of Christ appealed the decision in 1894, which resulted in a reversal of the decision by the highest court in favor of the Church of Christ.

The Church of Christ erected a small church building on the property in 1889 but was destroyed by arson in 1898. They built another church building in 1902 and it served as their headquarters for many years. An arsonist set fire to it in 1990 and a new, larger building has been erected in its place.

The Church of Christ reprinted the 1833 Book of Commandments in the 1920s; the book is the original compilation of revelations and the church favors its use rather than the Doctrine and Covenants. At that time it also abolished the office of presiding elder and discontinued the first presidency. The church has taken the position that the only head of the church is Jesus Christ and the highest officeholders under him are the twelve apostles.

In 1884 the Church of Christ recognized the baptisms of some of the other Restoration churches as being valid and began to accept their members into the church by transfer. Because of dissension in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the 1920s, a number of their members transferred into the Church of Christ, which at one point increased its membership to around 4,000. This was a short-lived boom as one of its apostles was expelled in 1930 for giving false revelations. He succeeded in taking a number of the new members with him and established another church. During that time the Church of Christ had begun an excavation for the temple and they found two stones that marked the exact place that was dedicated in 1831. Due to lack of funds they were unable to erect the building so they filled the excavation.

Membership: In 2001 the church reported 2,600 members, 42 congregations, and 144 ministers. There are affiliated congregations in Mexico, Honduras, Africa, and the Philippines.

Periodicals: Zion's Advocate.


A Book of Commandments for the Government of the Church of Christ. Independence, MO: Church of Christ (Temple Lot), 1960.

Flint, B. C. Autobiography. Independence, MO: Privately printed, n.d.

——. An Outline History of the Church of Christ (Temple Lot). Independence, MO: Board of Publication, Church of Christ (Temple Lot), 1953.

——. What About Israel? Independence, MO: Board of Publication, Church of Christ (Temple Lot), 1967.

Smith, Arthur M. Temple Lot Deed. Independence, MO: Board of Publication, Church of Christ (Temple Lot), 1963.

Wheaton, Clarence L., and Angela Wheaton. The Book of Commandments Controversy Reviewed. Independence, MO: Church of Christ (Temple Lot), 1950.


The Church of Christ "With the Elijah Message," Established Anew in 1929

608 Lacy Rd.
Independence, MO 64050

The Church of Christ (Fetting/Bronson) (discussed elsewhere in this chapter) received no revelations from 1933, when Otto Fetting died, to 1937. In October 1937, however, an elder, W. A. Draves, in Nucla, Colorado began to experience visits from John the Baptist (from whom Fetting had also claimed to have received his messages). These messages were officially accepted, at least through Message 56. Message 48 placed Draves among the church's 12 apostles. Then in 1943 some doubt was raised about the messages. He was accused of attaining information about members to use in the messages. A battle over control of the church's assets began at the 1943 assembly and led to a court suit in which those who supported the message lost. They continued on, however, and incorporated as the Church of Christ, Established Anew.

The Church of Christ is similar to the Church of Christ (Temple Lot). It shares the same history of the Temple Lot Church until 1930 and the history of the Church of Christ (Fetting/Bronson) until 1943. They worship on Sunday. They have also published their own edition of the Book of Mormon under the title, The Record of the Nephites. The Church has twelve apostles who reside in various areas of the country. A council of seven bishops manages the church property through the council's secretary. The church supports an active mission program and has congregations in India, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, France, Germany, and Italy.

Membership: In 1987 the church reported 2,500 members, 15 churches, and 125 ministers in the United States. There were 12,500 members worldwide.

Periodicals: The Voice of Peace.


The Record of the Nephites. Independence, MO: Board of Publication, Church of Jesus Christ, "With the Elijah Message," Established Anew in 1929, 1970.

The Word of the Lord. Independence, MO: Board of Publication, Church of Jesus Christ, "With the Elijah Message," Established Anew in 1929, 1971.


Church of Christ with the Elijah Message (Rogers)

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Church of Jesus Christ with the Elijah Message was founded by Daniel Aaron Rodgers, who had been named an elder in The Church of Jesus Christ "With the Elijah Message," Established Anew in 1929, and while a member published a short work defending the inspiration of the messages of its prophetic messenger, W. A. Draves. The following year he was removed from the church, but he continued to preach under the same name as his former church. He accepted the doctrines and practices of his former church, and continued to circulate the Record of the Nephites(that church's edition of the Book of Mormon) by covering the church's address in Independence, Missouri, with that of his own. He also began a periodical, The Missionary Newsletter(later The Standard).

Rogers gained some fame as an evangelist who had absorbed some themes from popular pentecostalism. He emphasized faith-healing and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. During this period, he made the news when he unsuccessfully attempted to resurrect his mother whom he had kept frozen for a month following her death in February 1978. He briefly reconciled with the Church of Christ with the Eliajah Message parent body in 1983, but was soon operating independently again.

Membership: Not reported.


Roger, Daniel Aaron. The Angel Spoken of in Rev. 14:6 Speaks, Warning All People of the Second Coming of Christ. Harrison, AR: The Author, n.d. 6 pp.

Shields, Steven L. Divergent Paths of the Restoration. Los Angeles: Restoration Press, 1990. 336 pp.


Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (William Smith)


William Smith was the brother of Joseph Smith, Jr., the prophet and founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Following the death of both Joseph and Hyrum Smith (another brother), William emerged as the leading member of the family in the church. However, he had significant disagreements with Brigham Young who succeeded Joseph Smith as the new president of the church following Smith's assassination in 1844. When Young demoted William Smith, who had been the church's patriarch, Smith responded by publishing a statement comparing Young to Pontius Pilate. On October 19, 1845, Young excommunicated Smith.

Cut off, Smith associated with James Jesse Strang for a while, but reappeared in 1847 with the announcement that he was the church's new president. He excommunicated the leadership that had acknowledged Young. Smith's actions, occurring as Young was moving with a large group of the Saints to Utah, were intended to call together those who had remained behind in the Midwest. He called for a gathering in Lee County, Illinois. He was assisted by Aaron Hook whom he had appointed his counselor. A second center developed in Covington, Kentucky, but was lost in the controversy following Smith's acknowledgement that he was open to the practice of polygamy. In 1849 Smith gained the support of Lyman Wight, and his colony in Texas came into Smith's church.

Smith's following never stabilized and within a few years dissolved. The majority of the membership, including Smith, joined the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which had been organized in 1852.


Shields, Steven L. Divergent Paths of the Restoration. Los Angeles: Restoration Research, 1990.

——. The Latter Day Saint Churches: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland Publishing, 1987.


Church of Jesus Christ (Protest Movement)


The Church of Jesus Christ (Protest Movement) was founded in 1926 by Thomas W. Williams (1975-1931) and others who protested the actions of Frederick M. Smith, then president of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In 1924 in what became known as the "Supreme Directional Control Controversy," Smith asked for more direct managerial authority over the programs of the church. Many saw his request as a move to gain power at the expense of members and other leaders. Several hundred members signed and presented to the 1925 church general conference a formal document opposing the governmental changes. When their protest was rebuffed and further attempts to be heard seemed lost, they held a conference in February 1926 to form a new church. The group survived for several years, but at the end of the decade Williams, the acknowledged leader, moved to Los Angeles, California. He died there in 1931. After his death, the church was disbanded. The largest number of protest group members joined the Church of Christ (Temple Lot).


Church of Jesus Christ Restored


The Church of Jesus Christ Restored began in 1979 when a group of members from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints separated from that church and began to hold independent meetings. They called Stanley M. King to lead the restored church, which began a vigorous outreach program. King has received a number of revelations which became part of the church's scripture. A mission in Independence, Missouri, was opened in the mid-1970s, as well as churches in India and the Netherlands.

The church believed that it is necessary for Christians to be a part of the true church on earth and that both the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had apostacized. The Church of Jesus Christ Restored was God's chosen church which preached the fullness of the gospel. The church was organized under a First Presidency, a Council of Twelve Apostles, the Standing High Council of the Church, a Presiding Bishopric, and a Presiding Patriarch.

The purpose of the church was the perfection of its human members. In order to reach perfection, life must be lived in the stakes of God. Stakes are communities built around a central temple, the place for the performance of the high ordinances of the church. Each member's task is to become independent of, and above, every creature and system of this world.

The church accepted the Book of Mormon (the inspired version of the Bible as revised by Joseph Smith, Jr.), the Doctrines and Covenants, and the additional prophecies received by King.

In 1987 Stanley King died. Following his death, church members kept his body out of the ground for three days hoping it would be reserrected. It was then buried. Subsequently, the leadership of the group collapsed and the church soon dissolved. The majority of members, the Mission India, affiliated with the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Membership: Not reported.


Church of Jesus Christ (Toney)

Current address not obtained for this edition.

Forrest Toney (b. 1945) was a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and was raised in the church in Spokane, Washington. He later moved to Independence, Missouri, where, in 1977, he began to receive visions. In one of these visions in 1980 he was ordained to the high priesthood. A few months prior to the ordination he had resigned his job to devote full time to preaching. Since the Reorganized Church would not allow him to preach, he began to hold services in the Blue Hills Elementary School in Independence and to place advertisements in the local newspaper. Toney claims to offer prophetic insight into the Biblical books of Daniel and Revelation. He says of himself, "I am the Elijah and the only High Priest." He denounces money and worldly goods.

Membership: Not reported.


Church of Jesus Christ (Williams)


The Church of Jesus Christ emerged out of what was called the "Supreme Directional Control" controversy within the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The controversy flared in 1924 when Frederick M. Smith, president of the Reorganized Church, requested more managerial authority in directing the program agencies of the church. Some members, including Thomas W. Williams (1875-1931), immediately objected as they saw in the request a dangerous move to centralize power in the president's hands with a resultant loss of democratic controls by the members. Leaders of what became known as the protest held a prayer meeting that lasted for 10 days prior to the 1925 general conference at which the request would be considered.

At the close of the prayer meeting, approximately 25 people signed a statement protesting what they saw as granting "supreme directional control" which would "fundamentally change the established order of the church." The conference sustained President Smith's request, and many of the protest leaders left the church. While the largest group that withdrew transferred their membership to the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), others called a conference to meet in Independence, Missouri, in April 1926, at which they organized the Church of Jesus Christ. Williams was among the several men elected to the executive committee which headed the new church.

The Church of Jesus Christ generally followed the beliefs and practices of the Reorganized Church, the issue being entirely administrative, though the church issued its own statement of doctrine. The church moved away from acceptance of the Doctrine and Covenants and replaced it with the older Book of Commandments. More importantly, in reaction to the centralized structure of the Reorganized Church, the new church had an extremely loose organization. While biennial church conferences were held regularly for a few years, the issue that called the church into existence faded in prominence, and the leadership's commitment to the church declined. Williams, the church's primary leader, for example, moved to California before the end of the decade and his death in 1931 seemed to seal the fate of the new church. It soon disbanded and the majority of the members went into the Church of Christ (Temple Lot).


Shields, Steven L. Divergent Paths of the Restoration. Los Angeles: Restoration Press, 1990. 336 pp.

Williams, T. W. The Protest Movement: Its Meaning and Purpose. Independence, MO: The Church of Jesus Christ, 1926. 28 pp.


Church of Jesus Christ (Zion's Branch)

108 S. Pleasant
Independence, MO

The Church of Jesus Christ (Zion's Branch) is one of several groups organized by former members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1984 following the revelation of the church's president Wallace B. Smith concerning the ordination of women. The members believe that the Reorganized Church has become an apostate body. Among the leaders of the church is Robert Cato who played an important role in the International Elders Conference, a 1986 gathering of former Reorganized Church leaders from some 20 separate factions. The new church follows the traditional beliefs and practice of the Reorganized Church.

Membership: In 1986 there were six branch congregations and about 200 members in the church in Independence, Missouri.


Churches of Christ in Zion

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Churches of Christ in Zion was formed in 1979 by Bishop Robert W. Chambers. It was originally known as the National Association of American Churches. Integral to the life of the church was an economic system called "Zionomics." The system called for large-scale investment of tithes and gifts to the church in various commercial, residential, and agricultural ventures. The goal of these investments was the reclamation of the waste places of Zion, the area around Independence, Missouri, which, according the the Book of Mormon, will be the center of the future Kingdom of God and the gathering place of the saints. Parishoners, most of whom worship in house churches, have been exhorted to establish "Minicipals in Zion" to accomodate the gathering of people at the time of Christ's second coming. It is hoped that the investments will have an immediate effect of creating both new jobs and homes in the new metropolitan villages. In 1982 the Missouri state legislators adopted a resolution applauding Zionomics.

David Roberts, now head of the True Church of Jesus Christ Restored was at one time president of the National Association of American Churches. He also attended the church's seminary Continental College, which was open for several years in the early 1980s.

Membership: Not reported. In 1980 there were more than 40 missions all in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area, 28 of which were in Independence, Missouri. Because of adverse rulings from the Internal Revenue Service on the church's tax exempt status, its membership has dropped through the 1980s.

Remarks: The Churches of Christ in Zion have encountered opposition from the Internal Revenue Service since the beginning of its existence. The IRS accused the association of being a tax dodge which has helped its members convert their homes into nonprofit church missions. It denied the church tax exempt status in 1981 and again in 1984 because the church was not exclusively a church and because it had provided assistance to church members in their dealings with the IRS. Chambers, the head of the church, is a tax consultant. Sponsors of the legislative resolution have claimed that it was not passed in any effort to provide substantive support to the church's programs.


Community of Christ

100 W. Walnut
Independence, MO 64050

History. Formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was formed in 1860 by remnants of the Latter-day Saint movement left in the East and Midwest after the larger group migrated to Utah; the prime movers of the new church were Jason Briggs, Zenos Gurley, and William Marks.

Briggs had been an elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) at Nauvoo, Illinois, and remained loyal until the trek West. He then joined James Jesse Strang in 1848. He soon rejected Strang and joined in William Smith's short-lived church in 1850. In 1851, he left Smith and in November claimed a revelation in which the Lord affirmed that He had not cast off His people and that in due time, from the seed of Joseph would come forth one mighty and strong (II Nephi 2:46-47).

Zenos Gurley was senior president of one of the seventies in Nauvoo. He remained loyal to Brigham Young until a few days before the departure west. He joined Strang and was a bishop, but like Briggs he left Strang in 1852. He claimed a revelation similar to Brigg's concerning Joseph's son.

William Marks was the Nauvoo stake president who was excommunicated when he supported the leadership claims of Sidney Rigdon, who founded the precursor to the Church of Christ (Bickertonite). Marks joined Rigdon, then Strang, then several other Mormon groups.

In 1852 Gurley and Briggs came together to form the New Organization, basically from some of Strang's followers. They decided that Joseph Smith III should lead the new church. The organization was effected in 1853 and Briggs was chosen to preside. Young Joseph refused the presidency at first, but in 1859 accepted it. In 1859, William Marks was admitted to the New Organization, and it was he who ordained Smith president. On April 6, 1860, the New Organization became the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with 300 members.

The church agrees with the Utah Church in a number of important points. Members of the church accept all the scriptures that Joseph Smith wrote and their statement of belief is very close to that of the Utah brethren. In particular, they accept the idea of the restoration of the ministerial, priestly, and prophetic offices in the nineteenth century; the gifts of the Spirit; and salvation by faith, repentance, baptism by immersion, and the laying on of hands.

Beliefs. The Community of Christ draws sharp distinctions on several points on which it feels the Utah Church has fallen into error. The church rejects polygamy, and all the associated doctrines-sealing of marriages for eternity and marriage by proxy to persons deceased-are rejected most strongly. The doctrine that "As man is now is, God once was; as God now is, so man may become," the Adam-God theory, is felt to conflict plainly with the monotheism of the Bible. The members of the church consider abhorrent the practice of "blood atonement" as enunciated by Brigham Young, by which apostates were killed to save them from damnation. In the church, there are no closed temples nor services from which the public is barred, nor any special temple garments.

The Community of Christ believes in the worth of all people and the value of community building; members are dedicated to the pursuit of peace and justice for all people. Recognizing that the perception of truth is always qualified by human nature and experience, there is no official church creed that must be accepted by all church members. All people are encouraged to study the scriptures, to participate in the life and mission of the church, and to examine their own experiences as they grow in understanding and response to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The church recognizes three books of scripture: Holy Scriptures (Bible);Book of Mormon–a narrative of God's dealing with early peoples of the Western Hemisphere; and Doctrine and Covenants–a book of modern revelation and present-day church guidance.

Basic beliefs of the church include the concept of one eternal, living God is triune: one God in three persons–God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. The sacraments of the church are baptism, confirmation of membership, and the Lord's Supper (Communion), marriage, blessing of children, administration to the sick, ordination to the priesthood, and the evangelists blessing. Ordained men and women serve Community of Christ congregations as full-time and lay leaders.

The most significant difference in the church is its adoption of a hereditary prophetic office in the descendants of Joseph Smith, Jr. Since 1860, the president-prophets of the church have been successively Joseph Smith III (1860-1914), Frank Madison Smith (1914-1946), Israel Alexander Smith (1946-1958), and W. Wallace Smith (1958-78) and Wallace B. Smith (1978-). The president-prophets have, unlike the Utah Church presidents, added periodic revelations which appear as additions to the Doctrine and Covenants.

In the 1990s, the church faced a crisis in that no descendant of Joseph Smith, Jr. was waiting to take over the leadership of the church following the dealth/retirement of present leader Wallace Smith. The problem was resolved in 1996, when the church's World Conference designated 48-year-old W. Grant McMurray as Smith's successor. Until such time as Smith vacates his office, McMurray remains a member of the First Presidency.

The church is described as a theocratic democracy–a government of God directed divinely under the law of "common consent" of the people. There is a world conference held every two years in the church headquarters auditorium, located across the street from the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) in Independence, Missouri. It has been the most open of all Mormon bodies to mainline Protestantism and one finds books by outstanding Protestants (of a noncontroversial nature) in the catalogue of the church book service. Herald House serves as both the publishing arm of the church and as a retail book distributor. Foreign work is being conducted in Nigeria, Japan, South Korea, Okinawa, South India, the Philippines, Brazil, Mexico, Haiti, New Zealand, Australia, French Polynesia, England, and Germany.

The church's Internet site is http://www.CofChrist.org

Membership: In 2002 the church reported 250,000 members in more than 50 countries.

Educational Facilities: Graceland College, Lamoni, Iowa.

Periodicals: Herald.


Edwards, F. Henry. Fundamentals, Enduring Convictions of the Restoration. Independence, MO: Herald Publishing House, n.d.

Edwards, Paul M. History: Our Legacy of Faith. Independence, MO: Herald Publishing House, 1991.

Knisley, Alvin. Infallible Proofs. Independence, MO: Herald Publishing House, 1930.

Koury, Aleah G. The Truth and the Evidence. Independence, MO: Herald Publishing House, 1965.

MacGregor, Daniel. A Marvelous Work and a Wonder. The Author, 1911.


Independent Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

℅ Mark Cortez, Pres.
22 Homas Pl., Apt. C
Destrehan, LA 70047

Alternate Address: International Headquarters: Bergliengate 14, 0354 Oslo 3, Norway.

The Independent Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was founded in Oxford, England, in the mid-1980s under the lead-ership of Christopher C. Warren Also known by his religious name, Lev-Zion haEphrayim, Warren was a former member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and was assisted by Erik Danielson. HaEphrayim had received a revelation in 1977 of the apostasy that had crept into the church, a vision which was confirmed by his own observations in the next months. In 1981 he left the church and began a study of the various factions of Latter-day Saints, finding in each an admixture of truth and error. He joined the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1984, but left in 1986 to organize the Independent Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a new restored church. The church quickly spread through Europe and back to the United States, but enjoyed its greatest success in Norway where the church's headquarters were soon relocated.

During 1988 and 1989, haEphrayim had a series of over 150 revelations that were published as the Covenants and Commandments, a sequel to the Doctrines and Covenants, one of the standard Latter-day Saints scriptures. One of the tasks the Independent Church has undertaken is the compilation of an authoritative edition of the Doctrines and Covenants that would contain all of Joseph Smith, Jr.'s, revelations and delete those made by church leaders in the intervening years. It is the contention of the Independent Church that both the Latter Day Saints church in Utah and the Reorganized Church fell into apostasy that none of the various factions had been able to reverse. The Independent Church believes it represents a new beginning.

The Independent Church has developed cordial relations with Sons Ahman Israel and its leader David Israel. The church accepts as authoritative scripture the translations by Israel claimed to be the sealed portions of the Book of Mormon plates.

Membership: Not reported. There are centers in Norway, Denmark, and the United States.

Periodicals: Messenger and Advocate.


Covenants and Commandments. Vetlandveien, Norway: Independent Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1989.

Shields, Steven L. Divergent Paths of the Restoration. Los Angeles: Restoration Research, 1990.


Lundgren Faction


In 1986 Jeffrey Lundgren, a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, formed a study group from church members in the Kirkland, Ohio, area. It became the core of a small new religion Lundgren founded in 1988 after he was stripped of his priesthood and subsequently withdrew from the church. Then in January 1990, newspapers across the country were filled with the news of five bodies whose deaths were attributed to Lundgren and the members of his group.

Jeffrey Lundgren (b. 1950) was born and raised in the Reorganized Church in Independence, Missouri, where the church is headquartered. In 1983 he was ordained a priest in the church (a ceremony through which most male members pass). The following year, however, he moved to Kirkland, Ohio, to work at the Kirkland Temple, the original temple constructed by Joseph Smith, Jr., the prophet upon whose writings the church is built. The Kirkland Temple is a popular tourist site, especially for Mormons, and Lundgren served as a tour guide.

Within a few years Lundgren began to give voice to several ideas at variance with the teachings of the Reorganized Church. He shared his ideas with people he showed around the temple and by 1986 had gathered a small study group. During 1987 officials in the church became aware of his heterodox notions and began to monitor his work with the tourists. Thus in January 1988 church officials stripped him of his priesthood, silenced him, and fired him from his position at the temple. On October 21, he and his wife formally withdrew from the church, and with his followers, organized separately. Lundgren proclaimed himself a prophet, and approximately 30 people followed him into a communal living arrangement.

Over the next several months Lundgren claimed to have found a chamber holding the golden plates from which the Book of Mormon was written and a sword of Laban spoken of in that book. He believed that Kirkland was to be the center of the new Zion and developed plans to gather several hundred followers, take over the Kirkland Temple, and from there await the return of Christ.

Before the group could take over the temple, however, Lundgren deemed necessary some purifying and ritual cleansing actions, including a period in the wilderness. On April 17, 1989, five people, Dennis and Cheryl Avery and their three children, were executed as an act of cleansing. Some 20 people were involved in some way with the murders, though Lundgren actually pulled the trigger. After the murders the group moved to Davis, West Virginia, for a period and then to Chillowee, Missouri. In December the group appears to have split up as some members began to disagree on Lundgren's status as a prophet.

The bodies of the Averys were discovered the first week of January 1990. Within a few days, most of those involved were arrested; Lundgren and his wife were found in San Diego, California. At a trial later that year, Lundgren was sentenced to death and his wife to life imprisonment. Other members of the group received lesser sentences. By these legal proceedings, the remnant of the group was effectively disbanded.


Earley, Pete. Prophet of Death. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1991.


New Jerusalem Church of Jesus Christ


The New Jerusalem Church of Jesus Christ was founded in Independence, Missouri, in 1975 by Barney Fuller, a former member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For more than a decade Fuller had been protesting the spread of liberalism in the reorganized church and as early at 1967 had published a book, Have You Received the Holy Ghost?, in which he and his co-authors argued that the Holy Ghost had been withdrawn from the church. In 1969, he joined with other people concerned about what they agreed were unwelcome trends in the Reorganized Church to form World Redemption to protest the changes in the church. At this time the church was experiencing some dissent from changes in church school curricula, the attendance at a Methodist seminary of some ministerial leaders, and the promotion of the cause of female ordination.

Fuller and the other leaders of the group were silenced by the Church's leadership, but made their views known through a periodical, Zion's Warning(1970-75). World Redemption continued until 1975 when it was superseded by the New Jerusalem Church. The new church adopted the Book of Mormon, the Book of Commandments, and the Inspired Version of the Bible as scripture and gained some popular support from conservative members of that church. However, in 1976, Fuller renounced the Latter Day Saint scriptures, and the majority of his supporters withdrew. A short time later, the church was disbanded.


Fuller, Barney R. Stick of Joseph. Pasadena, CA: Tri Tech Publications, 1969. 118 pp.

——, Glen Stout, and William Spilsbury. Have You Received the Holy Ghost?. La Mirada, CA: The Authors, 1967. 81 pp.

Shields, Steven L. Divergent Paths of the Restoration. Los Angeles: Restoration Press, 1990. 336 pp.


Restoration Branches Movement

No central address. For information:
Price Publishing Co.
915 E. 23rd St.
Independence, MO 64055

The Restoration Branches Movement arose in the 1980s within the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in an attempt to coordinate the conservative dissent which had grown within the church over the previous two decades. Dissent had been focused upon a number of changes which had moved the church from what some members have felt to be traditional church perspectives. Issues of change arose with the introduction of a new church school curriculum in the 1960s, an action which caused additional concern because of the use of authors who were nonchurch members. The introduction of the new curriculum highlighted the development within the church of a "liberal" leadership composed of people theologically trained in liberal Protestant seminaries. These leaders were introducing a variety of ideas whose overall effect would be to move away from the distinctive truths held by the church. This new position of the church was stated in a series of "position papers" produced in 1967-68 by the church's Department of Religious Education. Conservatives also complained that these leaders were aligning the church to the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

The ordination of women became the most controversial of the important new doctrines introduced during the 1970s. Discussion within church periodicals moved into the highest leadership by the mid-1970s. In 1976 the First Presidency of the church introduced a resolution calling for the reversal of previous church action forbidding the ordination of women. Finally in 1984, President Wallace B. Smith issued a new revelation (to be added to the Doctrines and Covenants as item no. 156) calling for women's ordination and a restructuring of the priesthood. The first women were ordained the following year. At the same time a number of dissenting members of the priesthood were silenced. Using guidelines issued in January 1985, a review of the priests commenced. These guidelines were rejected by the conservative members and leaders.

Using guidelines issued in January 1985, a review of the priests commenced. These new guidelines were rejected by the conservative members and leaders.

The cause of conservative dissent within the church was championed by a number of individuals around the country and several organizations, most headquartered in Independence, Missouri. Prominent among the organizations were the Restoration Foundation, Price Publishing Company, Mothers in Israel, and the Concerned Members Committee. Even prior to the revelation of 1984 and its implementation the following year, independent congregations, having anticipated the future course of the church, had separated and formed new churches. A gathering of approximately 20 such independent groups occurred in Independence in April 1986.

In the wake of the actions of 1984-85 by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the formation of numerous new church groups, a number of conservative church members, most prominently Richard Price and Rudy Leutzinger, began to call for the formation of autonomous branches (congregations) which would stay within the Reorganized Church but be independent of the "apostate" hierarchy of the world headquarters. In 1985 Leutzinger led in the formation of such a branch, the Independence Branch. Price wrote and published guidelines for such independent branches which began to form wherever Reorganized Church congregations were found.

Such branches are to refrain from participation with the separate groups, especially those which have proposed new beliefs in the authority of their leader as a prophet. They are to follow traditional Reorganized Church doctrine and accept the Epitome of Faith as a true doctrinal statement. Special emphasis is placed upon the authority of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants (without item No. 156), and the Inspired Version of the Bible (as revised and translated by Joseph Smith). Such branches are to withdraw support, both spiritual and financial, from the world headquarters. It is the movement's belief that it is one remnant of the true church, within the continuing Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Members of the independent branches are to stay members of the Reorganized Church awaiting the day when God will act through them to complete the present Restoration.

Membership: Not reported. A directory, published in 1991, listed 72 branches and groups in the United States, one group in Ontario, Canada, and one in Australia.

Periodicals: Unofficial: Restoration Voice. Send orders to Box 1611, Independence, MO 64055. • Quarterly Report. Available from the Restoration Foundation, Box 1774, Independence, MO64055. • Vision.

Remarks: As this volume goes to press, the Restoration Branches Movement appears to be one of the strongest segments of the recent dissent in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is also one of the most fluid and will, by its own projections, grow and develop as affiliated branches become stable and an ackowledged leadership emerges.


Leutzinger, Rudy. Branch Organization and the History of the Independence Branch. Independence, MO: Restoration Foundation, 1985.

Price, Richard. Restoration Branches Movement. Independence, MO: Price Publishing Co., 1986.

——. The Saints at the Crossroads. Independence, MO: Price Publishing Co., 1974.

Price, Richard, and Larry Harlacher. Action Time. Independence, MO: Price Publishing Co., 1985.


Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

PO Box 2027
Independence, MO 64055

The Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was founded in 1991 by former members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who rejected what they saw as a drift toward liberal Protestant theology and an abandonment of distinctive teachings by Joseph Smith, Jr. in the 1830s and 1840s. Changes within the Reorganized Church had been a matter of controversy for several decades. The members of the Restoration Church had fought to stop the changes into what they considered apostasy but finally concluded that such efforts were in vain. Beginning in the mid-1980s, individuals and congregations began to withdraw and in 1991 "reorganized" under the leadership of some former members of the Quorums of Seventy of the Reorganized Church.

Once the Restoration Church was established, a set of Apostles and other priesthood Quorums were designated, and in 1993 a Prophet/President was ordained. The Prophet/President is Marcus Juby, a Native American. The naming of Juby is seen as fulfilling a prophecy from the Book of Mormon(2Nephi2:45-47, Reorganized Church edition). The Restoration Church grew quickly by gathering into membership a number of small independent groups that had separated from the Reorganized Church over the years. They opened a mission in Nepal and have received into membership several thousand people in India who were formerly members of the now-defunct Church of Jesus Christ Restored.

The Restoration Church holds to the same doctrines of the Reorganized Church prior to the changes initiated in the 1970s. They identify those doctrines with the original teaching of Joseph Smith, Jr., and of early Christianity which survived through such groups as the Donatists until the sixth century C.E. The church acknowledges One God and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ, which is effective in the lives of all who come to Christ in baptism, accept the ministry of Christ's true church, and lead a life of repentance. The church believes that children are not accountable for their life until the age of eight, ant that those who die having never heard the gospel will have the opportunity to accept it in the next life.

The church accepts the authority of the Bible (the Inspired Version of Joseph Smith, first published in 1867), the Book of Mormon, the Doctrines and Covenants, and such additional revelations as may be given to the church's Prophet/President. The church rejects polygamy, secret rites, blood atonement, ecumenism, and White supremacy.

The church practices the ordinances of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and the laying on of hands in confirmation to bestow the gift of the holy Spirit, for ordination to the priesthood, and with oil for the anointing of the sick. Revelatory "Patriarchal Blessings" are given to individuals by ordained Patriarchs.

Membership: In 1995 the church reported 65 branches, missions, and groups in 32 states of the United States. Outside of the United States, there are members in Australia, Canada, Nepal, New Guinea, Spain, Great Britain, and India.

Periodicals: The Restoration Advocate.

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Missouri Mormons