Both the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) and the LDS Church accept the Book of Mormon as the word of God. But what are the differences in belief among the two churches? Jean Addams will talk about a major disagreement over the Doctrine & Covenants, among other things.
Jean: Well, I think the Book of Commandments was sent in script form to Missouri. It was Phelps’ job to get it printed. So, Phelps and probably with Oliver Cowdery and John Whitmer, they probably, all of them participated in trying to edit. You can see marks in the original that show that somebody was putting a word in here or there to just clean it up. I don’t think Joseph ever officially thought that was going to be the final word. It certainly was used as a starting point for the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.
Jean: Bill Sheldon [recently deceased apostle for Church of Christ], bless his heart, he made a big deal out of the changes. Some of the changes, of course, are just additions and a lot of them are cleanups, words, punctuation, things like that. But it wasn’t done, I should add that. There was more to be printed. The Church of Christ (Temple Lot) doesn’t buy that at all.
GT: Oh, they think that that was the whole thing.
Jean: They think that’s the whole thing.
GT: Okay. Well, I know when I spoke with Randy [Sheldon, Bill’s son], one of the things he made a big deal about was our now section 20. That has been expanded, and he has said, “You compare my Book of Commandments with your section 20, and you’re going to see a bunch of verses that have been added.” So yes, there were some grammar things, but there were definitely large sections that were added.
Jean: Yep, and I don’t think anybody makes a big deal out of that. Latter-day revelations to Joseph got added in rather than creating a whole new section, at some point in time. When I first was introduced to Bill Sheldon, so this is a good one… Bill started on me with the changes. I finally said, “Bill, stop, stop, stop just for a second.” He said, “What’s that?” And I said, “Can I look at your song book?” He said, “Sure.” So he gets me a song book. I’d been to their church the day before, my first time. I happened to notice the songs that were in there. One of your songs is on page one something. “We Thank Thee Oh God…” and Latter-day Saints would say “For a Prophet.” It says, “For the Spirit.” So I said, “Who changed that?” He laughed and smiled and he said, “Me.” I said, “Okay, we’re even. Can we go on to something else?” And he said, “Fair deal.” At that point time, we became good friends.
We talk further about similarities and differences between the two churches. The Church of Christ based in Independence, Missouri has made several attempts to reconcile with other restoration churches. We will talk about one breach with the Church of Christ (Elijah Message) and then successful reconciliation. We will also talk about other attempted reconciliations between the Church of Christ, the RLDS Church, and the LDS Church.
Jean: In 1900, the elders in the Church of Christ met with the presidency in Lamoni of the RLDS church and wanted to know if they would agree to a three church get-together to see if they can resolve their differences. That meant, of course, making a trip to Salt Lake City. The RLDS church, wished them well and said, “Let us know how that turns out.”
GT: So, the three churches were the RLDS, the Temple Lot and ours, LDS.
Jean: But the main reason behind trying to work out differences is because they, the Church of Christ felt that the generation that was charged with building the temple was soon going to be gone, and that they needed to do something about building the temple. They would make the temple lot available, if we could all come together and figure out what to do and what to build. So they went to Salt Lake City, unannounced, and actually had a series of three different meetings with the First Presidency and others. Lorenzo Snow conducted the meetings, and it was really at that point in time, that while we said no, we gladly paid for their expenses and they returned home, and they went ahead and had their meetings with the RLDS Church in terms of just resolving some differences. That’s when this baptism and switching churches and so forth, that all comes about as a result of that. But the LDS Church, at that very meeting, it’s in the minutes, George Q. Cannon spoke up and said, I’m paraphrasing, of course, “Maybe what we should be doing is getting our own selves back to Independence and start buying up the Temple Lot. As a result of that, within a very short period of time, they called James Duffin to be the mission president. He moved the LDS mission home out of St. John, Kansas, to Kansas City and back to Jackson County.
GT: Oh really.
Jean: In 1904, they turned him loose, and he was able to acquire the 20 acres of the original temple lot property that the LDS Church now owns. [The LDS Church owns] a lot more property, on which the visitor’s center sits today.
We will also talk about Independence, Missouri’s most famous resident: President Harry S. Truman!
Do you think the Hedrickites, Josephites, and Brighamites would ever work out their differences and join back together?