Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Church of Christ (Temple Lot)
The Church of Christ (Temple Lot) is a denomination of the Latter Day Saint movement headquartered in Independence, Missouri on what is known as the Temple Lot. Its official name is the Church of Christ. Members of the church have been known, colloquially, as Hedrickites, after Granville Hedrick , an early leader. The Church has no official dialogue with any other organization. Current church membership is about 5000 with members in several countries.
The church shares its early history with the larger Mormon or Latter Day Saint denominations, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and the Community of Christ. After the death of the movement's founder, Joseph Smith Jr. in 1844, several leaders vied for control of movement and established rival organizations. By the 1860s, five early Mormon branches found themselves unaffiliated with any larger Latter Day Saint Group. Located in Bloomington, Crow Creek, Half Moon Prairie, and Eagle Creek, Illinois, and Vermillion, Indiana, these branches united under Hedrick's leadership in May 1863.
The church currently occupies a property in Independence, Missouri considered by Latter Day Saints to be the "Temple Lot" designated by Joseph Smith Jr. to be the site for the temple of the New Jerusalem, a sacred city to be built preparatory to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The Hedrickites returned to Independence in 1867 to purchase lots for the temple in the name of the "Church of Christ" and have been headquartered on this strategic sacred space ever since. In the 1930s, the church excavated the site in an attempt to build a temple on the location, but the effort was stalled because of the Great Depression, and the excavation was filled.
Since the 1920s, the church has splintered into at least four other factions, including the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message Established Anew in 1929, which separated in the 1950s and has since grown to about 12,000 members.
The Temple Lot church believes that Mormonism's founding prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., was a true prophet only until about 1836 when he fell from his calling with such doctrines as plural marriage. For this reason, unlike other Latter Day Saint denominations, the church does not have a prophet or a First Presidency. Instead the church is led by a Quorum of Twelve Apostles which has no "spokesman". The council responds officially through their secretary. The missionary representative in the visitors center is William A. Sheldon (2005).
The Church's official "standards of faith" are the Bible and the Book of Mormon.
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