Community of Christ culture reflects our unique identity and experience as a Restoration church.
Community of Christ encourages members to study and explore the best scholarship available on church history, scripture, theology, ministry, and mission. Excellent scholarship outside our tradition is welcomed. Rigorous study and dialogue includes challenging assumptions, identifying biases, and examining questions. These practices enrich our faith and deepen our understanding of mission.
Learn about how we approach church history: Church History Principles.
Learn about how we approach scripture: Scripture in Community of Christ.
Community of Christ congregations are led by a pastor. The office of bishop developed differently in the various Restoration faiths following the Nauvoo period. In Community of Christ the office of bishop primarily supports the fiduciary responsibilities of the church and provides leadership and mentoring for Aaronic ministers (priests, teachers, deacons). Community of Christ continued the 1840s early church tradition of calling a congregation’s presiding elder the "pastor."
Many pastors serve for several years, although pastors are elected annually by their local congregation. The configuration of the pastorate varies according to needs and preferences across the church. Pastors may choose to have a co-pastor, an associate pastor, 1-2 counselors, or a team of 3-5 individuals. Congregations and leaders are free to choose the format that best serves their congregation.
We are a people with a prophet, and we are called to be a prophetic people. To be prophetic is to be led by the Spirit, to challenge unjust conditions and to proclaim peace. Whenever ancient Israel failed to uphold their covenant with God, the prophets called them to repent. Jesus was the embodiment of this prophetic tradition, proclaiming peace, speaking truth to power, and demanding justice for all people — especially for the least among us.
As a prophetic people you are called, under the direction of the spiritual authorities and with the common consent of the people, to discern the divine will for your own time and in the places where you serve. — Doctrine and Covenants 162:2c
A basic principle of decision making in Community of Christ is common consent. Common consent respects the rights of the people to take an active role in decision making and in sustaining leadership. Common consent is practiced when members assemble in conferences in congregations, mission centers, and World Conference (General Conference). Members are granted voice and vote and are full participants in a tradition which embraces diversity of opinion and vigorous debate. There is no expectation that votes will be unanimous.
The Community of Christ practice of common consent provides an avenue for members the world over to participate in sharing the direction of the church at all levels from local to the worldwide denominational level, known as "World Church."
The finances of the church at all levels are transparent. Annual budgets are presented for review, discussion, amendment, and final approval by the appropriate legislative body (congregation, mission center, World Conference) using the process of common consent. Details of actual income and expense are reported to the appropriate body at all levels and are subjected to annual audit. World Church budget information is shared on the World Church website and published in the official church magazine, Herald. Each triennial World Conference elects member delegates from around the world to serve on the World Church Finance Board (WCFB). The WCFB meets regularly to review and approve annual budgets during the inter-conference period.
Community of Christ congregations respond to the mission of Christ in diverse ways across the globe and reflect the beautiful diversity of the earth’s people. Congregations have different personalities and live out the Mission Initiatives based on their resident giftedness, skills, and resources in response to the needs of the surrounding community.
Many congregations partner with others in the community to address needs related to hunger, poverty, ecology, discrimination, and oppression. We unite to fully express our identity and calling as Community of Christ and become invitational, Christ-centered communities of justice and peace. We call this Zion, the beloved community and peaceable kingdom of God.
Community of Christ recognizes the cross as a symbol of Christ's resurrection and love’s triumph over violence. Many of our congregations use the cross. It is a symbol used within scripture (1 Corinthians 1:18). We respect those who do not use the cross. In the end, that which resides in our hearts is more important than outward expressions or symbols of faith. For those interested in a history of the cross in the Restoration, read Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo by Michael G. Reed (John Whitmer Books, 2012).
Community of Christ has a rich tradition of gathering from large regions to camp together. This practice began in 1883 in response to members longing to spend time together in ways that fed their spirits and deepened their sense of community. We call this tradition "Reunion" and to this day it continues to be one of the most cherished experiences in the church. ALL are welcome!
Community of Christ upholds diversity of opinion and invites dialogue on all issues. At times this can be very difficult to navigate and maintain our oneness in Christ. Our “Faithful Disagreement” policy helps us step through the process of holding different views on specific policies, beliefs, principles, and other Community of Christ positions. The intent is to improve the overall faithful response of the church to God's intended direction without classifying others as unfaithful.
Read the full Faithful Disagreement policy.
The Reorganization consistently practiced the principle of monogamy. Although debated in the early 1860s, Reorganized Latter Day Saints at large believed Joseph Smith Jr. was not a polygamist and the practice was introduced after his death. Some members still hold this position, and others recognize Joseph Smith Jr. was in some way connected with the practice. The church remains committed to the principle of monogamy.
During 1960s missionary work in India, we encountered polygamous groups who wanted to join the church. Although we continue to uphold the principle of monogamy, the church received and approved prophetic guidance in 1972 (Doctrine & Covenants 150), which made provision for polygamists in India to join with the understanding they would not take on additional wives and would teach their children the principle of monogamy.
Learn more: Church History Principles.
Tithes and offerings are known as "Disciple's Generous Response" in Community of Christ. We give in response to God’s grace and generosity revealed in Jesus Christ, according to our true capacity. There is no tithing settlement process.
Read about our current understanding of tithing.