Independence, Missouri, could be considered the site of a modern-day "Holy War" between three very different churches with one common origin: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka LDS Church, or Mormons), the Community of Christ (aka the Reformed Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints [no hyphen, capital D], or RLDS), and the Church of Christ (aka Temple Lot, or Hedrickites). With over 15 million members, the LDS Church eclipses the Community of Christ (about 250,000 members) and the Church of Christ (about 7,300 members). Each church claims to be the true successor church to the one established by Joseph Smith in 1830.
In Independence, the three churches each vie for a attention around what is known as the "Temple Lot."
|#1a: LDS Church Visitors Center and #1b: LDS Stake Center|
#2: Community of Christ Temple
#3a Church of Christ Headquarters and #3b Temple Lot (owned by the Church of Christ)
#4: Community of Christ Auditorium
#5: Community of Christ Stone Church
Unfortunately, the building was locked up when we tried to get in, so we missed seeing the interior. We were very disappointed.
|Photo of a Messiah performance from here|
The Auditorium is famous for its 6,300-pipe organ, and we just barely missed an organ concert being given there the day we visited:
|Photo from here|
As we walked around the area, we saw a small group of men and women also sightseeing. Based on the women's clothing and hairstyles, we assumed they were a group of Fundamentalists coming to visit the sites:
My favorite part of the building was the beautiful stained glass. The window below depicts the sacraments of baptism and confirmation flanking the Community of Christ symbol, a child standing between a very human-looking lion and a lamb.