Conversations about the religious and spiritual life on the other side of fundamentalism
Why the RLDS Reformed but the LDS Didn’t:  Prof. David Howlett

Why the RLDS Reformed but the LDS Didn’t: Prof. David Howlett

Photo Credit: Ken Lund

Some people say that Community of Christ is just LDS lite. This simply isn’t true.

Despite their common roots, you would be unlikely to find two more differently wired faith traditions than the Community of Christ (RLDS) and the LDS (Mormons).

To discuss how this came to be and why the RLDS set about revising and reforming their church in the 1960’s while the LDS took on a renewed commitment to restoration fundamentalism and American political conservatism, Professor of American religion, David Howlett from Smith College joins A Thoughtful Faith Podcast.


  1. Adam Bowman

    Thanks for this insightful episode. Something that interest me of late as being Mormon, is the arguments against Mormons being Christian and where Mormonism sits in the Christian world or spectrum. Clearly there are large differences and as Jan Shipps says the answer depends if you are asking from a theological, analytical or historical perspective. It would be interesting to hear from the CoC perspective if they view LDS as being Christian. As a group that shares some of the foundations and history if they see LDS as being christian and where they sit in that debate in relation to mainline Christians on this topic.

    1. Gina Colvin

      I think when Wallace B. Smith was President of the church he was asked at the National Council of Churches if he had to choose between the peculiarities of RLDS doctrine on Jesus Christ and the primacy of the Bible, what would come first. He stated that it would be the Bible. I think its at that point that the RLDS came alongside the broader Christian community and stated their emphatic interest in becoming more Christian than they had been. This included many reforms that lurched the RLDS away from some of the 19th Century exculsive claims. Having said that, I’m not sure CoC would say officially that they think the LDS aren’t Christian. They are much too polite for that.

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