The Kirtland Temple through the eyes of a Community of Christ historian


Community of Christ historian explains the differing stories coming from the same historic building.

(Tribune file photo) Kirtland Temple in Ohio. The historic building is now owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The recent acquisition by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of Mormonism’s first temple — in Kirtland, Ohio — along with historic buildings in Nauvoo, Ill., similarly tied to founder Joseph Smith and his band of believers thrilled the global faith’s members.

For followers of the Community of Christ, formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the longtime diligent, devoted caretakers of these properties, the sale, which that faith’s top leaders acknowledged was “painful,” brought sadness, heartache and tears.

While grateful for the good the $192 million purchase price will do for the Community of Christ’s future, they lament losing ownership of these cherished pieces of their past.

On this week’s show to discuss that past and that future is David Howlett, a Community of Christ historian, visiting religion professor at Smith College in Massachusetts and author of “Kirtland Temple: The Biography of a Shared Mormon Sacred Space.”

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