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Church of Jesus Christ Purchases Kirtland Temple, Other Church History Properties

March 7, 2024

According to a press release published by Church Newsroom March 5,

The responsibility and ownership for the Kirtland Temple, several historic buildings in Nauvoo, and various manuscripts and artifacts officially transferred from Community of Christ to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for an agreed-upon amount. Together, we share an interest in and reverence for these historic sites and items and are committed to preserving them for future generations.

Discussions leading to this landmark agreement commenced in June 2021. “This exchange of assets is significant for our church,” said Stephen M. Veazey, president of Community of Christ. “Through funding from increased endowments, Community of Christ will have greater capacity to pursue our mission priorities around the world, including continuing to fulfill the divinely envisioned purposes for our Temple in Independence, Missouri.”

“We are deeply honored to assume the stewardship of these sacred places, documents, and artifacts,” said Russell M. Nelson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “We thank our friends at Community of Christ for their great care and cooperation in preserving these historical treasures thus far. We are committed to doing the same.”

The Kirtland Temple will remain an historic building. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints plans to reopen it March 25, 2024, for public tours at no charge. Likewise, in Nauvoo, the Smith Family Homestead, the Mansion House and the Red Brick Store will also reopen on March 25, 2024, for year-round public tours at no charge. More details about the transaction, assets, and the other items included in the agreement will be forthcoming.

You can read the full press release here.

Key Points of Interest about the Kirtland Temple

  • The Kirtland Temple is the first temple built under priesthood authority in this dispensation
  • The saints made significant sacrifices of resources, labor, and time to build the temple
  • Close to 1,000 people attended the dedication of the temple 27 March 1836, and many reported seeing angels, speaking in tongues, and other heavenly manifestations
  • Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith, Jr. and Oliver Cowdery in the temple 3 April 1836. Moses, Elias, and Elijah also appeared that day to restore priesthood keys
  • Unlike later temples, the Kirtland Temple was a multi-use building: It served as a church, community gathering place, and school
  • Some washings and anointings were performed in the temple, but the temple endowment had not yet been revealed and was not administered in the Kirtland Temple

To learn more about the Kirtland Temple, visit this page from Doctrine and Covenants Central.

To learn more about the Joseph Smith Homestead, Red Brick Store, and Nauvoo Mansion, visit this page from Doctrine and Covenants Central.

Video Resources

Additional Resources

Church Newsroom, “Frequently Asked Questions Clarify the Transfer of Sacred Sites and Historic Documents

Joseph Smith Papers, Kirtland, City of Revelation: A Joseph Smith Papers Podcast

Church of Jesus Christ, Gospel Topics Essay, “Kirtland Temple

Book of Mormon Central, “Why Is the “Pentecostal” Season in Kirtland Believable? (Doctrine and Covenants 110:1),” KnoWhy 619 (October 5, 2021).

M. Russell Ballard, “What Came from Kirtland,” BYU Speeches, 1994.

Truman G. Madsen, “Joseph Smith Lecture 5: Joseph Smith and the Kirtland Temple,” BYU Speeches, 1978.

Robison, Elwin C.. The First Mormon Temple: Design, Construction, and Historic Context of the Kirtland Temple. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1997.

Harper, Steven C.. "“A Pentecost and Endowment Indeed”: Six Eyewitness Accounts of the Kirtland Temple Experience." In Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestation, 1820-1844, edited by John W. Welch, 351-393. 2nd ed. Provo, UT/Salt Lake City: Brigham Young University Press/Deseret Book, 2017.

Ricks, Stephen D. "The Appearance of Elijah and Moses in the Kirtland Temple and the Jewish Passover." BYU Studies Quarterly 23, no. 4 (1983): 483-486.

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