We believe Christ’s church started with Adam in the Garden of Eden and God's requirements for church authority and structure are the same yesterday, today and forever.
There have been several periods where Christ's church prospered, and also several periods of apostasy, or a falling away.
The below timeline demonstrates the continuous thread running from the Restoration of Christ’s original church in 1830 to the Remnant Church today.
Era in our Church's History Color Key:
1830 - Christ's Church restored on Earth
Joseph Smith, Jr.
Born -December 23, 1805
Died – June 27, 1844
Joseph Smith, Jr. was born in 1805 in Vermont. When he was 14, he attended many religious revival sessions taking place around his home in New York. Confused by the fact that each one's claimed that they were teaching the truth of God, yet they varied so much in their beliefs from one another, young Joseph turned to James 1:5 and chose to "ask of God."
His testimony is that, while he went to a secluded woods in Palmyra, New York, to pray, he was visited by two personages who identified themselves as God the Father and Jesus Christ, His son. Joseph was also told not to join any of the churches.
Through angelic intervention, Joseph was told where to find an ancient record, inscribed on golden plates, of Christ's work with the people on the American continent. During his 20’s, Joseph worked to translate the plates, received inspiration and understanding from God regarding the restoration of Christ’s church on earth and published the first edition of the Book of Mormon. On April 6, 1830, Joseph Smith, Jr., organized the Church of Jesus Christ and was ordained the first President of the Church.
1844 - Church is dispersed
With the death of founder Joseph Smith, Jr, the church was left without a Prophet. Many of the saints believed that the eldest son, Joseph Smith, III should succeed his father, but his age of 11 at the time an unviable solution. Saints began to dispute about succession and Brigham Young, as President of the Quorum of Twelve, led the largest splinter group of church members to the Salt Lake Valley. This church is now known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the "Mormon church". There were several other splinter groups that formed. Lyman Wright led a group to Texas, Sidney Rigdon returned east settling in Pennsylvania, James Strang calling members to Wisconsin were some.
The Smith family remained in the Nauvoo, Illinois area attempting to live out their faith to the best of their abilities without an organized church structure.
1860 - Christ reorganizes His Church as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, "RLDS" church
Joseph Smith, III
Born – November 6, 1832
Died – December 10, 1914
(Son of Joseph Smith, Jr. and Emma Hale Smith)
In the 1850’s church members in the upper Midwest (IL, IA, WI, MN, MI) began working together to reorganize the church with a conference in 1852 calling seven members to the Quorum of Twelve. In 1860, after rejecting the call from several different church organizations, Joseph Smith III received inspiration from God to carry on his father's mantle and join with the small group in the upper Midwest. On April 6, 1860, Joseph Smith III, was sustained as Prophet and President of the church at a conference in Amboy, IL. Initially, these members used the name the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints adding the word Reorganized later as the U.S. government prosecuted the “Mormon church” for polygamy practices. Joseph Smith, III served as church president for fifty-four years.
Frederick M. Smith
Born – January 21, 1874
Died – March 20, 1946
(Son of Joseph Smith, III and Bertha Madison Smith)
Frederick M. Smith, eldest surviving son of Joseph Smith, III, grew up in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He was baptized on July 20, 1883 and ordained an Elder on July 12, 1897 and became a counselor to his father in the First Presidency on April 12, 1902. Upon his father passing on December 10, 1914, Frederick accepted the call to succeed his father as Prophet and President of the church being set apart on May 5, 1915. The Church General Conference had been postponed to allow Frederick to complete his Ph.D. from Clark University. Frederick M. Smith was a major proponent of Zionic endeavors.
Israel A. Smith
Born – February 2, 1876
Died – June 14, 1958
(Son of Joseph Smith, III and Bertha Madison Smith)
Israel A. Smith, second surviving son of Joseph Smith, III, accepted the call to succeed his brother, Frederick M. Smith, as Prophet and President of the Church in 1946. Israel had received a B.A. in law from Lincoln-Jefferson University in Hammond, Indiana. Israel had served the church as a Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric from 1920 until 1925 when the General Conference did not sustain the Presiding Bishopric. From 1929 until 1940, Israel served as the church’s general secretary. In 1940, Israel was called to serve as counselor to his brother in the First Presidency. As church president, Israel presided over the church during the economically prosperous post World War II years.
William Wallace Smith, son of Joseph Smith III and Ada Clark Smith, succeeded his half-brother Israel Smith in October 1958. From the beginning of his presidency, W. W. Smith presented to the church revelations that were disjunctive with accepted scripture. We consider the church to have been fractured beginning with his leadership and do not accept any revelation after the presidency of Israel Smith (Doctrine & Covenants 144 in the RLDS version). In 1976, W. Wallace Smith, called his son Wallace Bunnell Anthony Smith to be set apart as President in 1978 with W. Wallace being designated as President Emeritus. Unfortunately, under the leadership of Wallace B. Smith church doctrine continued to be changed, including the ordination to women in the priesthood at the World Conference in 1984. In the years following this most dramatic of changes, groups of saints unwilling to continue to support these unscriptural doctrinal changes separated themselves from the official RLDS Church facilities and began meeting together as independent “Restoration Branches.”
1999 - Proclamation & Invitation to the Faithful
By 1991, an attempt was made to bring together these independent “Restoration Branches” through a common bond of fellowship with the Conference of Restoration Elders [CRE]. Several times during the CRE conferences it was recognized that the church was in disorder and needed to be renewed but the question of how this was to be done was in dispute. In May of 1999, a document was penned by high priesthood out of the CRE calling for a renewal of the true church, as restored to the earth through Joseph Smith, Jr. These men, believing that the Restoration Branches had strayed from the original vision set forth by earlier prophets emphasizing the establishment of a physical Zion, called for the saints to join together under the name "Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" and renew the church structure under the direction of God as given in accepted scripture, specifically Doctrine and Covenants 122: 10. A Council of High Priests met together in August of 1999 and called for a Melchisedec Assembly to be held in October of that same year. The Melchisedec Assembly held in October was held and supported the Proclamation as well as further calling for a church General Conference in April of 2000.
2000 - Remnant Church Established
Frederick N. Larsen
Born – January 15, 1932
Died – April 26, 2019
(Grandson of Frederick M. Smith)
In April of 2000, a General Conference was held, as called by the current leadership at the time, the Council of High Priests and the church began functioning under the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Three patriarchs were called to seek the Lord’s favor in selecting seven member of the Quorum of Twelve to serve as the leadership to the church until the Lord brought forth His prophet. At the fall General Conference of 2000, the three patriarchs presented a list of seven men called to serve as Apostles by divine revelation. The Remnant Church continued to function under their leadership and prepared for a time when a prophet would be brought forth.
Simultaneously, in April of 2000, the World Conference of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints voted to change their name to “Community of Christ”.
Frederick Niels Larsen (grandson of Frederick M. Smith) accepted his calling and was ordained as Prophet and President of the Church at the April 2002 Conference.
Terry W. Patience
Prophet 2019 - Present
In March of 2019, Frederick Larsen called Terry W. Patience as his successor as was Frederick Larsen’s responsibility as directed in Doctrine and Covenants 43. Terry W. Patience calling was sustained at a special summer Conference in June 2019 and he was set apart as Prophet was called where Terry Patience's calling was sustained as Prophet and President of the Church.