The Church Now Owns the Kirtland Temple

As I’m sure everybody is now aware, the Church now owns the Kirtland temple. A few drive-by-thoughts.


  • I questioned whether they were going to rededicate it as a functioning temple or dedicate it as a historical site, seeing it as a sticky issue. It appears they have chosen the latter, which I think is a smart move. The fact is that the temple ceremony was not completely revealed at that point, and architecturally it was not designed as a functioning Nauvoo-era temple. In order to make it one, it would require gutting a lot of historically significant elements.


  • Besides the basic revisions, keeping it as a historical site and not a temple will help assure that the 19th century workmanship won’t be gutted later down the line (cough, Logan and Salt Lake, cough).


  • Besides, the Cleveland Temple is nearby, so I doubt there’s a geographic need for a temple in that location.


  • Anecdotally in the past it seems like the CoC sites were struggling with manpower, and you had to hit them at the right time to be able to do the tour thing. This move will presumably make them more available.


  • I’m trying to think about which properties or artifacts we still don’t own, since those were the major ones. Of course we don’t have to own all of them, and it looks like they will keep the Smith family cemetery. The main temple lot is not owned by them (and seems like an exponentially more complicated situation), and their headquarters is on their portion of the broader temple lot, so I think we basically have all the major structures and properties we can expect to have? Am I missing something?


  • Wow, that is a lot of money. However, the Venn diagram of their loss is our gain is so incredibly tiny in the year 2024 that I am quite happy for the Community of Christ. As a fan of religiosity in general, not just ours, it saddens me to see religious institutions struggling, and I am happy that the CoC will have enough money to keep paying their bills for the foreseeable future. That might even be enough for a perpetual endowment that could keep them going for some time.


  • I second what everybody has been saying about gratefulness for their impeccable stewardship of our collective holy sites.

If you’re interested in more information about the Kirtland Temple, check out the new Kirtland Temple page at the Latter-day Saint history blog,  From the Desk.

9 comments for “The Church Now Owns the Kirtland Temple

  1. I’m incredibly curious to see what the Utah church will do with the Nauvoo House. It is one of only a few structures mandated by scripture to be built. It would be a disappointment to me, as a member of the Utah Church, if they did not complete it. But I guess we will see.

    And the list of documents and artifacts sold to the church is equally astounding. All of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible! Will it all finally be included in the printed version of the scriptures?

    This transaction is really monumental. I hope those members of the Community of Christ who are fond of the history will not be shut out of these beautiful, spiritual locations.

  2. The CoC had $8.9 mil in reserves before this deal with a deficit of just over $1mil for 2024 expected expenses. I think a check for $192mil will last them for awhile. ;)

    I am very surprised both parties shared the $ info as this typically does not happen for several reasons. Good for them! I am sure the CoC knew they had a blank check if they ever needed it.

    The “temple lot” may be bought by us but someone else owns that I believe?? Too small to do anything on it tho. There was a time in the past that the church was asked by the temple lot (Independence) owner to go in on the cost of building a temple there. We declined.

  3. The Temple Lot in Independence, MO is owned by the Church of Christ-Temple Lot (sometimes called Hedrickites). They essentially exist to care for that lot.

    Across the street from the Far West temple site (which we own) is a small CoC church. It’s too rural to be used, and sits on historic ground- the David Whitmer farmstead. Several sections of the D&C were received there, and it may be part of the Far West temple city plans. I thought Joseph F Smith was born there- or there was some significance to the view in that direction from the temple lot. Nonetheless, we should have asked for that property too.

    Also, while we own the land where Haun’s Mill is located, we should purchase additional properties surrounding it, so we can finally put up a memorial and preserve the site. It’s too rural for a staffed visitor’s center, but a memorial is long overdue. (On location- not in nearby Richmond).

    There are also some sites in Richmond, Mo that would be good to own, but I believe they are owned by the city and by private businesses. Any business there could be easily bought out.

  4. I am grateful for the stewardship of these properties that the Community of Christ has given over the years. Five years ago we visited the Kirtland Temple and I thoroughly enjoyed that. The grounds were beautiful. Interestingly, our tour guide was a history major doing a summer internship. He was not a member of any “restoration” church but he did a good job.

    My family has visited Nauvoo many times. Occasionally we would do the tour of the CofC properties. On one such tour there was a member of our group wearing a BYU sweatshirt so the guide new which church we belonged to and made a point to include details in the tour that would be of more interest to us than to members of his own church such as the first endowments being given in the Red Brick Store. I appreciated that.

    Speaking of the Red Brick Store, on one visit to Nauvoo, the CofC church opened the Red Brick Store to the Nauvoo Mission to put on a reenactment of the founding of the Relief Society. I thought that was very nice of them. And, of course, my kids loved going to the Red Brick Store to buy rock candy or root beer.

    So, thank you to the Community of Christ church for your care of these historical sites. I am grateful that the stewardship of them could pass to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  5. It is good that you were able to take a look at their finances, something that could not be done for our church.

  6. The youtube video the CoC posted about it is kind of sad to watch. Our gain is truly their loss. I feel for people like Lachlan Mackay and others who are in the CoC but pretty tied to the Restoration side of things. I suspect he is one who ensured the held the JS Family cemetery.

    The Kirtland Temple is a very expensive building to maintain, however. The floor joists on the third floor, for example, were placed almost 2 feet apart in an attempt to speed completion. Not good for stability obviously. The church will pour millions just to keep the building preserved.

    I’m pleased that the church will enable the CoC to continue to hold meetings in the temple. It was a profound courtesy that they extended that to our church in the 90s moving forward. I attended a meeting once when Elder L. Tom Perry spoke there. It was, as one might expect, a profound and fascinating experience. I also once heard Wallace B. Smith speak there before he retired.

  7. While visiting the Kirtland Temple a few years back, I was able to buy a “Joseph Smith for President” t-shirt. Last year, at the Red Brick Store in Nauvoo, I was able to buy a “Joseph Smith for President” campaign button. Not sure the new management will allow some of these and other fun items to be sold at those sites anymore, but there will certainly be advantages to their new stewardship, too.

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