Frequently Asked Questions
Because of its demographic location, the Salt Lake City congregation is unique in the worldwide church. Here you'll find a few of the most common questions visitors ask.
I'm currently experiencing a faith transition. Are there people here who understand my situation?
Yes! The vast majority of our congregation is made up of former members of other faiths with most of those members coming from the area's dominant faith tradition. While every person's faith journey is unique, know that we speak your language and understand where you're coming from.
What if I'm just curious about other churches and have no desire to join a faith community?
Our doors open both ways. We welcome your visit, whether it's one time, several times, or for the long term. A significant percentage of our congregation is made up of visitors on any given Sunday. Many visitors simply need a place to feel safe and included for a time before moving on. Whatever your situation, you will not feel pressured to attend regularly or make a commitment. Your faith journey is honored here.
May I participate in the sacrament of Communion?
We celebrate the sacrament of Communion on the first Sunday of each month. We practice open Communion, which means the emblems are offered to all who are followers of Christ, whatever that means to you. In the Salt Lake Congregation, we offer unfermented grape juice or water, and we provide a gluten-free bread option.
Will I be expected to participate?
You are invited to participate to your level of comfort. We have quiet visitors as well as those who are more vocal. While we believe in the blessings of community and inclusivity, we respect your right to worship in a safe and comfortable environment, whatever that means for you.
We love to actively include all who attend regularly. If you find yourself returning for future visits, you may be invited to participate in worship services, but you should not feel pressured to do so.
Do you have special classes for those who want to learn more about the church?
We are not currently running a Seeker class, but we invite you to remain after church on the first Sunday of each month for informal discussion and Q&A.
Periodically, we hold Seeker classes during the Sunday School hour or outside of church meetings. Usually these classes are organized when there are enough interested visitors to form a comfortable group. Discussion leaders answer questions and instruct on the basics of church doctrine. Class members are under no obligation or expectation to make a long-term commitment to the church. If you're interested in such a class, please let a member of the Pastor Leadership Team know.
Is your congregation LGBTQ inclusive?
Yes! The worldwide church fully includes LGBTQ members at all levels, including acceptance of same-sex marriage. Our congregation seeks to provide a welcoming haven for individuals who have been excluded from faith practices because of their sexual or gender identity.
What is the role of women in the church?
We believe in full equality of all persons. Women and men work together effectively throughout the church. You will find women holding priesthood offices at all levels, including the First Presidency.
There are currently three women serving in the Pastor Leadership Team in Salt Lake City.
Why do you have a Bishop and a Pastor?
In Community of Christ, the office of Bishop is focused on the ministry of generosity and giving. While a bishop provides leadership and training, their particular role is to support Christ's mission throughout the world as it pertains to the principles of the Disciple's Generous Response.
A Pastor is a congregation's spiritual leader. They work to discern God's invitation to the congregation as they grow in discipleship. Pastors are elected by the membership of each congregation for a one-year term.
Each of these offices is part of an unpaid lay ministry. The Salt Lake congregation's Pastor is Brittany Mangelson, and we also happen to have a Bishop in our congregation who works with the larger church.
Why did the church change its name?
The church has changed its name many times throughout its almost 200-year history. The earliest members who organized in 1830 called their movement "Church of Christ." This led to confusion with the many other groups who shared that name. In 1834, the church changed its name to "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." As the movement fractured into several organizations after the death of Joseph Smith, Jr., we sought to distinguish ourselves from other groups with the appellation "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." This name was not only unwieldy, but it led to unfavorable connotations by some who were better acquainted with other groups. At the 2000 World Conference of the church and after years of prayerful consideration, members voted to change the name to "Community of Christ," honoring our heritage, reflecting our core value of building community, and proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Will I be contacted by the church?
Not unless you specifically request contact. We do not send fellowship representatives or proselyting missionaries to visit or call.
What is the significance of the spiral?
Human beings have used spirals for thousands of years to express diverse spiritual, cultural, and artistic meanings. Community of Christ embraces the rich symbolism of the spiral to emphasize inward and outward transformation, mirroring the path of the disciple. The most famous use of the spiral by Community of Christ is in the architectural design of the Temple at Independence Missouri, but you will see it used throughout the church in spiritual practice and gospel teaching.
Are there reading materials about the church available?
Yes. We have a number of informational brochures and pamphlets available in the display case located in the main foyer. You're also welcome to take a copy of the Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants with you.
In addition to the free materials above, we also have a large lending library of books and other resources to help you on your faith journey. See a member of the Pastor Leadership Team for more information.
What online resources are available for me to learn more?
Community of Christ's World Church website provides in-depth information on our faith and mission.
If you're coming from an LDS background, check out our Latter-day Seekers site.
Project Zion Podcast offers episodes on faith and spiritual development for members and Seekers alike.