Tuesday, June 2, 1987

Discovering the RLDS (Community of Christ)

Event: June 1987
Updated: 17 Dec 2012

Community of Christ temple 
At the 2012 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium final banquet at the University of Utah in July, I ‘happened’ to meet Steven L. Shields from the Community of Christ International Headquarters located in IndependenceMissouri, which was formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints. When we sat at the same dinner table he recognized me before I recognized him. 

View from LDS Visitor Center

Steve reminded me of my first experience with the Community of Christ temple before it was built. In the mid-1980s, while living in Long BeachCalifornia, I used to meditate in my closet every morning for about 20 minutes before going to work. During this meditation I would imagine sitting in a structure that gave me much peace and joy. After weeks of enjoying this image, I decided to draw it and show it to my "Crystal Group" (a support group of three active LDS male friends, Ken, Clark and Rex) at our next monthly meeting. A week or two after that meeting Ken sent me a newspaper clipping with a note saying "This one will stagger you!" It was an architectural rendering of the proposed RLDS Temple in Independence! The similarities to my sketch were astounding. Not only were the images similar but the purpose of the building was virtually identical to the purpose of my inner image. This was vastly different from the purpose of LDS temples of my own tradition.

Because of the sketch’s uncanny resemblance to their temple, I contacted the local RLDS missionary representative, who happened to be Steve. Because of that remarkable resemblance, Steve introduced me to his stake president, Clyde Beebe, in the city of Orange, who in turn introduced me to Geoff Spencer, then the RLDS president of the Quorum of the Twelve. Geoff and I maintained a meaningful correspondence until Geoff’s release in 1994.

Looking up the spire from the sanctuary of the temple.

This image from within the temple correlated with my own sketch, which was a plan view looking down on the structure from above. It also matched the motif of my 1987 poem Trimass.


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