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Kirtland Temple is a church in Kirtland, Ohio built by followers of the Latter Day Saints religious movement. Kirtland Temple, in addition to being the first temple to be built by believers of the movement in Ohio, was also the first temple to be built by adherents of the movement anywhere. Today, the temple is owned and maintained by the Community of Christ.


  • Kirtland temple in the early 1900s
  • Kirtland temple today
  • Pulpits in the temple. Here is where Jesus Christ, Moses, Elijah, and Elias are said to have appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdry.
  • Painting depicting the construction of the temple.

Beginning in 1831, the founder of the Church of Christ, Joseph Smith, as well as his followers, began congregating in Kirtland and the area surrounding it, and soon after, the members of the movement began constructing a temple for worship, as per instructions that Joseph Smith said to have received through divine revelation. Construction stretched out for several years at the base of Gildersleeve Mountain, with church members donating supplies for the needed construction, and on March 27th, 1836, the Kirtland Temple was completed and dedicated by Smith with a lengthy dedication service. This was the first temple to be built by the Church of Christ (later the Latter Day Saints).

Not long after the completion of the Kirtland Temple, the ownership of the Temple began to waver due to schisms within the Church of Christ structure. In 1838, Joseph Smith and those loyal to him fled the state of Ohio, and for several years, the temple was used by the Western Reserve Teacher’s Seminary. For years following the assassination of Joseph Smith in 1844, different sects of the Latter Day Saints vied for control of the temple, but ultimately, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now known as the Community of Christ) gained legal control of the building by 1901. The Kirtland Temple was used for regular services until the 1950s, at which point it was decided that the temple should be made a preservational site. A new church was constructed for regular worship close by, and to the present day, the Community of Christ has made continuous efforts to preserve the Kirtland Temple.

1. Truman O. Angell, Autobiography (1810-1856) in "His Journal," Our Pioneer Heritage 10 (1967):195-213. 2.Truman O. Angell, Autobiography (1810-1856) in "His Journal," Our Pioneer Heritage 10 (1967):195-213. 3. E. Cecil McGavin. The Nauvoo Temple. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1986. Roger Launius, The Kirtland Temple: A Historical Narrative. Independence, Missouri: Herald Publishing House, 1986 Elwin C. Robison, The First Mormon Temple: Design, Construction, and Historic Context of the Kirtland Temple, Provo, Utah: BYU Press, 1997 History of the Church, 2:420. Kim L. Loving, "Ownership of the Kirtland Temple: Legends, Lies, and Misunderstandings", Journal of Mormon History (Fall 2004), 1-80. Faulring, Scott H., ed., An American Prophet's Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1987)