Independence has a rich religious heritage shared by many different faiths. However, the Mormon Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), the Community of Christ (formerly Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), and Church of Christ (Temple Lot) share a profound Independence heritage.

The three faiths were one church (called the Church of Christ) in 1831 when leader Joseph Smith, designated Independence as the site of “Zion.” Approximately 2,000 church members followed their leader Smith to Independence in the early 1830s and established an industrious colony with two newspapers, a mercantile shop and several other businesses. But, the locals did not eagerly welcome these immigrants from New York and Ohio and were suspicious of their more liberal attitudes toward the Native Americans and their distain for slavery. By 1833, the Mormons (nicknamed for their belief in the Book of Mormon) had been run out of Independence and were eventually banished from the state of Missouri. Visitors to Independence can learn more about the early pioneer life of the Mormon settlers and the myths and realities of the breakup of the church to form the LDS, Community of Christ, and Church of Christ (Temple Lot) faiths. The Mormon Visitors Center, the Community of Christ Temple and Auditorium, Church of Christ (Temple Lot) and a new walking tour of early Mormon heritage sites help bring to life the story of these churches’ pursuit of religious freedom in the Heartland.

Mormon Visitors Center Mormon Visitors Center

Learn about the key role the Mormons played in the early and tempestuous history of Independence beginning 1831. The totally remodeled visitors center features flat screen religious and historical presentations.

937 W. Walnut, (816) 836-3466

Open: 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. daily
Admission: Free

1827 Log Courthouse1827 Log Courthouse

Built as the only courthouse between St. Charles and the Pacific Ocean, the 1827 Log Courthouse was purchased in 1832 to be used as a mercantile operation, home and gathering place for the early Mormon settlers in Independence. This is the only extant Mormon-owned building still standing in Independence dating from the Mormon period.

107 W. Kansas, (816) 325-7111

Hours: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Mon. - Fri. April 1 - October 31
Closed all major holidays.
After 2 p.m. by appointment
Admission: Free

Community of Christ Temple & AuditoriumCommunity of Christ Temple & Auditorium

Independence is the location of the international headquarters for the Community of Christ. The Community of Christ headquarters complex comprises the Auditorium and Temple. Highlighting the Temple, completed in 1993, are a 1,600 seat sanctuary and a 102-rank, 5,700-pipe organ built by Casavant Freres Limitee. The green-domed Auditorium building features a 15-minute video presentation and tour of conference chamber with 114-rank Aeolian Skinner organ, one of the largest church organs in the U.S. – 6,334 pipes have speaking length from 1/4 inch to 32 feet. Children are captivated by the Children’s Peace Pavilion, a “hands-on” museum focusing on world peace and being a peace maker.
201 S. River, (816) 833-1000

Open: 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Tuesday & Thursday, tours by appointment only; 9:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Wednesday & Friday, open admission for small groups of 5 or less; 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Scout tours by appointment only.

Free organ recitals are held at 3 p.m. each Sunday and
daily through June, July and August.

Prayer for Peace: Daily, 1 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Admission: Free

Cost: Free

Church of Christ (Temple Lot) & Visitors CenterChurch of Christ (Temple Lot) & Visitors Center

The Church traces its origin to 1830 and Joseph Smith Jr. who dedicated the site for the “Temple of the Lord”. Visitors may watch a video explaining the history of the Church and view historical artifacts including two original marker stones for the temple, laid in 1831 and found during modern excavation in the 1920s. The temple lot site is on the National Historic Register and also on the Mormon Walking Trail.

200 S. River, (816) 833-3995

Open: 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Mon. - Fri. and 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Sat., October - April
and 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Mon - Sat, May - September

Heritage Plaza Heritage Plaza

Free guided or self-guided tours

1034 W. Lexington, (816) 461-6578

Open: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Mon., Wed., Fri.; 12 - 5 p.m. Tues. and Thurs.;
other times by appointment.
Includes the Flournoy Home and F.M. Smith Study, built in the 1820s.

Missouri Mormon Walking TrailNational Frontier Trails Museum

The Mormon Battalion video is a popular draw at the National Frontier Trails Museum. This inspirational video tells how the “saints” marched along the Santa Fe Trail and built the California Trail over the Sierra-Nevada Mountain range. Don’t miss the exhibits on the Santa Fe, Oregon and California Trails and the adventurous pioneers who left Independence to settle the west.

318 W. Pacific, (816) 325-7575

Open: 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Mon. - Sat.; 12:30 - 4:30 p.m. Sun.
Admission: $6 adults; $5 seniors; $3 ages 6-17; under 6 free

Mormon Walking Trail Brochure Missouri Mormon Walking Trail

Beginning at Walnut & River Streets, across from the Community of Christ Auditorium, this trail is one mile long with 14 plaques depicting key early Mormon sites. Brochure is also available at key sites.

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Missouri Mormon Walking Trail

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Tourism Dept. Staff

Independence Department of Tourism
112 W. Lexington
Independence, MO 64050
Local: (816) 325-7111
Toll Free: (800) 748-7323
Cori Day
Tourism Director

Olivia Charpie
Office Manager

Amanda J. Wadington
Tourism Sales Manager

Frank Buhro
Volunteer Services Coordinator

Kyle Sadewhite
Tourism Sales Manager

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