"MONONGAHELA CHURCH" Top 5 Page for this destination Pennsylvania Off The Beaten Path Tip by mtncorg
Pennsylvania Off The Beaten Path: 55 reviews and 112 photos
Third largest of the ?Restoration? churches that came out of the Mormon movement initiated by Joseph Smith in 1830, the Bickertonites used this chapel as the headquarters for their Church of Jesus Christ for many years. The headquarters have since moved a few miles to the east, just outside Greensburg. With Smith?s murder in 1844, first counselor Sidney Rigdon - originally converted in Kirtland Ohio in 1831 - laid his claim to church leadership. Rigdon had been on the outs with Smith during Mormonism?s Nauvoo years - 1841-46 - and partly because of this, Rigdon was able only to attract a few of the faithful to his cause. Those who joined him followed him to Pennsylvania. Rigdon had lost much of the charisma he enjoyed during the days of Kirtland in the 1830?s and his followers dwindled away. One immigrant miner, William Bickerton, was attracted to Rigdon?s call in 1846, but shortly thereafter he broke affiliation with Rigdon and formed a new Church of Jesus Christ in 1849. This church denounced many of the Mormon doctrines from the Nauvoo period - polygamy, celestial marriage, baptism for the dead, among others. Many of the practices and beliefs of the church mirror the Kirtland period where revelation was not limited to the Prophet or President of the Church - technically, the Utah-based LDS church does not limit revelation either, but members can only receive personal revelation while revelations concerning the church, as a whole, are property of the Prophet, alone. The Church of Jesus Christ/Bickertonite claims a worldwide membership of about 15000 with 3000 living in the U.S. - the heartlands being here in western Pennsylvania.
The church here lies uphill from a large gathering of churches of various denominations. So many churches for such a relatively small town point to a community that takes its faith(s) seriously. The great variety also points to the immigrant nature of the town and its metallurgical history.
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