Independence Temple – Independence, Missouri - Atlas Obscura

Independence Temple

This otherworldly church spire reaches up toward the heavens.  


Independence Temple is eye-catching even to the undevout; it’s unlike any other place of worship built before or since. Construction of the spire—designed in the shape of a nautilus shell reaching up to the heavens—required four years and over 300 panels of custom-built stainless steel, and all this in the days of early 1990s software imaging. The final effect is truly otherworldly. 

The structure serves as the headquarters of the Community of Christ Church, formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS). Unveiled in 1988 by Community of Christ President Wallace B. Smith, the temple is rife with biblical symbolism, with award-winning fountains and murals along “Worshiper’s Path.”

The structure is also huge: The Temple Sanctuary seats 1,600 while the auditorium seats 5,800. There is also a Meditation Chapel and a colorful Children’s Peace Pavilion. The Temple also houses two giant organs, one of which boasts an impressive 6,334 pipes. The Community of Christ welcomes visitors of alternate faiths, which is fortunate because Independence Temple is a sight to be seen, inside and out. 

Know Before You Go

Open to the public Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM. Prayers for peace at 1 PM every day. Admission is free.

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