David J. Howlett, a professor and member of the Community of Christ, opens up a view of the Kirtland Temple that is not often considered by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Howlett chronicles the various ways that the Kirtland Temple has been a point of conflict and confluence, influencing the interaction between faith traditions stemming from Joseph Smith's religious experiences.
In the first section of the book, Howlett summarizes the history of the Kirtland Temple, the groups who worshipped there, and the activities that brought meaning to their worship. In the second section, Howlett selects three themes for discussion: the "Kirtland curse," the Lundgren tragedy, and the construction of the new Independence Temple by the Community of Christ. In the final section, he looks at temple pageants, the evolution of temple tours, and recent conflict over LGBT worship in the temple.