This picture is taken from the veranda
of the LDS Visitor Center, which is the only
building the LDS has at the Temple Lot.
When Joseph Smith and his followers were in Independence, Missouri, the church acquired a piece of land which is about six square blocks in size, which came to be known as the Temple Lot. Smith said that this was where God wanted them to build a temple. As time went by, various events happened, one of which was that the Mormons left Independence and went to Nauvoo, Illinois.
After Joseph Smith was killed, a power stuggle insued. The church split into various groups. Some of these groups went back to Independence, Missouri; the largest of these groups was the followers of Emma Smith, Joseph's primary wife, and their son. Their group became the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Another group was called the Hedrickites, also known as "Church of Christ (Temple Lot)."
All of these groups claimed to be the true church, and therefore the rightful owners of the Temple Lot. Various lawsuits ensued, and the Temple Lot was split between those three groups: LDS, RLDS, and Hedrickites. This remains the situation today. Looks to me like a bit of sibling rivalry going on here.
The Temple was constructed by and is owned by the RLDS, now called the Community of Christ, not by the LDS. It is a fabulous building indeed. The spire is made of stainless steel, coiled like a seashell -- a truly unique structure. It is used mainly for education, as nearly as I can find out, rather than for the ceremonies the LDS temples are used for.
I failed to get a picture of the Hedrickite building, which is a wooden frame structure, or of the Stone Church, which is RLDS, and looks like any other late 19th or early 20th century church.
The plaza of the Temple is very large, with a stylized map of the world on it. The building across the way is The Auditorium, RLDS' answer to the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake: it has a very good organ in it also; I don't know if there is an RLDS Auditorium Choir or not, but there probably is.
The Temple and the Auditorium both conduct tours, and I intended to take the tours. But they didn't begin for more than an hour, and I was hot, and all the shady spots were already occupied by people waiting to take the tours, so I decided to go back to the car, turn on the air conditioner, and make plans for the rest of the day. I still wanted to see the Truman Museum up the road a few blocks.
So I was standing on the corner waiting for the light. It turned green, so I started across. I was well into the street when a car which was turning left suddenly headed right for me, and the driver hit the accelerator! It was obvious he wasn't going to stop or swerve. I jumped out of the way, and the car sped on. Whew! That was close. That event shook me up, so I got in the car and headed for Kansas.