Portal:History of the Latter Day Saint movement

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History of the Latter Day Saint movement

An 1893 engraving depicting Joseph Smith's description of receiving artifacts from the angel Moroni.

The History of the Latter Day Saint movement is a religious movement within Christianity that arose during the Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century and that led to the set of doctrines, practices, and cultures called Mormonism and to the existence of numerous Latter Day Saint churches. Its history is characterized by intense controversy and persecution in reaction to some of the movement's doctrines and practices and their relationship to mainstream Christianity (see Mormonism and Christianity). The purpose of this article is to give an overview of the different groups, beliefs, and denominations that began with the influence of Joseph Smith.

The founder of the Latter Day Saint movement was Joseph Smith, who was raised in the Burned-over district of Upstate New York. He claimed that, in response to prayer, he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, as well as angels and other visions. This eventually led him to a restoration of Christian doctrine that, he said, was lost after the early Christian apostles were killed. In addition, several early leaders made marked doctrinal and leadership contributions to the movement, including Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and Brigham Young. Modern-day revelation from God continues to be a principal belief of the Mormon faith.

Selected article

"Last Public Address of Lieutenant General Joseph Smith" by John Hafen, 1888.

The Nauvoo Legion was a state authorized militia of the city of Nauvoo, Illinois. With growing antagonism from surrounding settlements it came to have as its main function the defense of the city of Nauvoo, Illinois, and surrounding Latter Day Saint areas of settlement. To curry political favor with the Saints, the Illinois state legislature granted Nauvoo a liberal city charter that gave the Nauvoo Legion extraordinary independence. Led by Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement and mayor of Nauvoo, the Legion quickly became a formidable concentration of military power in the American West. In 1844, after a controversy stemming from the Nauvoo city council's suppression of a Nauvoo newspaper critical of Smith and his church's policies, Smith mobilized the Legion and declared martial law. Arrested for treason, Smith was assassinated by a mob. Soon thereafter, the Nauvoo charter was revoked, and the Nauvoo Legion lost its official sanction as an arm of the Illinois militia.

Selected biography

David Whitmer (January 7, 1805 – January 25, 1888) was an early adherent of the Latter Day Saint movement who eventually became the most interviewed of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon's golden plates. Whitmer eventually accepted the story and brought his father's family to join the Smiths in Palmyra. Whitmer was baptized in June 1829, nearly a year prior to the formal organization of the Church of Christ. During that same month, Whitmer said that he, along with Smith and Cowdery, saw an angel present the golden plates in a vision. Martin Harris reported that he experienced a similar vision with Smith later in the day. Evidence places this event near his father's home in Fayette, New York, on June 28, 1829. Whitmer, Cowdery, and Harris then signed a joint statement declaring their testimony to the reality of the vision. The statement was published in the first edition of the Book of Mormon and has been included in nearly every subsequent edition.

Selected Location

Partial reconstruction of Liberty Jail

Liberty Jail is a former jail in Liberty, Missouri, USA where Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, and other associates were imprisoned from December 1, 1838 to April 6, 1839 during the 1838 Mormon War. Latter Day Saints sometimes described it as a "prison temple" because of revelations received during Smith's imprisonment there, which are now recorded as Sections 121, 122, and 123 of the LDS Doctrine and Covenants. The site at 216 North Main, two blocks northwest of the Clay County, Missouri courthouse in downtown Liberty, is now owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which operates a visitors' center featuring an indoor, cut-away reconstruction of the jail on the original site.

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