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.

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Brigham Young led the LDS Church from 1844 until his death in 1877.

The History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is typically divided into three broad time periods: (1) the early history during the lifetime of Joseph Smith, Jr. which is in common with all Latter Day Saint movement churches, (2) a "pioneer era" under the leadership of Brigham Young and his 19th Century successors, and (3) a modern era beginning around the turn of the 20th century as the practice of polygamy was discontinued.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints traces its origins to western New York, where Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the Latter Day Saint movement was born and raised. Joseph Smith gained a small following in the late 1820s as he was dictating the Book of Mormon, which he said was a translation of words found on a set of golden plates that had been buried near his home in western New York by an indigenous American prophet. On April 6, 1830, in western New York, Smith organized the religion's first legal church entity, the Church of Christ. The church rapidly gained a following, who viewed Smith as their prophet. The main body of the church moved first to Kirtland, Ohio in the early 1830s, then to Missouri in 1838, where the 1838 Mormon War with other Missouri settlers ensued, culminating in adherents being expelled from the state under Missouri Executive Order 44 signed by the governor of Missouri. After Missouri, Smith built the city of Nauvoo, Illinois, near which Smith was assassinated. After Smith's death, a succession crisis ensued, and the majority voted to accept the Quorum of the Twelve, led by Brigham Young, as the church's leading body.

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Leonard J. Arrington (July 2, 1917 – February 11, 1999) was an American author, academic and the founder of the Mormon History Association. He is known as the "Dean of Mormon History". Arrington was born in Twin Falls, Idaho on July 2, 1917. His parents, Noah and Edna, were devout Latter-day Saints and farmers. He grew up as an aspiring farmer and active member and one of the first national officers of the National FFA Organization. Under a scholarship to the University of Idaho, Arrington studied agricultural science in 1935, later changing to agricultural economics. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1939. Arrington then began graduate work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and married Grace Fort in 1942. Arrington remained an active and devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout his life. In 1982, his wife Grace Fort died, and in 1983 Arrington was remarried to Harriett Ann Horne.

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Winter Quarters was an encampment formed by approximately 2,500 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as they waited during the winter of 1846–47 for better conditions for their trek westward. It followed a preliminary tent settlement some 3½ miles west at Cutler's Park. The Mormons built more than 800 cabins at the Winter Quarters settlement. Located in present-day North Omaha overlooking the Missouri River, the settlement remained populated until 1848. Wintering Saints had left their homes in Nauvoo, Illinois on relatively short notice and brought limited useful supplies. Influential non-Mormon Thomas L. Kane, seeking to convince the LDS leadership to establish a volunteer military group (later known as the Mormon Battalion), received permission from the U.S. federal government for the group to encamp in Omaha Tribe lands, including the site of Cutler's Park. Conditions at the settlement remained primitive the first month, with pioneers living in tents while the men put up hay, found water and managed the cattle.

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