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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Joseph Smith III presided over the church, for fifty-four years until his own death.

The History of the Community of Christ, formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, covers a period of approximately 200 years. The church's early history traces to the "grove experience" of Joseph Smith, who prayed in the woods near his home in Pamyra, New York, in the early-19th century. Several accounts of this experience have surfaced over the years. Most of the accounts share a common narrative indicating that when he went to the woods to pray, he experienced a period of encountering evil or despair, but then experienced an epiphany or vision in which he came to know and understand God's goodness. Later, as an adult, Smith founded the Church of Christ on April 6, 1830.

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Sidney Rigdon (February 19, 1793 – July 14, 1876) was a leader during the early history of the Latter Day Saint movement. According to an 1875 account attributed to Sidney Rigdon's elder brother, as a child Rigdon had suffered an accident that caused a "contusion of the brain". His brother reportedly claimed that he "always considered Sidney a little deranged in his mind by that accident. His mental powers did not seem to be impaired, but the equilibrium in his intellectual exertions seemed thereby to have been sadly affected. He still manifested great mental activity and power, but he was to an equal degree inclined to run into wild and visionary views on almost every question. According to an account by his son John M. Rigdon, young Rigdon "borrowed all the histories he could get and began to read them. ... In this way he became a great historian, the best I ever saw. He seemed to have the history of the world on his tongue's end and he got to be a great biblical scholar as well. He was as familiar with the Bible as a child was with his spelling book. He was never known to play with the boys; reading books was the greatest pleasure he could get. He studied English Grammar alone and became a very fine grammarian. He was very precise in his language.

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Temple Square is a 10-acre (4.0 ha) complex owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and located in the center of Salt Lake City, Utah. In recent years, the usage of the name has gradually changed to include several other church facilities immediately adjacent to Temple Square. Contained within Temple Square are the Salt Lake Temple, Salt Lake Tabernacle, Salt Lake Assembly Hall, the Seagull Monument, and two visitors' centers. In 1847, when Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, LDS Church president Brigham Young selected a plot of the desert ground and proclaimed, "Here we will build a temple to our God." When the city was surveyed, the block enclosing that location was designated for the temple, and became known as Temple Square. Temple Square is surrounded by a 15-foot wall that was built shortly after the block was so designated. The square also became the headquarters of the LDS Church. Other buildings were built on the plot, including a tabernacle (prior to the one occupying Temple Square today) and Endowment House, both of which were later torn down. The Salt Lake Tabernacle, home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, was built in 1867 to accommodate the church's general conferences, with a seating capacity of 8,000. Another church building, the Salt Lake Assembly Hall, was later built with a seating capacity of 2,000.

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