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

Emma Smith (July 10, 1804 – April 30, 1879) was the first wife of Joseph Smith and a leader in the early days of the Latter Day Saint movement during Joseph's lifetime and afterward as a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS Church). In 1842, she was named as the first president of the Ladies' Relief Society of Nauvoo, a women's service organization. Emma Hale was born in Harmony Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, the seventh child of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis Hale. Emma first met her future husband, Joseph Smith, in 1825. Smith lived near Palmyra, New York, but boarded with the Hales in Harmony while he was employed in a company of men hoping to unearth buried treasure.The workers were searching for a silver mine for Josiah Stowell, a farmer whose home still stands on the north side of the Susquehanna River on New York State Route 7 in Nineveh, New York, just west of Afton. Although the company found no treasure, Smith returned to Harmony several times to court Emma. Isaac Hale refused to allow the marriage because he considered Smith's occupation disreputable. On January 17, 1827, Smith and Emma eloped across the state line to South Bainbridge, New York, where they were married the following day. The marriage site is now the Afton Fairgrounds, located on New York State Route 41 on the east side of the Susquehanna River; and a New York State Historical Marker commemorates the location. The couple moved to the home of Smith's parents on the edge of Manchester Township near Palmyra.

Selected Location

The Church History Library in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah houses materials chronicling the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). This new building opened to the public on June 22, 2009. A new archives building was originally planned in 1960, as an 11-story home for the offices and libraries of the Church Historian and the Genealogical Society of Utah. The need for such large facilities diminished due to advances in modern document preservation, as well as with the 1963 completion of the Granite Mountain Vault, which had vast storage for genealogical materials. Following the completion of the Church Office Building in 1972, the Church Historian's Office and Church History Library resided in the four floors of the east wing.

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