Portal:Latter Day Saints

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The Latter Day Saints Movement

Portrait of Joseph Smith, Jr
An 1842 portrait of Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement

The Latter Day Saint movement (also called the LDS movement or LDS restorationist movement) is the collection of independent church groups that trace their origins to a Christian primitivist movement founded by Joseph Smith in the late 1820s. Collectively, these churches have over 15 million members.

The movement began in western New York during the Second Great Awakening when Smith said that he received visions revealing a new sacred text, the Book of Mormon, which he published in 1830 as a complement to the Bible. Based on the teachings of this book and other revelations, Smith founded a Christian primitivist church, called the "Church of Christ". The Book of Mormon attracted hundreds of early followers, who later became known as "Mormons", "Latter Day Saints", or just "Saints." In 1831, Smith moved the church headquarters to Kirtland, Ohio, and in 1838 changed its name to the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints."

After Smith's death in 1844, a succession crisis led to the organization splitting into several groups. The largest of these, the LDS Church, migrated under the leadership of Brigham Young to the Great Basin (now Utah) and became most prominently known for its 19th-century practice of polygamy.

The vast majority of Latter Day Saint adherents belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). A minority of Latter Day Saint adherents, such as members of the Community of Christ, believe in traditional Protestant theology, and have distanced themselves from some of the distinctive doctrines of Mormonism. Other groups include the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which supports lineal succession of leadership from Smith's descendants, and the more controversial Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which defends the practice of polygamy.

Selected article

The original handwritten "Extermination Order", issued by Governor Lilburn Boggs in October 1838.

Missouri Executive Order 44, also known in Latter Day Saint history as the Extermination Order, was an executive order issued on October 27, 1838 by the governor of Missouri, Lilburn Boggs. It was issued in the aftermath of the Battle of Crooked River, a clash between Mormons and a unit of the Missouri State Guard in northern Ray County, Missouri, during the 1838 Mormon War. Claiming that the Mormons had committed "open and avowed defiance of the laws", and had "made war upon the people of this State," Boggs directed that "the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace—their outrages are beyond all description". Executive Order 44 is often referred to as the "Mormon Extermination Order" due to the phrasing used by Boggs. The question of whether anyone was killed as a direct result of it between October 27 (the date of its issuance) and November 1, 1838 (the date of the Mormon surrender) has been hotly debated among Latter Day Saints and in the broader historical community.

Selected picture

Facsimile of John Taylor's handwritten revelation
Credit: Twunchy

In the Mormon fundamentalist movement, the 1886 Revelation is the text of a revelation said to have been received by John Taylor, third President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), that is claimed to restate the permanence of the principle of plural marriage.

Selected Location

A map of old Voree, engraved on a monument at the townsite.

Voree (pronounced "Vor-ee") is an unincorporated community on the outskirts of present-day Burlington, in Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States, in the town limits of Spring Prairie. It is best known as the historic and current headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite), a denomination of the Latter Day Saint (Mormon) movement. According to James Strang, founder of the Strangite church and of the town, the name means "Garden of Peace." The community is situated along former Wisconsin Highway 11 just west of the Racine County line.

Selected Schismatic Histories

Headquarters and sole branch of the Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite) in Independence, Missouri

The Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite) is a denomination of the Latter Day Saint movement headquartered in Independence, Missouri, United States. The church derives its epithet from its founder, Alpheus Cutler, a member of the Nauvoo High Council and of Joseph Smith's Council of Fifty. Cutler justified his establishment of an independent church organization by asserting that God had "rejected" Smith's organization—but not his priesthood—following Smith's death, but that Smith had named Cutler to a singular "Quorum of Seven" in anticipation of this event, with a unique prerogative to reorganize the church that no one beyond this group possessed. Hence, Cutler's organization claims to be the only legitimate Latter Day Saint church in the world today. Currently, it has only one branch, located in Independence. The Cutlerite church retains an endowment ceremony believed to date to the Nauvoo period, practices the United Order of Enoch, and accepts baptism for the dead, but not eternal marriage or polygamy.

The Cutlerites do not conduct missionary work or actively solicit converts, because they believe that God rejected the "Gentiles" following the death of Joseph Smith, and thus there can be no more active missionary work among them (as is done in the LDS Church and other Latter Day Saint churches). Membership was listed at 22 in 1957, and has declined further since then. The current church president (as of 2013) is Vernon Whiting.

Selected biography

Image of Smith created by Bathsheba W. Smith

Joseph Smith, Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader who restored the Latter Day Saint movement, a restorationist ideology that gave rise to a heretical Christian sect called Mormonism.

Smith's followers revere him as the first latter Day prophet, the "Prophet of the Restoration", called by God to restore the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This restoration included announcement that God had directly communicated with man; the introduction of another testament of Jesus Christ (the Book of Mormon); the return of priesthood authority to act in the name of God; the building of temples; and the restoration of the Kingdom of God on earth (Zion). Smith was (and remains) a very controversial figure; his teachings were known to inspire deep devotion in his followers, yet deep, personal hostility and even hatred from his detractors. Smith was also a political and military leader of the American West.

Smith taught a form of Christian restorationist doctrines, such as the idea that Christianity had been in a state of apostasy, which could be restored by modern prophecy and revelation from God. In other cases, the doctrines were unique to Mormonism.

Selected Quotes

Gordon B. Hinckley.jpg


The Latter Day Saint movement

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Latter Day Saints (people)


Did you know...

...that Latter Day Saints believe in the Holy Bible (both Old and New Testament)?

...that, according to Mormonism, the Book of Mormon is another Testament of Jesus Christ?

...that Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration is a 2005 film that focuses on some of the events during the life of Joseph Smith?


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