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, LDS restorationist movement, or Smith–Rigdon 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 16 million members. The vast majority of adherents—about 98%—belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), with their predominant theology being Mormonism. The LDS Church self-identifies as Christian. 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.[citation needed]

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Execution by firing squad of John D. Lee for his role in the Mountain Meadows massacre. Lee's blood was shed on the ground where the massacre had taken place 20 years earlier; nevertheless, Brigham Young said that Lee "has not half atoned for his great crime" (Young 1877, p. 242).

In Mormonism, blood atonement is a controversial doctrine that taught that some crimes are so heinous that the atonement of Jesus does not apply. Instead, to atone for these sins the perpetrators should be killed in a way that would allow their blood to be shed upon the ground as a sacrificial offering.

The doctrine is no longer accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), but it was significantly promoted during the Mormon Reformation, when Brigham Young governed the Utah Territory as a near-theocracy. Sins that Young and other members of his First Presidency mentioned as meriting blood atonement included miscegenation, apostasy, theft, murder, fornication, and adultery.

Young taught that the doctrine was to be a voluntary choice by the sinner, and only to be practiced under a complete theocracy (which has not existed in modern times)[1]. Young considered it more charitable to sacrifice a life than to see them endure eternal torment in the afterlife. In a full Mormon theocracy, the practice would be implemented by the state as a penal measure. Read more...

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Strang1.jpg
The "Letter of appointment" is a controversial three-page document used by James J. Strang and his adherents in their efforts to prove that he was the designated successor to Joseph Smith as the prophet and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Sent from Nauvoo, Illinois, on June 19, 1844, to Strang in Burlington, Wisconsin, this letter served as the cornerstone of Strang's claims, which were ultimately rejected by the majority of Latter Day Saints.

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The FLDS temple in the YFZ Ranch

The YFZ Ranch, or Yearning for Zion Ranch, was a 1,700-acre (7 km2) Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) community that at one time housed as many as 700 people and was located just outside Eldorado in Schleicher County, Texas, United States. As of April 2014, the State of Texas took physical and legal possession of the property. Under Texas law, authorities can seize property that was used to commit or facilitate certain criminal conduct. Read more...

Selected Schismatic Histories

Independence - Fettingite Bronsonite 02.jpg

The Church of Christ, informally referred to as the Fettingites, is a denomination within the Latter Day Saint movement which split from the Church of Christ—informally known as "Hedrickites"— in late 1929. The faction was formally established on April 8, 1930, and an Associated Press report published in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times April 7, 1930, describes it has having been briefly named "The Church of Jesus Christ" and later, the "Church of Christ". It is informally referred to as the "Church of Christ (Fettingite)", after its founder, Otto Fetting, but this sect has never officially been named as such. Otto Fetting, an Apostle in the Church of Christ, was the alleged recipient of a series of messages delivered by John the Baptist concerning construction of a temple on the Temple Lot, along with other aspects of Hedrickite doctrine and practice. The rejection of his "Twelfth Message" by a majority vote of his fellow Apostles in October 1929 led to a split in the Temple Lot organization between those who rejected Fetting's messages and those who accepted them. The "Fettingites" subsequently established their own church organization.

While Fettingite doctrine and practices are virtually identical to those of the Church of Christ, a significant difference exists today in the acceptance of the messages' authenticity between Hedrickites and Fettingites. The Hedrickite leadership voted at their April, 1936 conference to formally reject Otto Fetting's claim of having heard from John the Baptist, but some laity in the Hedrickite sect have informally expressed interest or belief in his claims, to where about a half-dozen Hedrickites[who?] today believe Fetting received some or all of the revelations he claimed. After its founder's death in 1933, the Fettingite sect further divided into various factions, including The Church of Christ (Restored), the Church of Christ at Halley's Bluff, and the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message. As with the Church of Christ, each of these groups declares itself to be the "only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth." Read more...

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photo of Otto Fetting

Otto Fetting (November 20, 1871 – January 30, 1933) was an American realtor and editor from Port Huron, Michigan who served first as a pastor and evangelist in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and then later as an apostle in the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), commonly referred to as the "Hedrickites". Fetting claimed to have been visited by John the Baptist thirty or more times between February 4, 1927 and his death on January 30, 1933. Fetting was reportedly given instruction concerning the doctrine and practices of Hedrickites and other factions of Christianity, together with directives to begin construction of a temple on the Temple Lot, including its exact dimensions.

After initially accepting his first eleven revelations, a Hedrickite conference vote in early October 1929 rejected a key portion of Fetting's twelfth message, leading him to found the "Church of Jesus Christ" on April 8, 1930. This breakaway faction, later referred to as "Church of Christ", subsequently gave birth to additional rival factions after Fetting's death, which have still further subdivided. These "Fettingite" or "Dravesite" (named after W.A. Draves, a follower of Fetting) factions include: the Church of Christ "With the Elijah Message" Established Anew 1929; the Church of Christ (Restored); the Church of Christ (Assured Way); "The Church of Christ with the Elijah Message, Established in 1929 Anew, The Church of Christ with the Elijah Message, Inc. and the Church of Christ at Halley's Bluff. Read more...

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Wilford Woodruff 1889.jpg

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