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 Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 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.

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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.

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The Red Brick Store

The Red Brick Store in Nauvoo, Illinois, was a building that was constructed and owned by Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1841.

The building became a center of economic, political, religious, and social activity among the Latter Day Saints. In addition to being a mercantile store, the second floor of the building also served as the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for a period of time. Members would visit the store to pay their tithing and other offerings to the church.

A number of important events in Latter Day Saint history occurred in the Red Brick Store, including the organization of the Relief Society (the church's organization for women) and the first performance of the Nauvoo Endowment ordinance.

Selected Schismatic Histories

The Church of Jesus Christ is a denomination of the Latter Day Saint movement headquartered in Monongahela, Pennsylvania. It has sometimes been referred to as a "Bickertonite church" or "Rigdonite organization" based upon the church's claims of succession through William Bickerton and Sidney Rigdon. The church does not use these terms in referring to itself. As of December 31, 2012, members are located throughout the world including North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa—for a membership total of 19,029. The Church of Jesus Christ is considered "the third largest Restoration church to have resulted from the 1844 succession crisis".

The church claims to be the spiritual successor to the Church of Christ, organized by Joseph Smith on April 6, 1830. The church claims that Sidney Rigdon was Smith's rightful successor following the assassination of Smith because Rigdon was Smith's first counselor in the First Presidency. Although the church acknowledges the Book of Mormon to be scripture, it does not consider itself to be a "Mormon church".

Selected biography

John W. Woolley2.jpg

John W. Woolley (December 30, 1831 – December 13, 1928) was a leader in the Latter Day Saint movement, and is perhaps best known as the father of Mormon fundamentalism movement. According to an account given by his son Lorin in 1929, on September 26, 1886 John Taylor was in hiding in the home of Woolley. After being visited by Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith, Taylor set apart five men, including Woolley, as apostles. Taylor gave them a special commission to keep alive plural marriage and granting them the authority to set apart others. This is often referred to as the 1886 ordinations. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) disputes the validity of these claims.) After the LDS Church officially called for an end to the practice of plural marriage in 1904, Woolley refused to comply and was excommunicated on March 30, 1914. In response and using the 1886 ordinations as his authority, Woolley extended the apostolic authority to a seven-man "Council of Friends" between 1929 and 1933. Most modern Mormon fundamentalist sects traced back to the Council of Friends.

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Gordon B. Hinckley.jpg


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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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