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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A 19th century depiction of John the Baptist conferring the Aaronic priesthood to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery

The Aaronic priesthood (/ɛəˈrɒnɪk/; also called the priesthood of Aaron or the Levitical priesthood) is the lesser of the two (or sometimes three) orders of priesthood recognized in the Latter Day Saint movement. The others are the Melchizedek priesthood and the rarely recognized Patriarchal priesthood. Unlike the Melchizedek priesthood, which is modeled after the authority of Jesus and the Twelve Apostles, or the Patriarchal priesthood, which is modeled after the authority of Abraham, the Aaronic priesthood is modeled after the priesthood of Aaron the Levite, the first high priest of the Hebrews, and his descendents. The Aaronic priesthood is thought to be a lesser or preparatory priesthood and an "appendage" of the more powerful Melchizedek priesthood.


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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.

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Community of Christ, known from 1872 to 2001 as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is part of the Latter Day Saint movement begun by Joseph Smith on April 6, 1830, and reorganized on April 6, 1860. It is headquartered in Independence, MO. The church reports approximately 250,000 members in 50 nations.

In the 1850s, groups of Midwestern Latter Day Saints who were unaffiliated with other Latter Day Saint factions began to come together. Leaders, including Jason W. Briggs and Zenas H. Gurley, Sr., began to call for the creation of a "New Organization" of the Latter Day Saint movement. Based on the doctrine of Lineal succession, they invited Joseph Smith III to lead their organization as President of the Church. Smith eventually accepted and a conference on April 6, 1860, at Amboy, Illinois, Smith III formally accepted the leadership of what would become the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which was renamed the Community of Christ in 2001.

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James Strang

James Jesse Strang (March 21, 1813 – July 9, 1856) was an American religious leader, politician and self-proclaimed monarch who founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite), a faction of the Latter Day Saint movement. A major contender for leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints during the 1844 succession crisis, Strang vied with Brigham Young and Sidney Rigdon for control of the main body of Latter Day Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois before his rejection by that group led him to start his own sect. While serving as Prophet, Seer and Revelator of his church—which he claimed to be the sole legitimate continuation of the Church of Christ founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1830—Strang reigned for six years as the crowned "king" of an ecclesiastical monarchy that he established on Beaver Island in the US state of Michigan. Building an organization that eventually rivaled Young's in Utah, Strang gained nearly 12,000 adherents prior to his murder in 1856, which brought down his kingdom and all but extinguished his sect.

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