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Mormons are a
religious Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...
and
cultural group Cultural identity is a part of a person's identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Identity (social science), personhood or group affiliation in psychology and sociology Group expression and affiliation * Cultural identity, a per ...

cultural group
related to
Mormonism Mormonism is the religious tradition and theology of the Latter Day Saint movement of Restorationism, Restorationist Christianity started by Joseph Smith in Western New York in the 1820s and 1830s. As a label, Mormonism has been applied to var ...
, the principal branch 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 Christianity, Christian Restorationism, Restora ...
started by
Joseph Smith Joseph Smith Jr. (December 23, 1805June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and founder of Mormonism Mormonism is the religious tradition and theology of the Latter Day Saint movement of Restorationism, Restorationist Christian ...
in
upstate New York Upstate New York is a geographic region consisting of the portion of New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...
during the 1820s. After Smith's death in 1844 the movement split into several groups following different leaders; the majority followed
Brigham Young Brigham Young (; June 1, 1801August 29, 1877) was an American religious leader Clergy are formal leaders within established religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting population ...

Brigham Young
, while smaller groups followed
Joseph Smith III Joseph Smith III (November 6, 1832 – December 10, 1914) was the eldest surviving son of Joseph Smith Joseph Smith Jr. (December 23, 1805June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and founder of Mormonism Mormonism is the relig ...

Joseph Smith III
,
Sidney Rigdon Sidney Rigdon (February 19, 1793 – July 14, 1876) was a leader during the early history of the Latter Day Saint movement The Latter Day Saint movement (also called the LDS movement, LDS restorationist movement, or Smith–Rigdon movement) ...
, and
James Strang James Jesse Strang (March 21, 1813 – July 9, 1856) was an American religious leader, politician and self-proclaimed monarch. In 1844 he claimed to have been appointed to be the successor of Joseph Smith as leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of ...
. Most of these smaller groups eventually coalesced into the
Community of Christ The Community of Christ, known from 1872 to 2001 as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), is an American-based international church, and is the second-largest denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement. The church ...
, and the term ''Mormon'' typically refers to members of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a nontrinitarian Nontrinitarianism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism ...
(LDS Church), as today this branch is far larger than all the others combined. (Since 2018, the LDS Church has requested that its members be referred to as "Latter-day Saints".) People who identify as Mormons may also be independently religious, secular and non-practicing, or belong to other denominations. Mormons have developed a strong sense of community that stems from their doctrine and history. One of the central doctrinal issues that defined Mormonism in the 19th century was the practice of
plural marriage Polygamy (called plural marriage by Mormons in the 19th century or the Principle by modern fundamentalist practitioners of polygamy Polygamy (from Greek language, Late Greek , ''polygamía'', "state of marriage to many spouses") is the ...
, a form of religious
polygamy Polygamy (from Late Greek Late Greek means writings in the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient Greek, ancient , ''Hellēnikḗ'') is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European family o ...
. From 1852 until 1904, when the LDS Church banned the practice, many Mormons who had followed Brigham Young to the
Utah Territory The Territory of Utah was an organized incorporated territory of the United States and the founding of the United States: Kingdom of Great Britain, British claims are indicated in red and pink, while Spanish claims are in orange and yellow. Th ...
openly practiced polygamy. Mormons dedicate significant time and resources to serving in their churches. A prominent practice among young and retired members of the LDS Church is to serve a full-time
proselytizing Proselytism () is the act or fact of religious conversion Religious conversion is the adoption of a set of beliefs identified with one particular religious denomination A religious denomination is a subgroup within a religion Religion ...
mission Mission may refer to: Religion *Mission (station) A religious mission or mission station is a location for missionary work, in particular Christian missions. History Historically, missions have been religious communities used to spread ...
. Mormons have a health code which eschews alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee, and addictive substances. They tend to be very family-oriented and have strong connections across generations and with extended family, reflective of their belief that families can be sealed together beyond death. They also have a strict
law of chastityThe law of chastity is a moral code Morality (from ) is the differentiation of intention Intention is a mind, mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. Intention involves mental activities suc ...
, requiring abstention from sexual relations outside heterosexual marriage and fidelity within marriage, though the
Community of Christ The Community of Christ, known from 1872 to 2001 as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), is an American-based international church, and is the second-largest denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement. The church ...
is accepting of LGBTQ individuals and relationships. Mormons self-identify as Christian, but some non-Mormons consider Mormons to be non-Christian because some of their beliefs differ from those of Nicene Christianity. Mormons believe that Christ's church was
restored ''Restored'' is Jeremy Camp's fourth album, released on November 16, 2004. Track listing Standard release Enhanced edition Deluxe gold edition Standard Australian release Personnel * Jeremy Camp – lead and backing vocals, acoustic gui ...
through Joseph Smith and is guided by living
prophets In religion, a prophet is an individual who is regarded as being in contact with a divinity, divine being and is said to speak on behalf of that being, serving as an intermediary with humanity by delivering messages or teachings from the super ...
and
apostles upright=1.35, Jesus and his Twelve Apostles, Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla">Chi_Rho.html" ;"title="fresco with the Chi Rho">Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome In Christian theology and ecclesiology, apostles, parti ...
. Mormons believe in the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Gree ...

Bible
, as well as other books of scripture, such as the
Book of Mormon The Book of Mormon is a sacred text Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred Sacred describes something that is dedicated or s ...
. They have a unique view of cosmology and believe that all people are literal spirit-children of God. Mormons believe that returning to God requires following the example of
Jesus Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it i ...
, and accepting his
atonement Atonement (also atoning, to atone) is the concept of a person taking action to correct previous wrongdoing on their part, either through direct action to undo the consequences of that act, equivalent action to do good for others, or some other e ...
through repentance and ordinances such as baptism. During the 19th century, Mormon converts tended to gather to a central geographic location, a trend that reversed somewhat in the 1920s and 30s. The center of Mormon cultural influence is in
Utah Utah ( , ) is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. Utah is a landlocked U.S. state bordered to its east by Colorado, to its northeast by Wyoming, to its north by Idaho, to its so ...

Utah
, and North America has more Mormons than any other continent, although the majority of Mormons live outside the United States. As of December 2020, the LDS Church reported having 16,663,663 members worldwide.


Terminology

The word ''
Mormon Mormons are a religious Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. Different re ...
'' was originally coined to describe any person who believes in the
Book of Mormon The Book of Mormon is a sacred text Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred Sacred describes something that is dedicated or s ...
as a volume of scripture. The term ''Mormonite'' and ''Mormon'' were originally descriptive terms used by outsiders to the faith and occasionally used by church leaders. The term ''Mormon'' later evolved into a derogatory term, likely during the
1838 Mormon War The 1838 Mormon War, also known as the Missouri Mormon War, was a conflict between Mormons and non-Mormons in Missouri from August to November 1838, the first of the three "Mormonism and violence#List of Mormon wars and massacres, Mormon Wars". ...
, although the term was later adopted by Joseph Smith. Today, while the term ''
Mormonism Mormonism is the religious tradition and theology of the Latter Day Saint movement of Restorationism, Restorationist Christianity started by Joseph Smith in Western New York in the 1820s and 1830s. As a label, Mormonism has been applied to var ...
'' can act as a blanket term for all sects following the religious tradition started by Joseph Smith, many sects do not prefer the term ''Mormon'' as an acceptable label. For example, the largest sect,
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a nontrinitarian Nontrinitarianism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism ...
, based in Salt Lake City, recently clarified in a style guide that it prefers the term ''Latter-day Saints'' among other acceptable terms. The term preferred by the Salt Lake-based LDS church has varied in the past, and at various points it has embraced the term ''Mormon'' and also stated that other sects within the shared faith tradition should not be called ''Mormon''. The second largest sect, the
Community of Christ The Community of Christ, known from 1872 to 2001 as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), is an American-based international church, and is the second-largest denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement. The church ...
, also rejects the term ''Mormon'' due to its association with the practice of polygamy among Brighamite sects. Other sects, including several fundamentalist branches of the Brighamite tradition, embrace the term ''Mormon''.


History

The history of the Mormons has shaped them into a people with a strong sense of unity and commonality. From the start, Mormons have tried to establish what they call "
Zion Zion ( he, צִיּוֹן ''Ṣīyyōn'', , also variously ''Sion'', ''Tzion'', ''Tsion'', ''Tsiyyon'') is a placename in the used as a synonym for as well as for the as a whole (see ). The name is found in (5:7), one of the books of the ...
", a utopian society of the righteous. Mormon history can be divided into three broad time periods: (1) the early history during the lifetime of
Joseph Smith Joseph Smith Jr. (December 23, 1805June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and founder of Mormonism Mormonism is the religious tradition and theology of the Latter Day Saint movement of Restorationism, Restorationist Christian ...
, (2) a "pioneer era" under the leadership of
Brigham Young Brigham Young (; June 1, 1801August 29, 1877) was an American religious leader Clergy are formal leaders within established religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting population ...

Brigham Young
and his successors, and (3) a modern era beginning around the turn of the 20th century. In the first period, Smith attempted to build a city called Zion, in which converts could gather. During the pioneer era, Zion became a "landscape of villages" in Utah. In modern times, Zion is still an ideal, though Mormons gather together in their individual congregations rather than a central geographic location.


Beginnings

The Mormon movement began with the publishing of the
Book of Mormon The Book of Mormon is a sacred text Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred Sacred describes something that is dedicated or s ...
in March 1830, which Smith claimed was a translation of
golden plates According to Latter Day Saint movement, Latter Day Saint belief, the golden plates (also called the gold plates or in some 19th-century literature, the golden bible) are the source from which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, a sacred tex ...
containing the religious history of an ancient American civilization which had been compiled by the ancient prophet-historian
Mormon Mormons are a religious Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. Different re ...
. Smith claimed that an angel had directed him to the
golden plates According to Latter Day Saint movement, Latter Day Saint belief, the golden plates (also called the gold plates or in some 19th-century literature, the golden bible) are the source from which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, a sacred tex ...
, buried in the Hill Cumorah. On April 6, 1830, Smith founded the
Church of ChristChurch of Christ may refer to: Church groups * When used in the plural, a New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Biblical cano ...
. In 1832, Smith added an account of
a vision ''A Vision: An Explanation of Life Founded upon the Writings of Giraldus and upon Certain Doctrines Attributed to Kusta Ben Luka'', privately published in 1925, is a book-length study of various philosophical, historical, astrological, and poetic t ...
he had sometime in the early 1820s while living in Upstate New York . This vision would come to be regarded by some Mormons as the most important event in human history after the birth, ministry, and
resurrection of Jesus The resurrection of Jesus ( gr, ανάσταση του Ιησού) is the Christianity, Christian belief that God in Christianity, God Resurrection, raised Jesus on the third day after Crucifixion of Jesus, his crucifixion, starting – or Pr ...
Christ. The early church grew westward as Smith sent missionaries to proselytize. In 1831, the church moved to
Kirtland, Ohio Kirtland is a city in Lake County, Ohio, Lake County, Ohio, United States. The population was 6,859 at the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census. Kirtland is known for being the early headquarters of the Latter Day Saint movement from 1831 to 183 ...
where missionaries had made a large number of converts and Smith began establishing an outpost in
Jackson County, Missouri Jackson County is located in the western portion of the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primar ...
, where he planned to eventually build the city of
Zion Zion ( he, צִיּוֹן ''Ṣīyyōn'', , also variously ''Sion'', ''Tzion'', ''Tsion'', ''Tsiyyon'') is a placename in the used as a synonym for as well as for the as a whole (see ). The name is found in (5:7), one of the books of the ...
(or the
New Jerusalem In the Book of Ezekiel The Book of Ezekiel is the third of the Latter Prophets Nevi'im (; he, נְבִיאִים ''Nəḇî'îm'', "Prophets" literally "spokespersons") is the second major division of the Hebrew Bible (the '' Tanakh ...
). In 1833, Missouri settlers, alarmed by the rapid influx of Mormons, expelled them from Jackson County into the nearby
Clay County Clay County is the name of 18 counties in the United States. Most are named for Henry Clay Henry Clay Sr. (April 12, 1777June 29, 1852) was an American attorney Attorney may refer to: Roles * Attorney at law, an official title of lawyers in s ...
, where local residents were more welcoming. After Smith led a mission, known as
Zion's Camp Zion's Camp was an expedition of Latter Day Saints led by Joseph Smith, from Kirtland, Ohio, to Clay County, Missouri, during May and June 1834 in an unsuccessful attempt to regain land from which the Saints had been expelled by non-Mormon settlers ...
, to recover the land, he began building
Kirtland Temple The Kirtland Temple is a National Historic Landmark in Kirtland, Ohio, United States, on the eastern edge of the Cleveland, Ohio, Cleveland metropolitan area. Owned and operated by the Community of Christ, formerly the Reorganized Church of Jes ...

Kirtland Temple
in
Lake County, Ohio Lake County is a County (United States), county in the U.S. state of Ohio. As of the 2020 United States Census, 2020 census, the population was 232,603. The county seat is Painesville, Ohio, Painesville. The county was established on March 6, 18 ...
, where the church flourished. When the Missouri Mormons were later asked to leave Clay County in 1836, they secured land in what would become Caldwell County. The Kirtland era ended in 1838, after the failure of a church-sponsored anti-bank caused widespread defections, and Smith regrouped with the remaining church in
Far West, Missouri Far West was a settlement 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 thei ...
. During the fall of 1838, tensions escalated into the Mormon War with the old Missouri settlers. On October 27, the
governor A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the Executive (government), executive branch of a non-sovereign or sub-national level of government, ranking under the head of state. In federations, ''governor'' may be t ...

governor
of Missouri ordered that the Mormons "must be treated as enemies" and be exterminated or driven from the state. Between November and April, some eight thousand displaced Mormons migrated east into
Illinois Illinois ( ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspape ...

Illinois
. In 1839, the Mormons purchased the small town of Commerce, converted swampland on the banks of the Mississippi River, and renamed the area
Nauvoo, Illinois Nauvoo (; etymology: ) is a small city in Hancock County, Illinois, Hancock County, Illinois, United States, on the Mississippi River near Fort Madison, Iowa. The population of Nauvoo was 1,149 at the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census. Nauvoo ...
, and began construction of the
Nauvoo Temple The Nauvoo Temple was the second Temple (Latter Day Saints), temple constructed by the Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints), Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.''Manuscript History of the Church'', LDS Church Archives, book A-1, p. 37; r ...

Nauvoo Temple
. The city became the church's new headquarters and gathering place, and it grew rapidly, fueled in part by converts immigrating from Europe. Meanwhile, Smith introduced temple ceremonies meant to
seal Seal may refer to any of the following: Common uses * Pinniped Pinnipeds (pronounced ), commonly known as seals, are a widely range (biology), distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, List of semiaquatic tetrapods, semiaqu ...
families together for eternity, as well as the doctrines of eternal progression or exaltation, and plural marriage. Smith created a service organization for women called the
Relief Society The Relief Society is a philanthropic and educational women's organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants o ...
, as well as an organization called the
Council of Fifty "The Council of Fifty" (also known as "the Living Constitution", "the Kingdom of God", or its name by revelation, "The Kingdom of God and His Laws with the Keys and Power thereof, and Judgment in the Hands of His Servants, Ahman Christ") was a Latt ...
, representing a future theodemocratic "Kingdom of God" on the earth. Smith also published the story of his
First Vision The First Vision (also called the grove experience by members of the Community of Christ) refers to a theophany that Joseph Smith said he received in the early 1820s, in a wooded area in Manchester (town), New York, Manchester, New York, calle ...
, in which the
Father A father is the male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male cannot sexual reproduction, reproduce sex ...

Father
and the
Son A son is a male Male (symbol: ♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete (sex cell) known as sperm, which fuses with the larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male organism cannot sexual reproduction ...

Son
appeared to him while he was about 14 years old. This vision would come to be regarded by some Mormons as the most important event in human history after the birth, ministry, and
resurrection of Jesus The resurrection of Jesus ( gr, ανάσταση του Ιησού) is the Christianity, Christian belief that God in Christianity, God Resurrection, raised Jesus on the third day after Crucifixion of Jesus, his crucifixion, starting – or Pr ...
Christ. In 1844, local prejudices and political tensions, fueled by Mormon peculiarity, internal dissent, and reports of polygamy, escalated into conflicts between Mormons and "anti-Mormons" in Illinois and Missouri. Smith was arrested, and on June 27, 1844, he and his brother Hyrum were killed by a mob in
Carthage, Illinois Carthage is a city in Hancock County, Illinois Illinois ( ) is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States. It has the List of U.S. states and territories by GDP, fifth largest gross domes ...
. Because Hyrum was Smith's logical successor, their deaths caused a
succession crisisA succession crisis is a crisis that arises when an order of succession fails, for example when a king dies without an indisputable heir. It may result in a war of succession. Examples include: *Multiple periods during the history of the Roman Empir ...
, and
Brigham Young Brigham Young (; June 1, 1801August 29, 1877) was an American religious leader Clergy are formal leaders within established religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting population ...

Brigham Young
assumed leadership over the majority of Latter Day Saints. Young had been a close associate of Smith's and was senior
apostle An apostle (), in its most literal sense, is an emissary, from Greek ἀπόστολος (''apóstolos''), literally "one who is sent off", from the verb A verb, from the Latin ''wikt:verbum#Latin, verbum'' meaning ''word'', is a word (part o ...
of the
Quorum of the Twelve In 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 Christianity ...
. Smaller groups of Latter Day Saints followed other leaders to form other denominations 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 Christianity, Christian Restorationism, Restora ...
.


Pioneer era

For two years after Smith's death, conflicts escalated between Mormons and other Illinois residents. To prevent war,
Brigham Young Brigham Young (; June 1, 1801August 29, 1877) was an American religious leader Clergy are formal leaders within established religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting population ...

Brigham Young
led the
Mormon pioneers The Mormon pioneers were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a Nontrinitarianism, nontrinitarian, Chris ...
(constituting most of the Latter Day Saints) to a temporary winter quarters in Nebraska and then, eventually (beginning in 1847), to what became the
Utah Territory The Territory of Utah was an organized incorporated territory of the United States and the founding of the United States: Kingdom of Great Britain, British claims are indicated in red and pink, while Spanish claims are in orange and yellow. Th ...
.In 2004, the State of Illinois recognized the expulsion of the Latter-day Saints as the "largest forced migration in American history" and stated in the adopted resolution that, "WHEREAS, The biases and prejudices of a less enlightened age in the history of the State of Illinois caused unmeasurable hardship and trauma for the community of Latter-day Saints by the distrust, violence, and inhospitable actions of a dark time in our past; therefore, be it RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NINETY-THIRD GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we acknowledge the disparity of those past actions and suspicions, regretting the expulsion of the community of Latter-day Saints, a people of faith and hard work." ; "The great Mormon migration of 1846–1847 was but one step in the Mormons' quest for religious freedom and growth." . Having failed to build Zion within the confines of American society, the Mormons began to construct a society in isolation, based on their beliefs and values. The cooperative ethic that Mormons had developed over the last decade and a half became important as settlers branched out and colonized a large desert region now known as the
Mormon Corridor The Mormon Corridor is the areas of Western North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern subcontinent of the ...
. Colonizing efforts were seen as religious duties, and the new villages were governed by the Mormon
bishops A bishop is an ordained Ordination is the process by which individuals are Consecration, consecrated, that is, set apart and elevated from the laity class to the clergy, who are thus then authorization, authorized (usually by the religious denom ...
(local lay religious leaders). The Mormons viewed land as commonwealth, devising and maintaining a co-operative system of irrigation that allowed them to build a farming community in the desert. From 1849 to 1852, the Mormons greatly expanded their missionary efforts, establishing several
missions Mission may refer to: Religion *Mission (station) A religious mission or mission station is a location for missionary work, in particular Christian missions. History Historically, missions have been religious communities used to spread ...
in Europe, Latin America, and the South Pacific.. Converts were expected to "gather" to Zion, and during Young's presidency (1847–77) over seventy thousand Mormon converts immigrated to America. Many of the converts came from England and
Scandinavia Scandinavia; Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Province * Sami District, Gambia * Sami, Cephalonia, a municipality in Greece * Sami (ancient city), in Elis, Greece * Sa ...

Scandinavia
, and were quickly assimilated into the Mormon community. Many of these immigrants crossed the
Great Plains The Great Plains (french: Grandes Plaines), sometimes simply "the Plains", is a broad expanse of flatland ''Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions'' is a satire, satirical novella by the English schoolmaster Edwin Abbott Abbott, first publi ...
in wagons drawn by oxen, while some later groups pulled their possessions in small handcarts. During the 1860s, newcomers began using the new
railroad Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional p ...
that was under construction. In 1852, church leaders publicized the previously secret practice of
plural marriage Polygamy (called plural marriage by Mormons in the 19th century or the Principle by modern fundamentalist practitioners of polygamy Polygamy (from Greek language, Late Greek , ''polygamía'', "state of marriage to many spouses") is the ...
, a form of
polygamy Polygamy (from Late Greek Late Greek means writings in the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient Greek, ancient , ''Hellēnikḗ'') is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European family o ...
. Over the next 50 years, many Mormons (between 20 and 30 percent of Mormon families) entered into plural marriages as a religious duty, with the number of plural marriages reaching a peak around 1860, and then declining through the rest of the century. Besides the doctrinal reasons for plural marriage, the practice made some economic sense, as many of the plural wives were single women who arrived in Utah without brothers or fathers to offer them societal support. By 1857, tensions had again escalated between Mormons and other Americans, largely as a result of accusations involving polygamy and the
theocratic Theocracy is a form of government in which one or more deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and ...
rule of the Utah Territory by Brigham Young. In 1857, U.S. President
James Buchanan James Buchanan Jr. ( ; April 23, 1791June 1, 1868) was an American lawyer and politician who served as the 15th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the ...

James Buchanan
sent an army to Utah, which Mormons interpreted as open aggression against them. Fearing a repeat of Missouri and Illinois, the Mormons prepared to defend themselves, determined to torch their own homes in the case that they were invaded. The relatively peaceful
Utah War The Utah War (1857–1858), also known as the Utah Expedition, Utah Campaign, Buchanan's Blunder, the Mormon War, or the Mormon Rebellion was an armed confrontation between Mormon Mormons are a religious Religion is a social system, ...
ensued from 1857 to 1858, in which the most notable instance of violence was the
Mountain Meadows massacre The Mountain Meadows Massacre was a series of attacks which resulted in the mass murder of 120 members of the Baker–Fancher party, Baker–Fancher emigrant wagon train. The massacre occurred September 7–11, 1857 at Mountain Meadows, Utah, Mou ...

Mountain Meadows massacre
, when leaders of a local Mormon militia ordered the killing of a civilian emigrant party that was traveling through Utah during the escalating tensions. In 1858, Young agreed to step down from his position as governor and was replaced by a non-Mormon, Alfred Cumming. Nevertheless, the LDS Church still wielded significant political power in the Utah Territory. At Young's death in 1877, he was followed by other LDS Church presidents, who resisted efforts by the
United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is Bicameralism, bicameral, comprising a lower body, the United States House of Representatives, House of Representatives, and an upper body, t ...

United States Congress
to outlaw Mormon polygamous marriages.. In 1878, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in '' Reynolds v. United States'' that religious duty was not a suitable defense for practicing polygamy, and many Mormon polygamists went into hiding; later, Congress began seizing church assets. In September 1890, church president
Wilford Woodruff Wilford is a village close to the centre of the city of , UK. The village is bounded to the north and west by the and to the east by the embankment of the now closed . History Early settlements Remains of a paved Roman ford, bordered by ...
issued a
Manifesto A manifesto is a published declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government. A manifesto usually accepts a previously published opinion or public consensus or promotes a ...
that officially suspended the practice of polygamy. Although this Manifesto did not dissolve existing plural marriages, relations with the United States markedly improved after 1890, such that Utah was admitted as a U.S. state in 1896. After the Manifesto, some Mormons continued to enter into polygamous marriages, but these eventually stopped in 1904 when church president Joseph F. Smith disavowed polygamy before Congress and issued a "
Second Manifesto :''To be distinguished from the Second Manifesto of Surrealism'' The "Second Manifesto" was a 1904 declaration made by Joseph F. Smith, the president President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of ...
" calling for all plural marriages in the church to cease. Eventually, the church adopted a policy of members found practicing polygamy, and today seeks actively to distance itself from "
fundamentalist Fundamentalism usually has a religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews, religious text, texts, shrine, sanctified places, ...
" groups that continue the practice.


Modern times

During the early 20th century, Mormons began to reintegrate into the American mainstream. In 1929, the
Mormon Tabernacle Choir The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, formerly known as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, is an American choir A choir (; also known as a chorale or chorus) is a of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the written specifically for such an ...

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
began broadcasting a weekly performance on national radio, becoming an asset for public relations. Mormons emphasized patriotism and industry, rising in socioeconomic status from the bottom among American religious denominations to middle-class. In the 1920s and 1930s, Mormons began migrating out of Utah, a trend hurried by the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
, as Mormons looked for work wherever they could find it. As Mormons spread out, church leaders created programs that would help preserve the tight-knit community feel of Mormon culture. In addition to weekly worship services, Mormons began participating in numerous programs such as Boy Scouting, a
Young Women organization The Young Women (often referred to as Young Women's or Young Woman's) is a youth organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often informally known as the LDS Church or Mormo ...
, church-sponsored dances, ward basketball, camping trips, plays, and religious education programs for youth and college students. During the Great Depression, the church started a
welfare program Welfare (or commonly, social welfare) is a type of government support intended to ensure that members of a society can meet basic human needs Maslow's hierarchy of needs is an idea in psychology Psychology is the science of mind and ...
to meet the needs of poor members, which has since grown to include a humanitarian branch that provides relief to disaster victims. During the later half of the 20th century, there was a retrenchment movement in Mormonism in which Mormons became more conservative, attempting to regain their status as a "peculiar people". Though the 1960s and 1970s brought changes such as
Women's Liberation The women's liberation movement (WLM) was a political alignment of women and feminist intellectualism that emerged in the late 1960s and continued into the 1980s primarily in the industrialized nations of the Western world, which effected great c ...
and the
civil rights movement The 1954–1968 civil rights movement in the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North ...
, Mormon leaders were alarmed by the erosion of traditional values, the
sexual revolution The sexual revolution, also known as a time of sexual liberation, was a social movement that challenged traditional codes of behavior related to sexuality and interpersonal relationships throughout the United States from the 1960s to the 1980s ...
, the widespread use of recreational drugs,
moral relativism Moral relativism or ethical relativism (often reformulated as relativist ethics or relativist morality) is a term used to describe several philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those ...
, and other forces they saw as damaging to the family. Partly to counter this, Mormons put an even greater emphasis on family life, religious education, and missionary work, becoming more conservative in the process. As a result, Mormons today are probably less integrated with mainstream society than they were in the early 1960s. Although
black people Black people is a racialized In sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses vario ...
have been members of Mormon congregations since Joseph Smith's time, before 1978, black membership was small. From 1852 to 1978, the LDS Church enforced a policy that restricted men of black African descent from being ordained to the church's lay priesthood. The church was sharply criticized for its policy during the
civil rights movement The 1954–1968 civil rights movement in the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North ...
, but the policy remained in force until a 1978 reversal that was prompted in part by questions about mixed-race converts in Brazil.. In general, Mormons greeted the change with joy and relief. Since 1978, black membership has grown, and in 1997 there were approximately 500,000 black members of the church (about 5 percent of the total membership), mostly in Africa, Brazil and the Caribbean. Black membership has continued to grow substantially, especially in West Africa, where two
temples A temple (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the R ...
have been built. Some black Mormons are members of the
Genesis Group The Genesis Group is an auxiliary organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS church) for African-American members and their families. History LDS Church leaders Thomas Monson, Gordon B. Hinckley, and Boyd K. Packer establ ...
, an organization of black members that predates the priesthood ban, and is endorsed by the church. The LDS Church grew rapidly after World War II and became a worldwide organization as
missionaries A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to promote their faith or provide services, such as education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), ...
were sent across the globe. The church doubled in size every 15 to 20 years, and by 1996, there were more Mormons outside the United States than inside. In 2012, there were an estimated 14.8 million Mormons, with roughly 57 percent living outside the United States. It is estimated that approximately 4.5 million Mormons – roughly 30% of the total membership – regularly attend services. A majority of U.S. Mormons are white and non-Hispanic (84 percent). Most Mormons are distributed in North and South America, the South Pacific, and Western Europe. The global distribution of Mormons resembles a contact diffusion model, radiating out from the organization's headquarters in Utah. The church enforces general doctrinal uniformity, and congregations on all continents teach the same doctrines, and international Mormons tend to absorb a good deal of Mormon culture, possibly because of the church's top-down hierarchy and a missionary presence. However, international Mormons often bring pieces of their own heritage into the church, adapting church practices to local cultures. As of December 2019, the LDS Church reported having 16,565,036 members worldwide."2019 Statistical Report for April 2020 Conference"
''Church Newsroom'', April 4, 2020.
Chile Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be described as the southern ...

Chile
,
Uruguay Uruguay (; ; pt, Uruguai), officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay ( es, República Oriental del Uruguay), is a country in South America. It shares borders with Argentina to its west and southwest and Brazil to its north and northeast; whi ...

Uruguay
, and several areas in the South Pacific have a higher percentage of Mormons than the United States (which is at about 2 percent). South Pacific countries and dependencies that are more than 10 percent Mormon include
American Samoa #REDIRECT American Samoa American Samoa ( sm, Amerika Sāmoa, ; also ' or ') is an unincorporated territory of the United States Under United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) ...

American Samoa
, the
Cook Islands ) , image_map = Cook Islands on the globe (small islands magnified) (Polynesia centered).svg , capital = Avarua Avarua (meaning "Two Harbours" in Cook Islands Māori) is a town and district in the north of the island of Rarotonga, and i ...
,
Kiribati Kiribati (), officially the Republic of Kiribati (Gilbertese language, Gilbertese: '' ibaberikiKiribati''),
,
Niue Niue ( or ; niu, Niuē) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, r ...

Niue
,
Samoa Samoa (, ), officially the Independent State of Samoa ( sm, Malo Saʻoloto Tutoʻatasi o Sāmoa; sm, Sāmoa, ) and until 1997 known as Western Samoa, is a Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "i ...

Samoa
, and
Tonga Tonga (, ), officially named the Kingdom of Tonga ( to, Puleʻanga Fakatuʻi ʻo Tonga), is a Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "island") ( to, Faka-Polinisia; mi, Porinihia; haw, Polenekia; ...

Tonga
.


Culture and practices

Isolation in
Utah Utah ( , ) is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. Utah is a landlocked U.S. state bordered to its east by Colorado, to its northeast by Wyoming, to its north by Idaho, to its so ...

Utah
had allowed Mormons to create a culture of their own.. As the faith spread around the world, many of its more distinctive practices followed. Mormon converts are urged to undergo lifestyle changes, repent of sins, and adopt sometimes atypical standards of conduct. Practices common to Mormons include studying
scriptures Religious texts are texts related to a religious tradition. They differ from literary texts by being a compilation or discussion of beliefs, mythologies, ritual practices, commandments or laws, ethical conduct, spiritual aspirations, and for c ...
, praying daily,
fasting Fasting is the willful refrainment from eating and sometimes drinking (see Water fasting and Juice fasting). From a purely physiology, physiological context, "fasting" may refer to the metabolism, metabolic status of a person who has not eaten o ...

fasting
regularly, attending Sunday worship services, participating in church programs and activities on weekdays, and refraining from work on Sundays when possible. The most important part of the church services is considered to be the
Lord's Supper The Eucharist (; also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper among other names) is a Christian rite A rite is an established, Ceremony, ceremonial, usually religious, act. Rites in this sense fall into three major categories: * rites o ...
(commonly called
sacrament A sacrament is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ...
), in which church members renew covenants made at
baptism Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian rite of initiation, admission and Adoption (theology), adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. It may be pe ...
. Mormons also emphasize standards they believe were taught by
Jesus Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it i ...

Jesus Christ
, including personal honesty, integrity, obedience to law, chastity outside marriage and fidelity within marriage. In 2010, around 13–14 percent of Mormons lived in Utah, the center of cultural influence for Mormonism. Utah Mormons (as well as Mormons living in the
Intermountain West The Intermountain West, or Intermountain Region, is a geographic Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a ...

Intermountain West
) are on average more culturally and/or politically conservative than those living in some cosmopolitan centers elsewhere in the U.S. Utahns self-identifying as Mormon also attend church somewhat more on average than Mormons living in other states. (Nonetheless, whether they live in Utah or elsewhere in the U.S., Mormons tend to be more culturally and/or politically conservative than members of other U.S. religious groups.) Utah Mormons often place a greater emphasis on
pioneer Pioneer commonly refers to a settler who migrates to previously uninhabited or sparsely inhabited land. In the United States pioneer commonly refers to an American pioneer, a person in American history who migrated west to join in settling and deve ...
heritage than international Mormons who generally are not descendants of the
Mormon pioneers The Mormon pioneers were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a Nontrinitarianism, nontrinitarian, Chris ...
. Mormons have a strong sense of communality that stems from their doctrine and history. LDS Church members have a responsibility to dedicate their time and talents to helping the poor and building the church. The church is divided by locality into congregations called " wards", with several wards or branches to create a " stake". The vast majority of church leadership positions are
lay Lay may refer to: Places *Lay Range, a subrange of mountains in British Columbia, Canada *Lay, Loire, a French commune *Lay (river), France *Lay, Iran, a village *Lay, Kansas, United States, an unincorporated community People * Lay (surname) * L ...
positions, and church leaders may work 10 to 15 hours a week in unpaid church service. Observant Mormons also contribute 10 percent of their income to the church as
tithing A tithing or tything was a historic English legal, administrative or territorial unit, originally ten hide (unit), hides (and hence, one tenth of a Hundred (country subdivision), hundred). Tithings later came to be seen as subdivisions of a Manoria ...
, and are often involved in humanitarian efforts. Many LDS young men, women and elderly couples choose to serve a
proselytizing Proselytism () is the act or fact of religious conversion Religious conversion is the adoption of a set of beliefs identified with one particular religious denomination A religious denomination is a subgroup within a religion Religion ...
mission Mission may refer to: Religion *Mission (station) A religious mission or mission station is a location for missionary work, in particular Christian missions. History Historically, missions have been religious communities used to spread ...
, during which they dedicate all of their time to the church, without pay. Mormons adhere to the
Word of Wisdom The "Word of Wisdom" is the common name of an 1833 section of the Doctrine and Covenants The Doctrine and Covenants (sometimes abbreviated and cited as D&C or D. and C.) is a part of the open Open or OPEN may refer to: Music * Open (band) O ...
, a health law or code that is interpreted as prohibiting the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, coffee and tea, while encouraging the use of herbs, grains, fruits, and a moderate consumption of meat. The Word of Wisdom is also understood to forbid other harmful and addictive substances and practices, such as the use of illegal drugs and abuse of prescription drugs. Mormons are encouraged to keep a year's supplies that include a food supply and a financial reserve. Mormons also oppose behaviors such as viewing pornography and gambling. The concept of a united family that lives and progresses forever is at the core of Latter-day Saint doctrine, and Mormons place a high importance on family life. Many Mormons hold weekly
Family Home Evening Family Home Evening (FHE) or Family Night, in the context of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), refers to one evening per week, usually Monday, that families are encouraged to spend together in religious instruction, pray ...
s, in which an evening is set aside for family bonding, study, prayer and other activities they consider to be wholesome. Latter-day Saint fathers who hold the priesthood typically name and bless their children shortly after birth to formally give the child a name. Mormon parents hope and pray that their children will gain testimonies of the "gospel" so they can grow up and marry in temples. Mormons have a strict
law of chastityThe law of chastity is a moral code Morality (from ) is the differentiation of intention Intention is a mind, mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. Intention involves mental activities suc ...
, requiring abstention from sexual relations outside opposite-sex marriage and strict fidelity within marriage. All sexual activity (heterosexual and homosexual) outside marriage is considered a serious sin, with marriage recognized as only between a man and a woman. Same-sex marriages are not performed or supported by the LDS Church. Church members are encouraged to marry and have children, and Latter-day Saint families tend to be larger than average. Mormons are opposed to abortion, except in some exceptional circumstances, such as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, or when the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy. Many practicing adult Mormons wear Temple garment, religious undergarments that remind them of covenant (Latter Day Saints), covenants and encourage them to dress modestly. Latter-day Saints are counseled not to partake of any form of media that is obscene or pornographic in any way, including media that depicts graphic representations of sex or violence. Tattoos and body piercings are also discouraged, with the exception of a single pair of earrings for LDS women. Homosexual Mormons, LGBT Mormons remain in good standing in the church if they abstain from homosexual relations and obey the law of chastity. While there are no official numbers, LDS Family Services estimates that there are on average four or five members per Ward (LDS Church), LDS ward who experience same-sex attraction. Gary Watts, former president of Family Fellowship, estimates that only 10 percent of homosexuals stay in the church. Many of these individuals have come forward through different support groups or websites discussing their homosexual attractions and concurrent church membership.


Groups within Mormonism

Note that the categories below are not necessarily mutually exclusive.


Latter-day Saints ("LDS")

Members of the LDS Church, also known as Latter-day Saints, constitute over 95 percent of Mormons. The beliefs and practices of LDS Mormons are generally guided by the teachings of general authority, LDS Church leaders. However, several smaller groups substantially differ from "mainstream" Mormonism in various ways. LDS Church members who do not actively participate in worship services or church callings are often called "Less-active Mormon, less-active" or "inactive" (akin to the qualifying expressions ''non-observant'' or ''non-practicing'' used in relation to members of other religious groups).. The LDS Church does not release statistics on church activity, but it is likely that about 40 percent of Mormons in the United States and 30 percent worldwide regularly attend worship services. Reasons for inactivity can include rejection of the fundamental beliefs and/or history of the church, lifestyle incongruities with doctrinal teachings, and problems with social integration. Activity rates tend to vary with age, and disengagement occurs most frequently between age 16 and 25. In 1998, the church reported a majority of less active members returned to church activity later in life. As of 2017, the LDS Church was losing millennials, millennial-age members, a phenomenon not unique to the LDS Church. Former Latter-day Saints who seek to disassociate themselves from the religion are often referred to as ex-Mormons.


Fundamentalist Mormons

Members of sects that broke with the LDS Church over the issue of polygamy have become known as Mormon fundamentalism, fundamentalist Mormons; these groups differ from mainstream Mormonism primarily in their belief in and practice of
plural marriage Polygamy (called plural marriage by Mormons in the 19th century or the Principle by modern fundamentalist practitioners of polygamy Polygamy (from Greek language, Late Greek , ''polygamía'', "state of marriage to many spouses") is the ...
. There are thought to be between 20,000 and 60,000 members of fundamentalist sects, (0.1–0.4 percent of Mormons), with roughly half of them practicing polygamy. There are a number of fundamentalist sects, the largest two being the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) and the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB). In addition to plural marriage, some of these groups also practice a form of Christian communalism known as the law of consecration or the United Order. The LDS Church seeks to distance itself from all such polygamous groups, excommunicating their members if discovered practicing or teaching it, and today a majority of Mormon fundamentalists have never been members of the LDS Church.


Liberal Mormons

Liberal Mormons, also known as Progressive Mormons, take an interpretive approach to LDS teachings and scripture. They look to the scriptures for spiritual guidance, but may not necessarily believe the teachings to be literally or uniquely true. For liberal Mormons, revelation is a process through which God gradually brings fallible human beings to greater understanding. A person in this group is sometimes mistakenly regarded by others within the mainstream church as a Jack Mormon, although this term is more commonly used to describe a different group with distinct motives to live the gospel in a non-traditional manner. Liberal Mormons place doing good and loving fellow human beings above the importance of believing correctly. In a separate context, members of small List of denominations in the Latter Day Saint movement#Liberal Mormon, progressive breakaway groups have also adopted the label.


Cultural Mormons

Cultural Mormons are individuals who may not believe in certain doctrines or practices of the institutional LDS Church yet identify as members of the Mormon ethnic identity. Usually this is a result of having been raised in the LDS faith, or as having converted and spent a large portion of one's life as an active member of the LDS Church. Cultural Mormons may or may not be actively involved with the LDS Church. In some cases they may not be members of the LDS Church.


Beliefs

Mormons have Standard Works, a scriptural canon consisting of the Bible (both Old and New Testaments), the
Book of Mormon The Book of Mormon is a sacred text Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred Sacred describes something that is dedicated or s ...
, and a collection of revelations and writings by Joseph Smith known as the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price (Mormonism), Pearl of Great Price. Mormons, however, have a relatively Continuous revelation, open definition of Religious text, scripture. As a general rule, anything spoken or written by a Prophet, seer, and revelator, prophet, while under inspiration, is considered to be the word of God. Thus, the Bible, written by prophets and apostles, is the word of God, so far as it is translated correctly. The
Book of Mormon The Book of Mormon is a sacred text Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred Sacred describes something that is dedicated or s ...
is also believed to have been written by ancient prophets, and is viewed as a companion to the Bible. By this definition, the teachings of Smith's successors are also accepted as scripture, though they are always measured against, and draw heavily from the scriptural canon. Mormons believe in "a friendly universe", governed by a God whose aim it is to bring his children to immortality and eternal life. Mormons have a unique perspective on the Plurality of gods, nature of God, the origin of man, and the purpose of life. For instance, Mormons believe in a pre-mortal existence where people were literal spirit children of God, and that God presented a Plan of salvation (Latter Day Saints), plan of salvation that would allow his children to progress and become more like him. The plan involved the spirits receiving bodies on earth and going through trials in order to learn, progress, and receive a "fulness of joy". The most important part of the plan involved Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, the eldest of God's children, coming to earth as the literal Son of God, to conquer sin and death so that God's other children could return. According to Mormons, every person who lives on earth will be resurrected, and nearly all of them will be received into various Degrees of glory, kingdoms of glory. To be accepted into the highest kingdom, a person must fully accept Christ through faith, repentance, and through Ordinance (Latter Day Saints), ordinances such as
baptism Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian rite of initiation, admission and Adoption (theology), adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. It may be pe ...
and the Confirmation (Latter Day Saints), laying on of hands. According to Mormons, a deviation from the original principles of Christianity, known as the Great Apostasy#The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Great Apostasy, began not long after the ascension of Jesus Christ. It was marked with the corruption of Christian doctrine by Greek philosophy, Greek and other philosophies, with followers dividing into different ideological groups. Mormons claim the martyrdom of the Apostle (Christian), apostles led to a loss of Priesthood (LDS Church), priesthood authority to administer the church and its ordinances.; Cf
John 14:16–17
an
16:13

Acts 2:1–4
, an
Galatians 1:6–9
.
Mormons believe that God
restored ''Restored'' is Jeremy Camp's fourth album, released on November 16, 2004. Track listing Standard release Enhanced edition Deluxe gold edition Standard Australian release Personnel * Jeremy Camp – lead and backing vocals, acoustic gui ...
the Early Christianity, early Christian church through Joseph Smith. In particular, Mormons believe that Angel#Latter Day Saints, angels such as Saint Peter, Peter, James, son of Zebedee, James, John the Apostle, John, John the Baptist, Moses, and Elijah appeared to Smith and others and bestowed various priesthood authorities on them. Mormons believe that their church is the "only true and living church" because of the divine authority restored through Smith. Mormons self-identify as being Christian, while many Christians, particularly evangelical Protestants, disagree with this view. Mormons view other religions as having portions of the truth, doing good works, and having genuine value. The LDS Church has a top-down hierarchical structure with a president–prophet dictating revelation (Latter Day Saints), revelations for the entire church. Lay Mormons are also believed to have access to inspiration, and are encouraged to seek their own Revelation (Latter Day Saints)#Personal revelation, personal revelations. Mormons see Joseph Smith's
First Vision The First Vision (also called the grove experience by members of the Community of Christ) refers to a theophany that Joseph Smith said he received in the early 1820s, in a wooded area in Manchester (town), New York, Manchester, New York, calle ...
as proof that the heavens are open, and that God answers prayers. They place considerable emphasis on "asking God" to find out if something is true. Most Mormons do not claim to have had heavenly visions like Smith's in response to prayers, but feel that God talks to them in their hearts and minds through the Holy Ghost. Though Mormons have some beliefs that are considered strange in a modernized world, they continue to hold onto their beliefs because they feel God has spoken to them. (Outside observers sometimes react to Mormonism as "nice people, wacky beliefs." Mormons insist that the "wacky" beliefs pull them together as a people and give them the strength and the know-how to succeed in the modern world).


See also

* List of Latter Day Saints * Brighamite, List of denominations in the Latter Day Saint movement: Followers of Brigham Young * List of former or dissident LDS


References


Further reading

* . * . * . * . * . * . * . * . * . * . * . * . * . * * . * . * . * .


External links


churchofjesuschrist.org
an
comeuntochrist.org
official websites of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
''The Mormons''
(PBS documentary series) {{authority control Latter Day Saint terms Mormon studies Mormonism Latter Day Saints, *Mormons Religious identity