Mormons are a religious and cultural group related to Mormonism, the principal branch of the Latter Day Saint movement of Restorationist Christianity, initiated by Joseph Smith in upstate New York during the 1820s. After Smith's death in 1844, the Mormons followed Brigham Young to what would become the Utah Territory. Today, most Mormons are understood to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Other Mormons may be independently religious, secular and non-practicing, or belong to another denomination. The center of Mormon cultural influence is in Utah, and North America has more Mormons than any other continent, though the majority of Mormons live outside the United States.

Mormons have developed a strong sense of commonality that stems from their doctrine and history. During the 19th century, Mormon converts tended to gather to a central geographic location, and between 1852 and 1890 a minority of Mormons openly practiced plural marriage, a form of religious polygamy. Mormons dedicate large amounts of time and resources to serving in their church, and many young Mormons choose to serve a full-time proselytizing mission. Mormons have a health code which eschews alcoholic beverages, tobacco, “hot drinks”, 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. Mormons also have a strict law of chastity, requiring abstention from sexual relations outside heterosexual marriage and fidelity within marriage.

Mormons self-identify as Christian,[9] although some non-Mormons consider Mormons non-Christian[10] and some of their beliefs differ from those of mainstream Christianity. Mormons believe in the Bible, as well as other books of scripture, such as the Book of Mormon. They have a unique view of cosmology and believe that all people are spirit-children of God. Mormons believe that returning to God requires following the example of Jesus Christ, and accepting his atonement through ordinances such as baptism. They believe that Christ's church was restored through Joseph Smith and is guided by living prophets and apostles. Central to Mormon faith is the belief that God speaks to his children and answers their prayers.

The number of members in 1971 was 3,090,953[11] and as of 2018, there are 16,313,735 members worldwide.[1][12][13]

Salt Lake Temple, Utah - Sept 2004-2
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 United States6,592,195[2]


The word "Mormons" most often refers to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) because of their belief in the Book of Mormon, though members often refer to themselves as Latter-day Saints or sometimes just Saints.[14] The term "Mormons" has been embraced by others, most notably Mormon fundamentalists,[15] while other Latter Day Saint denominations, such as the Community of Christ, have rejected it.[16] Both LDS Church members and members of fundamentalist groups commonly use the word "Mormon" in reference to themselves.[17] LDS Church leaders have encouraged members to use the church's full name to emphasize its focus on Jesus Christ,[18][19] and have discouraged the use of the shortened form "Church of the Latter Day Saints", as well as the acronym "LDS", and the nickname "Mormons".[20][21][19]

The word "Mormon" is often associated with polygamy (or plural marriage),[22] which was a distinguishing practice of many early Mormons; however, it was renounced by the LDS Church in 1890[23] and discontinued over the next 15 years.[24] Today, polygamy is practiced within Mormonism only by people that have broken with the LDS Church.[25]

In the early days of the church the word "Mormon" or "Mormonite" was used to describe the religion in by those who were less familiar with the church.[26] The term "Mormonite" was used several times in derogatory works.[27][28]


The history of the Mormons has shaped them into a people with a strong sense of unity and commonality.[29] From the start, Mormons have tried to establish what they call "Zion", a utopian society of the righteous.[30] Mormon history can be divided into three broad time periods: (1) the early history during the lifetime of Joseph Smith, (2) a "pioneer era" under the leadership of Brigham Young and his successors, and (3) a modern era beginning around the turn of the 20th century. In the first period, Smith had tried literally 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.[31]


Joseph Smith first vision stained glass
A stained glass window of Joseph Smith's First Vision

Mormons trace their origins to the visions that Joseph Smith reported he had in the early 1820s while living in Upstate New York .[32] In 1823, Smith said an angel directed him to a buried book written on golden plates containing the religious history of an ancient people.[33] Smith published what he said was a translation of these plates in March 1830 as the Book of Mormon, named after Mormon, the ancient prophet–historian who compiled the book. On April 6, 1830, Smith founded the Church of Christ.[34] The early church grew westward as Smith sent missionaries to proselytize.[35] In 1831, the church moved to Kirtland, Ohio where missionaries had made a large number of converts[36] and Smith began establishing an outpost in Jackson County, Missouri,[37] where he planned to eventually build the city of Zion (or the New Jerusalem).[38] In 1833, Missouri settlers, alarmed by the rapid influx of Mormons, expelled them from Jackson County into the nearby Clay County, where local residents were more welcoming.[39] After Smith led a mission, known as Zion's Camp, to recover the land,[40] he began building Kirtland Temple in Lake County, Ohio, where the church flourished.[41] When the Missouri Mormons were later asked to leave Clay County in 1836, they secured land in what would become Caldwell County.[42]

The Kirtland era ended in 1838, after the failure of a church-sponsored anti-bank caused widespread defections,[43] and Smith regrouped with the remaining church in Far West, Missouri.[44] During the fall of 1838, tensions escalated into the Mormon War with the old Missouri settlers.[45] On October 27, the governor of Missouri ordered that the Mormons "must be treated as enemies" and be exterminated or driven from the state.[46] Between November and April, some eight thousand displaced Mormons migrated east into Illinois.[47]

Joseph Preaching to the Indians by C.C.A. Christensen
Joseph Smith preaching to the Sac and Fox Indians who visited Nauvoo on August 12, 1841

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[48] and began construction of the 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.[49] Meanwhile, Smith introduced temple ceremonies meant to seal families together for eternity, as well as the doctrines of eternal progression or exaltation,[50] and plural marriage.[51] Smith created a service organization for women called the Relief Society, as well as an organization called the Council of Fifty, representing a future theodemocratic "Kingdom of God" on the earth.[52] Smith also published the story of his First Vision, in which the Father and the Son appeared to him while he was about 14 years old.[53] 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 Christ.[54]

In 1844, local prejudices and political tensions, fueled by Mormon peculiarity and internal dissent, escalated into conflicts between Mormons and "anti-Mormons".[55] On June 27, 1844, Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed by a mob in Carthage, Illinois.[56] Because Hyrum was Smith's logical successor,[57] their deaths caused a succession crisis,[58] and Brigham Young assumed leadership over the majority of Latter Day Saints.[59] Young had been a close associate of Smith's and was senior apostle of the Quorum of the Twelve.[60] Smaller groups of Latter Day Saints followed other leaders to form other denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement.[61]

Pioneer era

Mormon Pioneer handcart statue
A statue commemorating the Mormon handcart pioneers

For two years after Smith's death, conflicts escalated between Mormons and other Illinois residents. To prevent war, Brigham Young led the Mormon pioneers (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.[62] 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.[63] 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.[64] Colonizing efforts were seen as religious duties, and the new villages were governed by the Mormon bishops (local lay religious leaders).[65] 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.[66]

From 1849 to 1852, the Mormons greatly expanded their missionary efforts, establishing several missions in Europe, Latin America, and the South Pacific.[67] Converts were expected to "gather" to Zion, and during Young's presidency (1847–77) over seventy thousand Mormon converts immigrated to America.[67] Many of the converts came from England and Scandinavia, and were quickly assimilated into the Mormon community.[68] Many of these immigrants crossed the Great Plains in wagons drawn by oxen, while some later groups pulled their possessions in small handcarts. During the 1860s, newcomers began using the new railroad that was under construction.[69]

In 1852, church leaders publicized the previously secret practice of plural marriage, a form of polygamy.[70] Over the next 50 years, many Mormons (between 20 and 30 percent of Mormon families)[71] 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.[72] 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.[73]

Crossing the Mississippi on the Ice by C.C.A. Christensen
Mormon pioneers crossing the Mississippi on the ice

By 1857, tensions had again escalated between Mormons and other Americans, largely as a result of accusations involving polygamy and the theocratic rule of the Utah Territory by Brigham Young.[74] In 1857, U.S. President 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.[75] The relatively peaceful Utah War ensued from 1857 to 1858, in which the most notable instance of violence was the 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.[76] In 1858, Young agreed to step down from his position as governor and was replaced by a non-Mormon, Alfred Cumming.[77] Nevertheless, the LDS Church still wielded significant political power in the Utah Territory.[78]

At Young's death in 1877, he was followed by other LDS Church presidents, who resisted efforts by the United States Congress to outlaw Mormon polygamous marriages.[79] 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.[79] In September 1890, church president Wilford Woodruff issued a Manifesto that officially suspended the practice of polygamy.[80] 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" calling for all plural marriages in the church to cease. Eventually, the church adopted a policy of excommunicating members found practicing polygamy, and today seeks actively to distance itself from "fundamentalist" groups that continue the practice.[81]

Modern times

During the early 20th century, Mormons began to reintegrate into the American mainstream. In 1929, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir began broadcasting a weekly performance on national radio, becoming an asset for public relations.[82] Mormons emphasized patriotism and industry, rising in socioeconomic status from the bottom among American religious denominations to middle-class.[83] In the 1920s and 1930s, Mormons began migrating out of Utah, a trend hurried by the Great Depression, as Mormons looked for work wherever they could find it.[84] As Mormons spread out, church leaders created programs that would help preserve the tight-knit community feel of Mormon culture.[85] In addition to weekly worship services, Mormons began participating in numerous programs such as Boy Scouting, a Young Women organization, church-sponsored dances, ward basketball, camping trips, plays, and religious education programs for youth and college students.[86] During the Great Depression, the church started a welfare program to meet the needs of poor members, which has since grown to include a humanitarian branch that provides relief to disaster victims.[87]

Mtchoirandorchestra ConferenceCenter
The 360-member, all-volunteer Mormon Tabernacle Choir

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".[88] Though the 1960s and 1970s brought changes such as Women's Liberation and the civil rights movement, Mormon leaders were alarmed by the erosion of traditional values, the sexual revolution, the widespread use of recreational drugs, moral relativism, and other forces they saw as damaging to the family.[89] 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.[90]

Although black people 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.[91] The church was sharply criticized for its policy during the civil rights movement, but the policy remained in force until a 1978 reversal that was prompted in part by questions about mixed-race converts in Brazil.[92] In general, Mormons greeted the change with joy and relief.[92] 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.[93] Black membership has continued to grow substantially, especially in West Africa, where two temples have been built.[94] Many black Mormons are members of the Genesis Group, an organization of black members that predates the priesthood ban, and is endorsed by the church.[95]

LDS Global Distribution (2009)
Global distribution of LDS Church members in 2009

The LDS Church grew rapidly after World War II and became a worldwide organization as missionaries were sent across the globe. The church doubled in size every 15 to 20 years,[96] and by 1996, there were more Mormons outside the United States than inside.[97] In 2012, there were an estimated 14.8 million Mormons,[98] with roughly 57 percent living outside the United States.[99] It is estimated that approximately 4.5 million Mormons – roughly 30% of the total membership – regularly attend services.[100] A majority of U.S. Mormons are white and non-Hispanic (84 percent).[101] 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.[102] 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.[103]

Chile, Uruguay, and several areas in the South Pacific have a higher percentage of Mormons than the United States (which is at about 2 percent).[104] South Pacific countries and dependencies that are more than 10 percent Mormon include American Samoa, the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, and Tonga.

Culture and practices

Isolation in Utah had allowed Mormons to create a culture of their own.[105] 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.[105] Practices common to Mormons include studying scriptures, praying daily, 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 (commonly called sacrament), in which church members renew covenants made at baptism.[106] Mormons also emphasize standards they believe were taught by Jesus Christ, including personal honesty, integrity, obedience to law, chastity outside marriage and fidelity within marriage.[107]

In 2010, around 13–14 percent of Mormons lived in Utah, the center of cultural influence for Mormonism.[108] Utah Mormons (as well as Mormons living in the Intermountain West) are on average more culturally and/or politically conservative than those living in some cosmopolitan centers elsewhere in the U.S.[109] 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.)[110] Utah Mormons often place a greater emphasis on pioneer heritage than international Mormons who generally are not descendants of the Mormon pioneers.[103]

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A Mormon meetinghouse used for Sunday worship services in Brazil

Mormons have a strong sense of communality that stems from their doctrine and history.[111] 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".[112] The vast majority of church leadership positions are lay positions, and church leaders may work 10 to 15 hours a week in unpaid church service.[113] Observant Mormons also contribute 10 percent of their income to the church as tithing, and are often involved in humanitarian efforts. Many LDS young men, women and elderly couples choose to serve a proselytizing mission, during which they dedicate all of their time to the church, without pay.[114]

Mormons adhere to the Word of Wisdom, a health law or code that is interpreted as prohibiting the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, coffee and tea,[115] while encouraging the use of herbs, grains, fruits, and a moderate consumption of meat.[116] 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.[117] Mormons are encouraged to keep a year's supplies that include a food supply and a financial reserve.[118] Mormons also oppose behaviors such as viewing pornography and gambling.[107]

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.[119] Many Mormons hold weekly Family Home Evenings, 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.[120]

Mormons have a strict law of chastity, 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.[121] 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.[122] Many practicing adult Mormons wear religious undergarments that remind them of 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.[123]

LGBT Mormons, or Mormons who self-identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, remain in good standing in the church if they abstain from homosexual relations and obey the law of chastity.[124] While there are no official numbers, LDS Family Services estimates that there are on average four or five members per LDS ward who experience same-sex attraction.[125] Gary Watts, former president of Family Fellowship, estimates that only 10 percent of homosexuals stay in the church.[126] Many of these individuals have come forward through different support groups or websites discussing their homosexual attractions and concurrent church membership.[127][128][129]

Groups within Mormonism

Note that the categories below are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Latter-day Saints (the "LDS")

Members of the LDS Church, also known as Latter-day Saints, constitute over 95 percent of Mormons.[130] The beliefs and practices of LDS Mormons are generally guided by the teachings of 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" or "inactive" (akin to the qualifying expressions non-observant or non-practicing used in relation to members of other religious groups).[131] 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.[132] Reasons for inactivity can include lifestyle issues and problems with social integration.[133] Activity rates tend to vary with age, and disengagement occurs most frequently between age 16 and 25. A majority of less active members return to church activity later in life.[134] 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 fundamentalist Mormons; these groups differ from mainstream Mormonism primarily in their belief in and practice of plural marriage. 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.[135] 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,[136] and today a majority of Mormon fundamentalists have never been members of the LDS Church.[137]

Liberal Mormons

Liberal Mormons, also known as Progressive Mormons, take an interpretive approach to LDS teachings and scripture.[131] 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.[138] 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[139]. Liberal Mormons place doing good and loving fellow human beings above the importance of believing correctly.[140] In a separate context, members of small 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.[141][131][142] 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.[143] 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.


Mormons have a scriptural canon consisting of the Bible (both Old and New Testaments), the Book of Mormon, and a collection of revelations and writings by Joseph Smith known as the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. Mormons, however, have a relatively open definition of scripture. As a general rule, anything spoken or written by a prophet, while under inspiration, is considered to be the word of God.[144] Thus, the Bible, written by prophets and apostles, is the word of God, so far as it is translated correctly. The Book of Mormon 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.[145]

Christus statue temple square salt lake city
Mormons see Jesus Christ as the premier figure of their religion.[146]

Mormons believe in "a friendly universe", governed by a God whose aim it is to bring his children to immortality and eternal life.[147] Mormons have a unique perspective on the 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,[148] and that God presented a 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".[148] The most important part of the plan involved 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 kingdoms of glory.[149] To be accepted into the highest kingdom, a person must fully accept Christ through faith, repentance, and through ordinances such as baptism and the laying on of hands.[150]

Latter Day Saint confirmation (Mayhew 1852)
A Latter Day Saint confirmation c. 1852

According to Mormons, a deviation from the original principles of Christianity, known as the Great Apostasy, began not long after the ascension of Jesus Christ.[151] It was marked with the corruption of Christian doctrine by Greek and other philosophies,[152] with followers dividing into different ideological groups.[153] Mormons claim the martyrdom of the Apostles[154] led to a loss of Priesthood authority to administer the church and its ordinances.[155] Mormons believe that God restored the early Christian church through Joseph Smith. In particular, Mormons believe that angels such as Peter, James, 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,[156] while many Christians, particularly evangelical Protestants, disagree with this view.[157] Mormons view other religions as having portions of the truth, doing good works, and having genuine value.[158]

The LDS Church has a top-down hierarchical structure with a president–prophet dictating revelations for the whole church. Lay Mormons are also believed to have access to inspiration, and are encouraged to seek their own personal revelations.[159] Mormons see Joseph Smith's First Vision 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.[160]

See also


  1. ^ a b "2017 Statistical Report for 2018 April General Conference". (The LDS Church claimed a membership of over 14 million in 2010); Bushman (2008, p. 1) (reporting 13 million members of the LDS Church in 2008, and noting 250,000 members of the non-Mormon Community of Christ); D. Michael Quinn (Summer 1998). "Plural Marriage and Mormon Fundamentalism" (PDF). Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. 31 (2): 1–68. (estimating the number of so-called Fundamentalist Mormons at around 20,000).
  2. ^ "LDS Statistics and Church Facts – Total Church Membership". Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  3. ^ "LDS Statistics and Church Facts – Total Church Membership". Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  4. ^ "LDS Statistics and Church Facts – Total Church Membership". Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  5. ^ "LDS Statistics and Church Facts – Total Church Membership". Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  6. ^ "LDS Statistics and Church Facts – Total Church Membership". Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  7. ^ "LDS Statistics and Church Facts – Total Church Membership". Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  8. ^ "LDS Statistics and Church Facts – Total Church Membership". Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  9. ^ Mormons in America: Certain in Their Beliefs, Uncertain of Their Place in Society Archived September 24, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life 2012, p.10: Mormons are nearly unanimous in describing Mormonism as a Christian religion, with 97% expressing this point of view
  10. ^ Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM), Is Mormonism Christian?, accessed February 27, 2016
  11. ^ "The Annual Report of the Church – Ensign July 1972 – ensign". Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  12. ^ "2015 Statistical Report for 2016 April General Conference", Mormon Newsroom, April 2, 2016.
  13. ^ "Mormons more likely to marry, have more children than other U.S. religious groups". Pew Research Center. May 22, 2015. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  14. ^ John H. Vandenburg (May 1974). "Touchstone of Truth". Ensign.; "What We Believe |". 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2012.; Givens, Terryl (November 2004). The Latter-day Saint experience in America. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 324. ISBN 9780313327506. Retrieved January 25, 2012. The full name of the church originated in an 1838 revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants; the term "saint" was used by Paul the Apostle to refer to members of the early Christian church—the "latter-day" being added to differentiate the modern church from the early church; Smith, Joseph (1838). "Doctrine and Covenants 115:4". Retrieved January 25, 2012. 1838.
  15. ^ The LDS Church has taken the position that the term Mormon should only apply to the LDS Church and its members, and not other adherents who have adopted the term. (See: "Style Guide – The Name of the Church". LDS Newsroom. Retrieved November 11, 2011.) The church cites the AP Stylebook, which states, "The term Mormon is not properly applied to the other Latter Day Saints churches that resulted from the split after [Joseph] Smith's death." ("Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The", Associated Press, The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, 2002, ISBN 0-7382-0740-3, p.48) Despite the LDS Church's position, the term Mormon is widely used by journalists and non-journalists to refer to adherents of Mormon fundamentalism.
  16. ^ Shields, Steven L. (2014). "The Early Community of Christ Mission to "Redeem" the Church in Utah". Journal of Mormon History. 40: 158–170 – via JSTOR Journals.
  17. ^ Gordon B. Hinckley (November 1990). "Mormon Should Mean 'More Good,'". Ensign. p. 51. Retrieved November 11, 2011.; See also: "Style Guide – The Name of the Church". Retrieved October 6, 2011.; Sanjiv Bhattacharya. Secrets and Wives: The Hidden World of Mormon Polygamy.
  18. ^ Russell M. Nelson (May 1990). "Thus Shall My Church Be Called". Ensign. p. 16. Retrieved November 11, 2011.; M. Russell Ballard (November 2011). "The Importance of a Name". Liahona.
  19. ^ a b Russell M. Nelson, "The Correct Name of the Church", Liahona, November 2018.
  20. ^ "Style Guide – The Name of the Church". Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  21. ^ On August 18, 2018, church president Russell M. Nelson asked followers and non-followers to characterize the denomination with the name "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" instead of "Mormons", "Mormonism" or the shorthand of "LDS"."Latter Day Saints church leader rejects 'Mormon' label". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  22. ^ For many people, the mention of Mormons conjures up an assortment of contradictory images  .... The charge of practicing polygamy annoys many Mormons because it is so far out of date. Bushman (2008, pp. 1–2).
  23. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 2); "Official Declaration 1".
  24. ^ B. Carmen Hardy (1992). "Solemn Covenant: The Mormon Polygamous Passage". Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Cite journal requires |journal= (help); D. Michael Quinn (Spring 1985). "LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages, 1890–1904". Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. p. 9. Retrieved November 11, 2011.; Kenneth Cannon II (January–April 1983). "After the Manifesto: Mormon Polygamy, 1890–1906" (PDF). Sunstone. p. 27. Retrieved November 11, 2011..
  25. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 14).
  26. ^ "Mormonites". Christian Review. June 1837.
  27. ^ Smith, Charles H. The Mormonites:Their origin, history, and pretensions : being an exposure of the blasphemous doctrines of the Latter-day Saints : the deception and falsehood practised [practiced] upon ignorant emigrants - specimens of their hymns of praise to Joseph Smith : and the ridiculous absurdities of the Book of Mormon with a notice of their recent sufferings in America, through their own violence and folly. Mathews, Brothers, Bristol, 1849. Print. In BYU Harold B. Lee Library Special Collections
  28. ^ Anti-Mormon. An Account of the Mormonites, Or Latter-Day Saints, (so Called). Printed at the Office of Henry Adams, Tunstall, 1846. Print.
  29. ^ O'Dea (1957, pp. 75,119).
  30. ^ A Mormon scripture describing the ancient city of Enoch became a model for the Saints. Enoch's city was a Zion "because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there were no poor among them" Bushman (2008, pp. 36–38); (Book of Moses 7:18).
  31. ^ "In Missouri and Illinois, Zion had been a city; in Utah, it was a landscape of villages; in the urban diaspora, it was the ward with its extensive programs." Bushman (2008, p. 107).
  32. ^ Bushman (2008, pp. 1, 9); O'Dea (1957, p. 9); Persuitte, David (October 2000). Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon. McFarland. p. 30. ISBN 9780786484034. Retrieved January 25, 2012..
  33. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 19).
  34. ^ Scholars and eye-witnesses disagree as to whether the church was organized in Manchester, New York at the Smith log home, or in Fayette at the home of Peter Whitmer Sr.. Bushman (2005, p. 109); Marquardt (2005, pp. 223–23) (arguing that organization in Manchester is most consistent with eye-witness statements).
  35. ^ O'Dea (1957, p. 41) (by the next spring the church had 1,000 members).
  36. ^ Brodie (1971, p. 97) (citing letter by Smith to Kirtland converts, quoted in Howe (1833, p. 111)); O'Dea (1957, p. 41).
  37. ^ Smith et al. (1835, p. 154); Bushman (2005, p. 162); Brodie (1971, p. 109).
  38. ^ Smith said in 1831 that God intended the Mormons to "retain a strong hold in the land of Kirtland, for the space of five years." (Doctrine and Covenants 64:21); Bushman (2005, p. 122).
  39. ^ Bushman (2005, pp. 222–27); Brodie (1971, p. 137) (noting that the brutality of the Jackson Countians aroused sympathy for the Mormons and was almost universally deplored by the media); O'Dea (1957, pp. 43–45) (The Mormons were forced out in a November gale, and were taken in by Clay County residents, who earned from non-Mormons the derogative title of "Jack Mormons").
  40. ^ Brodie (1971, pp. 141, 146–59); Bushman (2005, p. 322).
  41. ^ Brodie (1971, p. 101); Arrington (1992, p. 21) (by summer of 1835, there were 1500 to 2000 Saints in Kirtland); Desert Morning News 2008 Church Almanac p. 655 (from 1831 to 1838, church membership grew from 680 to 17,881); (Bushman 2005, pp. 310–19) (The Kirtland Temple was viewed as the site of a new Pentecost); (Brodie 1971, p. 178). Smith also published several new revelations during the Kirtland era.
  42. ^ O'Dea (1957, p. 45) (In December 1836, the Missouri legislature granted the Mormons the right to organize Caldwell County).
  43. ^ Bushman (2005, pp. 328–38); Brooke (1994, p. 221) ("Ultimately, the rituals and visions dedicating the Kirtland temple were not sufficient to hold the church together in the face of a mounting series of internal disputes.")
  44. ^ Roberts (1905, p. 24) (referring to the Far West church as the "church in Zion"); (Bushman 2005, p. 345) (The revelation calling Far West "Zion" had the effect of "implying that Far West was to take the place of Independence.")
  45. ^ Bushman (2005, pp. 357–64); Brodie (1971, pp. 227–30); Remini (2002, p. 134); Quinn (1994, pp. 97–98).
  46. ^ (Bushman 2005, p. 367) (Boggs' executive order stated that the Mormon community had "made war upon the people of this State" and that "the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace"). (Bushman 2005, p. 398) (In 1976, Missouri issued a formal apology for this order) O'Dea (1957, p. 47).
  47. ^ O'Dea (1957, p. 47) ("the Saints, after being ravaged by troops, robbed by neighbors, and insulted by public officials from February to April, crossed over into Illinois").
  48. ^ Bushman (2005, pp. 383–84).
  49. ^ Bushman (2005, p. 409); Brodie (1971, pp. 258, 264–65); O'Dea (1957, p. 51) (noting the city growth and missionary success in England).
  50. ^ Widmer (2000, p. 119) (Smith taught that faithful Mormons may progress until they become co-equal with God); Roberts (1909, pp. 502–03); Bushman (2005, pp. 497–98) (the second anointing provided a guarantee that participants would be exalted even if they sinned).
  51. ^ Initially, Smith introduced plural marriage only to his closest associates.Brodie (1971, pp. 334–36); Bushman (2005, pp. 437, 644) The practice was acknowledged publicly in 1852 by Brigham Young.
  52. ^ Quinn 1980, pp. 120–122, 165; Bushman (2005, pp. 519–21) (describing the Council of Fifty).
  53. ^ Shipps (1985, p. 30) The first extant account of the First Vision is the manuscript account in Joseph Smith, "Manuscript History of the Church" (1839); the first published account is Orson Pratt, An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions and of the Late Discovery of Ancient American Records (Edinburgh: Ballantyne and Hughes, 1840); and the first American publication is Smith's letter to John Wentworth in Times and Seasons, 3 (March 1842), 706–08. (These accounts are available in Vogel, Dan, ed. (1996). Early Mormon Documents. 1. Salt Lake City: Signature Books. ISBN 978-1-56085-072-4..) As the LDS historian Richard Bushman wrote in his biography of Smith, "At first, Joseph was reluctant to talk about his vision. Most early converts probably never heard about the 1820 vision." Bushman (2005, p. 39).
  54. ^ LDS Church (2010). "Joseph Smith Home Page/Mission of the Prophet/First Vision: This Is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!". Retrieved April 29, 2010.; Allen (1966, p. 29) (belief in the First Vision now considered second in importance only to belief in the divinity of Jesus.); Hinkley, Gordon B. (1998). "What Are People Asking about Us?". Ensign (November). ("[N]othing we teach, nothing we live by is of greater importance than this initial declaration.").
  55. ^ O'Dea (1857, pp. 64–67)
  56. ^ Encyclopedia of Latter-Day Saint History, p. 824; Brodie (1971, pp. 393–94); Bushman (2005, pp. 539–50); Many local Illinoisans were uneasy with Mormon power, and their unease was fanned by the local media after Smith suppressed a newspaper containing an exposé regarding plural marriage, theocracy, and other sensitive and oft misinterpreted issues. The suppression resulted in Smith being arrested, tried, and acquitted for "inciting a riot". On June 25, Smith let himself be arrested and tried for the riot charges again, this time in Carthage, the county seat, where he was incarcerated without bail on a new charge of treason. Bentley, Joseph I. (1992), "Smith, Joseph: Legal Trials of Joseph Smith", in Ludlow, Daniel H (ed.), Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Macmillan Publishing, pp. 1346–1348, ISBN 978-0-02-879602-4, OCLC 24502140.
  57. ^ Brigham Young later said of Hyrum, "Did Joseph Smith ordain any man to take his place. He did. Who was it? It was Hyrum, but Hyrum fell a martyr before Joseph did. If Hyrum had lived he would have acted for Joseph." Times and Seasons, 5 [October 15, 1844]: 683.
  58. ^ Quinn (1994, p. 143); Brodie (1971, p. 398).
  59. ^ Bushman (2005, pp. 556–57).
  60. ^ Smith's position as President of the Church was originally left vacant, based on the sentiment that nobody could succeed Smith's office. Years later, the church established the principle that Young, and any other senior apostle of the Quorum of the Twelve, would be ordained President of the Church as a matter of course upon the death of the former President, subject to unanimous agreement of the Quorum of the Twelve.
  61. ^ Quinn (1994, pp. 198–211).
  62. ^ 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." Illinois General Assembly (April 1, 2004). "Official House Resolution HR0793 (LRB093 21726 KEF 49525 r)".; "The great Mormon migration of 1846–1847 was but one step in the Mormons' quest for religious freedom and growth." "Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail: History & Culture",, National Park Service, retrieved July 9, 2014.
  63. ^ O'Dea (1957, p. 86) ("Having failed to build Zion within the confines of American society, the Latter-day Saints found in the Great Basin the isolation that would enable them to establish a distinctive community based upon their own beliefs and values").
  64. ^ O'Dea (1957, p. 84) (From 1847 to 1857 ninety-five Mormon communities were established, most of them clustering around Salt Lake City); Hunter, Milton (June 1939). "The Mormon Corridor". Pacific Historical Review. 8 (2): 179–200. JSTOR 3633392.; Shipps (1957, pp. 83–84).
  65. ^ O'Dea (1957, pp. 86–89).
  66. ^ O'Dea (1957, pp. 87–91).
  67. ^ a b O'Dea (1957, p. 91).
  68. ^ O'Dea (1957, pp. 91–92); "Welsh Mormon History",, Center for Family History and Genealogy, Brigham Young University During the 1840s and 1850s many thousands of Welsh Mormon converts immigrated to America, and today, it is estimated that around 20 percent of the population of Utah is of Welsh descent.
  69. ^ O'Dea (1957, pp. 95–96).
  70. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 88) (Plural marriage originated in a revelation that Joseph Smith apparently received in 1831 and wrote down in 1843. It was first publicly announced in a general conference in 1852); Embry, Jessie L. (1994), "Polygamy", in Powell, Allan Kent (ed.), Utah History Encyclopedia, Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, ISBN 978-0-87480-425-6, OCLC 30473917 The Mormon doctrine of plural wives was officially announced by one of the Twelve Apostles, Orson Pratt, and Young in a special conference of the elders of the LDS Church assembled in the Mormon Tabernacle on August 28, 1852, and reprinted in an extra edition of the Deseret News "Minutes of conference: a special conference of the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints assembled in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, August 28, 1852, 10 o'clock, a.m., pursuant to public notice". Deseret News Extra. September 14, 1852. p. 14.. See also The 1850s: Official sanction in the LDS Church
  71. ^ Flake, Kathleen (2004). The Politics of American Religious Identity. University of North Carolina Press. pp. 65, 192. ISBN 978-0-8078-5501-0..
  72. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 88) (If asked why they entered these relationships, both plural wives and husbands emphasized spiritual blessings of being sealed eternally and of submitting to God's will. According to the federal censuses, the highest percentage of the population in polygamous families was in 1860 (43.6 percent) and it declined to 25 percent in 1880 and to 7 percent in 1890).
  73. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 88) ("The close study of the marriages in one nineteenth-century Utah community revealed that a disproportionate number of plural wives were women who arrived in Utah without fathers or brothers to care for them...Since better-off men more frequently married plurally, the practice distributed wealth to the poor and disconnected").
  74. ^ Tullidge, Edward (1886), "Resignation of Judge Drummond", History of Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City: Star Printing Company, pp. 132–35, OCLC 13941646
  75. ^ O'Dea (1957, pp. 101–02); Bushman (2008, p. 95).
  76. ^ Bushman (2008, pp. 96–97) (calling the Mountain Meadows massacre the greatest tragedy in Mormon history).
  77. ^ To combat the notion that rank-and-file Mormons were unhappy under Young's leadership, Cumming noted that he had offered to help any to leave the territory if they desired. Of the 50,000 inhabitants of the state of Utah, the underwhelming response—56 men, 33 women, and 71 children, most of whom stated they left for economic reasons—impressed Cumming, as did the fact that Mormon leaders contributed supplies to the emigrants. Cumming to [Secretary of State Lewis Cass], written by Thomas Kane, May 2, 1858, BYU Special Collections.
  78. ^ Firmage, Edwin Brown; Mangrum, Richard Collin (2002). Zion in the Courts: A Legal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1830–1900. U. of Illinois Press. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-252-06980-2..
  79. ^ a b Bushman (2008, p. 97).
  80. ^ Official Declaration 1
  81. ^ The LDS Church encourages journalists not to use the word Mormon in reference to organizations or people that practice polygamy: "Style Guide – The Name of the Church: Topics and Background",, LDS Church, retrieved July 9, 2014. The church repudiates polygamist groups and excommunicates their members if discovered: Bushman (2008, p. 91); Mormons seek distance from polygamous sects,, AP, June 26, 2008.
  82. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 103).
  83. ^ Mauss (1994, p. 22). "With the consistent encouragement of church leaders, Mormons became models of patriotic, law-abiding citizenship, sometimes seeming to "out-American" all other Americans. Their participation in the full spectrum of national, social, political, economic, and cultural life has been thorough and sincere".
  84. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 105).
  85. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 106).
  86. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 53).
  87. ^ Bushman (2008, pp. 40–41).
  88. ^ The term peculiar people is consciously borrowed from 1 Peter 2:9, and can be interpreted as "special" or "different", though Mormons have certainly been viewed as "peculiar" in the modern sense as well. Mauss (1994, p. 60).
  89. ^ "Developments mitigating traditional racial, ethnic, and gender inequality and bigotry were regarded in hindsight by most Americans (and most Mormons) as desirable  .... On the other hand, Mormons (and many others) have watched with increasing alarm the spread throughout society of 'liberating' innovations such as the normalization of non-marital sexual behavior, the rise in abortion, illegitimacy, divorce, and child neglect or abuse, recreational drugs, crime, etc." Mauss (1994, p. 124).
  90. ^ "[T]he church appears to have arrested, if not reversed, the erosion of distinctive Mormon ways that might have been anticipated in the 60s." Mauss (1994, p. 140). "However, in partial contradiction to their public image, Mormons stand mostly on the liberal side of the continuum on certain other social and political issues, notably on civil rights, and even on women's rights, except where these seem to conflict with child-rearing roles." Mauss (1994, p. 156).
  91. ^ Mauss, Armand L. (2003). All Abraham's Children: Changing Mormon Conceptions of Race and Lineage. University of Illinois Press. pp. 213–215. ISBN 978-0-252-02803-8.; Bushman (2008, pp. 111–12) ("The origins of this policy are not altogether clear. "Passages in Joseph Smith's translations indicate that a lineage associated with Ham and the Egyptian pharaohs was forbidden the priesthood. Connecting the ancient pharaohs with modern Africans and African Americans required a speculative leap, but by the time of Brigham Young, the leap was made.")
  92. ^ a b Bushman (2008, pp. 111–12).
  93. ^ "1999–2000 Church Almanac". 119. 1998. Retrieved November 11, 2011. "A rough estimate would place the number of Church members with African roots at year-end 1997 at half a million, with about 100,000 each in Africa and the Caribbean, and another 300,000 in Brazil."
  94. ^ "The Church Continues to Grow in Africa". Genesis Group. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012.
  95. ^ Newell G. Bringhurst, Darron T. Smith (December 13, 2005). Black and Mormon. University of Illinois Press. pp. 102–104.
  96. ^ Armand L. Mauss (1994), The angel and the beehive: the Mormon struggle with assimilation, p. 92, ISBN 9780252020711; "Building a bigger tent: Does Mormonism have a Mitt Romney problem?", The Economist, February 25, 2012 (In 2010 alone the church grew by 400,000 new members, including converts and newborns).
  97. ^ Todd, Jay M. (March 1996). "More Members Now outside U.S. Than in U.S". Ensign. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  98. ^ "2012 Statistical Report for 2013 April General Conference".
  99. ^ In 2011, approximately 6.2 million of the church's 14.4 million members lived in the U.S. "Facts and Statistics: United States". LDS Newsroom. December 2011. Retrieved April 29, 2018..
  100. ^ Stack, Peggy Fletcher (January 10, 2014), "New almanac offers look at the world of Mormon membership", The Salt Lake Tribune.
  101. ^ "Mormons in America". Pew Research Center. January 12, 2012..
  102. ^ Daniel Reeves (2009). "The Global Distribution of Adventists and Mormons in 2007" (PDF). Retrieved November 11, 2011..
  103. ^ a b Thomas W. Murphy (1996). "Reinventing Mormonism: Guatemala as Harbinger of the Future?" (PDF). Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  104. ^ "LDS Statistics and Church Facts – Total Church Membership". Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  105. ^ a b Bushman (2008, p. 47).
  106. ^ "Sacrament".
  107. ^ a b "For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God". LDS Church.
  108. ^ "USA–Utah". LDS Newsroom. Retrieved November 11, 2011..
  109. ^ Mauss often compares Salt Lake City Mormons to California Mormons from San Francisco and East Bay. The Utah Mormons were generally more orthodox and conservative. Mauss (1994, pp. 40, 128); "A Portrait of Mormons in the U.S.: III. Social and Political Views". Pew Research Center. July 24, 2009. Cite journal requires |journal= (help).
  110. ^ Newport, Frank (January 11, 2010). "Mormons Most Conservative Major Religious Group in U.S.: Six out of 10 Mormons are politically conservative". Gallup poll. Cite journal requires |journal= (help); Pond, Allison (July 24, 2009). "A Portrait of Mormons in the U.S". Pew Research Center. Cite journal requires |journal= (help).
  111. ^ Early Mormons had practiced the law of consecration in Missouri for two years, in an attempt to eliminate poverty. Families would return their surplus "income" to the bishop, who would then redistribute it among the saints. Though initial efforts at "consecration" failed, consecration has become a more general attitude that underlies Mormon charitable works. Bushman (2008, pp. 36–39).
  112. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 53) (The name "stake" comes from a passage in Isaiah that compares Zion to a tent that will enlarge as new stakes are planted); See Isaiah 33:20 and Isaiah 54:2.
  113. ^ Bushman (2008, pp. 35, 52)
  114. ^ A full-time mission is looked upon as important character training for a young man. O'Dea (1957, p. 177).
  115. ^ Stack, Peggy Fletcher (August 31, 2012). "It's Official: Coke and Pepsi are OK for Mormons". Washington Post. (Religion News Service). Retrieved September 20, 2013..
  116. ^ "Doctrine and Covenants, section 89".
  117. ^ "Word of Wisdom". True to the Faith. 2004. pp. 186–88. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  118. ^ February 2007 All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage Archived March 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  119. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 59) (In the temple, husbands and wives are sealed to each other for eternity. The implication is that other institutional forms, including the church, might disappear, but the family will endure); "Mormons in America". Pew Research Center. January 2012. Cite journal requires |journal= (help) (A 2011 survey of Mormons in the United States showed that family life is very important to Mormons, with family concerns significantly higher than career concerns. Four out of five Mormons believe that being a good parent is one of the most important goals in life, and roughly three out of four Mormons put having a successful marriage in this category); "New Pew survey reinforces Mormons' top goals of family, marriage". Deseret News. January 12, 2012.; See also: "The Family: A Proclamation to the World".
  120. ^ Bushman (2008, pp. 30–31); Bushman (2008, p. 58).
  121. ^ "Chastity". True to the Faith. 2004. pp. 29–33.; "Mormons in America". Pew Research Center. January 2012. Cite journal requires |journal= (help) (79% of Mormons in the US say that sex between unmarried adults is morally wrong, far higher than the 35% of the general public who hold the same view).
  122. ^ "Topic: Abortion".
  123. ^ "Dress and Appearance". For the Strength of the Youth. LDS Church. 2001. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  124. ^ Homosexual acts (as well as other sexual acts outside the bonds of marriage) are prohibited by the law of chastity. Violating the law of chastity may result in excommunication. Gordon B. Hinckley (1998). "What Are People Asking about Us?". Retrieved November 11, 2011..
  125. ^ "Resources for Individuals",, Evergreen International, archived from the original on November 20, 2012.
  126. ^ Rebecca Rosen Lum (August 20, 2007). "Mormon church changes stance on homosexuality; New teachings say lifelong celibacy to be rewarded with heterosexuality in heaven". The Oakland Tribune. Retrieved December 20, 2007..
  127. ^ "Mormons and Gays". The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints. Retrieved February 18, 2013..
  128. ^ "North Star LDS Community". North Star. Archived from the original on April 4, 2013. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  129. ^ Paul Mortensen. "In The Beginning: A Brief History of Affirmation". Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013.; See also:Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons.
  130. ^ The LDS Church claims a membership of over 15 million ("2015 Statistical Report for 2016 April General Conference".). Most other Brigham Young–lineage sects number in the tens of thousands. Historically, the Latter Day Saint  movement has dominated by the LDS Church, with over 95 percent of adherents. One denomination dominates the non-LDS Church section of the movement: the Community of Christ, which has about 250,000 members.)
    Also note the use of the lower case d and hyphen in "Latter-day Saints", as opposed to the larger "Latter Day Saint movement."
  131. ^ a b c Stack, Peggy Fletcher (September 23, 2011). "Active, inactive – do Mormon labels work or wound?". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved September 20, 2013..
  132. ^ Member activity rates are estimated from missionary reports, seminary and institute enrollment, and ratio of members per congregation – "Countries of the World by Estimated Member Activity Rate". LDS Church Growth. July 11, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2011.; See also: Stan L. Albrecht (1998). "The Consequential Dimension of Mormon Religiosity". Retrieved November 11, 2011.; Stack, Peggy Fletcher (July 26, 2005). "Keeping members a challenge for LDS church". The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  133. ^ Cunningham, Perry H. (1992), "Activity in the Church", in Ludlow, Daniel H (ed.), Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Macmillan Publishing, pp. 13–15, ISBN 978-0-02-879602-4, OCLC 24502140
  134. ^ Stan L. Albrecht (1998). "The Consequential Dimension of Mormon Religiosity". Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  135. ^ Martha Sonntag Bradley, "Polygamy-Practicing Mormons" in J. Gordon Melton and Martin Baumann (eds.) (2002). Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia 3:1023–24; Dateline NBC, January 2, 2001; Ken Driggs, "Twentieth-Century Polygamy and Fundamentalist Mormons in Southern Utah", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Winter 1991, pp. 46–47; Irwin Altman, "Polygamous Family Life: The Case of Contemporary Mormon Fundamentalists", Utah Law Review (1996) p. 369; Stephen Eliot Smith, "'The Mormon Question' Revisited: Anti-Polygamy Laws and the Free Exercise Clause", LL.M. thesis, Harvard Law School, 2005.
  136. ^ The LDS Church encourages journalists not to use the word Mormon in reference to organizations or people that practice polygamy "Style Guide". LDS Newsroom. Retrieved November 11, 2011.; The church repudiates polygamist groups and excommunicates their members if discovered – Bushman (2008, p. 91); "Mormons seek distance from polygamous sects". 2008.
  137. ^ Quinn, Michael D. (Summer 1998). "Plural Marriage and Mormon Fundamentalism" (PDF). Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. 31 (2): 7.
  138. ^ "". Retrieved October 27, 2011..
  139. ^ "Where does the term 'Jack-Mormon' come from?". Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  140. ^ Chris H (September 21, 2010). "Bringing back Liberal Mormonism". Main Street Plaza. Retrieved October 27, 2011..
  141. ^ Murphy, Thomas W. (1999). "From Racist Stereotype to Ethnic Identity: Instrumental Uses of Mormon Racial Doctrine". Ethnohistory – Duke University Press. 46 (3): 451–480. JSTOR 483199.
  142. ^ Campbell, David E. (2014). Mormons and American politics : seeking the promised land: Part I – Mormons as an Ethno-Religious Group. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–2. ISBN 9781139227247. OCLC 886644501.
  143. ^ Rogers, Peggy, "New Order Mormon Essays: The Paradox of the Faithful Unbeliever", New Order Mormon,, Publisher is anonymous, retrieved September 20, 2013.
  144. ^ Jackson, Kent P. (1992), "Scriptures: Authority of Scripture", in Ludlow, Daniel H (ed.), Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Macmillan Publishing, pp. 1280–1281, ISBN 978-0-02-879602-4, OCLC 24502140.
  145. ^ Bushman (2008, pp. 25–26).
  146. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 8) ("As the name of the church  ... suggests, Jesus Christ is the premier figure. Smith does not even play the role of the last and culminating prophet, as Muhammad does in Islam"); "What Mormons Believe About Jesus Christ". LDS Newsroom. Retrieved November 11, 2011.; In a 2011 Pew Survey a thousand Mormons were asked to volunteer the one word that best describes Mormons. The most common response from those surveyed was "Christian" or "Christ-centered".
  147. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 79).
  148. ^ a b "Plan of Salvation". True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference: 115. 2004.
  149. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 75).
  150. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 78); In Mormonism, an ordinance is a formal act, in which people enter into covenants with God. For example, covenants associated with baptism and the Eucharist involve taking the name of the Son upon themselves, always remembering him, and keeping his commandments; "Atonement of Jesus Christ". True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference: 14. 2004.; Bushman (2008, pp. 60–61) Because Mormons believe that everyone must receive certain ordinances to be saved, Mormons perform vicarious ordinances such as baptism for the dead on behalf of deceased persons. Mormons believe that the deceased may accept or reject the offered ordinance in the spirit world.
  151. ^ Missionary Department of the LDS Church (2004). Preach My Gospel. LDS Church, Inc. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-402-36617-1.
  152. ^ Talmage, James E. (1909). The Great Apostasy. The Deseret News. pp. 64–65. ISBN 978-0-87579-843-1.
  153. ^ Richards, LeGrand (1976). A Marvelous Work and a Wonder. Deseret Book Company. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-87747-161-5.
  154. ^ Talmage, James E. (1909). The Great Apostasy. The Deseret News. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-87579-843-1.
  155. ^ Eyring, Henry B. (May 2008). "The True and Living Church". Ensign: 20–24.; Cf. John 14:16–17 and 16:13, Acts 2:1–4, and Galatians 1:6–9.
  156. ^ "Mormonism in America". Pew Research Center. January 2012. Cite journal requires |journal= (help) (Mormons are nearly unanimous in describing Mormonism as a Christian religion, with 97% expressing this point of view); Robinson, Stephen E. (May 1998), "Are Mormons Christians?", New Era, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
  157. ^ "Romney's Mormon Faith Likely a Factor in Primaries, Not in a General Election". Pew Research Center. Cite journal requires |journal= (help) (About a third of Americans and half of evangelical Protestants view Mormonism as a non-Christian religion).
  158. ^ "Have the Presbyterians any truth? Yes. Have the Baptists, Methodists, etc., any truth? Yes. They all have a little truth mixed with error. We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true 'Mormons'." Joseph Fielding Smith (1993). "Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith": 316. Cite journal requires |journal= (help); Mormons take an inclusivist position that their religion is correct and true but that other religions have genuine value. Palmer; Keller; Choi; Toronto (1997). Religions of the World: A Latter-day Saint View. Brigham Young University..
  159. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 54).
  160. ^ Bushman (2008, pp. 15, 35–35) (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).

External reading

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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 "Mormon Wars".

Members of the Latter Day Saint movement, founded by Joseph Smith, had gradually migrated from New York to northwestern Missouri since 1831, mainly settling in Jackson County, where tensions with non-Mormon residents led to episodes of anti-Mormon violence. The Mormons were evicted from Jackson County in 1833 and resettled in new counties nearby, where tensions grew again and attempts to evict them resumed. On August 6, 1838, the war began following a brawl at an election in Gallatin, resulting in increased organized violence between Mormons and non-Mormons backed by the Missouri Volunteer Militia in northwestern Missouri. The Battle of Crooked River in late October led to Lilburn Boggs, the Governor of Missouri, issuing the Missouri Executive Order 44 ordering the Mormons to leave Missouri or be killed. On November 1, 1838, Smith surrendered at Far West, the church's headquarters, ending the war. Smith was charged for treason but escaped in custody and fled to Illinois with the remainder of the estimated 10,000 Missouri Mormons, establishing the new settlement of Nauvoo.

During the conflict 22 people were killed (three Mormons and one non-Mormon at Battle of Crooked Creek, one Mormon prisoner fatally injured while in custody, and 17 Mormons at Haun’s Mill) and an unknown number of non-combatants died due to exposure and hardship as a result of being expelled from their homes in Missouri. All of the conflicts in the Mormon War occurred in a corridor 100 miles (160 km) to the east and northeast of Kansas City.

All About Mormons

"All About Mormons", also known as "All About the Mormons?", is the 12th episode of the seventh season of the American animated television series South Park, and the 108th overall episode of the series. It was originally broadcast on Comedy Central in the United States on November 19, 2003. The episode revolves around the religion and culture of Mormons, as a Mormon family moves to the town of South Park, and influences the beliefs of the family of character Stan Marsh. The story of Joseph Smith's founding of Mormonism and the origin of the Book of Mormon is told through a number of comedic 19th-century flashbacks, with a musical narration.

The episode was written and directed by series co-creator Trey Parker, and was rated TV-MA in the United States. The episode evolved from personal experiences of creators Parker and Matt Stone, who grew up in Colorado. Growing up in Colorado both Stone and Parker often visited Utah, and both had Mormon classmates. The scene in which Stan is invited to dinner by the Mormon family was inspired by Parker's first girlfriend in high school, who was Mormon and invited him over for Family Home Evening. They found the religion ridiculous but hard to parody Mormons due to their good-natured attitudes. The new Mormon student Gary is voiced by South Park writer Kyle McCulloch, who grew up Mormon.

The episode received positive reviews from television critics, and has been placed on "best-of" South Park lists. Parker found that younger audiences found the episode unfunny, but many of his Mormon friends found it hilarious. "All About Mormons" was released on DVD along with the rest of the seventh season on March 21, 2006. Parker and Stone later carried over many themes from the episode for their musical The Book of Mormon, which opened on Broadway in 2011.


Anti-Mormonism is discrimination, persecution, hostility or prejudice directed against the Latter Day Saint movement, particularly The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The term is often used to describe people or literature that are critical of their adherents, institutions, or beliefs, or physical attacks against specific Saints or the Latter Day Saint movement as a whole.

Opposition to Mormonism began before the first Latter Day Saint church was established in 1830 and continues to the present day. The most vocal and strident opposition occurred during the 19th century, particularly during the Utah War of the 1850s, and in the second half of the century when the practice of polygamy in Utah Territory was widely considered by the U.S. Republican Party as one of the "twin relics of barbarism" along with slavery.Modern-day opposition generally takes the form of websites, podcasts, videos or other media offering alternative views about Mormonism or non-violent protest at large Latter-day Saint gatherings such as the church's semiannual General Conference, outside of Latter-day Saint pageants, or at events surrounding the construction of new LDS temples. Opponents generally believe that the church's claims to divine origin are false, that it is non-Christian, or that it is a religion based on fraud or deceit on the part of its past and present leaders. In 2015, the FBI began tracking anti-Mormon hate crimes in the United States and have noted an increase in incidents over time.

Black Mormons

Black people have been members of Mormon congregations since its foundation, although the church placed restrictions on proselytization efforts among black people. Before 1978, black membership was small. It has since grown, and in 1997, there were approximately 500,000 black members of the church (about 5% 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 have been built. By 2018, an estimated 6% of members were black. In the United States, 3% of members are black.

Criticism of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) has been the subject of criticism since it was founded by American religious leader Joseph Smith in 1830.

The most controversial, and in fact a key reason for Joseph Smith's murder, is the claim that plural marriage (as defenders call it) or polygamy (as critics call it) is Biblically authorized. Under heavy pressure — Utah would not be accepted as a state if polygamy was practiced — the church formally and publicly renounced the practice in 1890. Utah's statehood soon followed. However, plural marriage remains a controversial and divisive issue, as despite the official renunciation of 1890, it still has sympathizers, defenders, and semi-secret practitioners.

More recent criticism has focused on questions of historical revisionism, homophobia, racism, sexist policies, inadequate financial disclosure, and the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon.


Ex-Mormon or post-Mormon refers to a disaffiliate of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) or any of its schismatic breakoffs, collectively called "Mormonism". Ex-Mormons—sometimes referred to as exmo or postmo—may neither believe in nor affiliate with the LDS Church. In contrast, Jack Mormons may believe but do not affiliate; and cultural Mormons may or may not affiliate but do not believe in certain doctrines or practices of the institutional LDS Church. The distinction is important to a large segment of ex-Mormons, many of whom consider their decision to leave as morally compelling and socially risky. According to 2014 Pew data, around 1/3 of adults raised LDS no longer adhere to the faith(up from around 10% in the '70s and '80s) and in 2008 only 25% of LDS young adults are actively involved. Many ex-Mormons experience troubles with family members who still follow Mormon teachings. Aggregations of ex-Mormons may comprise a social movement.

Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement. When he was 24, Smith published the Book of Mormon. By the time of his death, 14 years later, he had attracted tens of thousands of followers and founded a religion that continues to the present.

Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont. By 1817, he had moved with his family to the burned-over district of western New York; an area of intense religious revivalism during the Second Great Awakening. Smith said he experienced a series of visions, including one in 1820 during which he saw "two personages" (presumably God the Father and Jesus Christ), and another in 1823 in which an angel directed him to a buried book of golden plates inscribed with a Judeo-Christian history of an ancient American civilization. In 1830, Smith published what he said was an English translation of these plates called the Book of Mormon. The same year he organized the Church of Christ, calling it a restoration of the early Christian church. Members of the church were later called "Latter Day Saints" or "Mormons", and Smith announced a revelation in 1838 which renamed the church as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

In 1831, Smith and his followers moved west, planning to build a communalistic American Zion. They first gathered in Kirtland, Ohio and established an outpost in Independence, Missouri which was intended to be Zion's "center place". During the 1830s, Smith sent out missionaries, published revelations, and supervised construction of the Kirtland Temple. The collapse of the church-sponsored Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company and violent skirmishes with non-Mormon Missourians caused Smith and his followers to establish a new settlement at Nauvoo, Illinois, where he became a spiritual and political leader. In 1844, Smith and the Nauvoo city council angered non-Mormons by destroying a newspaper that had criticized Smith's power and practice of polygamy. Smith was imprisoned in Carthage, Illinois, where he was killed when a mob stormed the jailhouse.

Smith published many revelations and other texts that his followers regard as scripture. His teachings discuss the nature of God, cosmology, family structures, political organization, and religious collectivism. His followers regard him as a prophet comparable to Moses and Elijah, and several religious denominations consider themselves the continuation of the church that he organized, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Community of Christ.

Latter Day Saints in popular culture

Latter Day Saints and Mormons have been portrayed in popular media many times. These portrayals often emphasize controversy such as polygamy or myths about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and other Latter Day Saint movement religions.

Missouri Executive Order 44

Missouri Executive Order 44, also known as the Extermination Order, was an executive order issued on October 27, 1838, by the Governor of Missouri, Lilburn Boggs. The order was issued in the aftermath of the Battle of Crooked River, a clash between Mormons and a unit of the Missouri State Militia in northern Ray County, Missouri, during the 1838 Mormon War. Claiming that the Mormons had committed open and avowed defiance of the law and had made war upon the people of Missouri, Governor 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". The Militia and other state authorities—General John B. Clark, among them—used the executive order to violently expel the Mormons from their lands in the state following their capitulation, which in turn led to their subsequent migration to Nauvoo, Illinois. The order was supported by most northwest Missouri citizens but was questioned or denounced by a few. However, no determination of the order's legality was ever made. On June 25, 1976, Governor Kit Bond issued an executive order rescinding the Extermination Order, recognizing its legal invalidity and formally apologizing on behalf of the State of Missouri for the suffering it had caused the Mormons.

Mormon colonies in Mexico

The Mormon colonies in Mexico are settlements located near the Sierra Madre mountains in northern Mexico which were established by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints beginning in 1885. Many of the original colonists came to Mexico due to federal attempts to curb and prosecute polygamy in the United States. The towns making up the colonies were originally situated in the states of Chihuahua and Sonora, and were all within roughly 200 miles south of the US border. By the early 20th century, many of these were relatively prosperous. However, in the summer of 1912, the colonies were evacuated due to anti-American sentiment during the Mexican Revolution and many of their citizens left for the United States and never returned. Some colonists did eventually return to their settlements, but today only Colonia Juárez and Colonia Dublán in the Casas Grandes river valley remain active. The Colonia Juárez Chihuahua México Temple, built in 1999, is located in Colonia Juárez, and is currently the smallest temple the LDS Church operates.

Mormon spectrums of orthodoxy and practice

Various spectrums of beliefs or practice within Mormonism accounts for categories of Mormons possessing faith or skepticism regarding various and sundry doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the mainstream LDS Church), or pertaining to issues of orthopraxy/heteropraxy, among those identifying as Mormon. Also, people partake of Mormon culture to some degree as a result of having been raised in the LDS Church or else having converted and spent a large portion of one's life as an active member of the LDS Church. Such "cultural" Mormons may or may not be actively involved with the church. In some cases may not even be, or have ever been, official members of the church.

Many cultural Mormons possess a strongly Mormon identity and abide with an appreciation for the lessons and the love they have received in the course of long church membership. Cultural Mormons do not necessarily hold anti-Mormon sentiments and often support the goals of the church. Many retain a sense of Mormon identity for life.

Both secular Mormons and progressive Mormons are sometimes referred to as on the left side of the religious spectrums; the more typical mainstream Mormons, in the center; and religious Mormons dissidents who disagree with certain changes to "original teachings" within Mormonism, on the right. Segments of the right include both fundamentalist Mormons and dissidents who participate in the Remnant movement.

Mormon studies

Mormon studies is the interdisciplinary academic study of the beliefs, practices, history and culture of those known by the term Mormon and denominations belonging to the Latter Day Saint movement whose members do not generally go by the term "Mormon". The Latter Day Saint movement includes not only The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) but also the Community of Christ (CoC) and other groups, as well as those falling under the umbrella of Mormon fundamentalism.

Before 1903, writings about Mormons were mostly orthodox documentary histories or anti-Mormon material. The first dissertations on Mormons, published in the 1900s, had a naturalistic style that approached Mormon history from economic, psychological, and philosophical theories. While their position within Mormon studies is debated, Mormon apologetics have a tradition dating back to Parley P. Pratt's response to an anti-Mormon book in 1838.

The amount of scholarship in Mormon studies increased after World War II. From 1972–1982, while Leonard Arrington was a Church Historian in the history department, the LDS Church Archives were open to Mormon and non-Mormon researchers. Researchers wrote detached accounts for Mormon intellectuals in the "New Mormon history" style. Many new publications started to publish history in this style, including Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, BYU Studies Quarterly, and Exponent II. Some general authorities in the church did not like the New Mormon history style, and Arrington and his remaining staff were transferred to Brigham Young University (BYU) in 1982, where they worked in the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History. The institute continued to support scholarship in Mormon history until 2005, when the institute closed and employees transferred to the LDS Church Office Building. In the late 1980s and 1990s, several other incidents made BYU faculty reluctant to voice unorthodox ideas about church history. Around 1990, BYU professors were asked not to contribute to Dialogue or Sunstone. Two historians were excommunicated in 1993, probably for their published unorthodox views. BYU Studies and other LDS church-sponsored publishers published more "faithful" scholarship at this time. Presses outside of Utah started to publish more books in Mormon studies.

Mormon scholars engaging in Mormon studies still feel they must be careful about what they write, especially if they work with material from the Church History Library archives. Non-Mormon scholars are often suspicious of Mormon scholars' work. This is gradually changing as Mormon scholars find employment outside of church-sponsored institutions. Universities without affiliation to the LDS Church have endowed chairs for Mormon studies. Emerging trends in "Newer" Mormon History are an increase in interdisciplinary work and women's history. The LDS Church History Department hired a women's history specialist in 2011 and has recently published books focusing on women's history. Blogs focusing on Mormon history have helped make Mormon history more accessible and provided a safe space for unorthodox ideas, although they may be superficial at times.


Mormonism is the predominant religious tradition of the Latter Day Saint movement of Restorationist Christianity started by Joseph Smith in Western New York in the 1820s and 30s.

The word Mormon originally derived from the Book of Mormon, a religious text published by Smith, which he said he translated from golden plates with divine assistance. The book describes itself as a chronicle of early indigenous peoples of the Americas and their dealings with God. Based on the book's name, Smith's early followers were more widely known as Mormons, and their faith Mormonism. The term was initially considered pejorative, but Mormons no longer consider it so (although generally preferring other terms such as Latter-day Saint or LDS).After Smith was killed in 1844, most Mormons followed Brigham Young on his westward journey to the area that became the Utah Territory, calling themselves The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Other sects include Mormon fundamentalism, which seeks to maintain practices and doctrines such as polygamy, and other small independent denominations. The second-largest Latter Day Saint denomination, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, since 2001 called the Community of Christ, does not describe itself as "Mormon", but follows a Trinitarian Christian restorationist theology, and considers itself Restorationist in terms of Latter Day Saint doctrine.

Mormonism has common beliefs with the rest of the Latter Day Saint movement, including the use of and belief in the Bible, and in other religious texts including the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. It also accepts the Pearl of Great Price as part of its scriptural canon, and has a history of teaching eternal marriage, eternal progression and polygamy (plural marriage), although the LDS Church formally abandoned the practice of plural marriage in 1890. Cultural Mormonism, a lifestyle promoted by Mormon institutions, includes cultural Mormons who identify with the culture, but not necessarily the theology.

Mormonism and Christianity

Mormonism and Christianity have a complex theological, historical, and sociological relationship. Mormons express the doctrines of Mormonism using standard biblical terminology and have similar views about the nature of Jesus' atonement, bodily resurrection, and Second Coming as traditional Christianity. Nevertheless, most Mormons do not accept the Trinitarian views of orthodox Nicene Christianity, codified in the Nicene and Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creeds of 325 and 381; Though Mormons consider the Bible as scripture, they do not believe in biblical inerrancy. They have also adopted additional scriptures, including the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Mormons practice baptism and celebrate the Sacrament, but they also participate in religious rituals not practiced by traditional Christianity.

Focusing on differences, some Christians consider Mormonism "non-Christian"; Mormons, focusing on similarities, are sometimes offended at being so characterized. Mormons do not accept non-Mormon baptism nor do non-Mormon Christians usually accept Mormon baptism. Mormons regularly proselytize individuals actually or nominally within the Christian tradition, and some Christians, especially evangelicals, proselytize Mormons. Some view Mormonism a form of Christianity, but distinct enough from traditional Christianity so as to form a new religious tradition, much as Christianity is more than just a sect of Judaism.The Mormonism that originated with Joseph Smith in the 1820s shared strong similarities with some elements of nineteenth-century Protestant Christianity. Mormons believe that God, through Smith and his successors, restored various doctrines and practices that were lost from the original Christianity taught by Jesus. For example, Smith, as a result of his "First Vision", primarily rejected the Nicene doctrine of the Trinity and instead taught that God the Father, his son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three distinct "personages". While the largest Mormon denomination, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), acknowledges its differences with mainstream Christianity, it also focuses on its commonalities such as its focus on faith in Christ, following the teachings of Jesus Christ, the miracle of the atonement, and many other doctrines.

Mormonism and violence

Mormons have both used and been subjected to significant violence throughout much of the religion's history. In the early history of the United States, violence was used as a form of control. Many people of different faiths used violence in order to harass and persecute people who adhered to different religious beliefs. Mormons were violently persecuted and pushed from Ohio to Missouri, from Missouri to Illinois and from Illinois, they were pushed west to the Utah Territory. There were incidents of massacre, home burning and pillaging, followed by the death of their prophet, Joseph Smith. Smith died from multiple gunshot wounds in a gun battle while jailed in Carthage; Smith defended himself with a small pistol smuggled to him by Cyrus Wheelock while trying to protect himself against an illegal mob. There were also notable incidents in which Mormons perpetrated violence. Under the direction of Mormon prophets and apostles, Mormons burned and looted Daviess County, attacked and killed members of the Missouri state militia, and carried out an extermination order on the Timpanogos. Other Mormon leaders led the Mountain Meadows Massacre, Battle Creek massacre, and Circleville Massacre. Mormons have also been a major part in several wars, including the 1838 Mormon War, Walker War and Black Hawk War.

The memory of this violence has affected both the history and the doctrines of the Latter Day Saint movement.

Moroni (Book of Mormon prophet)

Moroni (), according to the Book of Mormon, was the last Nephite prophet, historian, and military commander who lived in the Americas in the late fourth and early fifth centuries. He is later known as the Angel Moroni, who presented the golden plates to Joseph Smith, who translated the plates upon which the Book of Mormon was originally written.

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, Christian restorationist church that is considered by its members to be the restoration of the original church founded by Jesus Christ. The church is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah in the United States, and has established congregations and built temples worldwide. According to the church, it has over 16 million members and 65,000 full-time volunteer missionaries. In 2012, the National Council of Churches ranked the church as the fourth-largest Christian denomination in the United States, with over 6.5 million members there as of January 2018. It is the largest denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith during the early 19th century period of religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening.

Adherents, often referred to as "Latter-day Saints" or, less formally, "Mormons", view faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement as fundamental principles of their religion. Church theology includes the Christian doctrine of salvation only through Jesus Christ, though LDS doctrines regarding the nature of God and the potential of mankind differ significantly from mainstream Christianity. The church has an open canon which includes four scriptural texts: the Bible (both Old and New Testaments), the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Other than the Bible, the majority of the LDS canon constitutes revelation received by Joseph Smith and recorded by his scribes which includes commentary and exegesis about the Bible, texts described as lost parts of the Bible, and other works believed to be written by ancient prophets. Because of some of the doctrinal differences, Catholic, Orthodox, and several Protestant churches consider the church to be distinct and separate from mainstream Christianity.Under the doctrine of continuing revelation, Latter-day Saints believe that the church president is a modern-day "prophet, seer, and revelator" and that Jesus Christ, under the direction of God the Father, leads the church by revealing his will to its president. Individual members of the church believe that they can also receive personal revelation from God in conducting their lives. The president heads a hierarchical structure with various levels reaching down to local congregations. Bishops, drawn from the laity, lead local congregations. Male members, beginning in January of the year they reach age 12, may be ordained to the priesthood, provided they are living the standards of the church. Women are not ordained to the priesthood but do occupy leadership roles in some church auxiliary organizations.Both men and women may serve as missionaries and the church maintains a large missionary program that proselytizes and conducts humanitarian services worldwide. Faithful members adhere to church laws of sexual purity, health, fasting, and Sabbath observance, and contribute ten percent of their income to the church in tithing. The church also teaches about sacred ordinances through which adherents make covenants with God, including baptism, confirmation, the sacrament (holy communion), priesthood ordination, endowment, and celestial marriage (marriage blessings which extend beyond mortality)—all of which are of great significance to church members.

The Mormons (miniseries)

The Mormons is a four-hour PBS documentary about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The production originally aired in two-hour segments on April 30 and May 1, 2007. It was produced by Helen Whitney, and was the first joint production of Frontline and American Experience.

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 settlers in the Utah Territory and the armed forces of the United States government. The confrontation lasted from May 1857 to July 1858. There were some casualties, mostly non-Mormon civilians. The war had no notable military battles.

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