Latter Day Saint movement

The Latter Day Saint movement (also called the LDS movement, LDS restorationist movement, or Smith–Rigdon movement)[1] is the collection of independent church groups that trace their origins to a Christian primitivist movement founded by Joseph Smith in the late 1820s. Collectively, these churches have over 16 million members.[2] The vast majority of adherents—about 98%—belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), with their predominant theology being Mormonism. The LDS Church self-identifies as Christian.[3][4] A minority of Latter Day Saint adherents, such as members of the Community of Christ, believe in traditional Protestant theology, and have distanced themselves from some of the distinctive doctrines of the LDS Church. Other groups include the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which supports lineal succession of leadership from Smith's descendants, and the more controversial Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which defends the practice of polygamy.[5][6]

Origins

The movement began in western New York during the Second Great Awakening when Smith said that he received visions revealing a new sacred text, the Book of Mormon, which he published in 1830 as a complement to the Bible. Based on the teachings of this book and other revelations, Smith founded a Christian primitivist church, called the "Church of Christ". The Book of Mormon attracted hundreds of early followers, who later became known as "Mormons", "Latter Day Saints", or just "Saints". In 1831, Smith, moved the church headquarters to Kirtland, Ohio, and in 1838 changed its name to the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints".[7][8]

After the church in Ohio collapsed due to a financial crisis and dissensions, in 1838, Smith and the body of the church moved to Missouri where they were persecuted (see Hauns Mill Massacre) and finally forced to Illinois. After Smith's death in 1844, a succession crisis led to the organization splitting into several groups. The largest of these, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, migrated under the leadership of Brigham Young to the Great Basin (now Utah) and became known for its 19th-century practice of polygamy. The LDS Church officially renounced this practice in 1890, and gradually discontinued it, resulting in the Utah Territory becoming a U.S. state. This change resulted in the formation of a number of small sects who sought to maintain polygamy and other 19th-century doctrines and practices, now referred to as "Mormon fundamentalism".[citation needed]

Other groups originating within the Latter Day Saint movement followed different paths in Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. For the most part these groups rejected plural marriage and some of Smith's later teachings. The largest of these, the Community of Christ (originally known as the "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints"), was formed in Illinois in 1860 by several groups uniting around Smith's son, Joseph Smith III.

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