Joseph Smith, Jr.Jane ManningBrigham Young
Philo FarnsworthMarie OsmondStephenie Meyer
Mitt RomneyHarry ReidDieter F. Uchtdorf
Joseph Smith, Jr. · Jane Manning · Brigham Young
Philo Farnsworth · Marie Osmond · Stephenie Meyer
Mitt Romney · Harry Reid · Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Total population
over 14 million
Regions with significant populations
 United States about 6.1 million
 Mexico about 1.2 million
 Brazil about 1.1 million
 Philippines about 630,000
 Chile about 560,000
 Peru about 500,000
 Argentina about 380,000

The Mormons are a religious and cultural group related to Mormonism, a religion started by Joseph Smith during the American Second Great Awakening. A vast majority of Mormons are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) while a minority are members of other independent churches. Many Mormons are also either independent or non-practicing. 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.[1]

Mormons have developed a strong sense of communality that stems from their doctrine and history. They dedicate large amounts of time and resources to serving in their church, and many young Mormons choose to serve a full time proselyting mission. Mormons have a health code that eschews alcoholic beverages, tobacco, coffee, tea, and other addictive substances. They tend to be very family-oriented, and have strong connections across generations and with extended family. Mormons have a strict law of chastity, requiring abstention from sexual relations outside of marriage and strict fidelity within marriage.

Mormons are sometimes associated with polygamy. The practice of polygamy (or plural marriage) was a distinguishing characteristic of many early Mormons; however it was disavowed by The LDS Church in 1890,[2] and discontinued over the next 15 years.[3] Today, polygamy is practiced only by Mormon fundamentalists[4] who have broken with the LDS Church.

Most Mormons self-identify as Christian, though some of their beliefs differ from 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 specific ordinances such as baptism. They believe the authority to perform these ordinances was restored through Joseph Smith, and that their church 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 term "Mormon" is borrowed from the title of the Book of Mormon.[5] It was first applied pejoratively to followers of Joseph Smith, but was soon adopted as a nickname and has since lost its pejorative status. "Mormon" is most often used to refer to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The term has also been embraced by other adherents of Mormonism, such as Mormon Fundamentalists, but rejected by other Latter Day Saint denominations, such as the Community of Christ.[6]

The use of "Mormon" is not generally considered offensive and is commonly used by the LDS Church members (or "Latter-day Saints") in reference to themselves.[7] Church leaders, however, have encouraged members to use the church's full name to emphasize the church's focus on Jesus Christ.[8]


Mormons' history has shaped them into a people with a strong sense of unity and communality.[9] From the start, Mormons have tried to establish what they call Zion, a utopian society of the righteous.[10] 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 to literally build a city called Zion, to which converts gathered. 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.[11]


Mormons believe that Joseph Smith, Jr. was called to be a modern-day prophet through, among other events, a visitation from God the Father and Jesus Christ, as well as other heavenly beings.

Mormonism traces its origins to the Church of Christ founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. on April 6, 1830 in Western New York.[12] Roughly a decade earlier, the young Joseph was seeking a remission of his sins. Confused by the doctrines of competing denominations, he went into a grove of trees to pray about which church to join. Joseph said that during his prayer, the Lord appeared to him in a "pillar of light" and instructed him not to join any of the churches.[13] A few years later Smith said that an angel directed him to a nearby hillside where lay buried a book written on golden plates containing the religious history of an ancient people.[14] Smith claimed to have translated the book, and in March 1830 he published the Book of Mormon, named after Mormon, the ancient prophet-historian who compiled the book. The Book of Mormon drew many initial converts to the church. Church members were later called Mormons, Latter Day Saints, or just Saints.[15]

Smith intended to establish the city of Zion (or the New Jerusalem) in North America.[16] In 1831, the church moved to Kirtland, Ohio (the eastern boundary of Zion),[17] and began establishing an outpost in Jackson County, Missouri (Zion's "center place"),[18] where he planned to eventually move the church headquarters.[19] In 1833, Missouri settlers, alarmed by the rapid influx of Mormons, expelled them from Jackson County.[20] After leading Zion's Camp, an unsuccessful expedition to recover the land,[21] Smith began building a temple in Kirtland, where the church flourished.[22][23] The Kirtland era ended in 1838, after the failure of a church-sponsored bank caused widespread defections,[24] and Smith regrouped with the remaining church in Far West, Missouri.[25] During the fall of 1838, tensions escalated into violent conflicts with the old Missouri settlers.[26] Believing the Saints to be in insurrection, the Missouri governor ordered the Saints' expulsion from Missouri.[27] In 1839, the Saints converted a swampland on the banks of the Mississippi River into Nauvoo, Illinois, which became the church's new headquarters.[28]

Shortly after arriving in Nauvoo, the Saints began construction of a new temple. The city grew rapidly as missionary converts immigrated westward from Europe and elsewhere.[29] Meanwhile, Smith introduced several doctrinal developments and organizational changes, including temple ceremonies, the doctrines of sealing, eternal progression[30] (or exaltation), plural marriage,[31] the organization of the church into stakes[32] and wards, the organization of the Relief Society for women, and the Council of Fifty, an organization representing a future theodemocratic "Kingdom of God" on the earth.[33] 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.[34] Long after Smith's death, 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.[35]

On June 27, 1844, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed by a mob in Carthage, Illinois.[36] Because Hyrum was Joseph's logical successor,[37] their deaths caused a succession crisis,[38] and Brigham Young assumed leadership over the majority of Saints.[39] Young had been a close associate of Smith's and was senior apostle of the Quorum of the Twelve.[40] Smaller groups of Latter Day Saints followed other leaders to form other denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement.[41]

Pioneer era

A statue by Torlief S. Knaphus commemorating the Mormon pioneers. Many pioneers carried their possessions in handcarts on their migration to Utah.

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.[42] As groups arrived over a period of years, LDS settlers branched out and colonized a large region now known as the Mormon Corridor.[43]

Young incorporated The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a legal entity, and initially governed both the church and the state as a theocratic leader. He also publicized the previously-secret practice of plural marriage, a form of polygamy.[44]

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.[45] The Utah War ensued from 1857 to 1858, which resulted in the relatively peaceful invasion of Utah by the United States Army. The most notable instance of violence during this war was the tragic Mountain Meadows massacre, in which leaders of a local Mormon militia ordered the massacre of a civilian emigrant party who were traveling through Utah during the escalating military tensions.[46] In 1858 Young agreed to step down from his postion as governor and was replaced by a non-Mormon, Alfred Cumming.[47] Nevertheless, the LDS Church still wielded significant political power in the Utah Territory.[48]

At Young's death in 1877, he was followed by other LDS Presidents, who resisted efforts by the United States Congress to outlaw Mormon polygamous marriages.[49] In 1878 the Supreme Court ruled in Reynolds v. United States that religious duty was not a suitable defense for practicing polygamy, and many Mormons went into hiding; later, Congress began seizing church assets.[49] In September 1890, church president Wilford Woodruff issued a Manifesto that officially suspended the practice of polygamy.[50] 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. 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 to actively distance itself from "fundamentalist" groups that continue the practice.[51]

Modern times

During the early 20th century, Mormons began to reintegrate with the American mainstream. They emphasized patriotism and industry, rising in socioeconomic status from the bottom among American religious denominations to middle-class.[52] 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.[53] As Mormons spread out, church leaders created programs that would help preserve the tight-knit community feel of Mormon culture.[54] In addition to weekly worship services, Mormons began participating in numerous programs such as Boy Scouting, a Young Women's organization, church-sponsored dances, ward basketball, camping trips, plays, and religious education programs for youth and college students.[55]

In 1929 the Mormon Tabernacle Choir began broadcasting a weekly performance on national radio, becoming an asset for public relations.[56]

During the latter half of the century, there was a retrenchment movement in Mormonism in which Mormons became more conservative, attempting to regain their status as a "peculiar people."[57] Though the 1960s and 70s brought positive 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.[58] 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 60's.[59]

The LDS Church grew rapidly after World War II and became a world-wide organization as missionaries were sent across the globe. 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.[60] In 1978, the church made another major step, reversing a policy of excluding black males from the priesthood.[61] The church had previously been criticized for its policy during the Civil Rights Movement, but the change was prompted primarily by problems facing mixed-race converts in Brazil.[62] Mormons greeted the change with joy and relief.[62] Meanwhile, the church continued to expand, doubling in size every 15–20 years. By 1996, there were more Mormons outside the United States than inside.[1] The church currently claims a worldwide membership of 14.1 million.[63]

Culture and practices

The Salt Lake Temple is one of the most iconic images of the LDS Church

Isolation in Utah had allowed Mormons to create a culture of their own.[64] As the faith spread around the world, many of its more distinctive practices followed. Mormons converts are urged to undergo lifestyle changes, "repent of their sins," and adopt sometimes foreign standards of conduct.[64] Practices common to Mormons include studying the scriptures, praying daily, fasting on a regular basis, attending Sunday worship services, participating in church programs and activities on weekdays, and refraining from work on Sundays when possible. Mormons also emphasize standards they believe were taught by Jesus Christ, including personal honesty, integrity, obedience to law, chastity outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage.[65]

Mormons have a strong sense of communality that stems from their doctrine and history.[66] LDS Church members have a responsibility to dedicate their time and talents to helping the poor and building the church. The vast majority of church leadership positions are lay positions, and church members may work 10–15 hours a week in unpaid church service.[67] Engaged Mormons also contribute 10 percent of their income to the church as tithing, and are often involved in humanitarian efforts. Many LDS young men choose to serve a two year proselytizing mission, during which they dedicate all of their time to the church, without pay.[68]

Mormons adhere to the Word of Wisdom, a health law or code that prohibits the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, coffee, and tea, and encourages the use of wholesome herbs, grains, fruits, and a moderate consumption of meat.[69] The Word of Wisdom is interpreted to also prohibit other harmful and addictive substances and practices, such as the use of illegal drugs and abuse of prescription drugs.[70] Mormons also oppose addictive behavior such as viewing pornography and gambling.[65]

The concept of a united family that lives and progresses forever is at the core of Latter-day Saint doctrine.[71] Many Mormons hold weekly family home evenings, in which an evening is set aside for family bonding, study, prayer and other wholesome activities. 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 an pray that their children will gain testimonies of the "gospel" so they can grow up and marry in temples.[72]

Mormons have a strict law of chastity, requiring abstention from sexual relations outside of marriage and strict fidelity within marriage. All sexual activity (heterosexual and homosexual) outside of marriage is considered a serious sin. 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 abortions, 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.[73] Practicing adult Mormons wear religious undergarments that remind them of sacred 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.[74]

Groups within Mormonism

Latter-day Saints
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints constitute over 99% of Mormons.[75] The beliefs and practices of LDS Mormons are generally guided by the teachings of LDS Church leaders. There are, however, several smaller groups that differ from "mainstream" Mormonism in various ways.
Active Mormons / Less-active Mormons
LDS Church members who do – or do not – actively participate in worship services or church callings are called "active" or "less-active" (akin to the qualifying expressions orthodox, pious, or practicing, used in relation to members of other religious groups).[76] The LDS Church does not release statistics on church activity, but it is likely that about 40% of Mormons in the United States and 30% worldwide regularly attend worship services.[77][78]

Reasons for inactivity can include lifestyle issues and problems with social integration.[79] 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.[80]

International Mormons
Global distribution of LDS Church members in 2009
Approximately 57% of Mormons live outside of the United States.[81] 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.[82]

The church enforces general doctrinal uniformity, and congregations on all continents teach the same doctrines. 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.[83]

Utah Mormons
13–14% of Mormons live in Utah: the center of cultural influence for Mormonism.[84] Utah Mormons (as well as Mormons living in the Intermountain West) are on average more culturally and/or politically conservative than those living in certain cosmopolitan centers elsewhere in the U.S.[85][86] 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.)[87][88] Utah Mormons often place a greater emphasis on pioneer heritage than international Mormons[83] who generally are not descendants of the Mormon pioneers.
Since her baptism in 1997, Gladys Knight has sought to raise awareness of black people in the LDS church.
Black Mormons
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 had a policy against ordaining black men of African descent to the priesthood.[89]) Membership 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.[90]

Since then, Black membership has continued to grow substantially, especially in West Africa, where two temples have been built.[91] 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.[92]

LGBT Mormons
LGBT Mormons are members of the church who self-identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. These individuals remain in good standing in the church if they abstain from homosexual relations and obey the Law of Chastity.[93] 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.[94]

Gary Watts, former president of Family Fellowship, estimates that only 10% of homosexuals stay in the church.[95] Others dispute that estimate, saying numbers in support groups for active Latter-day Saints and for self-identified gay Mormons are comparable.[citation needed] Many of these individuals have come forward through different support groups or websites stating their homosexual attractions and concurrent church membership.

Liberal Mormons
Liberal Mormons take an interpretive approach to LDS teachings and scripture. They look to the scriptures for spiritual guidance, but do 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.[96] Liberal Mormons place doing good and loving fellow human beings above the importance of believing correctly.[97]

In a separate context, members of minuscule "progressive" breakaway groups have also adopted the label Liberal Mormon.

Cultural Mormons
Cultural Mormons are individuals who do not believe some (or many) of the doctrines of LDS Church, but who self-identify as Mormon. 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.[98] Cultural Mormons may or may not be actively involved with the church, and in some cases may not even be officially members of the church.
Fundamentalist Mormons
Fundamentalist Mormons are Latter Day Saint movement adherents who differ from mainstream Mormonism especially in their belief in the practice of plural marriage. There are thought to be between 20,000 and 60,000 members of fundamentalist sects, (0.1–0.4% of Mormons), with roughly half of them practicing polygamy.[99]

Some fundamentalist Mormons also practice a form of Christian communalism known as the Law of consecration or the United Order. The largest Mormon fundamentalist groups are the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) and the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB). The LDS Church seeks to distance itself from all such polygamous groups.[100]

Ex-Mormons are people who have left the LDS Church. A poll of ex-Mormons found that a majority do not self-identify as a member of another faith, choosing to describe themselves as agnostic, atheist, or simply ex-Mormon. Others either retained belief in God but not in organized religion or became adherents of other faiths.[101] Ex-Mormon attitudes toward Mormons and Mormonism vary widely. Some ex-Mormons actively proselytize against Mormonism, while some provide only support to others leaving the religion. Other ex-Mormons prefer to avoid the subject entirely.


Mormons have a scriptural canon consisting of the Bible, 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 fairly 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.[102] Thus, the Bible, written by prophets, 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.[103]

Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God who died for the sins of mankind.[104] They also believe that all people are spirit children of God, and that through Christ they may return to his presence and live like him.

Mormons believe in "a friendly universe," governed by a God whose work and glory it is to bring his children to immortality and eternal life.[105] Mormons have a fairly 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.[106] In this state, God presented a plan that would allow his children to progress and become more like him. The plan involved the spirits receiving bodies on earth and going through many trials in order to learn, progress, and receive a "fulness of joy."[106] 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 most of them will be received into various kingdoms of glory.[107] To be accepted into the highest kingdom, a person must fully accept Christ.[108]

Part of Mormons' accepting of Christ is done through formal covenants and ordinances. For example, covenants associated with baptism, and the Eucharist (commonly called sacrament) involve taking the name of the Son upon themselves, always remembering Him, and keeping his commandments.[109] Mormons perform other ordinances, such as marriages and sealings in dedicated temples.[110] Because Mormons believe that everyone must receive certain ordinances to be saved, Mormons perform ordinances such as baptism for the dead on behalf of deceased persons. These ordinances are performed vicariously or by "proxy" on behalf of the dead. Mormons believe that the deceased may accept or reject the offered ordinance in the spirit world. Ordinances on behalf of the dead are performed only when a deceased person's genealogical information has been submitted to a temple.[111]

According to Mormons, a Great Apostasy began in Christianity not long after the ascension of Jesus Christ.[112] It was marked with the corruption of Christian doctrine by Greek and other philosophies,[113] with followers dividing into different ideological groups.[114] Mormons claim the martyrdom of the Apostles[115] lead to a loss of Priesthood authority to administer the church and its ordinances.[116][117] Mormons believe that the Lord restored the early Christian church through Joseph Smith. In particular, Mormons believe that angels (Gr. plur. αγγλοι="messengers") such as Peter, James, John, and John the Baptist appeared to Joseph 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. They view other Christian churches as having a portion of the truth, doing good works, and being led by the Light of Christ.[118]

Though the LDS Church has a hierarchical structure with a president/prophet dictating revelations for the whole church, there is a bottom up aspect as well. Ordinary Mormons have access to the same inspiration that is thought to guide their prophets.[119] 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 Spirit. Though Mormons have many beliefs that are considered strange in the modernized world, as well as a complicated and sometimes controversial history, they continue to hold onto their beliefs because they feel God has spoken to them.[120]

See also

Christus statue temple square salt lake city.jpg Latter-day Saints portal


  1. ^ a b Todd, Jay M. (March 1996). "More Members Now outside U.S. Than in U.S.". News of the Church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  2. ^ "Official Declaration 1". 
  3. ^ B. Carmen Hardy (1992), Solemn Covenant: The Mormon Polygamous Passage, Urbana: University of Illinois Press ; D. Michael Quinn (Spring 1985). ""LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages, 1890–1904"". Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. p. 9.,15411. Retrieved November 11, 2011. ; Kenneth Cannon II (Jan.–Apr. 1983). "After the Manifesto: Mormon Polygamy, 1890–1906"". Sunstone. p. 27. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  4. ^ The terms Mormon and Mormonism are used by Mormon fundamentalists in reference to themselves. The LDS Church disagrees with that self-characterization and encourages journalists only to use the word Mormon in reference to the LDS Church. "Style Guide — LDS Newsroom". Retrieved November 11, 2011. . Despite the LDS Church preference, the term fundamentalist Mormonism is in common use.
  5. ^ The Book of Mormon was named for Mormon, a 4th-century prophet–historian who, according to the book, compiled and abridged many records of his ancestors into the Book of Mormon. He, in turn, was named after the Land of Mormon. (See 3 Nephi 5:12)
  6. ^ 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 0738207403, 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.
  7. ^ Gordon B. Hinckley (Nov. 1990). "Mormon Should Mean 'More Good,'". Ensign. p. 51. Retrieved November 11, 2011. ; See also: "Style Guide - The Name of the Church". Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  8. ^ Russell M. Nelson (May 1990). "Thus Shall My Church Be Called". Ensign. p. 16. Retrieved November 11, 2011. ; M. Russell Ballard (October 2, 2011). "The importance of a name". .
  9. ^ O'Dea (1957, pp. 75,119)
  10. ^ 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)
  11. ^ "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)
  12. ^ 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. Bushman (2005, p. 109); Marquardt (2005, pp. 223–23) (arguing that organization in Manchester is most consistent with eye-witness statements).
  13. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 17).
  14. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 19)
  15. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 4) ("The words Latter-day Saints in the Church's name refer implicitly to the "saints" of former days when Christ called his disciples. Mormons think of themselves as "Saints" of the latter days, renewing the mission begun by Christ and his apostles at the beginning of the Christian era."); "Mormon, n. and adj.". Oxford English Dictionary. 2002. 
  16. ^ Bushman (2005, p. 122).
  17. ^ Brodie (1971, p. 97) (citing letter by Smith to Kirtland converts, quoted in Howe (1833, p. 111)).
  18. ^ Smith et al. (1835, p. 154); Bushman (2005, p. 162); Brodie (1971, p. 109).
  19. ^ 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).
  20. ^ 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).
  21. ^ Brodie (1971, pp. 141, 146–59); Bushman (2005, p. 322).
  22. ^ 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 pg.655 (from 1831 to 1838, church membership grew from 680 to 17,881).
  23. ^ The Kirtland Temple was viewed as the site of a new Pentacost. (Bushman 2005, pp. 310–19); (Brodie 1971, p. 178). Smith also published several new revelations during the Kirtland era.
  24. ^ 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.")
  25. ^ 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.")
  26. ^ Bushman (2005, pp. 357–364); Brodie (1971, pp. 227–30); Remini (2002, p. 134); Quinn (1994, pp. 97–98).
  27. ^ (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"). In 1976, Missouri issued a formal apology for this order (Bushman 2005, p. 398).
  28. ^ Bushman (2005, pp. 383–84).
  29. ^ Bushman (2005, p. 409); Brodie (1971, pp. 258, 264–65).
  30. ^ 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).
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ The name "stake" comes from a passage in Isaiah that compares Zion to a tent that will enlarge as new stakes are planted. Bushman (2008, p. 53); See Isaiah 33:20 and Isaiah 54:2.
  33. ^ Quinn 1980, pp. 120–122, 165; Bushman (2005, pp. 519–21) (describing the Council of Fifty noting that Smith prophesied "the entire overthrow of this nation in a few years," at which time his Kingdom of God would be prepared to take power)
  34. ^ 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 Joseph 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 1-56085-072-8 .) As the LDS historian Richard Bushman wrote in his authoritative biography, "At first, Joseph was reluctant to talk about his vision. Most early converts probably never heard about the 1820 vision." Bushman (2005, p. 39)
  35. ^ LDS Church (2010), Joseph Smith Home Page/Mission of the Prophet/First Vision: This Is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!,, retrieved 2010-04-29 ; 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.").
  36. ^ Encyclopedia of Latter-Day Saint History pg. 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, Joseph 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. "Legal Trials of Joseph Smith". Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  37. ^ 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 [Oct. 15, 1844]: 683
  38. ^ Quinn (1994, p. 143); Brodie (1971, p. 398).
  39. ^ Bushman (2005, pp. 556–57).
  40. ^ 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.
  41. ^ Quinn (1994, pp. 198–211).
  42. ^ 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 LDS' quest for religious freedom and growth." "Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail: History & Culture". 
  43. ^ Hunter, Milton (June 1939), "The Mormon Corridor", Pacific Historical Review (University of California Press) 8 (2): 179, 
  44. ^ The Mormon doctrine of plural wives was officially announced by one of the Twelve Apostles Orson Pratt and Smith's successor Brigham Young in a special conference of the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints assembled in the Mormon Tabernacle on 28 August 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. 14 September 1852. p. 14. . See also The 1850s: Official sanction in the LDS Church
  45. ^ See Tullidge, Edward, History of Salt Lake City, 132-35 (Original from the University of Michigan, 1886).
  46. ^ Bushman (2008, pp. 96–97) (calling the Mountain Meadows massacre the greatest tragedy in Mormon history)
  47. ^ To combat the notion that rank-and-file Mormons were unhappy under Young’s leadership, Cumming noted that he had offered to help any leave the territory who 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.
  48. ^ 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 0252069803,,M1 
  49. ^ a b Bushman (2008, p. 97)
  50. ^ Official Declaration — 1
  51. ^ 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. 
  52. ^ 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"
  53. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 105)
  54. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 106)
  55. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 53)
  56. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 103)
  57. ^ 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)
  58. ^ 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 nonmarital sexual behavior, the rise in abortion, illegitimacy, divorce, and child neglect or abuse, recreational drugs, crime, etc. Mauss (1994, p. 124)
  59. ^ "...[T]he church appears to have arrested, if not reversed, the erosion of distinctive Mormon ways that might have been anticipated in the 60's." 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)
  60. ^ Bushman (2008, pp. 40–41)
  61. ^ "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." Bushman (2008, p. 111)
  62. ^ a b Bushman (2008, pp. 111–112); See also: 1978 Revelation on Priesthood
  63. ^ "2010 Statistical Report for 2011 April General Conference". 
  64. ^ a b Bushman (2008, p. 47)
  65. ^ a b "For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God". LDS Church. 
  66. ^ 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)
  67. ^ Bushman (2008, pp. 35,52)
  68. ^ A full-time mission is looked upon as important character training for a young man. O'Dea (1957, p. 177)
  69. ^ "Doctrine & Covenants, Section 89". .
  70. ^ "Word of Wisdom". True to the Faith. 2004. pp. 186–88. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  71. ^ 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. Bushman (2008, p. 59); See also: The Family: A Proclamation to the World.
  72. ^ Bushman (2008, pp. 30&ndash31); Bushman (2008, p. 58)
  73. ^ "Topic: Abortion". 
  74. ^ "Dress and Appearance". For the Strength of the Youth. LDS Church. 2001. 
  75. ^ The LDS Church claims a membership of over 14 million ("2010 Statistical Report for 2011 April General Conference". ), while members of other Brigham Young –thinsp;lineage sects number in the tens of thousands. (Indeed, the Latter Day Saint – movement in its entirety is dominated by the LDS Church, which makes up perhaps 98% of such adherents. Note that one denomination dominates the non-Mormon section of the movement: 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.

  76. ^ Stack, Peggy Fletcher (September 23, 2011), Active, inactive – do Mormon labels work or wound?, Salt Lake Tribune, 
  77. ^ 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. 
  78. ^ Stack, Peggy Fletcher (July 26, 2005), Keeping members a challenge for LDS church, Salt Lake Tribune, 
  79. ^ "Activity in the Church". Encyclopedia of Mormonism. 1992. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  80. ^ Stan L. Albrecht (1998). "The Consequential Dimension of Mormon Religiosity". Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  81. ^ Approximately 6.1 million of the church's 14.1 million members live in the US. "2010 Worldwide Statistics". LDS Newsroom. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  82. ^ Daniel Reeves (2009). "The Global Distribution of Adventists and Mormons in 2007". Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  83. ^ a b Thomas W. Murphy (1996). "Reinventing Mormonism: Guatemala as Harbinger of the Future?". Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  84. ^ "USA–Utah". LDS Newsroom. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  85. ^ 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, p. 40,128)
  86. ^ A Portrait of Mormons in the U.S.: III. Social and Political Views, Pew Research Center, July 24, 2009, 
  87. ^ Newport, Frank (January 11, 2010), Mormons Most Conservative Major Religious Group in U.S.: Six out of 10 Mormons are politically conservative, Gallup poll, 
  88. ^ Pond, Allison (July 24, 2009), A Portrait of Mormons in the U.S, Pew Research Center, 
  89. ^ Mauss, Armand L. (2003), All Abraham's Children: Changing Mormon Conceptions of Race and Lineage, University of Illinois Press, pp. 213–215, ISBN 0252028031 
  90. ^ "1999-2000 Church Almanac", quoting Deseret News (Deseret News: Salt Lake City, UT): p. 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."
  91. ^ "The Church Continues to Grow in Africa". Genesis Group. [ ]
  92. ^ Newell G. Bringhurst, Darron T. Smith (Dec 13, 2005). Black and Mormon. University of Illinois Press. pp. 102–104. 
  93. ^ 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. 
  94. ^ "Resources for Individuals". Evergreen International. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  95. ^ 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 2007-12-20 
  96. ^ "". Retrieved October 27, 2011. 
  97. ^ Chris H (September 21, 2010). "Bringing back Liberal Mormonism". Main Street Plaza. Retrieved October 27, 2011. 
  98. ^ By Peggy Rogers (2010). "The Paradox of the Faithful Unbeliever". New Order Mormon. Retrieved October 27, 2011. 
  99. ^ Martha Sonntag Bradley, "Polygamy-Practicing Mormons" in J. Gordon Melton and Martin Baumann (eds.) (2002). Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia 3:1023–1024; Dateline NBC, 2001–01–02; 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.
  100. ^ 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. 
  101. ^ misterpoll. com/polls/16415/results "Exmormon survey". MisterPoll. com. misterpoll. com/polls/16415/results. ; William Lobdell (December 1, 2001). latimes. com/news/nationworld/nation/la-120101mormons "Losing Faith and Lots More". Los Angeles Times. latimes. com/news/nationworld/nation/la-120101mormons. 
  102. ^ "Authority of Scripture". Encyclopedia of Mormonism. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  103. ^ Bushman (2008, pp. 25–26)
  104. ^ "What Mormons Believe About Jesus Christ". LDS Newsroom. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  105. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 79).
  106. ^ a b "Plan of Salvation", True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference (LDS Church): p. 115, 2004,$fn=document-frame.htm$3.0#JD_36863Pla 
  107. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 75)
  108. ^ "Atonement of Jesus Christ", True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference (LDS Church): p. 14, 2004,$fn=document-frame.htm$3.0#JD_36863Ato 
  109. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 78)
  110. ^ "Ordinances", True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference (LDS Church): p. 109, 2004,$fn=document-frame.htm$3.0#JD_36863Ord 
  111. ^ Bushman (2008, pp. 60–61)
  112. ^ Missionary Department of the LDS Church (2004), Preach My Gospel, LDS Church, Inc, pp. 35, ISBN 0402366174, 
  113. ^ Talmage, James E. (1909), The Great Apostasy, The Deseret News, pp. 64–65, ISBN 0875798438, 
  114. ^ Richards, LeGrand (1976), A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, Deseret Book Company, pp. 24, ISBN 0877471614, 
  115. ^ Talmage, James E. (1909), The Great Apostasy, The Deseret News, pp. 68, ISBN 0875798438, 
  116. ^ Eyring, Henry B. (May 2008), "The True and Living Church", Ensign (LDS Church): 20–24, 
  117. ^ Cf. John 14:16-17 and 16:13, Acts 2:1-4, and Galatians 1:6-9.
  118. ^ "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, p. 316 
  119. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 54).
  120. ^ Bushman (2008, pp. 16–34)


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