The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Classification Latter Day Saint movement
Theology Nontrinitarian, Mormonism
Governance Hierarchical
Leader Thomas S. Monson
Geographical areas 176 nations/territories
Founder Joseph Smith, Jr.
Origin April 6, 1830
Western New York, U.S.
Separations LDS denominations
Congregations 28,660[i]
Members 14,131,467[i]
Missionaries 52,225[i]
Temples 134[i]
Aid organization LDS Humanitarian Services
Tertiary institutions 4[ii]
Other name(s) LDS Church, Mormon Church
Official website
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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the LDS Church or, colloquially, the Mormon Church) is the largest denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement, a Christian primitivist movement started by Joseph Smith during the American Second Great Awakening. The church is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has established congregations (called wards or branches) and built temples worldwide. With over 50,000 missionaries serving worldwide at any given time, the church currently claims a growing membership of over 14.1 million.[1] The church's predominant theology is Mormonism, the belief that the original doctrines and priesthood authority of Christ were restored.

Like other churches within the Latter Day Saint movement, the LDS Church considers itself to be a restoration of the early Christian Church started by Jesus Christ, which was later lost in the centuries after Christ in a Great Apostasy. Adherents, referred to as Latter-day Saints or, more informally, Mormons, view faith in Jesus Christ and the atonement as the central tenet of their religion.[2] LDS theology includes the Christian doctrine of salvation only through Jesus Christ,[3] 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:[4] 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 dictated by Joseph Smith and 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.

Under the doctrine of continuing revelation, Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus, under the direction of Heavenly Father, leads the church by revealing his will to its president, whom adherents regard as a modern-day "prophet, seer, and revelator." The current president is Thomas S. Monson. Individual members believe that they can also receive personal revelation from God in conducting their lives.[5] The president heads a hierarchical structure with various levels reaching down to local congregations. Bishops, drawn from the laity, lead local congregations. Worthy male members, after reaching age 12, may be ordained to the priesthood. Women do not hold positions within the priesthood but serve in an array of other leadership roles.[6]

Both men and women may serve as missionaries, and the church maintains a large missionary program which proselytizes and conducts humanitarian services worldwide. Faithful members adhere to laws regarding sexual purity, health, fasting, and Sabbath observance, and contribute 10 percent of their income to the church as a tithe. In addition, the church teaches sacred ordinances through which adherents make covenants with God, including baptism, confirmation, the sacrament (holy communion), and celestial marriage (marriage blessings which extend beyond mortality), which are of great significance to church members.[7]



The history of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is typically divided into three broad time periods: (1) the early history during the lifetime of Joseph Smith, Jr. which is in common with all Latter Day Saint movement churches, (2) a "pioneer era" under the leadership of Brigham Young and his 19th century successors, and (3) a modern era beginning around the turn of the 20th century as Utah achieved statehood.


Church members believe that Joseph Smith was called to be a modern-day prophet through, among other events, a visitation from God the Father and Jesus Christ.

He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.

Joseph Smith, Jr. (1838, describing an 1823 vision) [8]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints traces its current dispensation beginnings to Joseph Smith, Jr. on April 6, 1830 in Western New York.[9] Initial converts were drawn to the church in part because of the newly published Book of Mormon, a self-described chronicle of indigenous American prophets that Smith translated from golden plates.[10]

Smith intended to establish a New Jerusalem in North America, called Zion.[11] In 1831, the church moved to Kirtland, Ohio (the eastern boundary of Zion),[12] and began establishing an outpost in Jackson County, Missouri (Zion's "center place"),[13] where he planned to eventually move the church headquarters.[14] However, in 1833, Missouri settlers brutally expelled the Latter Day Saints from Jackson County,[15] and the church was unable via a paramilitary expedition to recover the land.[16] Nevertheless, the church flourished in Kirtland[17] as Smith published new revelations and the church built the Kirtland Temple as the site of what they viewed as a new Pentecost.[18] The Kirtland era ended in 1838, after a financial scandal rocked the church and caused widespread defections.[19] Smith regrouped with the remaining church in Far West, Missouri,[20] but tensions soon escalated into violent conflicts with the old Missouri settlers.[21] Believing the Saints to be in insurrection, the Missouri governor ordered that the Saints be "exterminated or driven from the State".[22] In 1839, the Saints converted a swampland on the banks of the Mississippi River into Nauvoo, Illinois, which became the church's new headquarters.[23]

Nauvoo grew rapidly as missionaries sent to Europe and elsewhere gained new converts who then flooded into Nauvoo.[24] Meanwhile, Smith introduced plural marriage to his closest associates.[25] He also established ceremonies, which he stated the Lord had revealed to him, to allow righteous people to become gods (joint heirs with Christ)[26][27] in the afterlife,[28] and a secular institution to govern the Millennial kingdom.[29] He also introduced the church to a full accounting of his First Vision, in which two heavenly "personages" (LDS interpret them to be God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ) appeared to him at age 14. Long after Smith's death, this vision would come to be regarded by the LDS Church as the most important event in human history after the resurrection of Jesus.[30]

On June 27, 1844, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were murdered by a mob in Carthage, Illinois,[31] while being held on charges of treason.[32] Because Hyrum was Joseph's successor,[33] their deaths caused a succession crisis,[34] and Brigham Young assumed leadership over the majority of Saints.[35] Young had been a close associate of Smith's and was senior apostle of the Quorum of the Twelve.[36] Other splinter groups, excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, followed other leaders in their own interpretation of the Latter Day Saint movement.[37]

Pioneer era

Brigham Young led the LDS Church from 1844 until his death in 1877.

For two years after Smith's death, conflicts escalated between Mormons and other Illinois residents. To prevent war,[38] Joseph Smith had predicted that the church would go to the West and be established in the tops of Rocky Mountains. Brigham Young fulfilled that prophecy and led his followers, the Mormon pioneers constituting most of the Latter Day Saint movement, to Nebraska and then in 1847 to what became the Utah Territory.[39] As groups (over 60,000) arrived over a period of years, LDS settlers branched out and colonized a large region now known as the Mormon Corridor.

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 sacred practice of plural marriage,[40] a form of polygamy.

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.[41] The Utah Mormon War ensued from 1857 to 1858, which resulted in the relatively peaceful[42] invasion of Utah by the United States Army, after which Young agreed to step down from power and be replaced by a non-Mormon territorial governor, Alfred Cumming.[43] Nevertheless, the LDS Church still wielded significant political power in the Utah Territory.[44]

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. In 1878, the United States Supreme Court, in Reynolds v. US, decreed that "religious duty" to engage in plural marriage was not a valid defense to prosecutions for violating state laws against polygamy. Conflict between Mormons and the U.S. government escalated to the point that in 1890, Congress disincorporated the LDS Church and seized all its assets. Soon thereafter, church president Wilford Woodruff issued a Manifesto that officially suspended the practice.[45] Although this Manifesto did not yet dissolve existing plural marriages, and did not entirely stop the practice of polygamy, relations with the United States markedly improved after 1890, such that Utah was admitted as a U.S. state. Relations further improved after 1904, when church president Joseph F. Smith again disavowed polygamy before the United States Congress and issued a "Second Manifesto" calling for all plural marriages in the church to cease, as they were already against church doctrine since Woodruff issued the Manifesto. Eventually, the church adopted a policy of excommunicating its members found practicing polygamy and today seeks to actively distance itself from “fundamentalist” groups still practicing polygamy.[46]

The Salt Lake Temple, which took 40 years to build, is one of the most iconic images of the church

Modern times

During the 20th century, the church grew substantially and became an international organization, due in part to the spread of missionaries around the globe. In 2000, the church reported 60,784 missionaries[47] and global church membership stood at just over 11 million.[47] Worldwide membership surpassed 13 million in 2007[48] and reached 14 million in July 2010,[49] with about six million of those within the United States.[50] The church cautions against overemphasis of growth statistics for comparison with other churches because relevant factors—including activity rates and death rates, methodology used in registering or counting members, what factors constitute membership, and geographical variations—are rarely accounted for in the comparisons.[51]

The church has become a stronger and more public champion of the nuclear family and at times played a prominent role in political matters, including opposition to MX Peacekeeper missile bases in Utah and Nevada,[52] opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment,[53] opposition to legalized gambling,[54] opposition to same-sex marriage,[55] and opposition to legalized physician-assisted death.[56] Apart from issues that it considers to be ones of morality, however, the church usually maintains a position of political neutrality, but encourages its members to be politically active, to participate in elections, and to be knowledgeable about current political and social issues within their communities, states, and countries.[57]

A number of official changes have taken place to the organization during the modern era. One significant change was the ordination of men of black African descent (regardless of actual skin color) to the priesthood in 1978, which reversed a policy originally instituted by Brigham Young in 1852.[58] There are also periodic changes in the structure and organization of the church, mainly to accommodate the organization's growth and increasing international presence. For example, since the early 1900s, the church has instituted a Priesthood Correlation Program to centralize church operations and bring them under a hierarchy of priesthood leaders. During the Great Depression, the church also began operating a church welfare system, and it has conducted numerous humanitarian efforts in cooperation with other religious organizations.

Teachings and practices

The written canon of the LDS Church is referred to as its Standard Works.

Sources of authority

The theology of the LDS Church consists of a combination of biblical doctrines with modern revelations and other commentary by LDS leaders, particularly Joseph Smith, Jr. The most authoritative sources of theology are the faith's canon of four religious texts, called the Standard Works. Included in the Standard Works are the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Among these books, the church holds in equal esteem as the other Standard Works the Book of Mormon, said by the church to be "Another Testament of Jesus Christ" that Joseph Smith translated from buried golden plates. The church characterizes the Book of Mormon as "the most correct of any book on earth and the keystone of [their] religion".[59]

The Bible, also part of the church's canon, is believed to be "the word of God as far as it is translated correctly".[60] Most often, the church uses the Authorized King James Version. Sometimes, however, parts of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible are considered authoritative. Some excerpts of Joseph Smith's translation have been included in the Pearl of Great Price, which also includes further translations by Smith and church historical items. Other historical items and revelations are found in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Another source of authoritative doctrine is the pronouncements of the current Apostles and members of the First Presidency. The church teaches that the First Presidency (the prophet and his counselors) and the Quorum of Twelve Apostles are prophets[61] and that their teachings are generally given under inspiration from God through the Holy Spirit. Members of the church acknowledge (sustain) them regularly as prophets, seers, and revelators—this is done publicly twice a year at the church's worldwide general conference broadcast.[61]

Distinctive doctrines and practices

A couple after their marriage in the Manti Utah Temple

Several doctrines and practices of the LDS Church are unique within Christianity. The Mormon cosmology and plan of salvation include the doctrines of pre-mortal life, three degrees of heaven, and exaltation. According to these doctrines every human spirit is a literal spirit child of God, and humans may achieve exaltation, which means that they may become gods and goddesses just as Jesus Christ is a God. Achieving this same status that Jesus achieved is also referred to as becoming a "joint-heir with Christ."[62] The doctrine of exaltation includes the reuniting of the mortal family after the resurrection and the ability to have spirit children in the afterlife.[63] To obtain this state of godhood, the church teaches that one must have faith in Jesus, keep the commandments and participate in a sequence of ceremonial covenants (called ordinances).[64][65]

The LDS sealing ceremony reflects a singular LDS view with respect to families. According to LDS Church theology, men and women may be sealed to each other so that their marital bond continues in the afterlife.[66] Children may also be sealed to their biological or adoptive parents to form permanent familial bonds.[67] The most significant LDS ordinances may be performed via proxy in behalf of those who have died. (See, e.g., baptism for the dead). The Church teaches that all will have the opportunity to hear and accept or reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the benefit of its sacraments, in this life or the next.

The LDS faithful observe a health code called the Word of Wisdom in which they abstain from the consumption of alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea, and tobacco. The Word of Wisdom also encourages the use of wholesome herbs and fruits within season, moderate consumptions of meats, and consumption of grains.[68] Their moral code includes a law of chastity that prohibits sexual relations outside of heterosexual marriage.

LDS faithfuls donate a 10 percent tithe on their income annually.

They also perform volunteer service in their local church. Moreover, all unmarried young men between 19–25 years old who are sufficiently healthy and many retired couples are encouraged to volunteer up to two years as a missionary to proselytize and/or provide humanitarian service. Unmarried women 21 years and older also may serve as missionaries for 18 months, but it is not considered their duty to do so as it is with the young men who are ordained elders.

Members are further instructed to set aside one night a week, typically Monday, for a Family Home Evening, where they gather together as a family to study gospel principles and participate in different activities.

Comparisons with mainstream Christianity

Latter-day Saints believe in the resurrection of Jesus, as depicted in this replica of Bertel Thorvaldsen's Christus statue located in the North Visitors' Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City

In addition to a belief in the Bible ("as far as it is translated correctly"),[69] the divinity of Jesus, and his atonement and resurrection, other LDS teachings are shared with other branches of Christianity. For example, LDS theology includes belief in the doctrine of salvation through Jesus alone, restorationism[70] (via a Restoration of Christ's church given through Joseph Smith, Jr.), millennialism, continuationism, penal substitution,[71] and a form of Apostolic succession. The practices of baptism by immersion and the Eucharist (referred to as the Sacrament) are also held in common. However, most mainstream Christian groups will not accept a prior LDS baptism as evidence of Christian initiation, as they will between themselves; for example, between Catholics and Baptists.[72]

Nevertheless, the LDS Church differs from the many other churches within Christianity, and many people do not accept the LDS Church as part of Christianity.[73] The faith itself views other modern Christian faiths as having departed from true Christianity[74] via a general apostasy and that it is a restoration of 1st century Christianity and the only true and authorized Christian church.[75] Differences between the LDS Church and most of traditional Christianity include disagreement with aspects of the Nicene Creed, belief in a unique theory of human salvation that includes three heavens (referred to as "degrees of glory"),[76] a doctrine of "exaltation" which includes the ability of humans to become gods and goddesses in the afterlife,[77] a dietary code called the Word of Wisdom, and unique sacramental ceremonies performed privately in LDS temples, such as the Endowment and sealing ceremonies.

Officially, major Christian denominations view the LDS Church as standing apart from creedal Christianity,[78] a point the LDS Church itself does not dispute.[79] From the perspective of Christians who agree with creeds, the most significant area of departure is the rejection by the LDS Church of certain parts of ecumenical creeds such as the Nicene Creed, which defines the predominant view of the Christian God as a Trinity of three separate persons with "one substance". LDS Church theology includes the belief in a "Godhead" composed of God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost as three separate Persons who share a unity of Purpose or Will; however, they are viewed as three distinct Beings making one Godhead. Other significant differences relate to the church's acceptance of additional scripture, doctrine, and practices beyond what is found in the Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox versions of the Bible.

Comparison with other Latter Day Saint movement faiths

Missionaries typically commit to 18-24 months of full-time service.

The LDS Church shares a common heritage with a number of smaller faith groups that are collectively called the Latter Day Saint movement. The largest of these smaller groups is the Community of Christ (previously known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), based in Independence, Missouri, followed by the Church of Jesus Christ, based in Monongahela, Pennsylvania. In common with the LDS Church, these faiths believe in Joseph Smith, Jr. as a prophet and founder of their religion. They also accept the Book of Mormon, and most, but not all, accept at least some version of the Doctrine and Covenants. However, they tend to disagree to varying degrees with the LDS Church on matters of doctrine and church leadership.

The main branches of the Latter Day Saint movement resulted from the crisis of succession upon the death of Joseph Smith, Jr. Other branches may be considered later off-shoots of the LDS Church branch, mainly as a result of disagreements about plural marriage. In the LDS Church, the practice of plural marriage was abandoned around the turn of the 20th century, but it has continued among the fundamentalist groups, who believe the practice is a requirement for exaltation. The LDS Church, by contrast, believes that a single celestial marriage is sufficient for exaltation. Fundamentalists also believe in a number of other doctrines taught and practiced by Brigham Young in the 19th century, which the LDS Church has either abandoned, repudiated, or put in abeyance; e.g., the church has long excommunicated any members caught practicing polygamy.

Church organization and structure

Name and legal entities

An LDS meetinghouse in Utah, USA

The church teaches that it is a continuation of the Church of Christ established in 1830 by Joseph Smith, Jr. This original church underwent several name changes during the 1830s, being called the Church of Jesus Christ, the Church of God,[80] and then in 1834, the name was officially changed to the Church of the Latter Day Saints.[81] In April 1838, the name was officially changed to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.[82] After Smith died, Brigham Young and the largest body of Smith's followers incorporated the LDS Church in 1851 by legislation of the State of Deseret[83] under the name The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which included a hyphenated "Latter-day" and a lower-case "d".[84] In 1887, the LDS Church was legally dissolved in the United States by the Edmunds–Tucker Act because of the church's practice (now abandoned) of polygamy. The Edmunds-Tucker Act was repealed in 1978. The church has continued to operate under what remains its formal name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Accepted informal names include the LDS Church, the Latter-day Saints, and the Mormons. The term Mormon Church is in common use,[85] but the church began discouraging its use in the late 20th century, though takes no issue with the term Mormon itself. The church requests that the official name be used when possible or, if necessary, shortened to "the Church" or "the Church of Jesus Christ".[86]

The church has organized several tax-exempt corporations to assist with the transfer of money and capital. These include the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, organized in 1916 under the laws of the state of Utah to acquire, hold, and dispose of real property. In 1923, the church incorporated the Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah to receive and manage money and church donations. In 1997, the church incorporated Intellectual Reserve, Inc. to hold all the church's copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property. The church also holds several non-tax-exempt corporations, such as Bonneville International and the Deseret News. See Finances of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Geographic distribution and membership

  Countries and territories with at least one LDS temple
  Countries and territories with no LDS temple, but with organized congregations and missionaries
  Countries and territories with no official LDS presence

Church congregations are organized geographically. Members are generally expected to attend the congregation with their assigned geographical area; however, some geographical areas also provide separate congregations for single adults or for speakers of alternate languages. For Sunday services, the church is grouped into either larger (~200 to ~400 people) congregations known as wards, or smaller congregations known as branches. Although the building may sometimes be referred to as a chapel, the room used as a chapel for religious services is actually only one component of the standard meetinghouse, of which the church maintains a virtual tour of a typical example and also an online meetinghouse locator which can be used to find the locations and meeting times of its congregations all over the world. Regional church organizations larger than single congregations include stakes, missions, districts, areas, and regions.

2007 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Survey[87] Mormons (U.S.) U.S. Avg.
Married 71% 54%
Divorced or separated 9% 12%
3 or more children at home 21% 9%
Weekly (or more) Attendance at Religious Services 76% 39%

The church reports a worldwide membership of over 14 million[88] with approximately 6.7 million residing outside the United States. According to these statistics it is the fourth largest religious body in the United States.[89] The church membership report includes all baptized members and their children. Although the church does not release attendance figures to the public, researchers estimate that actual attendance at weekly LDS worship services globally is around 4 million.[90] Members living in the U.S. and Canada constitute 46% of membership, Latin America 38%, and members in the rest of the world 16%.[91] A survey by the City College of New York in 2001 extrapolated that there were 2,787,000 self-identified LDS adults in the United States in 2001, 1.3% of the US population, making the LDS Church the 10th-largest religious body in their phone survey of over 50,000 households.[92] The 2007 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, found 1.7% of the U.S. adult population self identified themselves as Mormon.[87]

The Church continues to seek recognition in regions where they have typically had little or no influence. On August 30, 2010, Church leaders announced that they were making significant progress on "regularized operations for the Church in China."[93]

For a list of notable Latter-day Saints, see List of Latter Day Saints.

Priesthood hierarchy

Thomas S. Monson, President of the LDS Church since 2008.

The LDS Church is organized in a hierarchical priesthood structure administered by men. Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus leads the church through revelation and has chosen a single man, called "the Prophet" or President of the Church, as his spokesman on the earth. The current president is Thomas S. Monson. He and two counselors (who usually are ordained apostles) form the First Presidency, the presiding body of the church; twelve other apostles form the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.[94] When a president dies, his successor is invariably the most senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the one who has held an apostleship position the longest), who then reconstitutes a new First Presidency.[94] These men, and the other male members of the church-wide leadership (including the first two Quorums of Seventy and the Presiding Bishopric) are called general authorities. They exercise both ecclesiastical and administrative leadership over the church and direct the efforts of regional leaders down to the local level. General authorities and mission presidents work full-time and typically receive stipends from church funds or investments.[95]

At the local level, the church leadership are drawn from the laity and work on a part-time volunteer basis without stipend.[96] Like all members, they are asked to donate a tithe of 10 percent of their income to the church. An exception to that rule is for LDS missionaries who work at the local level and are paid basic living expenses from a fund that receives contributions from their home congregations; however, prospective missionaries are encouraged to contribute the cost of their missions to this fund themselves when possible. Members volunteer general custodial work for local church facilities.

Interior of the Conference Center where the church holds its semi-annual and annual General Conferences

All worthy males are generally considered for the priesthood and are ordained to the priesthood as early as age 12. Ordination occurs by a ceremony where hands are laid on the head of the one ordained. The priesthood is divided into an Aaronic priesthood for young men 12 and up and a Melchizedek Priesthood for men 18 and up.

Church programs and auxiliary organizations

Under the leadership of the priesthood hierarchy are five auxiliary organizations that fill various roles in the church: Relief Society (a women's organization),[97] the Young Men and Young Women organizations (for adolescents aged 12 to 18), Primary (an organization for children up to age 12), and Sunday School (which provides a variety of Sunday classes for adolescents and adults). The church also operates several programs and organizations in the fields of proselytizing, education, and church welfare such as LDS Humanitarian Services. Many of these auxiliaries and programs are coordinated by the Priesthood Correlation Program, which is designed to provide a systematic approach to maintain worldwide consistency, orthodoxy, and control of the church's ordinances, doctrines, organizations, meetings, materials, and other programs and activities.

The carillon tower at Brigham Young University, one of several educational institutions sponsored by the church

The LDS Church operates a large missionary program. Some members of the church are encouraged to serve as missionaries either full-time, part-time, over the internet, or as "service missionaries" in one of hundreds of missions throughout the world. All missionaries serve on a volunteer basis, and their expenses are paid by savings of the missionaries themselves, their families, their local congregations, and in some cases from a general church fund.[98] Missionaries include young single men between 19 and 25 (who serve two year missions), single women over the age of 21 (who serve 18-month missions), and mature couples who are generally retired (who serve terms ranging from three to 36 months[99]). Young single men are strongly encouraged and expected to serve a mission; women and couples are encouraged but not expected to serve missions. Missionaries generally have no input on what part of the world they serve their missions, and if necessary, the church will teach them a new language. Missionaries are held to high standards of personal worthiness, which is determined by interviews by ecclesiastical leaders about how well the missionary has followed church standards such as the Word of Wisdom (not consuming alcohol, tobacco, coffee, or tea) and the law of chastity (abstaining from pre- or extra-marital sex). During their missions missionaries are rarely allowed to contact their parents by phone though they are actively encouraged to communicate with their families and friends through weekly emails or letters. The missionaries are typically only permitted to talk to their families on the telephone on Mother's Day and Christmas though special circumstances sometimes call for temporary individual adaptations to this rule. They are assigned one companion of the same sex, who is also a missionary. They have a strict schedule which allows one day per week to sightsee and do chores, such as laundry and grocery shopping.[100]

The church operates a Church Educational System which includes Brigham Young University, Brigham Young University–Idaho (formerly Ricks College), Brigham Young University–Hawaii, and LDS Business College. The church also operates Institutes of Religion and an LDS Student Association near the campuses of many colleges and universities. For high-school aged youth, the church operates a four-year Seminary program, which provides religious classes for students to supplement their secular education. The church also sponsors a low-interest educational loan program known as the Perpetual Education Fund, which provides educational opportunities to students from developing nations.

The church's Family History Library is the world's largest library dedicated to genealogical research

The church's welfare system, initiated during the Great Depression, provides aid to the poor. It is financed by fast offerings: monthly donations beyond the normal 10 percent tithe, which represents the cost of foregoing two meals on monthly Fast Sundays. Money from the program is used to operate Bishop's storehouses, which package and store food at low cost. Distribution of funds and food is administered by local bishops (congregational pastors). The church also distributes money through its LDS Philanthropies division to disaster victims worldwide.

Other church programs and departments include LDS Family Services, which provides assistance with adoption, marital and family counseling, psychotherapy, and addiction counseling; the LDS Church History Department, which collects church history and records; and the Family History Department, which administers the church's large family history efforts and operates the world's largest library dedicated to genealogical research.[101] The church is also a major sponsor of Scouting programs for boys, particularly in the United States, where it provides more members of the Boy Scouts of America than any other church.[102]


Although the church has not released church-wide financial statements since 1959, in 1997, Time magazine called it one of the world's wealthiest churches per capita.[103] In a June 2011 cover story, Newsweek magazine stated that the LDS church "resembles a sanctified multinational corporation—the General Electric of American religion, with global ambitions and an estimated net worth of $30 billion."[104] Its for-profit, non-profit, and educational subsidiary entities are audited by an independent accounting firm: as of 2007, Deloitte & Touche.[105][106] In addition, the church employs an independent audit department that provides its certification at each annual general conference that church contributions are collected and spent in accordance with church policy.[107]

The church receives significant funds from tithes (ten percent of a member's income) and fast offerings (money given to the church to assist individuals in need). According to the church, tithing and fast offering moneys collected are devoted to ecclesiastical purposes and not used in for-profit ventures.

The church has also invested in for-profit business and real estate ventures such as Bonneville International, Deseret Book Company, and cattle ranches in Utah, Florida, Nebraska, Canada and other locations. However, these ranches are split between Church Welfare Work (Bishops' Storehouse and Welfare Square) for which funds are used from tithing and are not for profit.


Due to the differences in lifestyle promoted by church doctrine and history, a distinct culture has grown up around members of the church. It is primarily concentrated in the Intermountain West, but as membership of the church spreads around the world, many of its more distinctive practices follow, such as adhering to the Word of Wisdom, a health law or code,[108] similar to Leviticus chapter 11 in the Bible, prohibiting the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, coffee and tea, and other addictive substances.[109] As a result of the Word of Wisdom, the culture in areas of the world with a high concentration of LDS tends to be reflected.[110][111]

Meetings and outreach programs are held regularly and have become part of Latter-day Saint culture.

Home and family

In 1995, the church presidency issued "The Family: A Proclamation to the World", which stresses the importance of the family. The presidency proclaimed that "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children." The document further explains that "gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose," that the father and mother have differing but equal roles in raising children, and that successful marriages and families, founded upon the teachings of Jesus Christ, can last eternally.[112] This document is widely cited by LDS members as a statement of principle.[113]

The adult women (members of the church's Relief Society) generally meet quarterly for additional instruction and service. The meetings may consist of a service project, conferences, or of various classes being offered.

After interviewing and polling thousands of youth across America, evangelical statistician Christian Smith writes, "... in general comparisons among major U.S. religious traditions using a variety of sociological measures of religious vitality and salience... it is Mormon teenagers who are sociologically faring the best."[114]

Social events and gatherings

A typical meetinghouse of the church

In addition to these regularly scheduled meetings, additional meetings are frequently held at the meetinghouse. Auxiliary officers may conduct leadership meetings or host training sessions and classes. The ward or branch community may schedule social activities at the meetinghouse, including dances, dinners, holiday parties and musical presentations. The church's Young Men's and Young Women's organizations (formerly known as the Mutual Improvement Association - MIA, or simply "Mutual") meet at the meetinghouse once a week, where the youth participate in activities and work on Duty to God, Scouting, or Personal Progress. Other popular activities are basketball, family history conferences, youth and singles conferences, dances, and various personal improvement classes. Church members may also reserve the building at no cost for weddings, receptions, and funerals.

Media and arts

No question the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is "having a moment" ... The Twilight vampire novels of Mormon Stephenie Meyer sell tens of millions of copies, Mormon convert Glenn Beck inspires daily devotion and outrage with his radio show, and HBO generated lots of attention with the Big Love finale. Even Broadway has gotten in on the act, giving us The Book of Mormon, a big-budget musical about Mormon missionaries by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q writer Robert Lopez that, with 14 nominations, is expected to clean up at the (2011) Tony Awards on June 12.
Newsweek magazine, June 2011[104]

The culture has created substantial business opportunities for independent LDS media. Such communities include cinema, fiction, websites, and graphical art like photography and paintings. The church owns a chain of bookstores called Deseret Book, which provide a channel through which publications are sold. Titles including The Work and the Glory and The Other Side of Heaven have found acceptance both within and outside the church; BYU TV, the church-sponsored television station, also airs on several networks. The church also produces six pageants annually depicting various events of the primitive and modern-day church. Its Easter pageant Jesus the Christ has been identified as the "largest annual outdoor Easter pageant in the world."[115]

Current U.S. politics

Politically there are 15 Mormons in the current 112th United States Congress.[116] This includes six U.S. Senators: Harry Reid (D-Nevada), Dean Heller (R-Nevada), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Tom Udall (D-New Mexico); and nine U.S. Representatives: Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), Wally Herger (R-California), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Buck McKeon (R-California), Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), and Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa).[116] There is one Mormon State Governor, Gary Herbert of Utah.[116] Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, Jr. are both Mormon, and are vying for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination.[117]

Officially, the current position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that they will take no partisan role in politics. This means a hands-off approach to candidate races like those of Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman, Jr. While the church takes an apolitical approach to the candidates themselves, it still actively works to counter anti-Mormonism that may come up during political campaigns. According to Michael Otterson, the LDS Church's managing director for public affairs, "We now have two Latter-day Saints running, and the potential for misunderstanding or missteps is therefore twice what it was before."[118] However, the official church stance on staying out of politics does not include what church leaders feel are moral issues, and it has not been hesitant to endorse such political stances.

Humanitarian services

U.S. Navy sailors moving LDS Church-donated humanitarian supplies to Beirut, Lebanon, in 2006

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is widely known for its worldwide humanitarian services. The church's extensive welfare system, LDS Philanthropies, is a branch of the Presiding Bishopric. Initiated during the Great Depression, it provides aid for the poor, financed by donations in the form of tithes from church members. It is responsible for philanthropic donations to the LDS Church and other affiliated charities, such as the Church History Library, Brigham Young University and the Church Educational System, the Polynesian Cultural Center, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and efforts dedicated to providing funds for LDS missionaries and temple construction.[119] Money from the program is also used to operate bishop's storehouses, which package and store food for the poor at low cost. Distribution of funds and food is administered by local bishops. These local storehouses distribute commodities to the needy as requested by local bishops on a "Bishop's Order for Commodities" form (referred to as a bishop's order). Bishop's storehouses also provide service opportunities for those receiving assistance and for those desiring to serve missions or to volunteer in the church's welfare program. The day-to-day operations of the storehouses are run by elder missionaries as store managers.[120]

The church also distributes money through its Humanitarian Services division to natural disaster victims worldwide.[121] The church's Humanitarian Center, established in 1991, prepares emergency relief supplies for shipment worldwide to disaster victims, and offers service opportunities to both church members and non-members. The emergency relief supplies that the church donates typically include clothing, personal care kits, and medical supplies. According to the LDS Humanitarian Center website, it ships about 12 million pounds of shoes and clothing, 1 million hygiene kits, and 1 million pounds of medical supplies per year, to relieve suffering in more than 100 countries.[122] The church has been involved in providing relief aid for victims of disasters such as Hurricane Katrina,[123][124][125] the 2010 Haiti earthquake,[126] the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake,[127] and the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami,[128] and in 2005 partnered with Catholic Relief Services to provide aid for struggling families and individuals in Niger.[129] The church has also partnered with Islamic Relief to help victims of flooding in Pakistan.[130]

Controversy and criticism

The church has been subject to criticism and sometimes discrimination since its early years in New York and Pennsylvania. In the late 1820s, criticism centered around the claim by Joseph Smith, Jr. to have been led to a set of golden plates from which the Book of Mormon was reputedly translated.

In the 1830s, the greatest criticism was for Smith's handling of a banking failure in Kirtland, Ohio, and the LDS Church's political and military power in Missouri, culminating in the 1838 Mormon War. In the 1840s, criticism of the church centered on the church's theocratic aspirations in Nauvoo, Illinois. Criticism of the practice of plural marriage and other doctrines taught by Smith appeared in the Nauvoo Expositor, which led to a series of events culminating in Smith's murder in 1844.

Protesters in front of the Newport Beach California Temple voicing their opposition to the church's support of Prop 8

As the church began openly practicing plural marriage under Brigham Young during the second half of the 19th century, the church became the target of nation-wide criticism for that practice (which was banned by the church in 1890), as well as for the church's theocratic aspirations in the Utah Territory. Beginning in 1857, the church also came under significant media criticism after the Mountain Meadows massacre in southern Utah.

Academic critics have questioned the legitimacy of Smith as a prophet as well as the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham. Criticism has expanded to include claims of historical revisionism, homophobia, racism, and sexist policies. Notable 20th-century critics include Jerald and Sandra Tanner and Fawn Brodie. Evangelical Christians continue to argue that Smith was either fraudulent or delusional. Mormon apologetics organizations, such as the Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research (FAIR) and the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), have been founded to counter these criticisms. Most of the apologetic work focuses on providing and discussing evidence supporting the claims of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and much of it features criticism of the perceived lack of honesty when it comes to the scholarship of non-Mormon critics. Scholars and authors such as Hugh Nibley, Daniel C. Peterson, Jeff Lindsay, Orson Scott Card, and James E. Talmage are well-known apologists both within and without the church.

In recent years, the Internet has provided a new forum for proponents and critics of Mormonism.[131] The church's support in 2008 of California's Proposition 8 sparked heated debate and protest by gay-rights organizations and others.[132][133][134] While the church remains opposed to same-sex marriage, it has come out in support of certain protections for members of the LGBT community in Salt Lake City, Utah.[135]

Due to differences in doctrines, the LDS Church is generally considered to be distinct from historical Christianity by Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches, which express differences from one another as well.[136][137] Many have accused the LDS Church of not being a Christian church at all as a result of disagreements with Apostolic succession and the "Great Apostasy," the Nicene Creed and more so, Mormon cosmology and its plan of salvation including the doctrines of pre-mortal life, baptism for the dead, three degrees of heaven, and exaltation, the last of which allows for the belief that humans may become gods and goddesses achieving the same status that Jesus achieved, which is also referred to as becoming a "joint-heir with Christ."[138]

See also

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  1. ^ "2010 Statistical Report for 2011 April General Conference". 
  2. ^ Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (1976), 121 ("The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it."). Thomas S. Monson, “The Way of the Master,” Ensign, Jan 2003, 2–7.
  3. ^ "For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ." Book of Mormon; Mosiah 3:12
  4. ^ Articles of Faith 1:8
  5. ^ "Perhaps the puzzle some feel can be explained by the reality that each of us has two different channels to God. We have a channel of governance through our prophet and other leaders. This channel, which has to do with doctrine, ordinances, and commandments, results in obedience. We also have a channel of personal testimony, which is direct to God. This has to do with His existence, our relationship to Him, and the truth of His restored gospel. This channel results in knowledge." Elder Dallin H. Oaks Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, April 2008 LDS General Conference, Elder Dallin H. Oaks. "Testimony".,5232,23-1-851-10,00.html. 
  6. ^ Ballard, M. Russell (October 2007), "Faith, Family, Facts, and Fruits", Conference report (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints),,5232,23-1-775-9,00.html, retrieved September 28, 2009 
  7. ^ Dennis B. Neuenschwander (October 27, 2000). "Ordinances and Covenants". Liahona. 
  8. ^ Scriptures, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,, retrieved 2007-12-25 : "On September 22, 1827, an angel named Moroni—the last Book of Mormon prophet—delivered these records to the Prophet Joseph Smith." Angel Moroni Statue Displayed in Massachusetts, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2001,, retrieved 2007-12-25 .
  9. ^ Scholars and eye-witnesses disagree 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). The LDS Church officially favors organization in Fayette. Lloyd, R. Scott (22 May 2009), "'Major discovery' discussed at Mormon History Association Conference", Church News of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church),, retrieved 2009-05-22 
  10. ^ Book of Mormon, Introduction.
  11. ^ Bushman (2005, p. 122); LDS D&C 57:1-3 (revelation dated July 20, 1931, stating that "the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at [Jackson County, Missouri], even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation").
  12. ^ Brodie (1971, p. 97) (citing letter by Smith to Kirtland converts, quoted in Howe (1833, p. 111)). In 1834, Smith designated Kirtland as one of the "stakes" of Zion, referring to the tent–stakes metaphor of Isaiah 54:2.
  13. ^ Smith et al. (1835, p. 154); Bushman (2005, p. 162); Brodie (1971, p. 109).
  14. ^ 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).
  15. ^ 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).
  16. ^ Brodie (1971, pp. 141, 146–59); Bushman (2005, p. 322).
  17. ^ 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).
  18. ^ (Bushman 2005, pp. 310–19); (Brodie 1971, p. 178).
  19. ^ 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.")
  20. ^ 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.")
  21. ^ Bushman (2005, pp. 357–364); Brodie (1971, pp. 227–30); Remini (2002, p. 134); Quinn (1994, pp. 97–98).
  22. ^ (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 unconstitutional order (Bushman 2005, p. 398).
  23. ^ Bushman (2005, pp. 383–84).
  24. ^ Bushman (2005, p. 409); Brodie (1971, pp. 258, 264–65).
  25. ^ Brodie (1971, pp. 334–36); Bushman (2005, pp. 437, 644).
  26. ^ D&C 132 18-20, LDS Church,, retrieved 2010-05-08 
  27. ^ The Lord’s Plan for Men and Women, LDS Church,, retrieved 2010-05-09 
  28. ^ Widmer (2000, p. 119) (Smith echoed the words of Paul that faithful saints may become co-heirs with Jesus Romans 8:17); Roberts (1909, pp. 502–03); Bushman (2005, pp. 497–98) (the second anointing provided a conditional guarantee that those persons who were pure and faithful would be exalted, even if they sinned, if they were sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise).
  29. ^ Quinn (1994, pp. 120–22); 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 the Kingdom of God would be prepared to lead)
  30. ^ 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.").
  31. ^ Encyclopedia of Latter-Day Saint History pg. 824. Brodie (1971, pp. 393–94); Bushman (2005).
  32. ^ 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
  33. ^ 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
  34. ^ Quinn (1994, p. 143); Brodie (1971, p. 398).
  35. ^ Bushman (2005, pp. 556–57).
  36. ^ Smith's position as Prophet and President of the Church was originally left vacant, but later filled when the apostles could regroup based on the restored principle that the most senior apostle would always be the next President of the Church. As a result 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.
  37. ^ Quinn (1994, pp. 198–211).
  38. ^ 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." "Official House Resolution HR0793 (LRB093 21726 KEF 49525 r), Illinois General Assembly, April 1, 2004
  39. ^ "Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail: History & Culture", U.S. National Park Service. "The great Mormon migration of 1846–1847 was but one step in the LDS' quest for religious freedom and growth."
  40. ^ 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 Only a small percentage of church leaders participated in plural marriage believing it was a part of a restitution of ancient Priesthood blessings and a commandment of god to raise up a righteous generation. At the time, it was not an illegal practice in the United States."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 28th, 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
  41. ^ See Tullidge, Edward, History of Salt Lake City, 132-35 (Original from the University of Michigan, 1886).
  42. ^ The most notable instance of violence during this war was the tragic Mountain Meadows massacre, in which leaders of a local Mormon militia, contrary to top church leaders orders, ordered the massacre of a civilian emigrant party who had the misfortune of traveling through Utah during the escalating military tensions. The Mormons feared the mobs which murdered their families at the Haun's mill massacre and other illegal thefts of land, and murders which had plagued them back east.
  43. ^ 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.
  44. ^ 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 
  45. ^ Official Declaration — 1
  46. ^ In 1998 President Gordon B. Hinckley stated,

    “If any of our members are found to be practicing plural marriage, they are excommunicated, the most serious penalty the Church can impose. Not only are those so involved in direct violation of the civil law, they are in violation of the law of this Church.” Gordon B. Hinckley, "What Are People Asking About Us?" Ensign, November 1998, 70

  47. ^ a b “Statistical Report, 2000,” Ensign, May 2001, 22
  48. ^ Deseret Morning News 2008 Church Almanac pg. 655
  49. ^ Michael De Groote, "14 million Mormons and counting", Deseret News, 2011-01-23.
  50. ^ Peggy Fletcher Stack, "LDS Church ramps up on global stage", Salt Lake Tribune, 2010-09-14.
  51. ^ Basic Facts about the Church: Church Membership,
  52. ^First Presidency Statement on Basing of MX Missile”, Ensign, June 1981, 76.
  53. ^ “The Church and the Proposed Equal Rights Amendment: A Moral Issue”, Ensign, March 1980, insert.
  54. ^ “Church’s Stand against Gambling", Ensign, March 1992, 74.
  55. ^ "Same-Gender Attraction" (Press release). 2005-05-26. Retrieved March 2007. 
  56. ^ "Euthanasia and Prolonging Life" (Press release). Retrieved March 2007. 
  57. ^ "Political Neutrality" (Press release). 2006-10-19. Retrieved March 2007. ; see also, "No Thumbs Up or Down To Legislature", Retrieved May 2007.
  58. ^ Bush & Mauss 1984: 70
  59. ^ History of the Church, 4:461.
  60. ^ See Articles of Faith 1:8 ("We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.")
  61. ^ a b "The Sustaining of Church Officers: Presented by President Henry B. Eyring". Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 2 October 2009.,5232,49-1-1117-8,00.html. Retrieved 12 January 2009.  See paragraph 7; "It is proposed that we sustain the counselors in the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators." See also Search "The Sustaining of Church Officers" for past sustaining
  62. ^ "Godhood," Encyclopedia of Mormonism, p. 554, "Those who achieve this state of perfection will become joint-heirs with Christ."
  63. ^ LDS Church (1997), Gospel Principles, Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church,  (listing among the "blessings given to exalted people" that "they will become gods,… and will be able to have spirit children…."); Carter, K. Codell (1992), "Godhood", in Ludlow, Daniel H., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Mcmillan, pp. 553–55, ISBN 0-02-904040-X,,3734  (p. 553: "all resurrected and perfected mortals become gods"; p. 554: "Latter-day Saints believe that those who become gods will have the opportunity to…add[] further offspring to the eternal family").
  64. ^ Pope, Margaret McConkie (1992), "Exaltation", in Ludlow, Daniel H., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Macmillan, p. 479, ISBN 0-02-904040-X,,3667  ("All Church ordinances lead to exaltation, and the essential crowning ordinances are the Endowment and the eternal marriage covenant of the temple.").
  65. ^ LDS Church (2006), Church Handbook of Instructions: Book 1, Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics, Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church, p. 80 .
  66. ^ A man may be sealed to more than one wife if his previous wives are either dead or legally divorced from him; a living woman, however, may only be sealed to one husband. See LDS Church (2006), Church Handbook of Instructions, Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church, p. 85 . Thus, there is a common view within the LDS Church that though prohibited by the LDS Church in mortality, plural marriage will exist in the afterlife. See, e.g., Penrose, Charles W. (1897), Mormon Doctrine Plain and Simple, or Leaves from the Tree of Life, Salt Lake City, UT, p. 66  ("In the case of a man marrying a wife in the everlasting covenant who dies while he continues in the flesh and marries another by the same divine law, each wife will come forth in her order and enter with him into his glory."); Smith, Joseph Fielding (1954-56), McConkie, Bruce R., ed., Doctrines of Salvation: Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith, 2, Bookcraft, p. 2  (stating of his deceased wives: "my wives will be mine forever").
  67. ^ See Hyer, Paul V. (1992), "Sealing: Temple Sealings", in Ludlow, Daniel H., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Mcmillan, pp. 12891290, ISBN 0-02-904040-X,,4177 ; Thomas, Ryan L. (1992), "Adoption of Children", in Ludlow, Daniel H., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Mcmillan, pp. 20–21, ISBN 0-02-904040-X,,5451 . Children born to biological parents who have been sealed to each other are considered "born in the covenant" and need not be sealed to their parents. See Cottrell, Ralph L. (1992), "Born in the Covenant", in Ludlow, Daniel H., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Macmillan, p. 218, ISBN 0-02-904040-X,,5557 .
  68. ^ "The Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - section 89 HE". Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  69. ^ Adherents believe in the Bible "as far as it is translated correctly" See Articles of Faith 1:8.
  70. ^ Articles of Faith 1:6.
  71. ^ Book of Mormon, Alma 34:8-16.
  72. ^ Fr. Luis Ladaria, S.J.. "The Question of the Validity of Baptism Conferred in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints". Retrieved 01Nov2010. 
  73. ^ For example, a 2007 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 31% of Americans surveyed do not consider Mormons to be Christian. See Public Expresses Mixed Views of Islam, Mormonism.
  74. ^ Smith, Joseph, Jr. (March 1, 1842), "Church History [Wentworth Letter"], Times and Seasons 3 (9): 706–10,  (traditional Christian denominations "were believing in incorrect doctrines, and that none of them was acknowledged of God as His church and kingdom"). Smith, Joseph, Jr. (April 1, 1842), "History of Joseph Smith", Times and Seasons 3 (11): 748–49,  Stating that Jesus told Smith that all existing Christian creeds "were an abomination in his sight."
  75. ^ D&C 1:30 (LDS Church is the "only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth").
  76. ^ Spencer W. Kimball, “An Eternal Hope in Christ,” Ensign, Nov 1978, 71 ("Then he taught and testified that even as Christ is risen from the dead, so will all men come forth from the grave; each will then be judged according to his works, and each will receive his appointed place in the mansions which are prepared. In that resurrected state, Paul said, there are “celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial, and bodies telestial; but the glory of the celestial, one; and the terrestrial, another; and the telestial, another” (JST, 1 Cor. 15:40).").
  77. ^ Carter, K. Codell (1992), "Godhood", in Ludlow, Daniel H., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Macmillan, pp. 553–55, ISBN 0-02-904040-X,,3734  ("The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that all resurrected and perfected mortals become gods.").
  78. ^ See, for example, Presbyterians and Latter-day Saints,, retrieved 2007-01-30  (Presbyterian Church USA, stating that "Mormonism is a new and emerging religious tradition distinct from the historic apostolic tradition of the Christian Church"); Should Lutherans Rebaptize Former Mormons Who Are Joining the Congregation?,, retrieved 2006-08-15  (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, stating that LDS Church doctrine regarding the Trinity is "substantially different from that of orthodox, creedal Christianity."; General Conference 2000 806-NonDis,, retrieved 2006-08-15  (United Methodist Church, stating that the LDS Church, "by self-definition, does not fit within the bounds of the historic, apostolic tradition of Christian faith".).
  79. ^ According to Joseph Smith, Jr., Jesus told him that the Christian creeds "were an abomination in his sight; that those professors [of religion] were all corrupt". Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith—History 1:19.
  80. ^ Roberts, B. H (1905), History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 3, Deseret News, pp. 23, 24, 
  81. ^ Smith, Joseph, Jr.; Williams, Frederick G.; Cowdery, Oliver (1834), "Minutes of a Conference of the Elders of the Church of Christ, May 3, 1834", The Evening and the Morning Star 2 (20): 160, 
  82. ^ Smith, Joseph, Jr (August 1838), "Special Collections", Elders' Journal of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 1 (4): 52, , Manuscript History of the Church, book A-1, LDS Church Archives, 1838, p. 37 , reproduced in Jessee, Dean C., ed. (1989), The Papers of Joseph Smith: Autobiographical and Historical Writings, 1, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, pp. 302–303 . Inventing Mormonism: Tradition and the Historical Record, Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1994, p. 160 .
  83. ^ The initial incorporation by the non-existent State of Deseret "(1851) Laws and Ordinances of the State of Deseret (Utah) Compilation 1851".  was not legally valid, but was soon ratified by the Utah Territory in 1851 "(1851) Acts Resolutions and Memorials Passed by the First Annual and Special Sessions of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Utah, 1851".  and 1855. See Late Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. Romney, 136 U.S. 44–45 (1890).
  84. ^ "State of Deseret: An Ordinance, incorporating the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". February 4, 1851. .
  85. ^ The Associated Press continues to says that "Mormon Church" is a proper second reference in its Style Guide for journalists. "?". [dead link]
  86. ^ "Style Guide" (Press release). 2009-03-24. Retrieved March 2009. 
  87. ^ a b Portrait of Mormons in the U.S., Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, July 24, 2009
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