The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
, sometimes referred to as the LDS Church
or the Mormon Church
, describes itself as the restoration
of the original church established by Jesus Christ
. It claims to be a Christian
church, but separate from the Catholic
The church teaches that God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith, Jr. and called him to be a prophet and to restore the original church as established by Jesus Christ through a restoration of elements that had been missing from Christianity since the early days of Christianity due to apostasy. This restoration included the return of priesthood authority, new sacred texts, and the calling of twelve apostles. The Church was organized under the leadership of Joseph Smith in Fayette, New York, on April 6, 1830, following his translation of the Book of Mormon from which adherents—also called Latter-day Saints—get their nickname Mormons.
Joseph Smith led the church until his violent death in 1844. After a period of confusion where the church was led by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and various claims of succession were made, Brigham Young led a group of Mormon pioneers away from the former church headquarters in Nauvoo, Illinois, and eventually to the Salt Lake Valley of Utah in July 1847. Brigham Young was sustained as President of the church at General Conference in December 1847.
Now an international organization, the church has its world headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah where Thomas Monson serves as its sixteenth President. The church sends tens of thousands of missionaries throughout the world, and in 2005 reported a worldwide membership of over 12.5 million.