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The Latter Day Saint movement

Portrait of Joseph Smith, Jr
An 1842 portrait of Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement

The Latter Day Saint movement (also called the LDS movement, LDS restorationist movement, or Smith–Rigdon movement) is the collection of independent church groups that trace their origins to a Christian Restorationist movement founded by Joseph Smith in the late 1820s.

Collectively, these churches have over 16 million members, although the vast majority of these—about 98%—belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The predominant theology of the churches in the movement is Mormonism, which sees itself as restoring the early Christian church with additional revelations.

A minority of Latter Day Saint adherents, such as members of Community of Christ, believe in traditional Protestant theology, and have distanced themselves from some of the distinctive doctrines of the LDS Church. Other groups include the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which supports lineal succession of leadership from Smith's descendants, and the more controversial Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which defends the practice of polygamy.

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The Salt Lake Temple, operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the best-known Mormon temple. Located in Salt Lake City, Utah, it is the centerpiece of the 10 acre (40,000 m2) Temple Square.

In the Latter Day Saint movement, a temple is a building dedicated to be a house of God and is reserved for special forms of worship. A temple differs from a church meetinghouse, which is used for weekly worship services. Temples have been a significant part of the Latter Day Saint movement since early in its inception. Today, temples are operated by several Latter Day Saint denominations. The most prolific builder of temples of the Latter Day Saint movement is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). There are 166 dedicated temples (157 currently open; and 9 previously dedicated, but closed for renovation), 14 under construction, and 37 announced (not yet under construction), for a total of 217. Several other variations of the church have built or attempted to build temples. The Community of Christ operates two temples in the United States, which are open to the public and are used for worship services, performances, and religious education. Other denominations with temples are the Apostolic United Brethren, the Church of Christ, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Righteous Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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CarthageJail1885.jpg
An etching of the Carthage, Illinois jail, circa 1885. This was the location of the Death of Joseph Smith on June 27, 1844

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The Nauvoo Temple was the second temple constructed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The church's first temple was completed in Kirtland, Ohio, United States, in 1836. When the main body of the church was forced out of Nauvoo, Illinois, in the winter of 1846, the church attempted to sell the building, finally succeeding in 1848. The building was damaged by fire and a tornado before being demolished.

In 1937, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) reacquired the lot on which the original temple had stood. In 2000, the church began to build a temple on the original site whose exterior is a replica of the first temple, but whose interior is laid out like a modern Latter-day Saint temple. On June 27, 2002, a date that coincided with the 158th anniversary of the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, the temple was dedicated by the LDS Church as the Nauvoo Illinois Temple. Read more...

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The Community of Christ, known from 1872 to 2001 as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), is an American-based international church, and is the second-largest denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement. The church reports 250,000 members in 1,100 congregations in 59 countries. The church traces its origins to Joseph Smith's establishment of the Church of Christ on April 6, 1830. A group of members including his eldest son Joseph Smith III formally established the current church on April 6, 1860 in the aftermath of the 1844 death of Joseph Smith.

The Community of Christ was founded as a Restorationist church, although today attitudes are largely congruent with mainline Protestant Christianity. While it generally rejects the term Mormon to describe its members, the church abides by a number of theological distinctions unique to Mormonism, including but not limited to: prophetic revelation, a priesthood polity, the use of the Book of Mormon in some contexts, and belief in an interpretation of the Word of Wisdom. In many respects, the church differs from the larger Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and most other Latter Day Saint denominations in its religious liberalism, belief in the traditional conception of the trinity (as opposed to a godhead of three separate and distinct beings), and rejection of exaltation and the plan of salvation. Salvation is considered a personal matter and not subject to dogma, but salvation by grace alone is emphasized. The church considers itself to be non-creedal and accepts people with a wide-range of beliefs. Church teachings emphasize that "all are called" as "persons of worth" to "share the peace of Christ".

Community of Christ worship follows a free-form worship placing more of the foundation on scripture based on the Revised Common Lectionary. From its headquarters in Independence, Missouri, the church offers a special focus on evangelism, peace and justice ministries, spirituality and wholeness, youth ministries and outreach ministries. Read more...

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Nauvoo Temple Fire


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Brigham Young c. 1870

Brigham Young (/ˈbrɪɡəm/; June 1, 1801 – August 29, 1877) was an American religious leader, politician, and settler. He was the second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1847 until his death in 1877. He founded Salt Lake City and he served as the first governor of the Utah Territory. Young also led the foundings of the precursors to the University of Utah and Brigham Young University.

Young had many nicknames, among the most popular being "American Moses" (alternatively, the "Modern Moses" or "Mormon Moses"), because, like the biblical figure, Young led his followers, the Mormon pioneers, in an exodus through a desert, to what they saw as a promised land. Young was dubbed by his followers the "Lion of the Lord" for his bold personality and commonly was called "Brother Brigham" by Latter-day Saints. A polygamist, Young had 55 wives. He instituted a church ban against conferring the priesthood on men of black African descent, and also led the church during the Utah War against the United States. Read more...

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Joseph Smith, Sr.jpg

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