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Portal:Latter Day Saints

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For a topic outline on this subject, see Outline of Joseph Smith

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

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Execution by firing squad of John D. Lee for his role in the Mountain Meadows massacre. Lee's blood was shed on the ground where the massacre had taken place 20 years earlier; nevertheless, Brigham Young said that Lee "has not half atoned for his great crime" (Young 1877, p. 242).

In Mormonism, blood atonement is a controversial doctrine which teaches the view that the atonement of Jesus does not apply because some crimes are extremely heinous. Instead, to atone for these sins, the perpetrators should be killed in a way that allows their blood to be shed upon the ground as a sacrificial offering.

The doctrine is no longer accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), but it was significantly promoted during the Mormon Reformation, when Brigham Young governed the Utah Territory as a near-theocracy. Sins that Young and other members of his First Presidency mentioned as meriting blood atonement included apostasy, theft, fornication (but not sodomy), and adultery.

Young taught that the doctrine was to be a voluntary choice by the sinner, and only to be practiced under a complete theocracy (which has not existed in modern times). Young considered it more charitable to sacrifice a life than to see them endure eternal torment in the afterlife. In a full Mormon theocracy, the practice would be implemented by the state as a penal measure. Read more...

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Joseph Smith Red Brick Store in Nauvoo.jpg
The Red Brick Store in Nauvoo, Illinois. Constructed and owned by Joseph Smith, Jr., it became a center of economic, political, religious, and social activity among the Latter Day Saints.

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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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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 with roots in the Latter Day Saint movement. The church reports 197,000 in 60 nations. 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 elder son formally reorganized on April 6, 1860 in the aftermath of the 1844 death of Joseph Smith, forming The [Reorganized] Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

The Community of Christ is rooted in Restorationist traditions. Although in some respects it is congruent with mainline Protestant Christian attitudes, it is in many ways theologically distinct, continuing such features as prophetic revelation. It is the second-largest denomination within the Latter Day Saint movement.

Community of Christ worship follows a largely non-liturgical tradition based loosely 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. Church teachings emphasize that "all are called" as "persons of worth" to "share the peace of Christ". Read more...

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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 was also commonly 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 III(2).jpg

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