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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, have been influenced by Protestant theology while maintaining certain distinctive beliefs and practices including continuing revelation, an open canon of scripture and building temples. 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.
In the Latter Day Saint movement, the President of the Church is generally considered to be the highest office of the church. It was the office held by Joseph Smith, founder of the movement, and the office assumed by many of Smith's claimed successors, such as Brigham Young, Joseph Smith III, Sidney Rigdon, and James Strang. Several other titles have been associated with this office, including First Elder of the church, Presiding High Priest, President of the High Priesthood, Trustee-in-Trust for the church, Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Translator. Joseph Smith was known by all of these titles in his lifetime (although not necessarily with consistency).
Smith died in 1844 without having indisputably established who was to be his successor. Therefore, his death was followed by a succession crisis in which various groups followed leaders with succession claims. Years later, the office of President was reorganized in many of the resulting, the largest of which are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), and The Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite). Some smaller denominations, such as the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), reject the office as an unscriptural creation. Read more...
Selected Schismatic Histories
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints—usually distinguished with a parenthetical (Strangite)—is one of the several organizations that claim to be the legitimate continuation of the Latter Day Saint movement. It is a separate organization from the considerably larger and better known The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Both churches claim to be the original organization established by Joseph Smith, on April 6, 1830. The Strangite church is headquartered in Voree, Wisconsin, just outside Burlington, and accepts the claims of James Strang as successor to Smith. It had approximately 300 members in 1998. Currently, there are around 130 active members throughout the United States.
After Smith was murdered in 1844 with no clear successor, several claimants sought to take leadership of the church which Smith founded. Among them was Strang, who competed with other prominent members, notably Brigham Young and Sidney Rigdon.
At its peak the Strangite Church had about 12,000 members, making them noteworthy rivals to the larger faction led by Young. Strang was murdered in 1856, after which most of his followers joined Joseph Smith III and his Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, now called the Community of Christ. Read more...
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Book of Mormon
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