Portal:History of the Latter Day Saint movement Article

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History of the Latter Day Saint movement

An 1893 engraving depicting Joseph Smith's description of receiving artifacts from the angel Moroni.

The Latter Day Saint movement is a religious movement within Christianity that arose during the Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century and that led to the set of doctrines, practices, and cultures called Mormonism, and to the existence of numerous Latter Day Saint churches. Its history is characterized by intense controversy and persecution in reaction to some of the movement's doctrines and practices and their relationship to mainstream Christianity (see Mormonism and Christianity). The purpose of this article is to give an overview of the different groups, beliefs, and denominations that began with the influence of Joseph Smith.

The founder of the Latter Day Saint movement was Joseph Smith, who was raised in the burned-over district of Upstate New York, and claimed that, in response to prayer, he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, as well as angels and other visions. This eventually led him to a restoration of Christian doctrine that, he said, was lost after the early Christian apostles were killed. In addition, several early leaders made marked doctrinal and leadership contributions to the movement, including Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and Brigham Young. Modern-day revelation from God continues to be a principal belief of the Mormon faith.

Mormon history as an academic field is called Mormon studies.

Selected article

A reconstruction of the original Peter Whitmer home in Fayette, New York.

The Church of Christ was the original name of the Latter Day Saint church founded by Joseph Smith. Organized informally in 1829 in New York and then formally on April 6, 1830, it was the first organization to implement the principles found in Smith's newly published Book of Mormon, and thus represents the formal beginning of the Latter Day Saint movement. Later names for this organization included the Church of the Latter Day Saints (by 1834 resolution), the Church of Jesus Christ, the Church of God, the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (by an 1838 revelation).

Smith and his associates asserted that the Church of Christ was a restoration of the 1st-century Christian church, which Smith claimed had fallen from God's favor and authority because of what he called a " Great Apostasy". After Smith's death in 1844, there was a crisis of authority, with the majority of the members following Brigham Young to Utah Territory, but with several smaller denominations remaining in Illinois or settling in Missouri and in other states. Each of the churches that resulted from this schism considers itself to be the rightful continuation of Smith's original "Church of Christ", regardless of the name they may currently bear ( The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), Community of Christ, The Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite), Church of Christ (Temple Lot), etc.).

This church is unrelated to other bodies bearing the same name, including the United Church of Christ, a Reformed church body, and the Churches of Christ, an offshoot of the Campbellite movement. Today, there are several Latter Day Saint churches called "Church of Christ", largely within the Hedrickite branch of the movement. Read more...

Selected biography

Rigdon.gif

Sidney Rigdon (February 19, 1793 – July 14, 1876) was a leader during the early history of the Latter Day Saint movement. Read more...

Selected Location

Partial reconstruction of Liberty Jail

Liberty Jail is a former jail in Liberty, Missouri, United States, where Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, and other associates were imprisoned from December 1, 1838, to April 6, 1839, during the 1838 Mormon War. Joseph Smith received revelations during his imprisonment there, which are now recorded as sections 121, 122, and 123 of the LDS Doctrine and Covenants, and encapsulated more fully in the Restoration Edition.

The site at 216 North Main, two blocks northwest of the Clay County courthouse in downtown Liberty, is now owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), which operates a visitors' center featuring an indoor, cut-away reconstruction of the jail on the original site. Read more...

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