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

"Charge of the Danites" in the 1838 Mormon War

The 1838 Mormon War, also known as the Missouri Mormon War, was a conflict between Mormons and non-Mormons in Missouri from August to November 1838, the first of the three " Mormon Wars".

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints led by Joseph Smith had gradually migrated from New York to northwestern Missouri since 1831, mainly settling in Jackson County, where tensions with non-Mormon residents led to episodes of anti-Mormon violence. The Mormons were evicted from Jackson County in 1833 and resettled in new counties nearby, where tensions grew again and attempts to evict them resumed. On August 6, 1838, the war began following a brawl at an election in Gallatin, resulting in increased organized violence between Mormons and non-Mormons backed by the Missouri Volunteer Militia in northwestern Missouri. The Battle of Crooked River in late October led to Lilburn Boggs, the Governor of Missouri, issuing the Missouri Executive Order 44 ordering the Mormons to leave Missouri or be killed. On November 1, 1838, Smith surrendered at Far West, the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ending the war. Joseph Smith was charged for treason but escaped in custody and fled to Illinois with the remainder of the estimated 10,000 Missouri Mormons, establishing the new settlement of Nauvoo.

During the conflict 22 people were killed (three Mormons and one non-Mormon at Battle of Crooked Creek, one Mormon prisoner fatally injured while in custody, and 17 Mormons at Haun’s Mill) and an unknown number of non-combatants died due to exposure and hardship as a result of being expelled from their homes in Missouri. All of the conflicts in the Mormon War occurred in a corridor 100 miles (160 km) to the east and northeast of Kansas City. Read more...

Selected biography

Leonard Arrington 1950s.jpeg

Leonard James Arrington (July 2, 1917 – February 11, 1999) was an American author, academic and the founder of the Mormon History Association. He is known as the "Dean of Mormon History" and "the Father of Mormon History" because of his many influential contributions to the field. He was the first Church Historian for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1972 to 1982, and was director of the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History from 1982 until 1986.

Arrington grew up in a large family in Idaho, where he and his family were members of the LDS Church. After high school, he studied agricultural economics at the University of Idaho and continued studying economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While teaching at the Utah State Agricultural College in Logan, Utah, Harvard University Press published his book Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints, 1830–1900 in 1958. After a Fulbright professorship at the University of Genoa in Italy, Arrington raised funds to pay for research and writing on LDS (Mormon) biographies. He taught Western American History at Brigham Young University (BYU) from 1972 to 1987.

In conjunction with his teaching appointment at BYU, Arrington was also appointed as the first Church Historian for the LDS Church from 1972 to 1982. It was the first time a professional historian was given this job. Arrington and his team of researchers, forming the church Historical Department, began many projects to document LDS Church history, ranging from articles for the church's official magazine to scholarly books written for a non-LDS audience. The Historical Department was not subject to the church's Correlation Program and enjoyed some freedom of research. However, over time, various church members and apostles disliked the historical articles. The new director of the Historical Department, G. Homer Durham, required that all publications go through him and halted the hiring of new employees. In 1982, the LDS Church released Arrington as Church Historian and transferred the History Division to BYU, creating the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History. Arrington published over 20 books and articles, including several biographies, with the help of many research assistants. Read more...

Selected Location

Temple Square, Salt Lake City, 1899 retouched.jpg

Temple Square is a 10-acre (4.0 ha) complex, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), in the center of Salt Lake City, Utah. In recent years, the usage of the name has gradually changed to include several other church facilities that are immediately adjacent to Temple Square. Contained within Temple Square are the Salt Lake Temple, Salt Lake Tabernacle, Salt Lake Assembly Hall, the Seagull Monument, and two visitors' centers. The square was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1964, recognizing the Mormon achievement in the settlement of Utah. Read more...



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