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{{short description|Religious group part of the Latter Day Saint movement}}{{pp-pc1}}{{Redirect|Mormon|the religion|Mormonism|the movement started by Joseph Smith|Latter Day Saint movement|the "Mormon Church"|The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints|other uses|Mormon (disambiguation)}}{{Good article}}{{Use mdy dates|date=April 2018}}{{Use American English|date=April 2018}}

(The LDS Church claimed a membership of over 14 million in 2010); {{Harvtxt>Bushmanp=1}} (reporting 13 million members of the LDS Church in 2008, and noting 250,000 members of the Prairie Saints Community of Christ); D. MICHAEL QUINN TITLE = PLURAL MARRIAGE AND MORMON FUNDAMENTALISM VOLUME= 31 DATE = SUMMER 1998, 1–68, (estimating the number of so-called Fundamentalist Mormons at around 20,000).United States}}AUTHOR = WEBSITE = MORMONNEWSROOM.ORG, April 30, 2018, Mexico}}AUTHOR = WEBSITE = MORMONNEWSROOM.ORG, April 30, 2018, Brazil}}AUTHOR = WEBSITE = MORMONNEWSROOM.ORG, April 30, 2018, Philippines}}AUTHOR = WEBSITE = MORMONNEWSROOM.ORG, April 30, 2018, Chile}}AUTHOR = WEBSITE = MORMONNEWSROOM.ORG, April 30, 2018, Peru}}AUTHOR = WEBSITE = MORMONNEWSROOM.ORG, April 30, 2018, Argentina}}AUTHOR = WEBSITE = MORMONNEWSROOM.ORG, April 30, 2018, |religions = Mormonism|related =|website = {{Official website}}}}Mormons are a religious and cultural group related to Mormonism, the principal branch of the Latter Day Saint movement of Restorationist Christianity, initiated by Joseph Smith in upstate New York during the 1820s. After Smith's death in 1844, the Mormons followed Brigham Young to what would become the Utah Territory. Today, most Mormons are understood to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Other Mormons may be independently religious, secular and non-practicing, or belong to another denomination. The center of Mormon cultural influence is in Utah, and North America has more Mormons than any other continent, though the majority of Mormons live outside the United States.Mormons have developed a strong sense of commonality that stems from their doctrine and history. During the 19th century, Mormon converts tended to gather to a central geographic location, and between 1852 and 1890 a minority of Mormons openly practiced plural marriage, a form of religious polygamy. Mormons dedicate large amounts of time and resources to serving in their church, and many young Mormons choose to serve a full-time proselytizing mission. Mormons have a health code which eschews alcoholic beverages, tobacco, “hot drinks”, and addictive substances. They tend to be very family-oriented and have strong connections across generations and with extended family, reflective of their belief that families can be sealed together beyond death. Mormons also have a strict law of chastity, requiring abstention from sexual relations outside heterosexual marriage and fidelity within marriage.Mormons self-identify as Christian,Mormons in America: Certain in Their Beliefs, Uncertain of Their Place in Society {{Webarchive|url= |date=September 24, 2015 }}, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life 2012, p.10: Mormons are nearly unanimous in describing Mormonism as a Christian religion, with 97% expressing this point of view although some non-Mormons consider Mormons non-ChristianChristian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM), Is Mormonism Christian?, accessed February 27, 2016 and some of their beliefs differ from those of mainstream Christianity. Mormons believe in the Bible, as well as other books of scripture, such as the Book of Mormon. They have a unique view of cosmology and believe that all people are spirit-children of God. Mormons believe that returning to God requires following the example of Jesus Christ, and accepting his atonement through ordinances such as baptism. They believe that Christ's church was restored through Joseph Smith and is guided by living prophets and apostles. Central to Mormon faith is the belief that God speaks to his children and answers their prayers.The number of members in 1971 was 3,090,953WEB,weblink The Annual Report of the Church – Ensign July 1972 – ensign,, April 26, 2017, and as of 2018, there are 16,313,735 members worldwide."2015 Statistical Report for 2016 April General Conference", Mormon Newsroom, April 2, 2016.WEB,weblink Mormons more likely to marry, have more children than other U.S. religious groups, May 22, 2015, Pew Research Center, September 13, 2015,


The word "Mormons" most often refers to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) because of their belief in the Book of Mormon, though members often refer to themselves as Latter-day Saints or sometimes just Saints.WEB,weblink Touchstone of Truth, Ensign, May 1974, John H. Vandenburg, ; WEB,weblink What We Believe |,, 2012, January 25, 2012, ; BOOK,weblink The Latter-day Saint experience in America, Terryl, Givens, 324, Greenwood Publishing Group, November 2004, January 25, 2012, 9780313327506, The full name of the church originated in an 1838 revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants; the term "saint" was used by Paul the Apostle to refer to members of the early Christian church—the "latter-day" being added to differentiate the modern church from the early church; WEB,weblink Doctrine and Covenants 115:4, Joseph, Smith,, 1838, 1838, January 25, 2012, . The term "Mormons" has been embraced by others, most notably Mormon fundamentalists,The LDS Church has taken the position that the term Mormon should only apply to the LDS Church and its members, and not other adherents who have adopted the term. (See: WEB,weblink Style Guide – The Name of the Church, LDS Newsroom, November 11, 2011, ) The church cites the AP Stylebook, which states, "The term Mormon is not properly applied to the other Latter Day Saints churches that resulted from the split after [Joseph] Smith's death." ("Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The", Associated Press, The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, 2002, {{ISBN|0-7382-0740-3}}, p.48) Despite the LDS Church's position, the term Mormon is widely used by journalists and non-journalists to refer to adherents of Mormon fundamentalism. while other Latter Day Saint denominations, such as the Community of Christ, have rejected it.{{citation needed|date=July 2017}} Both LDS Church members and members of fundamentalist groups commonly use the word "Mormon" in reference to themselves.WEB,weblink Mormon Should Mean 'More Good,', Gordon B. Hinckley, November 1990, Ensign (LDS magazine), Ensign, 51, November 11, 2011, ; See also: WEB,weblink Style Guide – The Name of the Church, October 6, 2011, ; BOOK, Secrets and Wives: The Hidden World of Mormon Polygamy, Sanjiv Bhattacharya,weblink LDS Church leaders have encouraged members to use the church's full name to emphasize its focus on Jesus Christ,WEB,weblink Thus Shall My Church Be Called, Russell M. Nelson, May 1990, Ensign (LDS magazine), Ensign, 16, November 11, 2011, ; WEB,weblink The Importance of a Name, M. Russell Ballard, November 2011, Liahona (magazine), Liahona, Russell M. Nelson, "The Correct Name of the Church"], Liahona, November 2018. and have discouraged the use of the shortened form "Church of the Latter Day Saints", as well as the acronym "LDS", and the nickname "Mormons".WEB,, Style Guide – The Name of the Church, August 18, 2018, On August 18, 2018, church president Russell M. Nelson asked followers and non-followers to characterize the denomination with the name "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" instead of "Mormons", "Mormonism" or the shorthand of "LDS".WEB, Latter Day Saints church leader rejects 'Mormon' label,weblink BBC News, BBC, 19 August 2018, The word "Mormon" is often associated with polygamy (or plural marriage),For many people, the mention of Mormons conjures up an assortment of contradictory images  .... The charge of practicing polygamy annoys many Mormons because it is so far out of date. {{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|pp=1–2}}. which was a distinguishing practice of many early Mormons; however, it was renounced by the LDS Church in 1890{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=2}}; WEB,weblink Official Declaration 1,, .and discontinued over the next 15 years.JOURNAL, Solemn Covenant: The Mormon Polygamous Passage, B. Carmen Hardy, 1992, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, harv, ;WEB,weblink LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages, 1890–1904, D. Michael Quinn, Spring 1985, (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought), November 11, 2011, 9, ;WEB,weblink After the Manifesto: Mormon Polygamy, 1890–1906, Kenneth Cannon II, Jan–Apr 1983, Sunstone (magazine), Sunstone, November 11, 2011, 27, .Today, polygamy is practiced within Mormonism only by people that have broken with the LDS Church.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=14}}.


The history of the Mormons has shaped them into a people with a strong sense of unity and commonality.{{Harvtxt|O'Dea|1957|pp=75,119}}. From the start, Mormons have tried to establish what they call "Zion", a utopian society of the righteous.A Mormon scripture describing the ancient city of Enoch became a model for the Saints. Enoch's city was a Zion "because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there were no poor among them" {{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|pp=36–38}}; ({{nowrap|Book of Moses 7:18}}).Mormon history can be divided into three broad time periods: (1) the early history during the lifetime of Joseph Smith, (2) a "pioneer era" under the leadership of Brigham Young and his successors, and (3) a modern era beginning around the turn of the 20th century. In the first period, Smith had tried literally to build a city called Zion, in which converts could gather. During the pioneer era, Zion became a "landscape of villages" in Utah. In modern times, Zion is still an ideal, though Mormons gather together in their individual congregations rather than a central geographic location."In Missouri and Illinois, Zion had been a city; in Utah, it was a landscape of villages; in the urban diaspora, it was the ward with its extensive programs." {{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=107}}.


{{See also|History of the Latter Day Saint movement}}File:Joseph Smith first vision stained glass.jpg|left|thumb|A stained glass window of Joseph Smith's First VisionFirst VisionMormons trace their origins to the visions that Joseph Smith reported he had in the early 1820s while living in Upstate New York .{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|pp=1, 9}}; {{Harvtxt|O'Dea|1957|p=9}}; BOOK,weblink Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon, David, Persuitte, 30, McFarland, October 2000, January 25, 2012, 9780786484034, . In 1823, Smith said an angel directed him to a buried book written on golden plates containing the religious history of an ancient people.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=19}}. Smith published what he said was a translation of these plates in March 1830 as the Book of Mormon, named after Mormon, the ancient prophet–historian who compiled the book. On April 6, 1830, Smith founded the Church of Christ.Scholars and eye-witnesses disagree as to whether the church was organized in Manchester, New York at the Smith log home, or in Fayette at the home of Peter Whitmer Sr.. {{Harvtxt|Bushman|2005|p=109}}; {{Harvtxt|Marquardt|2005|pp=223–23}} (arguing that organization in Manchester is most consistent with eye-witness statements). The early church grew westward as Smith sent missionaries to proselytize.{{Harvtxt|O'Dea|1957|p=41}} (by the next spring the church had 1,000 members). In 1831, the church moved to Kirtland, Ohio where missionaries had made a large number of converts{{Harvtxt|Brodie|1971|p=97}} (citing letter by Smith to Kirtland converts, quoted in {{Harvtxt|Howe|1833|p=111}}); {{Harvtxt|O'Dea|1957|p=41}}. and Smith began establishing an outpost in Jackson County, Missouri,{{Harvtxt|Smith|Cowdery|Rigdon|Williams|1835|p=154}}; {{Harvtxt|Bushman|2005|p=162}}; {{Harvtxt|Brodie|1971|p=109}}. where he planned to eventually build the city of Zion (or the New Jerusalem).Smith said in 1831 that God intended the Mormons to "retain a strong hold in the land of Kirtland, for the space of five years." (Doctrine and Covenants 64:21); {{Harvtxt|Bushman|2005|p=122}}. In 1833, Missouri settlers, alarmed by the rapid influx of Mormons, expelled them from Jackson County into the nearby Clay County, where local residents were more welcoming.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2005|pp=222–27}}; {{Harvtxt|Brodie|1971|p=137}} (noting that the brutality of the Jackson Countians aroused sympathy for the Mormons and was almost universally deplored by the media); {{Harvtxt|O'Dea|1957|pp=43–45}} (The Mormons were forced out in a November gale, and were taken in by Clay County residents, who earned from non-Mormons the derogative title of "Jack Mormons").After Smith led a mission, known as Zion's Camp, to recover the land,{{Harvtxt|Brodie|1971|pp=141, 146–59}}; {{Harvtxt|Bushman|2005|p=322}}. he began building Kirtland Temple in Lake County, Ohio, where the church flourished.{{Harvtxt|Brodie|1971|p=101}}; {{Harvtxt|Arrington|1992|p=21}} (by summer of 1835, there were 1500 to 2000 Saints in Kirtland); Desert Morning News 2008 Church Almanac p. 655 (from 1831 to 1838, church membership grew from 680 to 17,881); {{Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=310–19}} (The Kirtland Temple was viewed as the site of a new Pentecost); {{Harv|Brodie|1971|p=178}}. Smith also published several new revelations during the Kirtland era. When the Missouri Mormons were later asked to leave Clay County in 1836, they secured land in what would become Caldwell County.{{Harvtxt|O'Dea|1957|p=45}} (In December 1836, the Missouri legislature granted the Mormons the right to organize Caldwell County).The Kirtland era ended in 1838, after the failure of a church-sponsored anti-bank caused widespread defections,{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2005|pp=328–38}}; {{Harvtxt|Brooke|1994|p=221}} ("Ultimately, the rituals and visions dedicating the Kirtland temple were not sufficient to hold the church together in the face of a mounting series of internal disputes.") and Smith regrouped with the remaining church in Far West, Missouri.{{Harvtxt|Roberts|1905|p=24}} (referring to the Far West church as the "church in Zion"); {{Harv|Bushman|2005|p=345}} (The revelation calling Far West "Zion" had the effect of "implying that Far West was to take the place of Independence.") During the fall of 1838, tensions escalated into the Mormon War with the old Missouri settlers.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2005|pp=357–64}}; {{Harvtxt|Brodie|1971|pp=227–30}}; {{Harvtxt|Remini|2002|p=134}}; {{Harvtxt|Quinn|1994|pp=97–98}}. On October 27, the governor of Missouri ordered that the Mormons "must be treated as enemies" and be exterminated or driven from the state.{{Harv|Bushman|2005|p=367}} (Boggs' executive order stated that the Mormon community had "made war upon the people of this State" and that "the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace"). {{Harv|Bushman|2005|p=398}} (In 1976, Missouri issued a formal apology for this order) {{Harvtxt|O'Dea|1957|p=47}}. Between November and April, some eight thousand displaced Mormons migrated east into Illinois.{{Harvtxt|O'Dea|1957|p=47}} ("the Saints, after being ravaged by troops, robbed by neighbors, and insulted by public officials from February to April, crossed over into Illinois").File:Joseph Preaching to the Indians by C.C.A. Christensen.png|thumb|Joseph Smith preaching to the Sac and Fox Indians who visited Nauvoo on August 12, 1841]]In 1839, the Mormons purchased the small town of Commerce, converted swampland on the banks of the Mississippi River, and renamed the area Nauvoo, Illinois{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2005|pp=383–84}}. and began construction of the Nauvoo Temple. The city became the church's new headquarters and gathering place, and it grew rapidly, fueled in part by converts immigrating from Europe.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2005|p=409}}; {{Harvtxt|Brodie|1971|pp=258, 264–65}}; {{Harvtxt|O'Dea|1957|p=51}} (noting the city growth and missionary success in England). Meanwhile, Smith introduced temple ceremonies meant to seal families together for eternity, as well as the doctrines of eternal progression or exaltation,{{Harvtxt|Widmer|2000|p=119}} (Smith taught that faithful Mormons may progress until they become co-equal with God); {{Harvtxt|Roberts|1909|pp=502–03}}; {{Harvtxt|Bushman|2005|pp=497–98}} (the second anointing provided a guarantee that participants would be exalted even if they sinned). and plural marriage.Initially, Smith introduced plural marriage only to his closest associates.{{Harvtxt|Brodie|1971|pp=334–36}}; {{Harvtxt|Bushman|2005|pp=437, 644}} The practice was acknowledged publicly in 1852 by Brigham Young.Smith created a service organization for women called the Relief Society, as well as an organization called the Council of Fifty, representing a future theodemocratic "Kingdom of God" on the earth.{{Harvnb|Quinn|1980|pp=120–122, 165}}; {{Harvtxt|Bushman|2005|pp=519–21}} (describing the Council of Fifty).Smith also published the story of his First Vision, in which the Father and the Son appeared to him while he was about 14 years old.{{Harvtxt|Shipps|1985|p=30}} The first extant account of the First Vision is the manuscript account in Joseph Smith, "Manuscript History of the Church" (1839); the first published account is Orson Pratt, An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions and of the Late Discovery of Ancient American Records (Edinburgh: Ballantyne and Hughes, 1840); and the first American publication is Smith's letter to John Wentworth in Times and Seasons, 3 (March 1842), 706–08. (These accounts are available in BOOK, Vogel, Dan, Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents, 1, Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996, 978-1-56085-072-4, harv, .) As the LDS historian Richard Bushman wrote in his biography of Smith, "At first, Joseph was reluctant to talk about his vision. Most early converts probably never heard about the 1820 vision." {{Harvtxt|Bushman|2005|p=39}}.This vision would come to be regarded by some Mormons as the most important event in human history after the birth, ministry, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.WEB, LDS Church, Joseph Smith Home Page/Mission of the Prophet/First Vision: This Is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!, 2010,weblink April 29, 2010, harv, ; {{Harvtxt|Allen|1966|p=29}} (belief in the First Vision now considered second in importance only to belief in the divinity of Jesus.); JOURNAL, What Are People Asking about Us?, Hinkley, Gordon B., Ensign (LDS magazine), Ensign, November, 1998,weblink harv, ("[N]othing we teach, nothing we live by is of greater importance than this initial declaration.").In 1844, local prejudices and political tensions, fueled by Mormon peculiarity and internal dissent, escalated into conflicts between Mormons and "anti-Mormons".{{Harvtxt|O'Dea|1857|pp=64–67}} On June 27, 1844, Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed by a mob in Carthage, Illinois.Encyclopedia of Latter-Day Saint History, p. 824; {{Harvtxt|Brodie|1971|pp=393–94}}; {{Harvtxt|Bushman|2005|pp=539–50}}; Many local Illinoisans were uneasy with Mormon power, and their unease was fanned by the local media after Smith suppressed a newspaper containing an exposé regarding plural marriage, theocracy, and other sensitive and oft misinterpreted issues. The suppression resulted in Smith being arrested, tried, and acquitted for "inciting a riot". On June 25, Smith let himself be arrested and tried for the riot charges again, this time in Carthage, the county seat, where he was incarcerated without bail on a new charge of treason. {{citation |contribution-url =weblink |contribution = Smith, Joseph: Legal Trials of Joseph Smith |first = Joseph I. |last = Bentley |authorlink = |pages = 1346–1348 |editor1-last = Ludlow |editor1-first = Daniel H |editor1-link = Daniel H. Ludlow |title = Encyclopedia of Mormonism |location = New York |publisher = Macmillan Publishing |year = 1992 |isbn = 978-0-02-879602-4 |oclc = 24502140 |title-link = Encyclopedia of Mormonism }}. Because Hyrum was Smith's logical successor,Brigham Young later said of Hyrum, "Did Joseph Smith ordain any man to take his place. He did. Who was it? It was Hyrum, but Hyrum fell a martyr before Joseph did. If Hyrum had lived he would have acted for Joseph." Times and Seasons, 5 [October 15, 1844]: 683. their deaths caused a succession crisis,{{Harvtxt|Quinn|1994|p=143}}; {{Harvtxt|Brodie|1971|p=398}}. and Brigham Young assumed leadership over the majority of Latter Day Saints.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2005|pp=556–57}}. Young had been a close associate of Smith's and was senior apostle of the Quorum of the Twelve.Smith's position as President of the Church was originally left vacant, based on the sentiment that nobody could succeed Smith's office. Years later, the church established the principle that Young, and any other senior apostle of the Quorum of the Twelve, would be ordained President of the Church as a matter of course upon the death of the former President, subject to unanimous agreement of the Quorum of the Twelve. Smaller groups of Latter Day Saints followed other leaders to form other denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement.{{Harvtxt|Quinn|1994|pp=198–211}}.

Pioneer era

File:Mormon Pioneer handcart statue.jpg|thumb|right|A statue commemorating the Mormon handcart pioneersMormon handcart pioneersFor two years after Smith's death, conflicts escalated between Mormons and other Illinois residents. To prevent war, Brigham Young led the Mormon pioneers (constituting most of the Latter Day Saints) to a temporary winter quarters in Nebraska and then, eventually (beginning in 1847), to what became the Utah Territory.In 2004, the State of Illinois recognized the expulsion of the Latter-day Saints as the "largest forced migration in American history" and stated in the adopted resolution that, "WHEREAS, The biases and prejudices of a less enlightened age in the history of the State of Illinois caused unmeasurable hardship and trauma for the community of Latter-day Saints by the distrust, violence, and inhospitable actions of a dark time in our past; therefore, be it RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NINETY-THIRD GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we acknowledge the disparity of those past actions and suspicions, regretting the expulsion of the community of Latter-day Saints, a people of faith and hard work." WEB,weblink Official House Resolution HR0793 (LRB093 21726 KEF 49525 r), Illinois General Assembly, April 1, 2004, ; "The great Mormon migration of 1846–1847 was but one step in the Mormons' quest for religious freedom and growth." {{citation |url =weblink |title = Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail: History & Culture |work = |publisher = National Park Service |accessdate = July 9, 2014 }}. Having failed to build Zion within the confines of American society, the Mormons began to construct a society in isolation, based on their beliefs and values.{{Harvtxt|O'Dea|1957|p=86}} ("Having failed to build Zion within the confines of American society, the Latter-day Saints found in the Great Basin the isolation that would enable them to establish a distinctive community based upon their own beliefs and values"). The cooperative ethic that Mormons had developed over the last decade and a half became important as settlers branched out and colonized a large desert region now known as the Mormon Corridor.{{Harvtxt|O'Dea|1957|p=84}} (From 1847 to 1857 ninety-five Mormon communities were established, most of them clustering around Salt Lake City); JOURNAL, Pacific Historical Review, 8, 2, The Mormon Corridor, Hunter, Milton, June 1939, 3633392, 179–200, harv, ; {{Harvtxt|Shipps|1957|pp=83–84}}. Colonizing efforts were seen as religious duties, and the new villages were governed by the Mormon bishops (local lay religious leaders).{{Harvtxt|O'Dea|1957|pp=86–89}}. The Mormons viewed land as commonwealth, devising and maintaining a co-operative system of irrigation that allowed them to build a farming community in the desert.{{Harvtxt|O'Dea|1957|pp=87–91}}.From 1849 to 1852, the Mormons greatly expanded their missionary efforts, establishing several missions in Europe, Latin America, and the South Pacific.{{Harvtxt|O'Dea|1957|p=91}}. Converts were expected to "gather" to Zion, and during Young's presidency (1847–77) over seventy thousand Mormon converts immigrated to America. Many of the converts came from England and Scandinavia, and were quickly assimilated into the Mormon community.{{Harvtxt|O'Dea|1957|pp=91–92}}; {{citation |url =weblink |title = Welsh Mormon History |work = |publisher = Center for Family History and Genealogy, Brigham Young University }} During the 1840s and 1850s many thousands of Welsh Mormon converts immigrated to America, and today, it is estimated that around 20 percent of the population of Utah is of Welsh descent. Many of these immigrants crossed the Great Plains in wagons drawn by oxen, while some later groups pulled their possessions in small handcarts. During the 1860s, newcomers began using the new railroad that was under construction.{{Harvtxt|O'Dea|1957|pp=95–96}}.In 1852, church leaders publicized the previously secret practice of plural marriage, a form of polygamy.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=88}} (Plural marriage originated in a revelation that Joseph Smith apparently received in 1831 and wrote down in 1843. It was first publicly announced in a general conference in 1852); {{citation |first = Jessie L. |last = Embry |contribution = Polygamy |contribution-url =weblink |editor-last = Powell |editor-first = Allan Kent |year = 1994 |title = Utah History Encyclopedia |location = Salt Lake City, Utah |publisher = University of Utah Press |isbn = 978-0-87480-425-6 |oclc = 30473917 }} The Mormon doctrine of plural wives was officially announced by one of the Twelve Apostles, Orson Pratt, and Young in a special conference of the elders of the LDS Church assembled in the Mormon Tabernacle on August 28, 1852, and reprinted in an extra edition of the Deseret NewsNEWS, Minutes of conference: a special conference of the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints assembled in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, August 28, 1852, 10 o'clock, a.m., pursuant to public notice, Deseret News Extra, September 14, 1852, 14, . See also (Origin of Latter Day Saint polygamy#The 1850s: Official sanction in the LDS Church|The 1850s: Official sanction in the LDS Church) Over the next 50 years, many Mormons (between 20 and 30 percent of Mormon families)BOOK, Flake, Kathleen, The Politics of American Religious Identity, 2004, University of North Carolina Press, 978-0-8078-5501-0, 65, 192,weblink . entered into plural marriages as a religious duty, with the number of plural marriages reaching a peak around 1860, and then declining through the rest of the century.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=88}} (If asked why they entered these relationships, both plural wives and husbands emphasized spiritual blessings of being sealed eternally and of submitting to God's will. According to the federal censuses, the highest percentage of the population in polygamous families was in 1860 (43.6 percent) and it declined to 25 percent in 1880 and to 7 percent in 1890). Besides the doctrinal reasons for plural marriage, the practice made some economic sense, as many of the plural wives were single women who arrived in Utah without brothers or fathers to offer them societal support.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=88}} ("The close study of the marriages in one nineteenth-century Utah community revealed that a disproportionate number of plural wives were women who arrived in Utah without fathers or brothers to care for them...Since better-off men more frequently married plurally, the practice distributed wealth to the poor and disconnected").File:Crossing the Mississippi on the Ice by C.C.A. Christensen.png|thumb|left|Mormon pioneers crossing the MississippiMississippiBy 1857, tensions had again escalated between Mormons and other Americans, largely as a result of accusations involving polygamy and the theocratic rule of the Utah Territory by Brigham Young.{{citation |last = Tullidge |first = Edward |authorlink = Edward Tullidge |title = History of Salt Lake City |url =weblink |contribution-url =weblink |contribution = Resignation of Judge Drummond |pages = 132–35 |place = Salt Lake City |publisher = Star Printing Company |year = 1886 |oclc = 13941646 }} In 1857, U.S. President James Buchanan sent an army to Utah, which Mormons interpreted as open aggression against them. Fearing a repeat of Missouri and Illinois, the Mormons prepared to defend themselves, determined to torch their own homes in the case that they were invaded.{{Harvtxt|O'Dea|1957|pp=101–02}}; {{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=95}}. The relatively peaceful Utah War ensued from 1857 to 1858, in which the most notable instance of violence was the Mountain Meadows massacre, when leaders of a local Mormon militia ordered the killing of a civilian emigrant party that was traveling through Utah during the escalating tensions.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|pp=96–97}} (calling the Mountain Meadows massacre the greatest tragedy in Mormon history). In 1858, Young agreed to step down from his position as governor and was replaced by a non-Mormon, Alfred Cumming.To combat the notion that rank-and-file Mormons were unhappy under Young's leadership, Cumming noted that he had offered to help any to leave the territory if they desired. Of the 50,000 inhabitants of the state of Utah, the underwhelming response—56 men, 33 women, and 71 children, most of whom stated they left for economic reasons—impressed Cumming, as did the fact that Mormon leaders contributed supplies to the emigrants. Cumming to [Secretary of State Lewis Cass], written by Thomas Kane, May 2, 1858, BYU Special Collections. Nevertheless, the LDS Church still wielded significant political power in the Utah Territory.BOOK, Firmage, Edwin Brown, Mangrum, Richard Collin, Zion in the Courts: A Legal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1830–1900, 140,weblink 978-0-252-06980-2, U. of Illinois Press, 2002, harv, .At Young's death in 1877, he was followed by other LDS Church presidents, who resisted efforts by the United States Congress to outlaw Mormon polygamous marriages.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=97}}. In 1878, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Reynolds v. United States that religious duty was not a suitable defense for practicing polygamy, and many Mormon polygamists went into hiding; later, Congress began seizing church assets. In September 1890, church president Wilford Woodruff issued a Manifesto that officially suspended the practice of polygamy.{{LDS|Official Declaration|od|1}} Although this Manifesto did not dissolve existing plural marriages, relations with the United States markedly improved after 1890, such that Utah was admitted as a U.S. state in 1896. After the Manifesto, some Mormons continued to enter into polygamous marriages, but these eventually stopped in 1904 when church president Joseph F. Smith disavowed polygamy before Congress and issued a "Second Manifesto" calling for all plural marriages in the church to cease. Eventually, the church adopted a policy of excommunicating members found practicing polygamy, and today seeks actively to distance itself from "fundamentalist" groups that continue the practice.The LDS Church encourages journalists not to use the word Mormon in reference to organizations or people that practice polygamy: {{citation |url =weblink |title = Style Guide – The Name of the Church: Topics and Background |work = |publisher = LDS Church |accessdate = July 9, 2014 }}. The church repudiates polygamist groups and excommunicates their members if discovered: {{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=91}}; {{citation |url =weblink |title = Mormons seek distance from polygamous sects |date = June 26, 2008 |agency = AP |publisher = }}.

Modern times

{{Further|Mormonism as a world religion}}During the early 20th century, Mormons began to reintegrate into the American mainstream. In 1929, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir began broadcasting a weekly performance on national radio, becoming an asset for public relations.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=103}}. Mormons emphasized patriotism and industry, rising in socioeconomic status from the bottom among American religious denominations to middle-class.{{Harvtxt|Mauss|1994|p=22}}. "With the consistent encouragement of church leaders, Mormons became models of patriotic, law-abiding citizenship, sometimes seeming to "out-American" all other Americans. Their participation in the full spectrum of national, social, political, economic, and cultural life has been thorough and sincere".In the 1920s and 1930s, Mormons began migrating out of Utah, a trend hurried by the Great Depression, as Mormons looked for work wherever they could find it.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=105}}. As Mormons spread out, church leaders created programs that would help preserve the tight-knit community feel of Mormon culture.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=106}}. In addition to weekly worship services, Mormons began participating in numerous programs such as Boy Scouting, a Young Women organization, church-sponsored dances, ward basketball, camping trips, plays, and religious education programs for youth and college students.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=53}}. During the Great Depression, the church started a welfare program to meet the needs of poor members, which has since grown to include a humanitarian branch that provides relief to disaster victims.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|pp=40–41}}.File:Mtchoirandorchestra ConferenceCenter.jpg|left|thumb|The 360-member, all-volunteer Mormon Tabernacle ChoirMormon Tabernacle ChoirDuring the later half of the 20th century, there was a retrenchment movement in Mormonism in which Mormons became more conservative, attempting to regain their status as a "peculiar people".The term peculiar people is consciously borrowed from 1 Peter 2:9, and can be interpreted as "special" or "different", though Mormons have certainly been viewed as "peculiar" in the modern sense as well. {{Harvtxt|Mauss|1994|p=60}}.Though the 1960s and 1970s brought changes such as Women's Liberation and the civil rights movement, Mormon leaders were alarmed by the erosion of traditional values, the sexual revolution, the widespread use of recreational drugs, moral relativism, and other forces they saw as damaging to the family."Developments mitigating traditional racial, ethnic, and gender inequality and bigotry were regarded in hindsight by most Americans (and most Mormons) as desirable  .... On the other hand, Mormons (and many others) have watched with increasing alarm the spread throughout society of 'liberating' innovations such as the normalization of non-marital sexual behavior, the rise in abortion, illegitimacy, divorce, and child neglect or abuse, recreational drugs, crime, etc." {{Harvtxt|Mauss|1994|p=124}}.Partly to counter this, Mormons put an even greater emphasis on family life, religious education, and missionary work, becoming more conservative in the process. As a result, Mormons today are probably less integrated with mainstream society than they were in the early 1960s."[T]he church appears to have arrested, if not reversed, the erosion of distinctive Mormon ways that might have been anticipated in the 60s." {{Harvtxt|Mauss|1994|p=140}}. "However, in partial contradiction to their public image, Mormons stand mostly on the liberal side of the continuum on certain other social and political issues, notably on civil rights, and even on women's rights, except where these seem to conflict with child-rearing roles." {{Harvtxt|Mauss|1994|p=156}}.Although black people have been members of Mormon congregations since Joseph Smith's time, before 1978, black membership was small. From 1852 to 1978, the LDS Church enforced a policy that restricted men of black African descent from being ordained to the church's lay priesthood.BOOK, All Abraham's Children: Changing Mormon Conceptions of Race and Lineage, Armand L., Mauss, 213–215, University of Illinois Press, 2003, 978-0-252-02803-8, harv, ; {{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|pp=111–12}} ("The origins of this policy are not altogether clear. "Passages in Joseph Smith's translations indicate that a lineage associated with Ham and the Egyptian pharaohs was forbidden the priesthood. Connecting the ancient pharaohs with modern Africans and African Americans required a speculative leap, but by the time of Brigham Young, the leap was made.") The church was sharply criticized for its policy during the civil rights movement, but the policy remained in force until a 1978 reversal that was prompted in part by questions about mixed-race converts in Brazil.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|pp=111–12}}. In general, Mormons greeted the change with joy and relief. Since 1978, black membership has grown, and in 1997 there were approximately 500,000 black members of the church (about 5 percent of the total membership), mostly in Africa, Brazil and the Caribbean.JOURNAL,weblink 1999–2000 Church Almanac, 1998,, 119, November 11, 2011, harv, "A rough estimate would place the number of Church members with African roots at year-end 1997 at half a million, with about 100,000 each in Africa and the Caribbean, and another 300,000 in Brazil." Black membership has continued to grow substantially, especially in West Africa, where two temples have been built.WEB,weblink The Church Continues to Grow in Africa, Genesis Group, dead,weblink" title="">weblink November 5, 2012, mdy-all, Many black Mormons are members of the Genesis Group, an organization of black members that predates the priesthood ban, and is endorsed by the church.BOOK, Black and Mormon, Newell G. Bringhurst, Darron T. Smith, December 13, 2005, University of Illinois Press, 102–104, (File:LDS Global Distribution (2009).svg|thumb|right|upright=1.5|Global distribution of LDS Church members in 2009)The LDS Church grew rapidly after World War II and became a worldwide organization as missionaries were sent across the globe. The church doubled in size every 15 to 20 years,{{citation |url =weblink |title = The angel and the beehive: the Mormon struggle with assimilation |author = Armand L. Mauss |year = 1994 |page = 92 |isbn = 9780252020711 }}; {{citation |title = Building a bigger tent: Does Mormonism have a Mitt Romney problem? |url =weblink |date = February 25, 2012 |journal = The Economist }} (In 2010 alone the church grew by 400,000 new members, including converts and newborns). and by 1996, there were more Mormons outside the United States than inside.WEB, Todd, Jay M., More Members Now outside U.S. Than in U.S,weblink Ensign (LDS magazine), Ensign, March 1996, April 29, 2018, In 2012, there were an estimated 14.8 million Mormons,WEB,weblink 2012 Statistical Report for 2013 April General Conference, with roughly 57 percent living outside the United States.In 2011, approximately 6.2 million of the church's 14.4 million members lived in the U.S. WEB,weblink Facts and Statistics: United States, December 2011, LDS Newsroom, April 29, 2018, . It is estimated that approximately 4.5 million Mormons – roughly 30% of the total membership – regularly attend services.{{citation |url =weblink |title = New almanac offers look at the world of Mormon membership |first = Peggy Fletcher |last = Stack |authorlink = Peggy Fletcher Stack |date = January 10, 2014 |newspaper = The Salt Lake Tribune }}. A majority of U.S. Mormons are white and non-Hispanic (84 percent).WEB,weblink Mormons in America, Pew Research Center, January 12, 2012, . Most Mormons are distributed in North and South America, the South Pacific, and Western Europe. The global distribution of Mormons resembles a contact diffusion model, radiating out from the organization's headquarters in Utah.WEB,weblink The Global Distribution of Adventists and Mormons in 2007, Daniel Reeves, 2009, November 11, 2011, . The church enforces general doctrinal uniformity, and congregations on all continents teach the same doctrines, and international Mormons tend to absorb a good deal of Mormon culture, possibly because of the church's top-down hierarchy and a missionary presence. However, international Mormons often bring pieces of their own heritage into the church, adapting church practices to local cultures.WEB,weblink Reinventing Mormonism: Guatemala as Harbinger of the Future?, Thomas W. Murphy, 1996, (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought), November 11, 2011, Chile, Uruguay, and several areas in the South Pacific have a higher percentage of Mormons than the United States (which is at about 2 percent).WEB,weblink LDS Statistics and Church Facts – Total Church Membership,, September 13, 2015, South Pacific countries and dependencies that are more than 10 percent Mormon include American Samoa, the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, and Tonga.

Culture and practices

Isolation in Utah had allowed Mormons to create a culture of their own.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=47}}. As the faith spread around the world, many of its more distinctive practices followed. Mormon converts are urged to undergo lifestyle changes, repent of sins, and adopt sometimes atypical standards of conduct. Practices common to Mormons include studying scriptures, praying daily, fasting regularly, attending Sunday worship services, participating in church programs and activities on weekdays, and refraining from work on Sundays when possible. The most important part of the church services is considered to be the Lord's Supper (commonly called sacrament), in which church members renew covenants made at baptism.WEB,weblink, Sacrament, Mormons also emphasize standards they believe were taught by Jesus Christ, including personal honesty, integrity, obedience to law, chastity outside marriage and fidelity within marriage.WEB,weblink For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God, LDS Church, {{Dead link|date=August 2019 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}In 2010, around 13–14 percent of Mormons lived in Utah, the center of cultural influence for Mormonism.WEB,weblink USA–Utah, LDS Newsroom, November 11, 2011, . Utah Mormons (as well as Mormons living in the Intermountain West) are on average more culturally and/or politically conservative than those living in some cosmopolitan centers elsewhere in the U.S.Mauss often compares Salt Lake City Mormons to California Mormons from San Francisco and East Bay. The Utah Mormons were generally more orthodox and conservative. {{Harvtxt|Mauss|1994|pp=40, 128}}; JOURNAL,weblink A Portrait of Mormons in the U.S.: III. Social and Political Views, July 24, 2009, Pew Research Center, . Utahns self-identifying as Mormon also attend church somewhat more on average than Mormons living in other states. (Nonetheless, whether they live in Utah or elsewhere in the U.S., Mormons tend to be more culturally and/or politically conservative than members of other U.S. religious groups.)JOURNAL,weblink January 11, 2010, Mormons Most Conservative Major Religious Group in U.S.: Six out of 10 Mormons are politically conservative, Gallup poll, Frank, Newport, ; JOURNAL,weblink Pew Research Center, A Portrait of Mormons in the U.S, Allison, Pond, July 24, 2009, . Utah Mormons often place a greater emphasis on pioneer heritage than international Mormons who generally are not descendants of the Mormon pioneers.(File:Igreja SUD uruguaiana rs.jpg|thumb|left|A Mormon meetinghouse used for Sunday worship services in Brazil)Mormons have a strong sense of communality that stems from their doctrine and history.Early Mormons had practiced the law of consecration in Missouri for two years, in an attempt to eliminate poverty. Families would return their surplus "income" to the bishop, who would then redistribute it among the saints. Though initial efforts at "consecration" failed, consecration has become a more general attitude that underlies Mormon charitable works. {{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|pp=36–39}}. LDS Church members have a responsibility to dedicate their time and talents to helping the poor and building the church. The church is divided by locality into congregations called "wards", with several wards or branches to create a "stake".{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=53}} (The name "stake" comes from a passage in Isaiah that compares Zion to a tent that will enlarge as new stakes are planted); See {{nowrap|Isaiah 33:20}} and {{nowrap|Isaiah 54:2}}. The vast majority of church leadership positions are lay positions, and church leaders may work 10 to 15 hours a week in unpaid church service.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|pp=35, 52}} Observant Mormons also contribute 10 percent of their income to the church as tithing, and are often involved in humanitarian efforts. Many LDS young men, women and elderly couples choose to serve a proselytizing mission, during which they dedicate all of their time to the church, without pay.A full-time mission is looked upon as important character training for a young man. {{Harvtxt|O'Dea|1957|p=177}}.Mormons adhere to the Word of Wisdom, a health law or code that is interpreted as prohibiting the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, coffee and tea,NEWS, Peggy Fletcher Stack, Stack, Peggy Fletcher,weblink It's Official: Coke and Pepsi are OK for Mormons, (Religion News Service), Washington Post, August 31, 2012, September 20, 2013, . while encouraging the use of herbs, grains, fruits, and a moderate consumption of meat.WEB,weblink Doctrine and Covenants, section 89, The Word of Wisdom is also understood to forbid other harmful and addictive substances and practices, such as the use of illegal drugs and abuse of prescription drugs.WEB,weblink Word of Wisdom, 2004, True to the Faith, 186–88, November 11, 2011, Mormons are encouraged to keep a year's supplies that include a food supply and a financial reserve.February 2007 All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage {{Webarchive|url= |date=March 19, 2012 }} The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Mormons also oppose behaviors such as viewing pornography and gambling.The concept of a united family that lives and progresses forever is at the core of Latter-day Saint doctrine, and Mormons place a high importance on family life.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=59}} (In the temple, husbands and wives are sealed to each other for eternity. The implication is that other institutional forms, including the church, might disappear, but the family will endure); JOURNAL,weblink Mormons in America, Pew Research Center, January 2012, (A 2011 survey of Mormons in the United States showed that family life is very important to Mormons, with family concerns significantly higher than career concerns. Four out of five Mormons believe that being a good parent is one of the most important goals in life, and roughly three out of four Mormons put having a successful marriage in this category); JOURNAL,weblink New Pew survey reinforces Mormons' top goals of family, marriage, Deseret News, January 12, 2012, ; See also: "The Family: A Proclamation to the World". Many Mormons hold weekly Family Home Evenings, in which an evening is set aside for family bonding, study, prayer and other activities they consider to be wholesome. Latter-day Saint fathers who hold the priesthood typically name and bless their children shortly after birth to formally give the child a name. Mormon parents hope and pray that their children will gain testimonies of the "gospel"{{vague|What is a "testimony of the 'gospel' and how does one "gain" it?|date=May 2018}} so they can grow up and marry in temples.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|pp=30–31}}; {{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=58}}.Mormons have a strict law of chastity, requiring abstention from sexual relations outside opposite-sex marriage and strict fidelity within marriage. All sexual activity (heterosexual and homosexual) outside marriage is considered a serious sin, with marriage recognized as only between a man and a woman.WEB, Chastity, True to the Faith, 2004,weblink 29–33, ; JOURNAL,weblink Mormons in America, Pew Research Center, January 2012, (79% of Mormons in the US say that sex between unmarried adults is morally wrong, far higher than the 35% of the general public who hold the same view). Same-sex marriages are not performed or supported by the LDS Church. Church members are encouraged to marry and have children, and Latter-day Saint families tend to be larger than average. Mormons are opposed to abortion, except in some exceptional circumstances, such as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, or when the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy.WEB,weblink, Topic: Abortion, {{Dead link|date=October 2019 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}. Many practicing adult Mormons wear religious undergarments that remind them of covenants and encourage them to dress modestly. Latter-day Saints are counseled not to partake of any form of media that is obscene or pornographic in any way, including media that depicts graphic representations of sex or violence. Tattoos and body piercings are also discouraged, with the exception of a single pair of earrings for LDS women.WEB,weblink Dress and Appearance, For the Strength of the Youth, LDS Church, 2001, November 15, 2011, mdy-all, {{dead link|date=July 2019|bot=medic}}{{cbignore|bot=medic}}LGBT Mormons, or Mormons who self-identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, remain in good standing in the church if they abstain from homosexual relations and obey the law of chastity.Homosexual acts (as well as other sexual acts outside the bonds of marriage) are prohibited by the law of chastity. Violating the law of chastity may result in excommunication. WEB,weblink What Are People Asking about Us?, Gordon B. Hinckley, 1998, November 11, 2011, . While there are no official numbers, LDS Family Services estimates that there are on average four or five members per LDS ward who experience same-sex attraction.{{citation |url =weblink |title = Resources for Individuals |work = |publisher = Evergreen International |archiveurl =weblink" title="">weblink |archivedate = November 20, 2012 }}. Gary Watts, former president of Family Fellowship, estimates that only 10 percent of homosexuals stay in the church.JOURNAL,weblink Mormon church changes stance on homosexuality; New teachings say lifelong celibacy to be rewarded with heterosexuality in heaven, Rebecca Rosen Lum, August 20, 2007, The Oakland Tribune, December 20, 2007, harv, . Many of these individuals have come forward through different support groups or websites discussing their homosexual attractions and concurrent church membership.WEB, Mormons and Gays,weblink The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints, February 18, 2013, .WEB, North Star LDS Community,weblink North Star, February 18, 2013,weblink" title="">weblink April 4, 2013, dead, WEB,weblink Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons, In The Beginning: A Brief History of Affirmation, Paul Mortensen, dead,weblink" title="">weblink October 21, 2013, mdy-all, ; See also:(Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons).

Groups within Mormonism

{{See also|Mormon spectrums of orthodoxy and -praxy|List of denominations in the Latter Day Saint movement|The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints membership statistics}}Note that the categories below are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Latter-day Saints (the "LDS")

{{Anchor|LDS}}Members of the LDS Church, also known as Latter-day Saints, constitute over 95 percent of Mormons.The LDS Church claims a membership of over 15 million (WEB,weblink 2015 Statistical Report for 2016 April General Conference, ). Most other Brigham Young–lineage sects number in the tens of thousands. Historically, the Latter Day Saint  movement has dominated by the LDS Church, with over 95 percent of adherents. One denomination dominates the non-LDS Church section of the movement: the Community of Christ, which has about 250,000 members.)Also note the use of the lower case d and hyphen in "Latter-day Saints", as opposed to the larger "Latter Day Saint movement." The beliefs and practices of LDS Mormons are generally guided by the teachings of LDS Church leaders. However, several smaller groups substantially differ from "mainstream" Mormonism in various ways.LDS Church members who do not actively participate in worship services or church callings are often called "less-active" or "inactive" (akin to the qualifying expressions non-observant or non-practicing used in relation to members of other religious groups).NEWS, Stack, Peggy Fletcher, Peggy Fletcher Stack, September 23, 2011, Active, inactive – do Mormon labels work or wound?,weblink The Salt Lake Tribune, September 20, 2013, . The LDS Church does not release statistics on church activity, but it is likely that about 40 percent of Mormons in the United States and 30 percent worldwide regularly attend worship services.Member activity rates are estimated from missionary reports, seminary and institute enrollment, and ratio of members per congregation – WEB,weblink Countries of the World by Estimated Member Activity Rate, July 11, 2011, LDS Church Growth, November 11, 2011, ; See also: WEB,weblink The Consequential Dimension of Mormon Religiosity, Stan L. Albrecht, 1998, November 11, 2011, ; NEWS, Peggy Fletcher, Stack, Peggy Fletcher Stack, July 26, 2005, Keeping members a challenge for LDS church,weblink The Salt Lake Tribune, September 20, 2013,weblink" title="">weblink September 21, 2013, dead, mdy-all, Reasons for inactivity can include lifestyle issues and problems with social integration.{{citation |contribution-url =weblink |contribution = Activity in the Church |last = Cunningham |first = Perry H. |pages = 13–15 |editor-last = Ludlow |editor-first = Daniel H |editor-link = Daniel H. Ludlow |year = 1992 |title = Encyclopedia of Mormonism |location = New York |publisher = Macmillan Publishing |isbn = 978-0-02-879602-4 |oclc = 24502140 |title-link = Encyclopedia of Mormonism }} Activity rates tend to vary with age, and disengagement occurs most frequently between age 16 and 25. A majority of less active members return to church activity later in life.WEB,weblink The Consequential Dimension of Mormon Religiosity, Stan L. Albrecht, 1998, November 11, 2011, Former Latter-day Saints who seek to disassociate themselves from the religion are often referred to as ex-Mormons.

Fundamentalist Mormons

Members of sects that broke with the LDS Church over the issue of polygamy have become known as fundamentalist Mormons; these groups differ from mainstream Mormonism primarily in their belief in and practice of plural marriage. There are thought to be between 20,000 and 60,000 members of fundamentalist sects, (0.1–0.4 percent of Mormons), with roughly half of them practicing polygamy.Martha Sonntag Bradley, "Polygamy-Practicing Mormons" in J. Gordon Melton and Martin Baumann (eds.) (2002). Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia 3:1023–24; Dateline NBC, January 2, 2001; Ken Driggs, "Twentieth-Century Polygamy and Fundamentalist Mormons in Southern Utah", (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought), Winter 1991, pp. 46–47; Irwin Altman, "Polygamous Family Life: The Case of Contemporary Mormon Fundamentalists", Utah Law Review (1996) p. 369; Stephen Eliot Smith, "'The Mormon Question' Revisited: Anti-Polygamy Laws and the Free Exercise Clause", LL.M. thesis, Harvard Law School, 2005. There are a number of fundamentalist sects, the largest two being the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) and the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB). In addition to plural marriage, some of these groups also practice a form of Christian communalism known as the law of consecration or the United Order. The LDS Church seeks to distance itself from all such polygamous groups, excommunicating their members if discovered practicing or teaching it,The LDS Church encourages journalists not to use the word Mormon in reference to organizations or people that practice polygamy WEB,weblink Style Guide, LDS Newsroom, November 11, 2011, ; The church repudiates polygamist groups and excommunicates their members if discovered – {{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=91}}; WEB,weblink Mormons seek distance from polygamous sects, 2008,, and today a majority of Mormon fundamentalists have never been members of the LDS Church.JOURNAL, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought,weblink Quinn, Michael D., 2, Summer 1998, Plural Marriage and Mormon Fundamentalism, 7, 31, harv,

Liberal Mormons

{{anchor|Liberal Mormon}}Liberal Mormons, also known as Progressive Mormons, take an interpretive approach to LDS teachings and scripture. They look to the scriptures for spiritual guidance, but may not necessarily believe the teachings to be literally or uniquely true. For liberal Mormons, revelation is a process through which God gradually brings fallible human beings to greater understanding.WEB,weblink, October 27, 2011, . A person in this group is sometimes mistakenly regarded by others within the mainstream church as a Jack Mormon. Although this term is more commonly used to describe a different group with distinct motives to live the gospel in a non traditional mannerWEB,weblink Where does the term ‘Jack-Mormon’ come from?,, 2019-09-14, . Liberal Mormons place doing good and loving fellow human beings above the importance of believing correctly.WEB,weblink Bringing back Liberal Mormonism, Chris H, September 21, 2010, Main Street Plaza, October 27, 2011, . In a separate context, members of small progressive breakaway groups have also adopted the label.

Cultural Mormons

Cultural Mormons are individuals who may not believe in certain doctrines or practices of the institutional LDS Church yet identify as members of the Mormon ethnic identity.JOURNAL, Murphy, Thomas W., 1999, From Racist Stereotype to Ethnic Identity: Instrumental Uses of Mormon Racial Doctrine, Ethnohistory – Duke University Press, 46, 3, 451–480, 483199, BOOK,weblink Mormons and American politics : seeking the promised land: Part I – Mormons as an Ethno-Religious Group, Campbell, David E., Cambridge University Press, 2014, 9781139227247, New York, NY, 1–2, 886644501, Usually this is a result of having been raised in the LDS faith, or as having converted and spent a large portion of one's life as an active member of the LDS Church.{{citation |url =weblink |title = New Order Mormon Essays: The Paradox of the Faithful Unbeliever |first = Peggy |last = Rogers |work = New Order Mormon, |publisher = Publisher is anonymous |accessdate = September 20, 2013 }}. Cultural Mormons may or may not be actively involved with the LDS church. In some cases they may not be members of the LDS Church.


Mormons have a scriptural canon consisting of the Bible (both Old and New Testaments), the Book of Mormon, and a collection of revelations and writings by Joseph Smith known as the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. Mormons, however, have a relatively open definition of scripture. As a general rule, anything spoken or written by a prophet, while under inspiration, is considered to be the word of God.{{citation |contribution-url =weblink |contribution = Scriptures: Authority of Scripture |pages = 1280–1281 |last = Jackson |first = Kent P. |authorlink = Kent P. Jackson |editor-last = Ludlow |editor-first = Daniel H |editor-link = Daniel H. Ludlow |year = 1992 |title = Encyclopedia of Mormonism |location = New York |publisher = Macmillan Publishing |isbn = 978-0-02-879602-4 |oclc = 24502140 |title-link = Encyclopedia of Mormonism }}. Thus, the Bible, written by prophets and apostles, is the word of God, so far as it is translated correctly. The Book of Mormon is also believed to have been written by ancient prophets, and is viewed as a companion to the Bible. By this definition, the teachings of Smith's successors are also accepted as scripture, though they are always measured against, and draw heavily from the scriptural canon.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|pp=25–26}}.File:Christus statue temple square salt lake city.jpg|thumb|Mormons see {{nowrap|(Jesus in Christianity|Jesus Christ]]}} as the premier figure of their religion.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=8}} ("As the name of the church  ... suggests, Jesus Christ is the premier figure. Smith does not even play the role of the last and culminating prophet, as Muhammad does in Islam"); WEB,weblink What Mormons Believe About Jesus Christ, LDS Newsroom, November 11, 2011, ; In a 2011 Pew Survey a thousand Mormons were asked to volunteer the one word that best describes Mormons. The most common response from those surveyed was "Christian" or "Christ-centered".)Mormons believe in "a friendly universe", governed by a God whose aim it is to bring his children to immortality and eternal life.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=79}}. Mormons have a unique perspective on the nature of God, the origin of man, and the purpose of life. For instance, Mormons believe in a pre-mortal existence where people were literal spirit children of God,JOURNAL, Plan of Salvation, True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference, 2004,weblink 115, harv, and that God presented a plan of salvation that would allow his children to progress and become more like him. The plan involved the spirits receiving bodies on earth and going through trials in order to learn, progress, and receive a "fulness of joy". The most important part of the plan involved Jesus, the eldest of God's children, coming to earth as the literal Son of God, to conquer sin and death so that God's other children could return. According to Mormons, every person who lives on earth will be resurrected, and nearly all of them will be received into various kingdoms of glory.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=75}}. To be accepted into the highest kingdom, a person must fully accept Christ through faith, repentance, and through ordinances such as baptism and the laying on of hands.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=78}}; In Mormonism, an ordinance is a formal act, in which people enter into covenants with God. For example, covenants associated with baptism and the Eucharist involve taking the name of the Son upon themselves, always remembering him, and keeping his commandments; JOURNAL, Atonement of Jesus Christ, True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference, 2004,weblink 14, harv, ; {{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|pp=60–61}} Because Mormons believe that everyone must receive certain ordinances to be saved, Mormons perform vicarious ordinances such as baptism for the dead on behalf of deceased persons. Mormons believe that the deceased may accept or reject the offered ordinance in the spirit world.File:Latter Day Saint confirmation (Mayhew 1852).png|thumb|left|A Latter Day Saint confirmationconfirmationAccording to Mormons, a deviation from the original principles of Christianity, known as the Great Apostasy, began not long after the ascension of Jesus Christ.BOOK, Missionary Department of the LDS Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Preach My Gospel, LDS Church, Inc, 2004, 35,weblink 978-0-402-36617-1, harv, It was marked with the corruption of Christian doctrine by Greek and other philosophies,BOOK, Talmage, James E., James E. Talmage, The Great Apostasy, The Deseret News, 1909, 64–65,weblink 978-0-87579-843-1, harv, with followers dividing into different ideological groups.BOOK, Richards, LeGrand, LeGrand Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, Deseret Book Company, 1976, 24, 978-0-87747-161-5, harv, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, Mormons claim the martyrdom of the ApostlesBOOK, Talmage, James E., James E. Talmage, The Great Apostasy, The Deseret News, 1909, 68,weblink 978-0-87579-843-1, harv, led to a loss of Priesthood authority to administer the church and its ordinances.JOURNAL, Eyring, Henry B., Henry B. Eyring, The True and Living Church,weblink Ensign, 20–24, May 2008, harv, ; Cf. John 14:16–17 and 16:13, Acts 2:1–4, and Galatians 1:6–9.Mormons believe that God restored the early Christian church through Joseph Smith. In particular, Mormons believe that angels such as Peter, James, John, John the Baptist, Moses, and Elijah appeared to Smith and others and bestowed various priesthood authorities on them. Mormons believe that their church is the "only true and living church" because of the divine authority restored through Smith. Mormons self-identify as being Christian,JOURNAL, Mormonism in America,weblink Pew Research Center, January 2012, (Mormons are nearly unanimous in describing Mormonism as a Christian religion, with 97% expressing this point of view); {{citation |author = Robinson, Stephen E. |date = May 1998 |url =weblink |title = Are Mormons Christians? |publisher = Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints |work = New Era }}. while many Christians, particularly evangelical Protestants, disagree with this view.JOURNAL, Romney's Mormon Faith Likely a Factor in Primaries, Not in a General Election, Pew Research Center,weblink (About a third of Americans and half of evangelical Protestants view Mormonism as a non-Christian religion). Mormons view other religions as having portions of the truth, doing good works, and having genuine value."Have the Presbyterians any truth? Yes. Have the Baptists, Methodists, etc., any truth? Yes. They all have a little truth mixed with error. We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true 'Mormons'." JOURNAL, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 316, Joseph Fielding Smith, 1993, harv, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (book), ; Mormons take an inclusivist position that their religion is correct and true but that other religions have genuine value. BOOK, Religions of the World: A Latter-day Saint View, Palmer, Keller, Choi, Toronto, Brigham Young University, 1997, .The LDS Church has a top-down hierarchical structure with a president–prophet dictating revelations for the whole church. Lay Mormons are also believed to have access to inspiration, and are encouraged to seek their own personal revelations.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|p=54}}. Mormons see Joseph Smith's First Vision as proof that the heavens are open, and that God answers prayers. They place considerable emphasis on "asking God" to find out if something is true. Most Mormons do not claim to have had heavenly visions like Smith's in response to prayers, but feel that God talks to them in their hearts and minds through the Holy Ghost. Though Mormons have some beliefs that are considered strange in a modernized world, they continue to hold onto their beliefs because they feel God has spoken to them.{{Harvtxt|Bushman|2008|pp=15, 35–35}} (Outside observers sometimes react to Mormonism as "nice people, wacky beliefs." Mormons insist that the "wacky" beliefs pull them together as a people and give them the strength and the know-how to succeed in the modern world).

See also

{{Book bar|List of denominations in the Latter Day Saint movement|The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints|LDS Church|Book of Mormon|Latter Day Saints in popular culture|LDS cinema|Standard works|Culture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints}} {{Clear}}



External reading

  • JOURNAL, Alexander, Thomas G., Thomas G. Alexander, The Reconstruction of Mormon Doctrine: From Joseph Smith to Progressive Theology, Sunstone, 5, 4, 1980, 24–33,weblink harv, .
  • {{Citation |last = Allen |first = James B. |author-link = James B. Allen (historian) |title = The Significance of Joseph Smith's First Vision in Mormon Thought |journal = (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought) |year = 1966 |volume = 1 |issue = 3 |url =weblink |url-status = dead |archiveurl =weblink" title="">weblink |archivedate = June 13, 2011 |df = mdy-all }}.
  • BOOK, Bloom, Harold, Harold Bloom, The American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1st, 1992, 978-0-671-67997-2, harv,weblink .
  • BOOK, Bowman, Matthew, The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith, Random House, 2012, 978-0-679-64491-0, harv, .
  • BOOK, Brodie, Fawn M., Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, Alfred A. Knopf, Knopf, New York, 2nd, 1971, 978-0-394-46967-6, harv, No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, .
  • BOOK, Bushman, Richard Lyman, Richard Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, 2005, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, Knopf, 978-1-4000-4270-8, harv, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, .
  • BOOK, Bushman, Richard Lyman, Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction, 2008, New York, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-531030-6, harv, .
  • BOOK, Mormons, Epperson, Steven, A notion of peoples: a sourcebook on America's multicultural heritage, 1999, Barkan, Elliott Robert, Greenwood Publishing Group, 978-0-313-29961-2, harv,weblink .
  • JOURNAL, Hill, Marvin S., Marvin S. Hill, Quest for Refuge: The Mormon Flight from American Pluralism, 1989, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, Utah,weblink harv, .
  • BOOK, Ludlow, Daniel H., Daniel H. Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1992, Macmillan, New York, 978-0-02-904040-9,weblink harv, .
  • BOOK, Mauss, Armand, Armand Mauss, The Angel and the Beehive: The Mormon Struggle with Assimilation, Urbana & Chicago, University of Illinois Press, 1994, 978-0-252-02071-1, harv, .
  • BOOK, May, Dean, Dean L. May, Mormons, Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, Thernstrom, Stephan, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1980, 720, harv, .
  • BOOK, McMurrin, Sterling M., Sterling M. McMurrin, The Theological Foundations of the Mormon Religion, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, 1965, 978-1-56085-135-6, harv, .
  • BOOK, O'Dea, Thomas F., The Mormons, 1957, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 978-0-226-61743-5, harv,
  • BOOK, Ostling, Richard, Ostling, Joan K., Richard and Joan Ostling, Richard and Joan Ostling, Mormon America: The Power and the Promise, HarperOne, New York, 2007, 978-0-06-143295-8, harv, .
  • BOOK, Quinn, D. Michael, D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, 1994, 978-1-56085-056-4, harv, .
  • BOOK, Shipps, Jan, Jan Shipps, Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition, 1985, University of Illinois Press, Chicago, 978-0-252-01417-8, harv, .
  • BOOK, Shipps, Jan, Sojourner in the promised land: forty years among the Mormons, 2000, University of Illinois Press, Chicago, 978-0-252-02590-7, harv, .

External links

{{Wikisource portal|Mormonism}} {{LDSaffiliation}}{{Latter Day Saint movement}}{{Latter-day Saints}}{{authority control}}

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