Difference between revisions of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints"

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The '''Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,'''<ref>[http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=ca07ae4af9c7e010VgnVCM1000004e94610aRCRD Style Guide - The Name of the Church] LDS.org</ref> informally known as the '''Mormon Church''', was founded by [[Joseph Smith]] in 1830. It started with a total of 6 people, the minimum according to New York state law at the time. The church migrated from New York to Kirtland Ohio, until they were forced out by mobs, after which they moved to Nauvoo, Illinois. The church also sent large groups of Saints to Missouri while they were in Kirtland, Ohio. These missionaries were forced out of the sate of Missouri by an extermination order issued by the state governor and joined the Saints in Illinois. After several years in Nauvoo, mobs from local towns murdered Joseph Smith and forced the Mormons out. In 1847, Mormons, led by [[Brigham Young]], traveled west to escape persecution and founded [[Salt Lake City]], [[Utah]], where the Latter-Day Saint Church continues to be headquarted today. The church has now expanded to more than 12.5 million members.<ref>[http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=d10511154963d010VgnVCM1000004e94610aRCRD Worldwide Church Statistics] LDS.org</ref>
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[[File:Birmingham temple.jpg|right|Birmingham temple]]
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'''The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints''',<ref>[http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=ca07ae4af9c7e010VgnVCM1000004e94610aRCRD Style Guide& - The Name of the Church] LDS.org</ref> known as the '''LDS Church''' or, more colloquially, the '''Mormon Church''', is the largest denomination originating from the Latter-Day Saint movement founded by [[Joseph Smith]]. Its members are colloquially referred to as "Mormons." As of 2015, the Church reports over 15.3 million members worldwide.<ref>[http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/2014-statistical-report-for-2015-april-general-conference "2014 Statistical Report for 2015 April General Conference"], ''Mormon Newsroom'', April 4, 2015.</ref><ref>[http://www.adherents.com/largecom/com_lds.html Geographic statistics]</ref>
  
Church members follow a law of health known as the Word of Wisdom that promotes healthy eating as well as avoiding tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea, and illegal drugs.<ref>[http://scriptures.lds.org/dc/89 The Word of Wisdom] Scriptures.lds.org</ref>  
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Originally an American religion, most of its members are outside of the [[United States]] now, and church leaders are pro-[[immigration]] and [[globalism|globalist]]. Church leaders are coordinating a smear campaign against President [[Donald Trump]], which has been perpetrated by [[Jeff Flake]], [[Mitt Romney]], [[Harry Reid]], and [[Jon Huntsman]].<ref>The first three (Flake, Romney and Reid) have repeatedly attacked President Trump in a personal, offensive manner; the fourth, Huntsman, reportedly authored an anonymous criticism of Trump in the ''[[The New York Times]]'' [https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/09/new-york-times-op-ed-anonymous-writer-trump.html].</ref>
  
==Beliefs==
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Though traditionally associated with [[conservative]] values, the Mormon Church is increasingly [[liberal]] on social issues such as the [[homosexual agenda]] and [[transgenderism]], and [[Utah]] has not passed strong [[pro-life]] laws like the [[Heartbeat Bill]]. The Utah legislature considers and sometimes enacts social legislation that conservative states would not pass, such as considering a ban on [[conversion therapy]] in 2019.<ref>https://www.thedailybeast.com/utah-might-pass-a-ban-on-lgbt-conversion-therapy</ref> This seems to make the false equivalence between the people of Utah and the LDS Church. While Utah is becoming more liberal, that may be because Utah is experiencing an influx of non-LDS immigrants, and not because the LDS Church is liberalizing.
Latter-day Saints (Mormons) believe in Christ, and they strive to follow his example.  They testify of Christ and their Church bears his name. From the organization of the LDS Church in 1830, the Church's doctrine focused on Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith, Jr. wrote in 1842 to Chicago Democrat editor John Wentworth a statement of Church beliefs. The first of these 13 doctrinal declarations, later called the Articles of Faith, stated the following:<blockquote>“We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost."<ref>[http://www.lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg/menuitem.b12f9d18fae655bb69095bd3e44916a0/?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=4ebe76e6ffe0c010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1] The Marvelous Foundation of Our Faith] from the October 2002 General Conference</ref></blockquote>
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The LDS website states: <blockquote>"We believe in the Jesus of the New Testament, and we believe what the New Testament teaches about Him. We do believe things about Jesus that other Christians do not believe, but that is because we know, through revelation, things about Jesus that others do not know."<ref>[http://www.mormon.org/question/faq/category/answer/0,9777,1601-1-56-16,00.html Is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a Christian church?] As answered on the LDS Church's website</ref></blockquote>
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== Overview ==
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The church was organized in 1830 in the [[Burned-over district|Burned-Over District]] of upstate New York, by [[Joseph Smith]]. As the Church grew, new converts gathered in [[Ohio]] and [[Missouri]]. While the Latter-day Saints in [[Kirtland]], Ohio, experienced persecution, those gathered in Missouri were repeatedly driven from town to town by angry mobs. Having been forced from Missouri in 1839, Church members gathered in Illinois and built a thriving city called [[Nauvoo]] in a swampy bend of the Mississippi River. However, within seven years they were again forced from their homes. Led by [[Brigham Young]], these pioneers trekked 1,300 miles (2,092 kilometers) westward to the Salt Lake Valley, to escape persecution, and founded [[Salt Lake City]], [[Utah]], where the Latter-Day Saint Church continues to be headquartered today. The church has now expanded to more than 13 million members.<ref>[http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=86e6635a56d8f010VgnVCM100000176f620aRCRD&vgnextchannel=3e0511154963d010VgnVCM1000004e94610aRCRD LDS Newsroom - Early Church History]</ref><ref>[http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=d10511154963d010VgnVCM1000004e94610aRCRD Worldwide Church Statistics] LDS.org</ref>
  
===Scriptures===
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Church members follow a law of health known as the [[Word of Wisdom]] that promotes healthy eating as well as avoiding tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea, and illegal drugs.<ref>[http://scriptures.lds.org/dc/89 The Word of Wisdom] Scriptures.lds.org</ref>
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The U.S religious landscape survey published in February 2008 shows that [[Mormon]]s have the largest families closely followed by Muslims.<ref>[http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/25/america/25usreligion.php U.S religious landscape survey]</ref>
  
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== Mormons' relationship to Christianity ==
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According to the [[Lutheran Missouri Synod]], "The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, together with the vast majority of Christian denominations in the United States, does not regard the Mormon church as a Christian church."<ref>http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=2239</ref> In addition, the [[Southern Baptist Convention]] states that the Mormon religion is "not consistent with biblical Christianity."<ref>https://www.onenewsnow.com/2007/02/southern_baptist_convention_wa.php</ref> The [[United Methodist Church]] has stated that the Morman faith has "some radically differing doctrine on such matters of belief as the nature and being of [[God]]; the nature, origin, and purpose of [[Jesus Christ]]; and the nature and way of [[salvation]]."<ref>http://www.apologeticsindex.org/news/an200513.html#21</ref> According to Beliefnet.com there are a number of differences between the Mormon faith and traditional Christianity.<ref>http://www.beliefnet.com/features/mormonism.html</ref> Dr. James White, a Christian pastor, has stated that Mormonism is more different from Christianity than Islam because, he states, Mormonism is polytheistic, while Islam is monotheistic, and whether a religion is monotheistic or polytheistic is the basic element to a religion, according to White. He went on to say that part of the reason that Mormonism was, he felt, often mistaken for Christianity was his perception that Mormonism uses the same words Christians use, but it gives them completely different meanings.<ref>http://www.reformationtheology.com/2007/02/mormonism_v_christianity_a_quo.php</ref> The Roman Catholic Church does not accept Mormon baptisms as Christian baptisms.<ref>http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2012-01/are-mormons-christian-its-complicated</ref>
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== Beliefs ==
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Latter-day Saints (Mormons) believe in the deity of [[Christ]]. They affirm the deity of Christ and their Church bears his name. From the organization of the LDS Church in 1830, the Church's doctrine focused on matters concerning theological issues related to Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith, Jr. wrote in 1842 to ''Chicago Democrat'' editor John Wentworth a statement of Church beliefs. The first of these 13 doctrinal declarations, later called the Articles of [[Faith]], stated the following:<blockquote style=font-size:100%>"We believe in [[God]] the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the [[Holy Ghost]]."<ref>[http://www.lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg/menuitem.b12f9d18fae655bb69095bd3e44916a0/?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=4ebe76e6ffe0c010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1 The Marvelous Foundation of Our Faith] from the October 2002 General Conference</ref></blockquote> However, the Mormon understanding of Christ's deity is very different from the Christian understanding. Mormons believe Jesus is a god, but not a unique god. They believe Jesus is a created being, is only unique in mission, not in claims to godhood, and that he is the spirit brother of Satan.<ref>What Do Mormons Really Believe
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By John Ankerberg, John Weldon [https://books.google.com/books?id=USylAQAAQBAJ&pg=PT48&dq=Mormons+reject+Christ+deity&hl=en&sa=X&ei=g1tRVaLQMMPwoAS42oGACQ&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Mormons%20reject%20Christ%20deity&f=false]</ref>
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"The Articles of Faith are thirteen statements written by the Prophet Joseph Smith describing some of the basic teachings and ordinances of the Church".<ref>[http://scriptures.lds.org/en/a_of_f/1]</ref><ref>[http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Curriculum/home%20and%20family.htm/gospel%20principles.htm?fn=document-frameset.htm$f=templates$3.0 ''Gospel Principles'', The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Utah. 1997]</ref>
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The LDS Web site states: <blockquote style=font-size:100%>"We believe in the Jesus of the [[New Testament]], and we believe what the New Testament teaches about Him. We do believe things about Jesus that other Christians do not believe, but that is because we know, through revelation, things about Jesus that others do not know."<ref>[http://www.mormon.org/question/faq/category/answer/0,9777,1601-1-56-16,00.html Is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a Christian church?] As answered on the LDS Church's website</ref></blockquote>
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Members of the church believe that [[God the Father]] and Jesus Christ are separate and distinct glorified beings, that God, the Father of all spirits (even including Lucifer) and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in a vision in the spring of 1820 in response to Joseph's prayer requesting to know which of the many local [[Christian]] denominations he should join himself with, and that They told him that he should join with none of them. The reason behind this direction was as follows, according to LDS beliefs: the organization or "church" put in place by Jesus Christ during His ministry both before and after His resurrection was meant to remain as long as there were faithful followers, although there was clear understanding that a "falling away" (see 2 Thessalonians 2:3) or apostasy would take place, destroying for a time this organization (though not destroying faith in Jesus Christ, which did persist). This church organization provided a structure whereby two key components were maintained: the Priesthood, and continuing and direct revelation from the ascended Jesus Christ to His chosen Apostles.
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According to LDS beliefs, the Priesthood is the authority given by Jesus Christ to His [[Apostles]] and others, both to direct the Church, as well as to perform the associated and necessary ordinances, such as baptism by water immersion, and giving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. Without this authority, it would be impossible to perform them in an authorized manner (see [[Book of Acts|Acts]] 8:18-23). This authority, in actuality a covenant of service, only placed on men and not at all a legitimate source of self-aggrandizement, could only be passed from one authorized holder to another worthy man through the laying on of hands. Thus, while although initially the full quorum of 12 Apostles was maintained (see Acts 1:15-26), the Apostles were killed one by one and the Lord, in His mercy, ceased to give these murderers further opportunity of condemning themselves as more Apostles were not chosen. Thus, without the Priesthood and without the continuing revelation that the Lord provided to His Apostles to lead and guide the church, it fell way, as had been prophesied.
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Therefore, LDS doctrine teaches of the necessity of a complete restoration rather than simply a reformation, and for this reason, Joseph Smith was called by God to be the first prophet, in the same sense as [[Moses]], [[Isaiah]], or [[Peter]], since the times of the New Testament. Mormons believe that since Joseph Smith, the leaders of the Church, from Brigham Young to [[Gordon B. Hinckley]] today, were and are prophets, with the complete Priesthood authority (restored through the laying on of hands by first [[John the Baptist]] and then by Apostles Peter, [[James]] and [[John]]). Mormons revere these men just as the Biblical prophets are revered and in particular, honor Joseph Smith for being the man through whom God and Jesus Christ chose to restore Their church to the earth.
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=== JesusChrist.lds.org ===
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[[File:FaithinChrist.jpg|thumb|right|A screen shot of the new JesusChrist.lds.org Web site.]]
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The Church has a multimedia website about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ at [http://jesuschrist.lds.org/?cid=wpats1 JesusChrist.lds.org].
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Elder [[Russell Nelson|Russell M. Nelson]] speaks about the new website ''JesusChrist.lds.org''. [http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/media/mediaplayer.swf?media=http://broadcast.lds.org/newsroom/video/flv/2-29-08_Nelson.flv&type=FLV video]
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=== Scriptures ===
 
The four standard works of the Church are:
 
The four standard works of the Church are:
*The King James Version of the Bible - both the Old and New Testaments
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*The King James Version of the [[Bible]]&nbsp;— both the Old and New Testaments
*The Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ
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*[[The Book of Mormon|The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ]]&nbsp;— Translation of the spiritual record of two ancient civilizations in the western hemisphere, one from the time of the [[Tower of Babel]] to about 600 B.C., and the other from 600 B.C. to 421 A.D.
*Doctrine and Covenants - Modern-day revelation as received by the Prophet Joseph Smith and other modern-day prophets
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*[[Doctrine and Covenants]]&nbsp;— Modern-day revelation as received by the Prophet Joseph Smith and other modern-day prophets
*Pearl of Great Price - Selection of translations, revelations and narrations from the Prophet Joseph Smith.
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*[[Pearl of Great Price]]&nbsp;— Selection of translations, revelations and narrations from the Prophet Joseph Smith
  
====Book of Mormon====
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==== Book of Mormon ====
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President [[Gordon B. Hinckley]] said the following about the [[Book of Mormon]] in an October, 2002 [[General Conference]] address entitled "The Marvelous Foundation of Our Faith": <blockquote style=font-size:100%>"This remarkable book stands as a testimonial to the living reality of the Son of God. The Bible declares that 'in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established' (Matt. 18:16). The Bible, the testament of the Old World, is one witness. The Book of Mormon, the testament of the New World, is another witness.</blockquote><blockquote style=font-size:100%>I cannot understand why the Christian world does not accept this book. I would think they would be looking for anything and everything that would establish without question the reality and the divinity of the Savior of the world."<ref>[http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=e74c4d4297602110VgnVCM100000176f620aRCRD Mormons Reflect Christianity in Lifestyle] as stated in the April, 2007 newsroom article at lds.org</ref></blockquote>
  
President [[Gordon B. Hinckley]] said the following about the [[Book of Mormon]] in an October, 2002 [[General Conference]] address entitled "The Marvelous Foundation of Our Faith": <blockquote>"This remarkable book stands as a testimonial to the living reality of the Son of God. The Bible declares that 'in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established' (Matt. 18:16). The Bible, the testament of the Old World, is one witness. The Book of Mormon, the testament of the New World, is another witness.</blockquote><blockquote>I cannot understand why the Christian world does not accept this book. I would think they would be looking for anything and everything that would establish without question the reality and the divinity of the Savior of the world."<ref>[http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=e74c4d4297602110VgnVCM100000176f620aRCRD] Mormons Reflect Christianity in Lifestyle] as stated in the April, 2007 newsroom article at lds.org</ref></blockquote>
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=== Restoration of the Priesthood ===
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Members of the [[Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]] believe that on May 15, 1829 A.D., the resurrected [[John the Baptist]] appeared to [[Joseph Smith|Joseph Smith, Jr.]] and [[Oliver Cowdery]] and conferred upon them the [[Aaronic priesthood]], which includes the authority to baptize.<ref>[http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/13 Doctrine and Covenants 13]</ref> Later, the resurrected Peter, James, and John appeared to them and conferred the [[Melchizedek priesthood]].
  
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== Special Witnesses of Christ ==
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These prophets and apostles have given their testimonies as special witnesses of Jesus Christ.
  
===John the Baptist===
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*President [[Gordon Hinckley|Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008)]]<ref>[http://jesuschrist.lds.org/SonOfGod/eng/special-witnesses/video/president-gordon-b-hinckley-1910-2008-garden-tomb Special Witnesses of Christ], President Gordon B. Hinckley at the Garden Tomb, video at ''JesusChrist.lds.org''.</ref><ref>[http://jesuschrist.lds.org/SonOfGod/eng/special-witnesses/video/president-gordon-b-hinckley-1910-2008-sacred-grove Special Witnesses of Christ], President Gordon B. Hinckley at the Sacred Grove, video at ''JesusChrist.lds.org''.</ref>
Members of the [[Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]] believe that on May 15, 1829 A.D., the resurrected [[John the Baptist]] appeared to [[Joseph Smith|Joseph Smith, Jr.]] and [[Oliver Cowdery]] and conferred upon them the [[Aaronic Priesthood]], which includes the authority to baptize.<ref>[http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/13 Doctrine and Covenants 13]</ref>
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*President [[Thomas Monson|Thomas S. Monson]]<ref>[http://jesuschrist.lds.org/SonOfGod/eng/special-witnesses/video/president-thomas-s-monson Special Witnesses of Christ], President Thomas S. Monson, video at ''JesusChrist.lds.org''.</ref>
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*President [[Henry Eyring|Henry B. Eyring]]
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*President [[Dieter Uchtdorf|Dieter F. Uchtdorf]]<ref>[http://jesuschrist.lds.org/SonOfGod/eng/special-witnesses/video/president-dieter-f-uchtdorf Special Witnesses of Christ], President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, video at ''JesusChrist.lds.org''.</ref>
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*President [[Boyd Packer|Boyd K. Packer]]<ref>[http://jesuschrist.lds.org/SonOfGod/eng/special-witnesses/video/president-boyd-k-packer Special Witnesses of Christ], President Boyd K. Packer, video at ''JesusChrist.lds.org''.</ref>
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*Elder [[L. Tom Perry]]
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*Elder [[Russell Nelson|Russell M. Nelson]]<ref>[http://jesuschrist.lds.org/SonOfGod/eng/special-witnesses/video/elder-russell-m-nelson Special Witnesses of Christ], Elder Russell M. Nelson, video at ''JesusChrist.lds.org''.</ref>
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*Elder [[Dallin Oaks|Dallin H. Oaks]]
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*Elder [[M. Russell Ballard]]
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*Elder [[Joseph Wirthlin|Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917-2008)]]
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*Elder [[Richard Scott|Richard G. Scott]]
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*Elder [[Robert Hales|Robert D. Hales]]<ref>[http://jesuschrist.lds.org/SonOfGod/eng/special-witnesses/video/elder-robert-d-hales Special Witnesses of Christ], Elder Robert D. Hales, video at ''JesusChrist.lds.org''.</ref>
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*Elder [[Jeffrey Holland|Jeffrey R. Holland]]<ref>[http://jesuschrist.lds.org/SonOfGod/eng/special-witnesses/video/elder-jeffrey-r-holland Special Witnesses of Christ], Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, video at ''JesusChrist.lds.org''.</ref>
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*Elder [[David Bednar|David A. Bednar]]<ref>[http://jesuschrist.lds.org/SonOfGod/eng/special-witnesses/video/elder-elder-david-a-bednar Special Witnesses of Christ], Elder David A. Bednar, video at ''JesusChrist.lds.org''.</ref>
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*Elder [[Quentin Cook|Quentin L. Cook]]
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*Elder [[D. Todd Christofferson]]
  
==Wards==
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== Wards ==
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[[File:DCTemple.jpg|right|Washington DC Temple]]
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Wards are the lowest level of the LDS hierarchy. They are equivalent to congregations or parishes, and are organized primarily on geography (LDS members are expected to attend the ward in their geographic area). However, wards may also be formed for special purposes (such as to reach specific groups of people who speak a language other than the prevailing one). If the area is too small to form a ward (usually 150 members are required to do so), a branch may be formed instead.
  
Wards are local congregations of the church. The Bishop is the leader of the ward and he serves along with two of his counselors. The entire ward meets every week on Sunday to worship the Lord Jesus Christ and to receive counsel. The meetings are divided into three different hours:
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It is not uncommon, and in fact it is frequent, for several wards to meet at the same physical location, either meeting at different times of the Sunday or with having several portions of the meeting overlap.
*First hour - '''Sacrament meeting'''. Our main purpose in attending sacrament meeting is to renew our covenants through partaking of the sacrament and to worship our Heavenly Father through hymn singing and prayer. Sacrament meeting provides an opportunity for members to strengthen their faith, find inner peace and spiritual healing, receive inspiration, and be instructed in the gospel. A member of the bishopric begins the meeting welcoming all members and visitors. There is an opening hymn followed by an opening prayer (invocation). This is followed by conducting ward business where members are released and sustained from callings. Then the sacrament of bread and water is prepared, blessed by the priesthood, and passed to the congregation. The sacrament is a renewal of the covenants each member made at baptism to remember the Lord Jesus Christ and to keep his commandments. On the first Sunday of the month, the meeting conductor starts off the bearing of testimonies by offering his own personal testimony. A testimony is a personal witness that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. As inspired by the Spirit, other members give their testimonies. On the other three Sundays, there are talks from members. The sacrament meeting concludes with a closing hymn and prayer.
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*Second hour - '''Sunday School''', '''Primary''' and '''Nursery'''. Its purposes are to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and strengthen individuals and families by encouraging them to study the scriptures, obey the commandments, receive the essential ordinances, and keep the associated covenants. All the adults and youth meet in Sunday School classes. Children younger than twelve and three or older attend Primary. Children who are at least 18 months old but who are not yet 3 years old on 1 January may attend nursery at the discretion of their parents.
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:'''Adult Sunday School''' - The adults meet in several different classes. New members to the Church usually attend a Gospel Essentials class where they learn the basic teachings of the Church. Most of the other adults attend a Gospel Doctrine class where they are instructed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the scriptures. The main subjects rotate every four years: Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and the last year is Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price and Church history. The bible used by Church members is the King James Version.
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:'''Youth Sunday School''' - The youth meet in several different classes according to their ages. There are usually separate classes for twelve and thirteen year olds, fourteen and fifteen year olds and sixteen and seventeen year olds. When they turn eighteen, the member starts attending the adult classes.
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:'''Primary''' - The purpose of Primary is to teach children the gospel of Jesus Christ and help them learn to live it.
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:'''Nursery''' - The purpose of the nursery class is to provide a loving, safe, organized place where young children can increase their understanding of and love for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, have positive experiences in a Church setting, and grow in feelings of self-worth.
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*Third hour - '''Priesthood''', '''Relief Society''', '''Young Men''', '''Young Women''', '''Primary''' and '''Nursery'''. The men meet in Priesthood, the adult women meet in Relief Society,the male youth meet in Young Men, the female youth meet in Young Women and the children continue to meet in Primary or Nursery.
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:'''Priesthood''' - The purpose of the priesthood meetings are to increase priesthood holders’ knowledge of the gospel; strengthen their dedication to becoming better husbands, fathers, sons, and neighbors; and help them become active participants in fulfilling the mission of the Church.
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:'''Relief Society ''' - The purpose of Relief Society is to provide relief for the poor and needy and to bring people to Christ.
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:'''Young Men''' - The purpose of the Young men group is to prepare the young men of the Aaronic Priesthood to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, to receive the ordinances of the temple, and to serve a full-time mission.
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:'''Young Women''' - The purpose of the Young Women organization is to help each young woman, ages 12 to 18, "come unto Christ".
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==General Conference==
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The Bishop is the spiritual leader of the ward and he serves with two counselors, all three chosen from among the body of the Ward. Bishops are usually called to serve for a period of five years and do so on a volunteer and unpaid basis, without formal ecclesiastical training, and while maintaining their secular professions.
The entire church meets twice a year (in April and October) to hear messages from the Prophet and President of the church, his two counselors, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other Church leaders. The members listen to modern-day revelation from these church leaders.
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The entire ward meets every week on Sunday to worship the Lord Jesus Christ and to receive counsel. The meetings are divided into two different hours; the second hour alternating between gender segregated priesthood and relief society classes two weeks of the month and non-segregated gospel doctrine classes the remaining weeks of the month:
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*First hour&nbsp;— '''Sacrament meeting'''. Our main purpose in attending sacrament meeting is to renew our covenants through partaking of the sacrament and to worship our Heavenly Father through hymn singing and prayer. Sacrament meeting provides an opportunity for members to strengthen their faith, find inner peace and spiritual healing, receive inspiration, and be instructed in the gospel. A member of the bishopric begins the meeting welcoming all members and visitors. There is an opening hymn followed by an opening prayer (invocation). This is followed by conducting ward business where members are released and sustained from callings. Then the sacrament of bread and water is prepared, blessed by the priesthood, and passed to the congregation. The sacrament is a renewal of the covenants each member made at baptism to remember the Lord Jesus Christ and to keep his commandments. On the first Sunday of the month, the meeting conductor starts off the bearing of testimonies by offering his own personal testimony. A testimony is a personal witness that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. As inspired by the Spirit, other members give their testimonies. On the other three Sundays, there are talks from members. The sacrament meeting concludes with a closing hymn and prayer.
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*Second hour on odd numbered weeks of the month&nbsp;— '''Sunday School'''. Its purposes are to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and strengthen individuals and families by encouraging them to study the scriptures, obey the commandments, receive the essential ordinances, and keep the associated covenants. All the adults and youth meet in Sunday School classes. Children younger than twelve and three or older attend Primary. Children who are at least 18 months old but who are not yet 3 years old on 1 January may attend nursery at the discretion of their parents.
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:'''Adult Sunday School'''&nbsp;— The adults meet in several different classes. New members to the Church usually attend a Gospel Essentials class where they learn the basic teachings of the Church. Most of the other adults attend a Gospel Doctrine class where they are instructed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the scriptures. The main subjects rotate every four years: Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and the last year is Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price and Church history. The bible used by Church members is the King James Version.
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:'''Youth Sunday School'''&nbsp;— The youth meet in several different classes according to their ages. There are usually separate classes for twelve and thirteen year olds, fourteen and fifteen year olds and sixteen and seventeen year olds. When they turn eighteen, the member starts attending the adult classes.
 +
*Second hour on even numbered weeks of the month&nbsp;— '''Priesthood''', '''Relief Society''', '''Young Men''', '''Young Women'''. The men meet in Priesthood, the adult women meet in Relief Society,the male youth meet in Young Men, the female youth meet in Young Women.
 +
:'''Priesthood'''&nbsp;— The purpose of the priesthood meetings are to increase priesthood holders' knowledge of the gospel; strengthen their dedication to becoming better husbands, fathers, sons, and neighbors; and help them become active participants in fulfilling the mission of the Church.
 +
:'''Relief Society '''&nbsp;— The purpose of Relief Society is to provide relief for the poor and needy and to bring people to Christ.
 +
:'''Young Men'''&nbsp;— The purpose of the Young men group is to prepare the young men of the Aaronic Priesthood to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, to receive the ordinances of the temple, and to serve a full-time mission.
 +
:'''Young Women'''&nbsp;— The purpose of the Young Women organization is to help each young woman, ages 12 to 18, "come unto Christ".
 +
*Primary and Nursery&nbsp;— The purpose of Primary is to teach children the gospel of Jesus Christ and help them learn to live it. This is held every week during the second hour. The purpose of the nursery class is to provide a loving, safe, organized place where young children can increase their understanding of and love for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, have positive experiences in a Church setting, and grow in feelings of self-worth. This is also held every week during the second hour.
  
==Controversy==
+
== General Conference ==
 +
The church holds a semi-annual General Conference (in April and October, five two-hour sessions over two days) during which members listen to spoken messages from the Prophet and President of the church, his two counselors, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other Church leaders. These messages are received by members of the church as modern-day revelation, just as the words of Peter were received by the followers of Jesus Christ in his day. Many members travel to Salt Lake City for the two-day conference, but the proceedings are broadcast via satellite throughout the world (as well as streamed on the internet) so that the entire church can participate.
  
===Mormons' relationship to Christianity===
+
The semi-annual conference was held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle for 132 years, but in 2000, the church completed construction of the Conference Center and has held the conference there since April 2000. The Conference Center's primary feature is an auditorium that seats 21,000.
  
====Mormon position====
+
== History of the Church in Utah ==
 +
After the move to what would eventually become Utah, members of the Church founded the Territory of Deseret. While this was soon scaled down to the Utah territory by the United States government, the name Deseret was retained in the form of a newspaper (the Deseret Times) and the symbol on the state's highways (the beehive). Brigham Young, the then president of the Church was appointed governor of the Territory. The territory thrived, with the Saints in all positions of power (a territory consisting almost entirely of Saints unsurprisingly elected a territorial legislature that was entirely Mormon).
  
Mormons are Christians who accept [[The Book of Mormon]] in addition to the [[King James Bible]]. The Book of Mormon includes an account of ancient peoples living in the Americas from long before, and until centuries after Christ's mortal ministry on Earth. According to the [[The Book of Mormon]], Jesus Christ appeared in the Americas after his resurrection, healing the sick, blessing the children, and teaching the people.
+
When federal officials, placed as patronage positions, arrived in Utah and found they could not profit in the usual way (skimming money off the top of deals, insisting on bribes and kickbacks for contracts), they started a drumbeat of negativity towards the Church in Washington. This led to the United States government marching an army of 2,500 troops towards Utah in 1857. This exercise of a nation taking arms against its own people failed miserably, with the troops poorly supplied and forced to march through the Rocky Mountains in the winter. Armed conflict was averted by Thomas Kaine, who convinced the governor of the territory at the time, Alfred Cummings, to order the army to pass by Salt Lake City and camp miles away. This failed expedition helped the Saints maintain a greater part of their independence from the federal government for a while longer.
  
====Positions of Various Christian Groups ====
+
== Controversy ==
 +
==== Position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with respect to Christianity ====
 +
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints consider themselves Christians. They worship Jesus Christ as their Creator (see John 1:3), their Savior and Redeemer, and ultimately their eternal Judge. They believe that the events described in the New Testament in reality occurred, including Jesus Christ's virgin birth, his sinless life and miraculous ministry, and his suffering, death, and literal resurrection, through which forgiveness of sin, salvation (understood in LDS doctrine to indicate resurrection and immortality, a free gift to all; see 1 Corinthians 15:22), and ultimately exaltation (returning to and eternally dwelling in the presence of God and Jesus Christ and becoming "joint-heirs with Christ"; see Romans 8:17), are made possible.
  
There are, however, significant difference between Mormonism and mainstream Protestant denominations. The [[United Methodist Church]] has stated that the Mormon faith has "some radically differing doctrine on such matters of belief as the nature and being of [[God]]; the nature, origin, and purpose of [[Jesus Christ]]; and the nature and way of [[salvation]]."<ref>http://www.apologeticsindex.org/news/an200513.html#21</ref> The [[Lutheran Missouri Synod|Lutheran Church&mdash;Missouri Synod]] goes further, stating that it, "together with the vast majority of Christian denominations in the United States, does not regard the Mormon church as a Christian church."<ref>http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=2239</ref>, while the [[Southern Baptist Convention]] states that the Mormon religion is "not consistent with biblical Christianity."<ref>http://www.onenewsnow.com/2007/02/southern_baptist_convention_wa.php</ref> Beliefnet.com details a number of differences between the Mormon faith and traditional Christianity.<ref>http://www.beliefnet.com/features/mormonism.html</ref>
+
The eleventh of the above-mentioned thirteen articles of faith contains the following statement:
 +
<blockquote style=font-size:100%>"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." (see Articles of Faith 1:11)</blockquote>
  
===Polygamy===
+
==== African Americans and the Priesthood ====
Early ill will towards Mormons was sparked in part by its early practice of [[polygamy]], which was sanctioned from 1840 until 1890. Even though it was officially discontinued in 1890, Mormonism and polygamy continue to be associated in the popular mind.
+
African Americans were banned from the priesthood until, in June 1978, President Spencer W. Kimball is said to have received a revelation extending priesthood ordination to all worthy males of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Official Declaration 2).
 +
<ref name="Black">Emmanuel Abu Kissi, [http://byustudies.byu.edu/Reviews/Pages/reviewdetail.aspx?reviewID=117 Book review of Black and Mormon] BYU Studies Review, October 2006.</ref><ref>[https://www.pbs.org/mormons/themes/prohibition.html The Prohibition Against Blacks in the Priesthood], Public Broadcasting Service.</ref><ref>[http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=bbd508f54922d010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=36f2ce9566a43110VgnVCM100000176f620a____ LDS.org&nbsp;— Topic Definition&nbsp;— Priesthood Ordination before 1978]</ref><ref>It should be noted that this "revelation" came around the same time that the [[Internal Revenue Service]] had won a significant court case against [[Bob Jones University]], stripping them of their tax exempt status due to their racial segregation policy; the LDS church was -- and has always been -- larger and wealthier than BJU.</ref>
  
A 1998 statement by LDS Present Gordon B. Hinckley states:
+
The Book of Mormon attests that God invites "all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; ...&nbsp;and all are alike unto God" (2 Nephi 26:33). In our present day the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have stated that all human beings are created in the image of God and that each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of Deity.<ref>"The Family: A Proclamation to the World," 23 Sept. 1995, published in Ensign, Nov. 1995</ref>
:This Church has nothing whatever to do with those practicing polygamy. They are not members of this Church. . . . If any of our members are found to be practicing plural marriage, they are excommunicated, the most serious penalty the Church can impose. Not only are those so involved in direct violation of the civil law, they are in violation of the law of this Church.<ref>[http://www.mormon.org/question/faq/category/answer/0,9777,1601-1-114-1,00.html What is the Church’s position on polygamy?] LDS website</ref>
+
  
However, in addition to "the" Church (the 12.5-million-member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), there continue to be small splinter groups, which also consider themselves to be Mormons and do practice polygamy. The most notable is the "Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (often called "Fundamentalist Mormons.") This group numbers about ten thousand. It broke from the Mormon church in 1890 over the issue of polygamy. It made headlines in 2006 and 2007, when leader Warren Jeffs was arrested by the FBI and indicted by a grand jury on charges of arranging illegal "marriages" between male followers and underage girls.
+
<blockquote style=font-size:100%>In the twentieth century, various Church leaders continued to offer possible reasons why a race of people was prohibited from holding the priesthood. One explanation, carried over from the previous century, stated that blacks were descendants of Cain, the first murderer, and therefore were denied the priesthood because of lineage. Another theory held that blacks were less valiant in the premortal existence and therefore had certain spiritual restrictions placed upon them during mortality. Priesthood denial was perceived to be one of these spiritual restrictions. But by mid-century, President David O. McKay stated, "There is not now, and there never has been, a doctrine in this Church that the negroes are under a divine curse...It is a practice, not a doctrine, and the practice will some day be changed".<ref name="Black" /></blockquote>
  
==References==
+
=== Views on same-gender attraction ===
<references/>
+
In October 2007, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, wrote an article in the Ensign magazine entitled "Helping Those Who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction".<ref>[http://www.lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg/menuitem.b12f9d18fae655bb69095bd3e44916a0/?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=e5cbba12dc825110VgnVCM100000176f620a____ Helping Those Who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction]</ref> In 2007, the Church published a pamphlet "God Loveth His Children", for those suffering from same-gender attraction.<ref>http://www.lds.org/topics/pdf/GodLovethHisChildren_04824_000.pdf God Loveth His Children</ref>
  
==External Links==
+
On June 7, 2006, ABC's Nightline ran a story on members and former members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who struggle with same-gender attraction. The Church published a response to the inaccuracies in the Nightline story.<ref>[http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=d4ec39628b88f010VgnVCM100000176f620aRCRD&vgnextchannel=f5f411154963d010VgnVCM1000004e94610aRCRD Church Responds to Nightline Story on Mormons and Homosexuality]</ref>
  
===Mormon===
+
The Church has a section on same-gender attraction on the Newsroom website.<ref>[http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=27f71f1dd189f010VgnVCM100000176f620aRCRD&vgnextchannel=726511154963d010VgnVCM1000004e94610aRCRD&vgnextfmt=tab1 Same-Gender Attraction]</ref>
 +
 
 +
=== Polygamy ===
 +
Critics try to associate the Church with polygamy, but in fact the Church has denounced polygamy for most of its existence,<ref>It should be noted that its earliest "revelation" denouncing polygamy came around the same time that Utah was seeking statehood; the Federal government would not admit Utah into the state unless it denounced the practice.</ref> and at least since 1905. Other belief systems, such as the [[ACLU]]'s, are more supportive of polygamy than this Church is.
 +
 
 +
A 1998 statement by current LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley states:
 +
<blockquote>This Church has nothing whatever to do with those practicing polygamy. They are not members of this Church... If any of our members are found to be practicing plural marriage, they are excommunicated, the most serious penalty the Church can impose. Not only are those so involved in direct violation of the civil law, they are in violation of the law of this Church.<ref>[http://www.mormon.org/question/faq/category/answer/0,9777,1601-1-114-1,00.html What is the Church's position on polygamy?] LDS website</ref></blockquote>
 +
 
 +
However, current LDS practice allows men to be sealed to more than one woman at a time,<ref>[https://file.wikileaks.org/file/mormon-handbook-of-instructions-2006.pdf] Church Handbook of Instructions, page 85</ref> where it is believed they will be a single polygamous family in the afterlife.<ref>https://religionnews.com/2016/08/03/polygamy-lives-on-in-mormon-temple-sealings/</ref>
 +
 
 +
== References ==
 +
{{Reflist|2}}
 +
 
 +
== See also ==
 +
*[[List of LDS temples]]
 +
*[[Christianity]]
 +
*[[Christianity in Conservapedia]]
 +
 
 +
== External links ==
 +
==== Links to websites favorable to the Mormon Church ====
 
*[http://www.lds.org Official Church Website]
 
*[http://www.lds.org Official Church Website]
 
*[http://www.mormon.org Official Church Website for Investigators]
 
*[http://www.mormon.org Official Church Website for Investigators]
 +
*[http://scriptures.lds.org Official Online Version of the LDS Scriptures]
 +
*[http://www.familysearch.org/ Official Church Genealogy Website, "the largest collection of free family history, family tree and genealogy records in the world."]
 +
*[http://www.ldschurchtemples.com "News, schedules, photographs, and interesting facts of the temples of the LDS Church"]
 +
*[http://www.fairlds.org Mormon Apologetics]
 +
*[http://www.maxwellinstitute.com BYU Theologians]
 +
*[http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/ About Mormons]
 +
*[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints Wikipedia article] on the LDS Church
 +
*[http://www.intellectualconservative.com/article3282.html Are Mormons Conservative?]
 +
*[https://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,317272,00.html 21 Questions Answered About Mormon Faith]
 +
*[http://www.newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/what-you-will-find-when-you-step-inside-a-mormon-chapel What You Will Find When You Step Inside a Mormon Chapel], LDS Newsroom, 19 August 2008
  
===Anti-Mormon===
+
==== Links to groups not in favor of the Mormon Church ====
 
+
 
*[http://jesusnotjoseph.com JesusNotJoseph]
 
*[http://jesusnotjoseph.com JesusNotJoseph]
 
*[http://www.mrm.org Mormonism Research Ministry]
 
*[http://www.mrm.org Mormonism Research Ministry]
 
*[http://www.evangelicalbible.com/jw.htm#LDS The Mormon Church & the Nature of God]
 
*[http://www.evangelicalbible.com/jw.htm#LDS The Mormon Church & the Nature of God]
  
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[[Category:Churches]]
 
[[Category:LDS Church]]
 
[[Category:LDS Church]]
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[[Category:Featured articles]]
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[[Category:Utah]]

Latest revision as of 14:40, 13 August 2019

Birmingham temple

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,[1] known as the LDS Church or, more colloquially, the Mormon Church, is the largest denomination originating from the Latter-Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith. Its members are colloquially referred to as "Mormons." As of 2015, the Church reports over 15.3 million members worldwide.[2][3]

Originally an American religion, most of its members are outside of the United States now, and church leaders are pro-immigration and globalist. Church leaders are coordinating a smear campaign against President Donald Trump, which has been perpetrated by Jeff Flake, Mitt Romney, Harry Reid, and Jon Huntsman.[4]

Though traditionally associated with conservative values, the Mormon Church is increasingly liberal on social issues such as the homosexual agenda and transgenderism, and Utah has not passed strong pro-life laws like the Heartbeat Bill. The Utah legislature considers and sometimes enacts social legislation that conservative states would not pass, such as considering a ban on conversion therapy in 2019.[5] This seems to make the false equivalence between the people of Utah and the LDS Church. While Utah is becoming more liberal, that may be because Utah is experiencing an influx of non-LDS immigrants, and not because the LDS Church is liberalizing.

Overview

The church was organized in 1830 in the Burned-Over District of upstate New York, by Joseph Smith. As the Church grew, new converts gathered in Ohio and Missouri. While the Latter-day Saints in Kirtland, Ohio, experienced persecution, those gathered in Missouri were repeatedly driven from town to town by angry mobs. Having been forced from Missouri in 1839, Church members gathered in Illinois and built a thriving city called Nauvoo in a swampy bend of the Mississippi River. However, within seven years they were again forced from their homes. Led by Brigham Young, these pioneers trekked 1,300 miles (2,092 kilometers) westward to the Salt Lake Valley, to escape persecution, and founded Salt Lake City, Utah, where the Latter-Day Saint Church continues to be headquartered today. The church has now expanded to more than 13 million members.[6][7]

Church members follow a law of health known as the Word of Wisdom that promotes healthy eating as well as avoiding tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea, and illegal drugs.[8] The U.S religious landscape survey published in February 2008 shows that Mormons have the largest families closely followed by Muslims.[9]

Mormons' relationship to Christianity

According to the Lutheran Missouri Synod, "The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, together with the vast majority of Christian denominations in the United States, does not regard the Mormon church as a Christian church."[10] In addition, the Southern Baptist Convention states that the Mormon religion is "not consistent with biblical Christianity."[11] The United Methodist Church has stated that the Morman faith has "some radically differing doctrine on such matters of belief as the nature and being of God; the nature, origin, and purpose of Jesus Christ; and the nature and way of salvation."[12] According to Beliefnet.com there are a number of differences between the Mormon faith and traditional Christianity.[13] Dr. James White, a Christian pastor, has stated that Mormonism is more different from Christianity than Islam because, he states, Mormonism is polytheistic, while Islam is monotheistic, and whether a religion is monotheistic or polytheistic is the basic element to a religion, according to White. He went on to say that part of the reason that Mormonism was, he felt, often mistaken for Christianity was his perception that Mormonism uses the same words Christians use, but it gives them completely different meanings.[14] The Roman Catholic Church does not accept Mormon baptisms as Christian baptisms.[15]

Beliefs

Latter-day Saints (Mormons) believe in the deity of Christ. They affirm the deity of Christ and their Church bears his name. From the organization of the LDS Church in 1830, the Church's doctrine focused on matters concerning theological issues related to Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith, Jr. wrote in 1842 to Chicago Democrat editor John Wentworth a statement of Church beliefs. The first of these 13 doctrinal declarations, later called the Articles of Faith, stated the following:
"We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost."[16]
However, the Mormon understanding of Christ's deity is very different from the Christian understanding. Mormons believe Jesus is a god, but not a unique god. They believe Jesus is a created being, is only unique in mission, not in claims to godhood, and that he is the spirit brother of Satan.[17]

"The Articles of Faith are thirteen statements written by the Prophet Joseph Smith describing some of the basic teachings and ordinances of the Church".[18][19]

The LDS Web site states:
"We believe in the Jesus of the New Testament, and we believe what the New Testament teaches about Him. We do believe things about Jesus that other Christians do not believe, but that is because we know, through revelation, things about Jesus that others do not know."[20]

Members of the church believe that God the Father and Jesus Christ are separate and distinct glorified beings, that God, the Father of all spirits (even including Lucifer) and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in a vision in the spring of 1820 in response to Joseph's prayer requesting to know which of the many local Christian denominations he should join himself with, and that They told him that he should join with none of them. The reason behind this direction was as follows, according to LDS beliefs: the organization or "church" put in place by Jesus Christ during His ministry both before and after His resurrection was meant to remain as long as there were faithful followers, although there was clear understanding that a "falling away" (see 2 Thessalonians 2:3) or apostasy would take place, destroying for a time this organization (though not destroying faith in Jesus Christ, which did persist). This church organization provided a structure whereby two key components were maintained: the Priesthood, and continuing and direct revelation from the ascended Jesus Christ to His chosen Apostles.

According to LDS beliefs, the Priesthood is the authority given by Jesus Christ to His Apostles and others, both to direct the Church, as well as to perform the associated and necessary ordinances, such as baptism by water immersion, and giving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. Without this authority, it would be impossible to perform them in an authorized manner (see Acts 8:18-23). This authority, in actuality a covenant of service, only placed on men and not at all a legitimate source of self-aggrandizement, could only be passed from one authorized holder to another worthy man through the laying on of hands. Thus, while although initially the full quorum of 12 Apostles was maintained (see Acts 1:15-26), the Apostles were killed one by one and the Lord, in His mercy, ceased to give these murderers further opportunity of condemning themselves as more Apostles were not chosen. Thus, without the Priesthood and without the continuing revelation that the Lord provided to His Apostles to lead and guide the church, it fell way, as had been prophesied.

Therefore, LDS doctrine teaches of the necessity of a complete restoration rather than simply a reformation, and for this reason, Joseph Smith was called by God to be the first prophet, in the same sense as Moses, Isaiah, or Peter, since the times of the New Testament. Mormons believe that since Joseph Smith, the leaders of the Church, from Brigham Young to Gordon B. Hinckley today, were and are prophets, with the complete Priesthood authority (restored through the laying on of hands by first John the Baptist and then by Apostles Peter, James and John). Mormons revere these men just as the Biblical prophets are revered and in particular, honor Joseph Smith for being the man through whom God and Jesus Christ chose to restore Their church to the earth.

JesusChrist.lds.org

A screen shot of the new JesusChrist.lds.org Web site.

The Church has a multimedia website about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ at JesusChrist.lds.org.

Elder Russell M. Nelson speaks about the new website JesusChrist.lds.org. video

Scriptures

The four standard works of the Church are:

Book of Mormon

President Gordon B. Hinckley said the following about the Book of Mormon in an October, 2002 General Conference address entitled "The Marvelous Foundation of Our Faith":
"This remarkable book stands as a testimonial to the living reality of the Son of God. The Bible declares that 'in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established' (Matt. 18:16). The Bible, the testament of the Old World, is one witness. The Book of Mormon, the testament of the New World, is another witness.
I cannot understand why the Christian world does not accept this book. I would think they would be looking for anything and everything that would establish without question the reality and the divinity of the Savior of the world."[21]

Restoration of the Priesthood

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that on May 15, 1829 A.D., the resurrected John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith, Jr. and Oliver Cowdery and conferred upon them the Aaronic priesthood, which includes the authority to baptize.[22] Later, the resurrected Peter, James, and John appeared to them and conferred the Melchizedek priesthood.

Special Witnesses of Christ

These prophets and apostles have given their testimonies as special witnesses of Jesus Christ.

Wards

Washington DC Temple

Wards are the lowest level of the LDS hierarchy. They are equivalent to congregations or parishes, and are organized primarily on geography (LDS members are expected to attend the ward in their geographic area). However, wards may also be formed for special purposes (such as to reach specific groups of people who speak a language other than the prevailing one). If the area is too small to form a ward (usually 150 members are required to do so), a branch may be formed instead.

It is not uncommon, and in fact it is frequent, for several wards to meet at the same physical location, either meeting at different times of the Sunday or with having several portions of the meeting overlap.

The Bishop is the spiritual leader of the ward and he serves with two counselors, all three chosen from among the body of the Ward. Bishops are usually called to serve for a period of five years and do so on a volunteer and unpaid basis, without formal ecclesiastical training, and while maintaining their secular professions.

The entire ward meets every week on Sunday to worship the Lord Jesus Christ and to receive counsel. The meetings are divided into two different hours; the second hour alternating between gender segregated priesthood and relief society classes two weeks of the month and non-segregated gospel doctrine classes the remaining weeks of the month:

  • First hour — Sacrament meeting. Our main purpose in attending sacrament meeting is to renew our covenants through partaking of the sacrament and to worship our Heavenly Father through hymn singing and prayer. Sacrament meeting provides an opportunity for members to strengthen their faith, find inner peace and spiritual healing, receive inspiration, and be instructed in the gospel. A member of the bishopric begins the meeting welcoming all members and visitors. There is an opening hymn followed by an opening prayer (invocation). This is followed by conducting ward business where members are released and sustained from callings. Then the sacrament of bread and water is prepared, blessed by the priesthood, and passed to the congregation. The sacrament is a renewal of the covenants each member made at baptism to remember the Lord Jesus Christ and to keep his commandments. On the first Sunday of the month, the meeting conductor starts off the bearing of testimonies by offering his own personal testimony. A testimony is a personal witness that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. As inspired by the Spirit, other members give their testimonies. On the other three Sundays, there are talks from members. The sacrament meeting concludes with a closing hymn and prayer.
  • Second hour on odd numbered weeks of the month — Sunday School. Its purposes are to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and strengthen individuals and families by encouraging them to study the scriptures, obey the commandments, receive the essential ordinances, and keep the associated covenants. All the adults and youth meet in Sunday School classes. Children younger than twelve and three or older attend Primary. Children who are at least 18 months old but who are not yet 3 years old on 1 January may attend nursery at the discretion of their parents.
Adult Sunday School — The adults meet in several different classes. New members to the Church usually attend a Gospel Essentials class where they learn the basic teachings of the Church. Most of the other adults attend a Gospel Doctrine class where they are instructed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the scriptures. The main subjects rotate every four years: Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and the last year is Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price and Church history. The bible used by Church members is the King James Version.
Youth Sunday School — The youth meet in several different classes according to their ages. There are usually separate classes for twelve and thirteen year olds, fourteen and fifteen year olds and sixteen and seventeen year olds. When they turn eighteen, the member starts attending the adult classes.
  • Second hour on even numbered weeks of the month — Priesthood, Relief Society, Young Men, Young Women. The men meet in Priesthood, the adult women meet in Relief Society,the male youth meet in Young Men, the female youth meet in Young Women.
Priesthood — The purpose of the priesthood meetings are to increase priesthood holders' knowledge of the gospel; strengthen their dedication to becoming better husbands, fathers, sons, and neighbors; and help them become active participants in fulfilling the mission of the Church.
Relief Society  — The purpose of Relief Society is to provide relief for the poor and needy and to bring people to Christ.
Young Men — The purpose of the Young men group is to prepare the young men of the Aaronic Priesthood to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, to receive the ordinances of the temple, and to serve a full-time mission.
Young Women — The purpose of the Young Women organization is to help each young woman, ages 12 to 18, "come unto Christ".
  • Primary and Nursery — The purpose of Primary is to teach children the gospel of Jesus Christ and help them learn to live it. This is held every week during the second hour. The purpose of the nursery class is to provide a loving, safe, organized place where young children can increase their understanding of and love for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, have positive experiences in a Church setting, and grow in feelings of self-worth. This is also held every week during the second hour.

General Conference

The church holds a semi-annual General Conference (in April and October, five two-hour sessions over two days) during which members listen to spoken messages from the Prophet and President of the church, his two counselors, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other Church leaders. These messages are received by members of the church as modern-day revelation, just as the words of Peter were received by the followers of Jesus Christ in his day. Many members travel to Salt Lake City for the two-day conference, but the proceedings are broadcast via satellite throughout the world (as well as streamed on the internet) so that the entire church can participate.

The semi-annual conference was held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle for 132 years, but in 2000, the church completed construction of the Conference Center and has held the conference there since April 2000. The Conference Center's primary feature is an auditorium that seats 21,000.

History of the Church in Utah

After the move to what would eventually become Utah, members of the Church founded the Territory of Deseret. While this was soon scaled down to the Utah territory by the United States government, the name Deseret was retained in the form of a newspaper (the Deseret Times) and the symbol on the state's highways (the beehive). Brigham Young, the then president of the Church was appointed governor of the Territory. The territory thrived, with the Saints in all positions of power (a territory consisting almost entirely of Saints unsurprisingly elected a territorial legislature that was entirely Mormon).

When federal officials, placed as patronage positions, arrived in Utah and found they could not profit in the usual way (skimming money off the top of deals, insisting on bribes and kickbacks for contracts), they started a drumbeat of negativity towards the Church in Washington. This led to the United States government marching an army of 2,500 troops towards Utah in 1857. This exercise of a nation taking arms against its own people failed miserably, with the troops poorly supplied and forced to march through the Rocky Mountains in the winter. Armed conflict was averted by Thomas Kaine, who convinced the governor of the territory at the time, Alfred Cummings, to order the army to pass by Salt Lake City and camp miles away. This failed expedition helped the Saints maintain a greater part of their independence from the federal government for a while longer.

Controversy

Position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with respect to Christianity

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints consider themselves Christians. They worship Jesus Christ as their Creator (see John 1:3), their Savior and Redeemer, and ultimately their eternal Judge. They believe that the events described in the New Testament in reality occurred, including Jesus Christ's virgin birth, his sinless life and miraculous ministry, and his suffering, death, and literal resurrection, through which forgiveness of sin, salvation (understood in LDS doctrine to indicate resurrection and immortality, a free gift to all; see 1 Corinthians 15:22), and ultimately exaltation (returning to and eternally dwelling in the presence of God and Jesus Christ and becoming "joint-heirs with Christ"; see Romans 8:17), are made possible.

The eleventh of the above-mentioned thirteen articles of faith contains the following statement:

"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." (see Articles of Faith 1:11)

African Americans and the Priesthood

African Americans were banned from the priesthood until, in June 1978, President Spencer W. Kimball is said to have received a revelation extending priesthood ordination to all worthy males of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Official Declaration 2). [32][33][34][35]

The Book of Mormon attests that God invites "all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; ... and all are alike unto God" (2 Nephi 26:33). In our present day the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have stated that all human beings are created in the image of God and that each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of Deity.[36]

In the twentieth century, various Church leaders continued to offer possible reasons why a race of people was prohibited from holding the priesthood. One explanation, carried over from the previous century, stated that blacks were descendants of Cain, the first murderer, and therefore were denied the priesthood because of lineage. Another theory held that blacks were less valiant in the premortal existence and therefore had certain spiritual restrictions placed upon them during mortality. Priesthood denial was perceived to be one of these spiritual restrictions. But by mid-century, President David O. McKay stated, "There is not now, and there never has been, a doctrine in this Church that the negroes are under a divine curse...It is a practice, not a doctrine, and the practice will some day be changed".[32]

Views on same-gender attraction

In October 2007, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, wrote an article in the Ensign magazine entitled "Helping Those Who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction".[37] In 2007, the Church published a pamphlet "God Loveth His Children", for those suffering from same-gender attraction.[38]

On June 7, 2006, ABC's Nightline ran a story on members and former members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who struggle with same-gender attraction. The Church published a response to the inaccuracies in the Nightline story.[39]

The Church has a section on same-gender attraction on the Newsroom website.[40]

Polygamy

Critics try to associate the Church with polygamy, but in fact the Church has denounced polygamy for most of its existence,[41] and at least since 1905. Other belief systems, such as the ACLU's, are more supportive of polygamy than this Church is.

A 1998 statement by current LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley states:

This Church has nothing whatever to do with those practicing polygamy. They are not members of this Church... If any of our members are found to be practicing plural marriage, they are excommunicated, the most serious penalty the Church can impose. Not only are those so involved in direct violation of the civil law, they are in violation of the law of this Church.[42]

However, current LDS practice allows men to be sealed to more than one woman at a time,[43] where it is believed they will be a single polygamous family in the afterlife.[44]

References

  1. Style Guide& - The Name of the Church LDS.org
  2. "2014 Statistical Report for 2015 April General Conference", Mormon Newsroom, April 4, 2015.
  3. Geographic statistics
  4. The first three (Flake, Romney and Reid) have repeatedly attacked President Trump in a personal, offensive manner; the fourth, Huntsman, reportedly authored an anonymous criticism of Trump in the The New York Times [1].
  5. https://www.thedailybeast.com/utah-might-pass-a-ban-on-lgbt-conversion-therapy
  6. LDS Newsroom - Early Church History
  7. Worldwide Church Statistics LDS.org
  8. The Word of Wisdom Scriptures.lds.org
  9. U.S religious landscape survey
  10. http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=2239
  11. https://www.onenewsnow.com/2007/02/southern_baptist_convention_wa.php
  12. http://www.apologeticsindex.org/news/an200513.html#21
  13. http://www.beliefnet.com/features/mormonism.html
  14. http://www.reformationtheology.com/2007/02/mormonism_v_christianity_a_quo.php
  15. http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2012-01/are-mormons-christian-its-complicated
  16. The Marvelous Foundation of Our Faith from the October 2002 General Conference
  17. What Do Mormons Really Believe By John Ankerberg, John Weldon [2]
  18. [3]
  19. Gospel Principles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Utah. 1997
  20. Is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a Christian church? As answered on the LDS Church's website
  21. Mormons Reflect Christianity in Lifestyle as stated in the April, 2007 newsroom article at lds.org
  22. Doctrine and Covenants 13
  23. Special Witnesses of Christ, President Gordon B. Hinckley at the Garden Tomb, video at JesusChrist.lds.org.
  24. Special Witnesses of Christ, President Gordon B. Hinckley at the Sacred Grove, video at JesusChrist.lds.org.
  25. Special Witnesses of Christ, President Thomas S. Monson, video at JesusChrist.lds.org.
  26. Special Witnesses of Christ, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, video at JesusChrist.lds.org.
  27. Special Witnesses of Christ, President Boyd K. Packer, video at JesusChrist.lds.org.
  28. Special Witnesses of Christ, Elder Russell M. Nelson, video at JesusChrist.lds.org.
  29. Special Witnesses of Christ, Elder Robert D. Hales, video at JesusChrist.lds.org.
  30. Special Witnesses of Christ, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, video at JesusChrist.lds.org.
  31. Special Witnesses of Christ, Elder David A. Bednar, video at JesusChrist.lds.org.
  32. 32.0 32.1 Emmanuel Abu Kissi, Book review of Black and Mormon BYU Studies Review, October 2006.
  33. The Prohibition Against Blacks in the Priesthood, Public Broadcasting Service.
  34. LDS.org — Topic Definition — Priesthood Ordination before 1978
  35. It should be noted that this "revelation" came around the same time that the Internal Revenue Service had won a significant court case against Bob Jones University, stripping them of their tax exempt status due to their racial segregation policy; the LDS church was -- and has always been -- larger and wealthier than BJU.
  36. "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," 23 Sept. 1995, published in Ensign, Nov. 1995
  37. Helping Those Who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction
  38. http://www.lds.org/topics/pdf/GodLovethHisChildren_04824_000.pdf God Loveth His Children
  39. Church Responds to Nightline Story on Mormons and Homosexuality
  40. Same-Gender Attraction
  41. It should be noted that its earliest "revelation" denouncing polygamy came around the same time that Utah was seeking statehood; the Federal government would not admit Utah into the state unless it denounced the practice.
  42. What is the Church's position on polygamy? LDS website
  43. [4] Church Handbook of Instructions, page 85
  44. https://religionnews.com/2016/08/03/polygamy-lives-on-in-mormon-temple-sealings/

See also

External links

Links to websites favorable to the Mormon Church

Links to groups not in favor of the Mormon Church