Portal:History of the Latter Day Saint movement

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History of the Latter Day Saint movement

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

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

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

Selected article

The Mormon religion is predicated on what are said to be historical events such as the First Vision of Joseph Smith and the historicity of the Book of Mormon, which describes a detailed pre-Columbian history of the Americas. President Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth LDS prophet, declared that "Mormonism, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith, he was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. There is no middle ground." As Jan Shipps has written, "Mormonism, unlike other modern religions, is a faith cast in the form of history," and until after World War II, Mormons did not critically examine the historical underpinnings of their faith; any "profane" investigation of the Church's history was perceived "as trespassing on forbidden ground." Although traditional Christianity is likewise a history religion, few primary sources survive from two or three millennia ago, and biblical places such as Jerusalem, Jericho, and Bethlehem, are acknowledged to exist by scholars of every religious persuasion. Likewise, the Assyrian and Babylonian empires mentioned in the Bible are treated in all histories of the ancient Near East. By contrast, locations of Book of Mormon places are disputed even by Mormons, and the existence of those places is not acknowledged by any non-Mormon scholars. Martin Marty, a Lutheran scholar of American religion, has observed that LDS beginnings are so recent "that there is no place to hide....There is little protection for Mormon sacredness."

Selected biography

Emma Smith (July 10, 1804 – April 30, 1879) was the first wife of Joseph Smith and a leader in the early days of the Latter Day Saint movement during Joseph's lifetime and afterward as a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS Church). In 1842, she was named as the first president of the Ladies' Relief Society of Nauvoo, a women's service organization. Emma Hale was born in Harmony Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, the seventh child of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis Hale. Emma first met her future husband, Joseph Smith, in 1825. Smith lived near Palmyra, New York, but boarded with the Hales in Harmony while he was employed in a company of men hoping to unearth buried treasure.The workers were searching for a silver mine for Josiah Stowell, a farmer whose home still stands on the north side of the Susquehanna River on New York State Route 7 in Nineveh, New York, just west of Afton, although the company found no treasure, Smith returned to Harmony several times to court Emma. Isaac Hale refused to allow the marriage because he considered Smith's occupation disreputable, on January 17, 1827, Smith and Emma eloped across the state line to South Bainbridge, New York, where they were married the following day. The marriage site is now the Afton Fairgrounds, located on New York State Route 41 on the east side of the Susquehanna River; and a New York State Historical Marker commemorates the location. The couple moved to the home of Smith's parents on the edge of Manchester Township near Palmyra.

Selected Location

Kirtland Temple

The Kirtland Temple is a National Historic Landmark in Kirtland, Ohio, USA, on the eastern edge of the Cleveland metropolitan area. Owned and operated by the Community of Christ, formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), the house of worship was the first temple to be built by adherents of the Latter Day Saint movement. The design mixes Federal, Greek Revival and Gothic Revival architectural styles. Beginning in 1831, members of the Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints) under the direction of church founder and president Joseph Smith, began to gather in the Kirtland area; in December 1832 Smith reported to have received a revelation that called for the construction of a house of worship, education, and order. On May 6, 1833, Smith reported that he had received a revelation from God, directing members of the church to construct "a house... wholly dedicated unto the Lord for the work of the presidency," "dedicated unto the Lord from the foundation thereof, according to the order of the priesthood." Directions were given to build a "lower court and a higher court," and a promise given that the Lord's "glory shall be there, and [his] presence shall be there." (LDS Doctrine & Covenants D&C 94:3-9 RLDS Doctrine and Covenants Section 91:3). This building which would have sat next to the Kirtland Temple was never started, nor the third building which was to be a house for the printing operations of the church. Instead the functions of this office building ended up in the attic of the Kirtland Temple, the date of this document is also in question as it makes reference to the Kirtland Temple which is described in the following section of the Doctrine Covenants and dated June 1, 1833.

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