Portal:LDS Church

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For a topic outline on this subject, see Outline of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Portal

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), often informally known as the Mormon Church, is a nontrinitarian, Christian restorationist church that is considered by its members to be the restoration of the original church founded by Jesus Christ. The church is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah in the United States, and has established congregations and built temples worldwide. According to the church, it has over 67,000 missionaries and a membership of over 16 million. In 2012, it was ranked by the National Council of Churches as the fourth-largest Christian denomination in the United States, with over 6.5 million members reported by the church, as of January 2018. It is the largest denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith during the period of religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening.

Adherents, often referred to as "Latter-day Saints" or, less formally, "Mormons", view faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement as fundamental principles of their religion. LDS theology includes the Christian doctrine of salvation only through Jesus Christ, though LDS doctrines regarding the nature of God and the potential of mankind differ significantly from mainstream Christianity. The church has an open canon which includes four scriptural texts: the Bible (both Old and New Testaments), the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Other than the Bible, the majority of the LDS canon constitutes revelation received by Joseph Smith and recorded by his scribes which includes commentary and exegesis about the Bible, texts described as lost parts of the Bible, and other works believed to be written by ancient prophets. Because of some of the doctrinal differences, Catholic, Orthodox, and several Protestant churches consider the LDS Church to be distinct and separate from mainstream Christianity.

Under the doctrine of continuing revelation, Latter-day Saints believe that the church president is a modern-day "prophet, seer, and revelator" and that Jesus Christ, under the direction of God the Father, leads the church by revealing his will to its president. Individual members of the church believe that they can also receive personal revelation from God in conducting their lives. The president heads a hierarchical structure with various levels reaching down to local congregations. Bishops, drawn from the laity, lead local congregations. Male members, after reaching age 12, may be ordained to the priesthood, provided they are living the standards of the church. Women are not allowed to hold positions within the priesthood but do occupy leadership roles in some church auxiliary organizations.

Both men and women may serve as missionaries and the church maintains a large missionary program that proselytizes and conducts humanitarian services worldwide. Faithful members adhere to church laws of sexual purity, health, fasting, and Sabbath observance, and contribute ten percent of their income to the church in tithing. The church also teaches about sacred ordinances through which adherents make covenants with God, including baptism, confirmation, the sacrament (holy communion), priesthood ordination, endowment, and celestial marriage (marriage blessings which extend beyond mortality)—all of which are of great significance to church members.

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The history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) is typically divided into three broad time periods:

  1. the early history during the lifetime of Joseph Smith which is in common with all Latter Day Saint movement churches,
  2. a "pioneer era" under the leadership of Brigham Young and his 19th-century successors, and
  3. a modern era beginning around the turn of the 20th century as the practice of polygamy was discontinued.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints traces its origins to western New York, where Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, was raised. Joseph Smith gained a small following in the late 1820s as he was dictating the Book of Mormon, which he said was a translation of words found on a set of "golden plates" that had been buried near his home in western New York by an indigenous American prophet. On April 6, 1830, in western New York, Smith organized the religion's first legal church entity, the Church of Christ. The church rapidly gained a following, who viewed Smith as their prophet. The main body of the church moved first to Kirtland, Ohio in the early 1830s, then to Missouri in 1838, where the 1838 Mormon War with other Missouri settlers ensued, culminating in adherents being expelled from the state under Missouri Executive Order 44 signed by the governor of Missouri. After Missouri, Smith built the city of Nauvoo, Illinois, near which Smith was killed. After Smith's death, a succession crisis ensued, and the majority voted to accept the Quorum of the Twelve, led by Brigham Young, as the church's leading body.

After continued difficulties and persecution in Illinois, Young left Nauvoo in 1846 and led his followers, the Mormon pioneers, to the Great Salt Lake Valley. The group branched out in an effort to pioneer a large state to be called Deseret, eventually establishing colonies from Canada to present-day Mexico. Young incorporated The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a legal entity, and governed his followers as a theocratic leader serving in both political and religious positions. He also publicized the previously secret practice of plural marriage, a form of polygamy. By 1857, tensions had again escalated between Mormons and other Americans, largely as a result of church teachings on polygamy and theocracy. The Utah Mormon War ensued from 1857 to 1858, which resulted in the relatively peaceful invasion of Utah by the United States Army, after which Young agreed to step down from power and be replaced by a non-Mormon territorial governor, Alfred Cumming. Nevertheless, the LDS Church still wielded significant political power in the Utah Territory as part of a shadow government. At Young's death in 1877, he was followed by other powerful members, who continued the practice of polygamy despite opposition by the United States Congress. After tensions with the U.S. government came to a head in 1890, the church officially abandoned the public practice of polygamy in the United States, and eventually stopped performing official polygamous marriages altogether after a Second Manifesto in 1904. Eventually, the church adopted a policy of excommunicating its members found practicing polygamy and today seeks to actively distance itself from "fundamentalist" groups still practicing polygamy.

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Lilburn Boggs, who issued Missouri Executive Order 44.

Missouri Executive Order 44, also known as the Extermination Order, was an executive order issued on October 27, 1838, by the Governor of Missouri, Lilburn Boggs. The order was issued in the aftermath of the Battle of Crooked River, a clash between Latter-day Saints and a unit of the Missouri State Militia in northern Ray County, Missouri, during the 1838 Mormon War. Claiming that Latter-day Saints had committed open and avowed defiance of the law and had made war upon the people of Missouri, Governor Boggs directed that "the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace—their outrages are beyond all description". The militia and other state authorities—General John B. Clark, among them—used the executive order to violently expel the Mormons from their lands in the state following their capitulation, which in turn led to their subsequent migration to Nauvoo, Illinois. The order was supported by most northwest Missouri citizens but was questioned or denounced by others. However, no determination of the order's legality was ever made. On June 25, 1976, Governor Christopher S. Bond issued an executive order rescinding the Extermination Order, recognizing its legal invalidity and formally apologizing in behalf of the State of Missouri for the suffering it had caused the Latter-day Saints. Read more...

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Laie Hawaii Temple is a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) located on the northeast shore of the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu. The temple sits on a small hill, a half-mile from the Pacific Ocean, in the town of ʻie, 35 miles (56 km) from Honolulu. Along with Brigham Young University–Hawaii and the Polynesian Cultural Center, the Laie Hawaii Temple plays an important role in the town of Lā'ie, with the Visitors' Center attracting more than 100,000 people annually.

In addition to initial building and construction, the temple has been dedicated for use by several presidents of the LDS Church. The temple site was dedicated by Joseph F. Smith on June 1, 1915, with Heber J. Grant dedicating the completed structure on November 27, 1919. Spencer W. Kimball rededicated the temple after significant expansion on June 13, 1978. Following seismic upgrades and remodeling, Thomas S. Monson rededicated the temple on November 21, 2010.

The Laie Hawaii Temple was the first temple built by the LDS Church outside the contiguous United States. The temple is also the oldest to operate outside Utah, and the fifth-oldest LDS temple still in operation. The Laie Hawaii Temple was formerly known as the Hawaiian Temple or the Hawaii Temple until the implementation of the standard naming convention for LDS temples. Read more...

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James Esdras Faust (July 31, 1920 – August 10, 2007) was an American religious leader, lawyer, and politician. Faust was Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1995 until his death, an LDS Church apostle for 29 years, and a general authority of the church for 35 years. Read more...

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Enos prays mightily and gains a remission of his sins—The voice of the Lord comes into his mind, promising salvation for the Lamanites in a future day—The Nephites sought to reclaim the Lamanites—Enos rejoices in his Redeemer.

1 Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just man—for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it—

2 And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins.

3 Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.

4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.

5 And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.

6 And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.

7 And I said: Lord, how is it done?

8 And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.

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