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The Latter Day Saint movement is a religious movement within Christian Restorationism, beginning in the early 19th century, 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 founder of the movement was Joseph Smith, Jr., who was raised in the Burned-over district of Upstate New Yorkmarker and reported seeing God, the Father, and Jesus Christ, as well as angels and other visions, eventually leading 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.

The movement's historical context

The Latter Day Saint movement arose in the Palmyra/Manchester area of western New Yorkmarker, where its founder, Joseph Smith, Jr., was raised during a period of religious revival in the early 19th century called the Second Great Awakening. This "awakening" was a Christian response to the secularism of the Age of Enlightenment and extended throughout the United Statesmarker, particularly the frontier areas of the west.

A significant early event in this Second Great Awakening was a large camp meeting that took place in 1801 at Cane Ridge, Kentuckymarker, in which participants exhibited charismatic "gifts" such as glossolalia, prophecy, and heavenly visions. This was contrary to the traditional Christian view that charismatic experiences had ended with the Apostles, the idea that modern Christians could experience charismatic "gifts" such as visions became a common theme in these revivals. Joseph Smith's father, Joseph Smith, Sr. said he had several visions or dreams, as had Smith's paternal and maternal grandfathers.

Another significant strand of religious thought that became important to the Latter Day Saint movement was the Restoration Movement, primarily influenced by Barton W. Stone (who participated in the Cane Ridgemarker revival), and Alexander Campbell, who joined Stone in 1824 in Ohiomarker. Stone and Campbell believed that the division among Christian sects had been caused by a Great Apostasy (or falling away) from the original teachings of Jesus, and that the correct principles of Christianity could be re-established by "restoring" practices described in the New Testament. The Restorationists also intended to eliminate sectarianism, arguing that there should be only one Christian church, which should be called the "Church of Christ."

While these restorationist ideas were circulating in the western frontier, the family of Joseph Smith, Jr. was living in western New Yorkmarker, where they attended many of the local revivals. During this time, the area was seeing so many Christian revivals that western New Yorkmarker's most well-known revivalist Charles Grandison Finney later dubbed the area the "Burned-Over District". Because of a lack of clergy from established churches, this area was unusually open to religious innovations, new movements, and social experiments such as religious communism.

The people of western New Yorkmarker, like the rest of the United Statesmarker at the time, were also influenced by folk religion. The fathers of both Joseph Smith, Jr. and Oliver Cowdery were reported to have used divining rods, though not by those within the LDS church. Joseph Smith reportedly used seer stone, which he used after his First Vision of Jesus Christ. People of the time used such rods and stones in various ways, including to locate underground water, to find lost items, to locate buried treasure or mineral mines, as part of religious or magic rituals, or to communicate with spirits or angels. Until about the 1830s, the use of such divining media, even as a profession, was thought by many, though not all, as "honorable and profitable employment". (Palmyra Herald, July 24, 1822)

Origins of the Movement

The early men and women who came together to form what became known as the Latter Day Saint movement, shared some beliefs in common with other Restorationists, but certain factors made them unique. Although the movements shared a belief in the need to "restore" the "true church" of Jesus Christ, the early Latter Day Saints also believed that direct authority from God was essential for such a restoration to be valid.

The movement's early charismatic experiences

The beginning of Mormonism centers around a number of early charismatic experiences with the heavenly and the spiritual by Joseph Smith, Jr. and his associates. Many of these experiences, such as visions, visits from angels, prophecy, and the hearing of God's voice, are still common parts of charismatic Christianity.

Smith's first vision

Most Latter Day Saints trace the beginnings of Mormonism to Joseph Smith's First Vision, which he said he had in about 1820 in the woods near his home. Early accounts of this vision describe it as a vision of Jesus in which he was told his sins were forgiven. Later elaborations indicate Smith was told that all Christian denominations had become corrupt, and further indicate that Smith saw multiple heavenly beings, including both Jesus and God the Father.

Within the context of early 19th century Americamarker, the First Vision was nothing unique. There are records of others of the day who had similar visions in which they were told that all churches were corrupt; however, the sectarian clergy vigorously opposed such visions, as Smith reports they did of his own vision.

Early visits by angels, Urim and Thummim, and the Book of Mormon

Smith also described many other visions involving angels. Some of his earliest visitations involved a Native American prophet-warrior, who called himself Moroni. Smith said this angel appeared to him many times, and showed him where to find a set of buried Golden Plates containing ancient writings that the prophet-warrior had sealed in a stone box before his death, together with other artifacts. The writings on the Golden Plates, according to Smith, contained an account of the various nations that inhabited ancient America, and described how they were led to the New World by Jesus, but eventually lost their Christian faith through a series of wars and corruption.

After he said he received the Golden Plates, Smith began to dictate what he said was their translation to his wife Emma Hale Smith and various of his associates, most notably Martin Harris and, for most of the later translation, Oliver Cowdery. Smith said he translated the text through the gift and power of God and through the aid of the Urim and Thummim. Smith described the Urim and Thummim "two transparent stones set in the rim of a silver bow fastened to a breast plate" (History of the Church 4:537). Harris and others at times referred to Smith translating the plates using a seer stone.

Initially, during the book's translation, Smith did not allow others to see the Golden Plates. Eventually, however, Three Witnesses wrote that they were shown the plates in June 1829 by an angel. (See Book of Mormon, preface) Another Eight Witnesses wrote that Joseph Smith, Jr. showed them the plates himself (Id.) The resulting writings were published in March 1830 as the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon was much more ambitious than being just a purported history of Native Americans. Mormons quickly adopted the book as a work of scripture of similar importance to the Bible. The book's title page described it as an attempt to show Native Americans "what great things the Lord has done for their fathers", and to convince "Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God." (Book of Mormon, title page.) The book contained doctrinal discussions on numerous themes, including how the pride of the wealthy leads to the downfall of civilization, the dangers of "secret combinations" of people who meet secretly and use secret signs and oaths "to carry out the evil purposes of the group", God's mercy and protection over his followers, and the meaning of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Shared experiences by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, and restoration of the priesthood

Some of the early movement's most important charismatic experiences were shared between Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, who joined the movement during the translation of the Book of Mormon. Not only was he one of the Three Witnesses of the Golden Plates, he had also attempted to translate part of those plates, presumably using Smith's Urim and Thummim. However, his attempt to translate was unsuccessful. (LDS D&C 9:1).

During the translation of the Golden Plates, Smith and Cowdery determined that they needed to obtain the Priesthood, which they believed had been lost from the earth during the Great Apostasy. According to an account by Cowdery in 1834, they went into the woods near Harmony Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvaniamarker on May 15, 1829, were visited by an angel who gave them the "Holy Priesthood". (Messenger and Advocate, 1(1), Oct. 1, 1834.) In 1835, Smith and Cowdery stated that the angel was John the Baptist, and that the "Holy Priesthood" was specifically the Priesthood of Aaron".

Smith and Cowdery further elaborated for the 1835 publication of the Doctrine and Covenants that they were also later visited by Peter, James, and John, who restored the "keys of your ministry" and the "keys of the kingdom". Neither Smith nor Cowdery ever gave a date for this visitation.

Organization of the Church of Christ

There is no known record of an early Mormon concept of the Lord's church prior to Smith's translation of the Book of Mormon from April to June 1829. During the course of this translation, the outlines gradually became apparent for a community of believers, with authority from God, ordinances such as baptism, and ordained clergy. Some time in April 1829, Smith dictated a story of Alma the Elder, the former priest of a wicked king, who baptized himself and his followers by immersion, "having authority from the Almighty God", and called his community of believers the "church of God, or the church of Christ". ( ). The book described the clergy in Alma's church as consisting of priests, who were unpaid and were to "preach nothing save it were repentance and faith in the Lord". ( ). Alma later established many churches, which were considered "one church" because "there was nothing preached in all the churches except it were repentance and faith in God." ( ). In addition to priests, the book mentions that the clergy of these churches also included teachers. ( ). Later, the book mentioned that the churches had elders. ( ).

Nevertheless, in May 1829, a revelation by Smith described the "church" in informal terms: "Behold, this is my doctrine: whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church: whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me: therefore, he is not of my church." (Book of Commandments 9:16). Smith's further dictation of the Book of Mormon also stated that Nephi saw a vision of the Gentile nations and was told "there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil", the "mother of abominations" which "had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people." ( ).

As a response to the book's ideas about baptism and the organization of churches, Joseph Smith, Jr. and Oliver Cowdery baptized each other by immersion in May 1829 after purportedly receiving the authority to do so from an angel, John the Baptist. (See D & C 13). They also began baptizing dozens of people, as early as June 1829. (History of the Church 1:6, p. 59). These converts, however, did not belong to an actual formal church organization. Nevertheless, this community of believers referred to themselves as "the Church of Christ", and included converts in three New York towns: Fayettemarker, Manchester, and Colesvillemarker.

Some time between June and December 1829, Joseph Smith, David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery said they received a revelation about "how he should build up his church & the manner thereof". This revelation was called the "Articles of the Church of Christ", and it indicated that the church should ordain priests and teachers "according to the gifts & callings of God unto men". The church was to meet regularly to partake of bread and wine. Cowdery was described as "an Apostle of Jesus Christ". According to David Whitmer, by April 1830, this informal "Church of Christ" had about six elders and 70 members. (Whitmer, Address to All Believers, 1887, p. 33).

On April 6, 1830, Joseph Smith, Jr., Oliver Cowdery, and a group of approximately 30 believers met to formally organize the Church of Christ into a legal institution. Traditionally, this is said to have occurred at the home of Peter Whitmer, Sr. in Fayette, New Yorkmarker, but early accounts place it in Manchester. Soon after this formal organization, small branches were formally established in Fayettemarker, Manchester, and Colesvillemarker.

By later accounts, the April 6 organizational meeting was a charismatic event, in which members of the congregation had visions, prophesied, spoke in tongues, ecstatically shouted praises to the Lord, and fainted. (Joseph Smith History, 1839 draft). Also, the church formally ordained a lay ministry, with the priesthood offices of deacon, teacher, priest, and elder. Smith and Cowdery, according to their 1831 account, were each ordained as "an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church". ("Articles and Covenants of the Church of Christ", Painesville Telegraph, April 19, 1831). This account was edited in 1835 to state that Smith was ordained the "First Elder", and Oliver Cowdery was ordained the "Second Elder." (LDS D&C 20:2-3).

The Movement in Ohio

The movement more than doubled in size with the conversion of Sidney Rigdon, a former Campbellite minister. Rigdon led several congregations of Restorationists in Ohio's Western Reserve area, and hundreds of his adherents followed him into Mormonism. A fiery orator, Rigdon was called to be Smith's spokesman and immediately became one of the movement's leaders. By 1831, the church's headquarters were established in Kirtland, Ohiomarker and Smith urged the membership to gather there or to a second outpost of the church in Missouri (see below).

While based in Kirtland, the church changed its name to the "Church of the Latter Day Saints", and added a number of new doctrines and leadership offices. An attempt to establish a communitarian economy known as the "Law of Consecration" was established and abandoned in favor of a lesser law, soon after they proved themselves unready for greater laws. The Latter Day Saint understanding of the priesthood was elaborated by the separation of the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood offices from the lesser or Aaronic Priesthood offices and by the restoration of the Patriarchal Priesthood. Also established were the First Presidency, the High Council — later elaborated as the High Council of Zion, the Travelling High Council (or Quorum of the Twelve) and Stake high councils — Seventies, patriarchs, high priests, and bishops.

Kirtland also was the site of the construction of the movement's first temple. Latter Day Saints reported a great outpouring of spiritual experiences in connection with the Kirtland Temple'smarker dedication. The temple was associated with the Kirtland-era "endowment", and with the ordinances of "foot washing", and "speaking in tongues." The movement also established the "School of the Prophets" which met in the temple. At Kirtland, Smith reported many revelations including the "Word of Wisdom" — advocating temperance and dietary restrictions. He acquired Egyptian papyrus scrolls which he said contained the writings of the Biblical patriarchs Abraham and Joseph. By many reports, it was in Kirtland that Smith first began to practice the doctrine of plural marriage.

In 1837, the movement in Kirtland began to unravel because of apostasy within its ranks. Smith and Rigdon founded an "anti-bank" called the Kirtland Safety Society. When it failed because of speculative practices of some of the members combined with general bank failures in Ohio and elsewhere during the years 1837-1838, some 300 of the Kirtland membership became disillusioned, including a third of the church leadership. Heber C. Kimball recalled that "not twenty persons on earth" remained faithful to Smith. ( The result was the movement's first major schism. A new organization led by Smith's former secretary, Warren Parish, along with Martin Harris and others, vied for control of the church in Kirtland. Re-establishing the original "Church of Christ" name, these "reformed Latter Day Saints" took possession of the temple and excommunicated Smith and Rigdon. Smith and Rigdon relocated to Missouri and were followed there by hundreds of loyalists in a trek known as the "Kirtland Camp."

The Movement in Missouri

As the church was gathering to Kirtland, a second gathering place was established 900 miles distant, on the frontier in Jackson County, Missourimarker. Joseph Smith Jr. had revealed to Latter Day Saints that they were to prepare "the way of the Lord for his Second Coming", "for the time is soon at hand that I shall come..." (D & C 34:6,7) He also revealed that the "center place" of the City of Zion would be near the town of Independencemarker in Jackson County. (D & C 57:3) Latter Day Saints began to settle the area to "build up" the City of Zion in 1831. Settlement was rapid and non-Mormon residents became alarmed that they might lose political control of the county to the Latter Day Saints. In October 1833, non-Mormon vigilantes succeeded in driving the Mormons from the county. Deprived of their homes and property, the Latter Day Saints temporarily settled in the area around Jackson County, especially in Clay Countymarker.

Years elapsed and the Mormon lawsuits and petitions failed to bring any justice: the non-Mormons in Jackson refused to allow the Mormons to return. Meanwhile, new converts to Mormonism continued to migrate to Missouri and settle in Clay County. In 1836, the Missouri legislature created Caldwell Countymarker specifically for Mormon settlement and Missouri branches of the church gathered there, centering on the town of Far Westmarker.

Church Headquarters Established in Far West

In 1838, Joseph Smith Jr., Sidney Rigdon and their loyalists abandoned the former church headquarters of Kirtland and relocated to Far West. A brief leadership struggle left the former heads of the Missouri portion of the church — David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, William Wines Phelps and others — excommunicated. Years later, many of this group of "dissenters" became part of the Whitmerite schism in the Latter Day Saint movement.

While the church was headquartered in Far West, Smith announced revelations that changed the name of the church to the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" and initiating the "Law of Tithing." Conflicts with non-Mormon settlers arose as the church began to plant colonies in the counties surrounding Caldwell. These escalated into what has been called the 1838 Mormon War. The perceived militant attitude adopted by the church caused some leaders, including Thomas B. Marsh, president of the Quorum of the Twelve, to break with Smith and Rigdon. This precipitated another schism which led to the foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ, the Bride, the Lamb's Wife by George M. Hinkle (who had been the Mormon commander of the Caldwell County militia).

As a result of the war, 2,500 Missouri militia troops were called out to put down the Mormon "rebellion." Smith and other church leaders were imprisoned in Liberty, Missourimarker and the majority of the Latter Day Saints were deprived of their property and expelled from the state.

The Movement in Illinois

Joseph Smith marshalling the Nauvoo Legion
With the help of sympathetic non-Mormons in Illinois, in the spring of 1839 the Latter Day Saint refugees regrouped and began to establish a new headquarters in Nauvoomarker. Smith and other leaders were allowed after several months of harsh treatment to escape Missourian custody, and they rejoined the main body of the movement in April, 1839. In 1841, construction began on a new temple, significantly more magnificent than the one left behind in Kirtland. The Nauvoo city charter authorized independent municipal courts, the foundation of a university and the establishment of a militia unit known as the "Nauvoo Legion." These and other institutions gave the Latter Day Saints a considerable degree of autonomy.

Nauvoo saw the final flowering of Joseph Smith's vision for the movement, including some of Mormonism's more controversial practices. It was here that Smith introduced Baptism for the dead, Rebaptism, the Nauvoo-era Endowment, and the ordinance of the Second Anointing. In addition, he created a new inner council of the church — containing both men and women — called the Anointed Quorum. Although Smith himself had been secretly practicing what he later called plural marriage for some time, in Nauvoo he began to teach other leaders the doctrine.

In March 1844, Smith was said by William Law to have organized a secret council of the church called the "Council of the Kingdom". Practices of this council included acclaiming Joseph Smith as "Prophet, Priest, and King" in addition to polygamy. These secrets were threatened to be released in a newspaper called the Nauvoo Expositor. Smith, acting in his capacity as mayor and head of the municipal court, responded by having the newspaper declared a "public nuisance" and by ordering the destruction of the press.

The Death of Joseph Smith

Whenever Latter Day Saints gathered in large numbers, they met with opposition from neighbors who suspected that Mormon bloc-voting would lead to theocracy. By the mid-1840s, many non-Mormons in Hancock Countymarker felt threatened by growing Mormon political power and retributive violence of some Saints. Smith's destruction of the Expositor exacerbated these fears and non-Mormons throughout Illinois began to clamor for his arrest. When Smith submitted to imprisonment in the county seat of Carthagemarker, the Governor of Illinois, Thomas Ford, left the jail, taking the only impartial local militia unit with him. With the jail being guarded only by two guards and a unit of anti-Mormon militiamen, the Carthage Greys, a mob of disbanded militia units attacked without resistance, killing Joseph and his brother Hyrum.

All men who were tried for the murders were acquitted after the prosecuting attorney dismissed the testimonies of the state's witnesses suddenly in his closing remarks

Succession Crisis of 1844

In the months following Smith's murder, it was not immediately clear who would lead the church. His brother, Hyrum, who was Assistant President of the Church, had died with him, and another brother who may have been a presumed succesor should both Hyrum and Joseph die, Samuel, died shortly therefter. Another Smith brother, William, as well as Samuel's daughter claim that Samuel was poisoned by Hosea Stout on orders from Apostle Willard Richards so that he would not be proclaimed the successor to Joseph Smith, as was about to happen, before Brigham Young could return to Nauvoo and stake his claim. Other men who (by some reports) were designated as successors, including Book of Mormon witnesses David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery, had been excommunicated from the church.

As a result, the principal claimants on the scene were:

Smith's widow, Emma wanted Marks to become church president, but Marks believed that Rigdon had the superior claim.

In a general meeting of the church at Nauvoo on August 8, 1844, Rigdon and Young presented their respective cases. As the only surviving member of the First Presidency (who had not officially apostacized), Rigdon argued that he should be made "guardian" of the church. Young argued that no one could succeed the fallen prophet. Instead, he proposed that the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles be constituted as the new presiding authority. A vote of the congregation overwhelmingly supported Young's proposal, said to have been caused by Brigham briefly yet miraculously having the "voice and contenance of Joseph Smith" during his talk. Soon after, Rigdon left Nauvoo and established his own church organization in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker.

Further Schisms and the "Mormon War in Illinois"

With Rigdon's flight, Young and most of the Twelve Apostles assumed control of church headquarters in Nauvoo. A conflict with Joseph Smith's last surviving brother, William, was a factor that led the remaining members of the Smith family to break with the Twelve. Meanwhile, in the branches of the church in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and outstate Illinois, a serious challenge to the leadership of the Twelve arose in the person of James J. Strang. Declaring himself a prophet and Smith's successor, Strang established a rival organization of the church in Voree, Wisconsin.

Meanwhile at Nauvoo, the conflict between Mormons and non-Mormons escalated into what is sometimes called the "Mormon War in Illinois." Latter Day Saints in outlying areas were driven from their homes and gathered to Nauvoo for protection. The Illinois state legislature voted to revoke Nauvoo's charter and the city began to operate extra-legally. At about this time, Nauvoo's population peaked; it may have had as many as 12,000 inhabitants (and several nearly as large suburbs), rivaling Chicago, Illinoismarker, whose 1845 population was about 15,000, and its suburbs. However, by the end of 1845, it became clear that no peace was possible, and Young and the Twelve negotiated a truce so that the Latter Day Saints could prepare to abandon the city. The winter of 1845-46 saw the enormous preparations for the Mormon Exodus across the Great Plainsmarker.

The Movement Divided

The largest group of Latter Day Saints followed nine of the Twelve Apostles west, establishing a way station at Winter Quarters, Nebraska in 1846, and entering Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Having planted this initial colony in the Great Basin, Young returned to Winter Quarters and in December 1847 reorganized his faction of the church, establishing himself as the head of a new First Presidency. This reorganization led to additional schisms, including the break with Alpheus Cutler and what became the Church of Christ as well as Lyman Wight's group in Zodiac, Texas. Young's organization today is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utahmarker and is known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (See History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)

The bulk of Sidney Rigdon's church had dissolved by 1847, but some loyalists reorganized as The Church of Jesus Christ under the leadership of William Bickerton in 1862. James J. Strang's church in Voree suffered a significant schism in 1849, led by former follower Aaron Smith. After Strang's 1856 assassination, much of the remaining membership fell away from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints , but a small following remained loyal. Other leaders, including David Whitmer, James Collin Brewster, James Emmett, Gladden Bishop, William Smith, and Charles B. Thompson also established church organizations that had limited followings.

Joseph Smith's family — his widow Emma Hale Smith and her children — continued to live in Nauvoo after the departure of the majority of the Latter Day Saints. In 1860, the eldest of the Smith sons, Joseph Smith III, said he received a revelation to take his place as Prophet/President of a "New Organization" of the Latter Day Saint church. This group had gathered together many of the remnants of the various Midwestern Latter Day Saint groups into the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, now called the Community of Christ. This has continued to be the second largest Latter Day Saint group, with headquarters on a portion of the original Temple Lot in Independence, Missourimarker.

Others remained unaffiliated, however, and in 1863 a group of Latter Day Saints from Illinois and Indiana united under the leadership of Granville Hedrick and reclaimed the name of the movement's original organization, the "Church of Christ." This group was the first group of Latter Day Saints to return to Independence, Missourimarker, to "redeem Zion." They are now headquartered on portion of the original Temple Lot there and are known as the Church of Christ .

The Movement Today

The Latter Day Saint movement has continued to grow and evolve. Today there are thousands of active organizations, as the various denominations have continued to give birth to new expressions of the movement. By far the largest denomination is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which reports 13 million members worldwide. The Community of Christ reports 250,000 members, and the Church of Jesus Christ reports around 15,000 members. The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — the largest polygamist Latter Day Saint group — may also have as many as 10,000 members.

In addition to Latter Day Saint adherents, there are a large number of Cultural Mormons — people raised in the Church or in the Mormon cultural zone, but who don't believe some (or all) of LDS doctrine, or who don't follow some (or all) of LDS practices. Cultural Mormons can be so-called Jack Mormons, who do not practice their religion, but share cultural values and/or a common ancestry with practicing Latter Day Saints. Some Jack Mormons may even still believe many or all of the Church's teachings, but for various reasons choose not to attend services or participate in church activities. Cultural Mormons also include those who practice their religion but do not believe in the doctrines. This includes the sub-group of so-called New Order Mormons, who choose to hide their lack of belief to avoid conflict within their families.

As from the beginning of the movement, many groups are still engaged in criticizing the church, labeled by Mormons as Anti-mormons, although most critics deplore this label. Critics include ex-Mormons, Evangelical Christians, and Academics . Additionally, in recent years, the medium of expression of some critics has shifted towards the internet. See Criticism of Mormonism, Anti-mormon.

Today, the most well-known apologetic groups are FAIR and FARMS. They represent the LDS viewpoint and engage in debate with critics of Mormonism.


  1. Anderson, Karl Ricks, Joseph Smith's Kirtland: Eyewitness Accounts, 1989


See also

External links

  • Latter Day Saint movement websites:
    • - the official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — with links to Gospel Library, Church History, Family Home Evening programs, and more
    • - information on basic beliefs, a meetinghouse locator, and a place to email questions
    • [51868] - Site dedicated to British Mormon History
    • FAIR - Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research
    • FARMS - Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (BYU)
    • Joseph Smith's own account of his .
    • - A large general interest Spanish-language discussion list for LDS Church members.
    • Orthodox History: History and Faith in Modern Mormonism
    • Mormon History - Biographies, personal accounts, online books and Mormon history resources
    • The Joseph Smith Papers - Forthcoming scholarly collection of extant Joseph Smith documents
    • Community of Community of Christ (RLDS Church) website
    • Center - Independent branches of Restoration RLDS
    • Remnant Remnant LDS Church website

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