Latter Day Saint

From Academic Kids

While the term "Latter-Day Saint"is used to refer specifically to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), in a more general reference, the term "Latter Day Saint" (no hyphen) is a term that has been used by some to describe anyone associated with the religious movement which resulted in the various groups listed below, but the use of the term in this fashion is much less common, even among these churches, because in any verbal communication, the use of this less common term would normally appear to refer to the largest of these groups, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are officially called "Latter-day Saints" (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2000) The use of the un-hyphenated term "Latter Day Saint" in a distinct sense from the hyphenated form is extremely rare among Latter-Day Saints who make up over 95% of the so-called "Latter Day Saints."

Latter Day Saints trace their religious heritage through Joseph Smith, Jr., who claimed to have restored the original "Church of Christ", which had disappeared from the earth after a period of apostasy. Latter Day Saints consider themselves to be "saints" in the original sense of the word, meaning members of the original Christian church established in the First Century, AD.

Latter Day Saints are sometimes referred to as Mormons (a nickname taken from the title of the Book of Mormon). The dwarfing dominance of the LDS Church in the Latter Day Saint movement and significant differences of doctrine and practice between it and the next largest branch (Community of Christ), have led to the terms Mormon (as a noun or adjective) and Mormonism being generally understood as applying only to the LDS church, but the term is often confused with its 20th-century schisms. Due to a large number of incidents in which mis-identification has been made in regards to LDS Church, the church strongly prefers that if the term is used that it be applied solely to the LDS Church while at the same time encouraging the increased use of official and historic self-designations such as "Latter-day Saints", "Saints", and "Church of Jesus Christ" instead of Mormon. (See LDS Style Guide (http://www.lds.org/newsroom/page/0,15606,4043-1---15-168,00.html)). Though using "Mormon" to describe the Church and its members was once a pejorative reference to the isolated Utah-based church, it has generally lost that sense.

Contents

Beliefs

Below is a passage from The Wentworth Letter that Joseph Smith Jr. wrote after being asked about the basic beliefs of the LDS Church. It is known as the Articles of Faith.

  1. We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in his son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
  2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam's transgression.
  3. We believe that through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
  4. We believe that these ordinances are 1st, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; 2d, Repentance; 3d, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; 4th, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
  5. We believe that a man must be called of God by "prophesy, and by laying on of hands" by those who are in authority to preach the gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
  6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the primitive church, viz, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists &c.
  7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophesy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues &c.
  8. We believe the bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
  9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that he will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
  10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes. That Zion will be built upon this [the American] continent. That Christ will reign personally upon the earth, and that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiac glory.
  11. We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our conscience, and allow all men the same privilege let them worship how, where, or what they may.
  12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
  13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul "we believe all things we hope all things," we have endured many things and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praise worthy we seek after these things.

List of Latter Day Saint churches and sects

(See http://www.adherents.com )
* Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, called the LDS Church or Mormon Church, although media often refer to the much smaller groups as Mormons also.
† Formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or RLDS Church.

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