Latter Day Saint movement

From Academic Kids

The Latter Day Saint movement (also called the Mormonism movement or the Mormon movement) is a religious movement beginning in the early 19th century that led to the set of doctrines, practices, and cultures called Mormonism and to the existence of numerous churches whose members call themselves Latter Day Saints. It is one of a number of movements within Restorationism, which includes the Restoration Movement and the Millerite movement. These group of early 19th century religions attempted to transcend Protestant denominationalism, and to restore what they considered a form of Christianity truer to their interpretation of the New Testament.

The driving force behind the Latter Day Saint movement was Joseph Smith, Jr., and to a lesser extent Oliver Cowdery, who both claimed to have seen angels who restored to them various "keys" to organize and lead the true Church of Christ. In addition, the Latter Day Saint movement was greatly influenced by Sidney Rigdon, a minister within the Restoration Movement who had been associated with the Disciples of Christ before becoming Mormonism's first great theologian. See History of the Latter Day Saint movement.


Latter Day Saint denominations

The original Latter Day Saint church was organized on April 6, 1830 as the "Church of Christ," see Church of Christ (Mormonism). In 1834, it became known as the Church of Latter Day Saints, and in 1838 the name was changed to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

After the Succession Crisis which followed Smith's death in 1844, a number of competing hierarchies were organized that fall into the two main branches of the movement, sometimes called the "Prairie Saints" and the "Rocky Mountain Saints".

Today, there are hundreds of active organizations claiming to be a part of the Latter Day Saint movement. Most of these organizations are very small, but overall, there are possibly more Latter Day Saints world-wide than Jews. Most Latter Day Saints belong to one of the two largest denominations, the largest being The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which reports more than 12 million members worldwide, although census figures and religious adherent polling indicate around 8 million self-identified adherents), followed by the more ecumenical Community of Christ (which reports over 200,000 members).

Denominations through 1844

Denominations which formed prior to the death of the movement's founder, Joseph Smith, Jr. include:

"Prairie Saint" denominations

Prairie Saint denominations include:

"Rocky Mountain Saint" denominations

Rocky Mountain Saint denominations include:

For a discussion of the usage of "Mormon," "Latter Day Saint," "Latter-day Saint," and related terms, see Mormon.


  • Steven L. Shields, Divergent Paths of the Restoration: A History of the Latter Day Saint Movement, Los Angeles: 1990.

See also


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