Saturday, December 2, 2006


Mormonism is a term used to describe religious, ideological, and cultural aspects of the various Latter Day Saint churches. The term Mormonism is often used to describe the belief systems of those who believe in the Book of Mormon, a sacred text which Mormons believe was translated by Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1829 from golden plates, described as the sacred writings of the inhabitants of North and South America from approximately 650 BC to 100 AD. In 1830 Smith published the Book of Mormon and restored the Church of Christ, and the faithful were known amongst themselves as Latter Day Saints. Outside the church, church members have come to be called Mormons because of their belief in the Book of Mormon as the restoration of their religion. As the result of a revelation in 1838, the name to the Church was officially changed to the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints".[1] After the death of Joseph Smith, the majority of Smith's followers were led by Brigham Young to the Salt Lake Valley in the current state of Utah. The remaining saints stayed in Missouri organizing themselves in various sects.

After The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints abandoned the practice of plural marriage, more sects emerged in support of the practice usually in the form of polygyny. Mormonism is generally used to describe the main body of the Utah sect exclusively, mainly due to its prominance amongst Latter Day Saint denominations, but the practice of plural marriage is still heavily associated with Mormonism despite the church's efforts to distance itself and the term from polygamy. Other sects embrace or accept the term Mormonism, including the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, other Mormon fundamentalist organizations, Reform Mormonism, and cultural Mormons.

Most adherents of Mormonism may be respectfully called Latter Day Saints (or the hyphenated Latter-day Saints in reference to the largest denomination).[citation needed] Other generally acceptable terms include LDS, Saints, and Mormons. A minority of adherents object to the terms Mormon and Mormonism, since these are terms coined by outsiders to label members of the Church.