Mormon, the name given to the people who join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or LDS. LDS is a Christian religion that is based off of and teaches from both the Christian Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon, as well as embraces the Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price. The founder was Joseph Smith who was born in Vermont in 1805 and said he received a vision from God not to join any religion. At the age of 17 he received another vision from an angel named Moroni, selecting him to translate the Book of Mormon, the true gospel of Christianity.
The book was written on golden plates near New York, where Smith lived at the time. Smith discovered the plates in 1827 and when the Book of Mormon was translated and published in 1830 the Mormon religion was official. He was outcasted by communities for preaching this new religion. Smith and his brother were arrested on February 1844 and charged for treason. They were murdered by an anti-Mormon group in Illinois on June 27, 1844. After Smith’s death, Brigham Young took over as his successor.
The beginning of Mormonism started in New York where Smith found the gold plates. In 1839 as the discrimination continued wherever the Mormons tried to settle, Smith prayed the community of Nauvoo in Missouri would give a safer place to live for the Mormons, but no matter where they went the bigotry stayed with them. Whenever Young took over after Smith’s death in prison, he was convinced the Mormons would not be accepted anywhere in the United States Territory. Young made a bold decision and decided they should move into territories outside of the U.S., starting with the Mexican controlled Southwest.
The journey began in 1864 with the first group consisting of 1,600 Mormons. They crossed Mississippi into Iowa and made the Missouri River their first major colony. By late 1846 this colony was home to more than 12,000 Mormons, Young did not stop here though. They journeyed onward and came across the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, deciding this is the place to settle. It started with 1,600 Mormons building their new life, with 1,200 more coming the next year. By 1877, the death of Young, there were 100,000 people living in the valley, most of them Mormons. There are now more than 15 million Mormons worldwide with the main headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mormonism is thought to be a fast-growing religion, with a prediction of about 265 million members by the year 2080.
Although Mormons consider themselves Christians, there are still differences in their beliefs that separate them greatly, such as God himself. Mormons believe there is more than one God. That God, Jesus Christ, and The Holy Ghost are not one united but three separate gods, called the Godhead. They believe God was once a man who lived on another planet but made himself so perfect and powerful he became God. They say God is the father of every human being, literally. Believing that human spirits are created into spirit children then at some point born as human children. Jesus to them is the first-born spirit child of God. That God is the biological father of Jesus, instead of Jesus being begotten by the Holy Ghost. They also believe Jesus assisted God in the creation of everything. Mormons strongly believe in the death, bury, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but after his resurrection he visited America and preached to the Nephites.
The Nephites were a group of Jews who were led to America by an Israelite named Lehi. His descendants divided into two tribes named after his son’s, Nephites and Lamanites. The Nephites were wealthier and more religious than the Lamanites from the beginning, but over time they became corrupted and broke out war against the Lamanites. The Native Americans are believed to be the products of the Lamanites. As well as Jesus visiting America they also believe the Garden of Eden, home to Adam and Eve, is located in Jackson County, Missouri.
Mormon worship services are on Sundays in chapels just like the other Christian denominations except these services are three hours long containing three different meetings. The service starts with a “sacrament meeting” where the whole family is together and they bless and take the sacrament, communion. After the sacrament they have Sunday School. Everybody is divided into classes depending on your age. In these classes you are then divided again by sex for the third meeting. Their worship is considered dreary, sung by the congregation and maybe by an organ or piano. Something special they do is that once a month, usually on the first Sunday, the stage is set for anyone to speak and share faith building personal testimonies and experiences to the members, even small children may share. There are about 156 temples, aside from regular Sunday service, that are dedicated distinctly for the conduction of the Mormons most sacred ordinances. Other than that, they are not open for any other services.
Marriage to the Mormons is a sacred practice. Highly important to their religious practice. They believe that God has ordered them to have children, that marriage between man and woman is essential for God plan. They also think that the only way to reach the highest-level salvation after death is to be married. One thing that stands out is that in the 19th century the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints practiced polygamy, meaning the men would marry many spouses having more than one wife. The leaders practiced this publicly for about forty years starting in the 1850s, causing great controversy between America and within the LDS Church itself. This polygamy practice started in the 1830s by the founder of Mormonism Joseph Smith. The public practice was announced in 1852 by Orson Pratt, requested by Brigham Young, Smith’s successor.
The polygamy marriage ended in 1890 when President Wilford Woodruff created a proclamation called the Manifesto, ending this practice except for those who are already married. With some devoted Mormons still wanting polygamy, President Joseph F. Smith had to issue a Second Manifesto in 1904, having the church excommunicate any members you openly support or practice plural marriage. Even now in the 20th Century there are more than 30,000 members still participating in polygamy in Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Arizona. They believe they are preserving the original beliefs or making it their way of life, but these states, particularly Utah, does not accept. One member, Tom Green, was arrested and sentenced to five years for this practice in Utah, as well as being excommunicated from the LDS.
This is the beginning, expansion, some beliefs, and marriage history of Mormonism. Although Mormons consider themselves to be a denomination of Christianity, there are many Christians who do not except Mormonism as a part of their religion. For Christians, there is only one god, God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, they are three in one, united, not three separates. God is not from another planet, God has always been God and always will be from beginning to end. God created us and everything in this world/universe from nothing. We are created from his own self-image. This is what Christians believe. Christian also do not believe that Jesus visited America after his resurrection as the Mormons do, nor that the Lamanites are the ancestors of the Native Americans. They also do not believe that the Garden of Eden is located in Missouri.