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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church or LDS Church, has a long history of regard for ancestry. Most genealogists have made direct or indirect use of its International Genealogical Index ("IGI") and the more recent FamilySearch.

Salt Lake Temple

The Church is a Christian restorationist church that is considered by its members to be the restoration of the original church founded by Jesus Christ. The church is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has established congregations and built temples worldwide. According to the church, it has over 70,000 missionaries[3] and a membership of over 15 million. It is ranked by the National Council of Churches as the fourth-largest Christian denomination in the United States. It is the largest denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith (1805-1844) during the period of religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening.

Adherents, often referred to as "Latter-day Saints" or, less formally, "Mormons", view faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement as fundamental principles of their religion. LDS theology includes the Christian doctrine of salvation only through Jesus Christ, though LDS doctrines regarding the nature of God and the potential of mankind differ significantly from mainstream Christianity. The church has an open canon which includes four scriptural texts: the Bible (both Old and New Testaments), the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Other than the Bible, the majority of the LDS canon constitutes revelation received by Joseph Smith and recorded by his scribes which includes commentary and exegesis about the Bible, texts described as lost parts of the Bible, and other works believed to be written by ancient prophets. Because of some of the doctrinal differences, some Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches consider the LDS Church to be distinct and separate from mainstream Christianity.

Early Church History[]

This Judith Mehr rendition depicts struggles endured by members of Zion's Camp (1834), an expeditionary force to help Church members in Jackson County, Missouri redeem their brethren.

The Church was founded in 1830 in Palmyra (town), New York, by Joseph Smith (1805-1844). The following year they moved to Kirtland, Ohio and a few years after that to Missouri and finally to Nauvoo, Illinois in 1840.

After Joseph's martyrdom, church leadership went to Brigham Young (1801-1877) who led the Saints out west to settle Salt Lake City and the rest of Utah. During his tenure, the church adopted plural marriage and there were many converts that migrated over from all parts of England, Scandinavia and Northern Europe.

This migration ended at the beginning of the twentieth century and members were then encouraged to stay in their homelands and build up the church there.

Principal Beliefs[]

These basic beliefs are enshrined by the church's "Articles of Faith".[1]

  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 the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
  5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the 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 organisation that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
  7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
  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 (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
  11. We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own 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, honouring, 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 praiseworthy, we seek after these things.



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