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On June 27, , Smith and his brother Hyrum were murdered by a mob in Carthage, Illinois ,  while being held on charges of treason.
These groups have no affiliation with the LDS Church. For two years after Smith's death, conflicts escalated between Mormons and other Illinois residents. Smith had predicted that the church would go to the West and be established in the tops of the Rocky Mountains. Young incorporated the LDS Church as a legal entity, and initially governed both the church and the state as a theocratic leader.
He also publicized the practice of plural marriage ,  a form of polygamy. By , tensions had again escalated between Mormons and other Americans, largely as a result of accusations involving polygamy and the theocratic rule of the Utah Territory by Young.
At Young's death in , he was followed by other church presidents, who resisted efforts by the United States Congress to outlaw Mormon polygamous marriages. United States , decreed that "religious duty" to engage in plural marriage was not a valid defense to prosecutions for violating state laws against polygamy.
Conflict between Mormons and the U. Soon thereafter, church president Wilford Woodruff issued a manifesto that officially suspended the practice. Relations with the United States markedly improved after , such that Utah was admitted as a U. Relations further improved after , when church president Joseph F. Smith again disavowed polygamy before the United States Congress and issued a " Second Manifesto ", calling for all plural marriages in the church to cease, as they were already against church doctrine since Woodruff issued the Manifesto.
Eventually, the church adopted a policy of excommunicating its members found practicing polygamy and today actively distances itself from " fundamentalist " groups still practicing polygamy. During the 20th century, the church grew substantially and became an international organization, due in part to the spread of missionaries around the globe. In , the church reported 60, missionaries  and global church membership stood at just over 11 million. The church has become a strong and public champion of the nuclear family and at times played a prominent role in political matters, including opposition to MX Peacekeeper missile bases in Utah and Nevada ,  the Equal Rights Amendment ,  legalized gambling,  same-sex marriage ,  and physician-assisted death.
A number of official changes have taken place to the organization during the modern era. One significant change was the ordination of men of black African descent to the priesthood in , which reversed a policy originally instituted by Brigham Young in For example, since the early s, the church has instituted a Priesthood Correlation Program to centralize church operations and bring them under a hierarchy of priesthood leaders.
During the Great Depression , the church also began operating a church welfare system, and it has conducted numerous humanitarian efforts in cooperation with other religious organizations including Catholic Relief Services and Islamic Relief , as well as secular organizations such as the American Red Cross.
The most authoritative sources of theology are the faith's canon of four religious texts, called the " standard works ". The church believes that this Angel Moroni is at least partial fulfillment of Revelation The church characterizes the Book of Mormon as "the most correct of any book on earth and the keystone of [the] religion".
The Bible, also part of the church's canon, is believed to be "the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. Sometimes, however, parts of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible corrections and restorations of assertedly damaged or lost passages are considered authoritative. Some excerpts of Smith's translation have been included in the Pearl of Great Price, which also includes further translations by Smith and church historical items. Other historical items and revelations are found in the Doctrine and Covenants.
Another source of authoritative doctrine is the pronouncements of the current Apostles and members of the First Presidency. The church teaches that the First Presidency the church's president and his counselors and the Quorum of Twelve Apostles are prophets  and that their teachings are generally given under inspiration from God through the Holy Spirit.
Members of the church acknowledge sustain them regularly as prophets, seers, and revelators —this is done publicly twice a year at the church's worldwide general conference. For example, the Mormon cosmology and plan of salvation include the doctrines of a pre-mortal life , three degrees of heaven , and exaltation. According to these doctrines, every human spirit is a literal child of a Heavenly Father , and each has the potential to continue to learn, grow, and progress in the eternities, eventually achieving eternal life which Latter-day Saints view as distinct from immortality , which is to become one with God in the same way that Jesus Christ is one with the Father, thus allowing the children of God to become divine beings or "gods" themselves.
This latter ordinance, known as a sealing ceremony, reflects a singular LDS view with respect to families. According to LDS Church theology, men and women may be "sealed" to one another so that their marital bond continues into the eternities.
The church teaches that all will have the opportunity to hear and accept or reject the gospel of Jesus Christ and the blessings that come to those who faithfully adhere to it, in this life or the next. Ordinances such as baptisms for the dead, sealings, and endowments are performed in temples that are built and dedicated specifically for these purposes. The LDS faithful observe a health code called the " Word of Wisdom ," in which they abstain from the consumption of alcohol, coffee, tea, and tobacco.
Latter-day Saints follow a moral code , called the " law of chastity ," which prohibits adultery , all homosexual behavior, and any sexual relations outside of marriage.
LDS faithful donate a ten-percent tithe on their annual income, which is used to carry out the operations of the church, including construction of temples, meetinghouses, and other buildings, as well as other church uses.
They donate at least the cost of the two skipped meals as a fast offering , which the church uses to assist the poor and needy and expand its worldwide humanitarian efforts. All LDS young men are expected to serve a two-year, full-time proselytizing mission. Prospective male missionaries must be at least 18 years old and no older than 25, not yet married, have completed secondary school, and meet certain criteria for physical fitness and spiritual worthiness.
Missionary service is not compulsory, nor is it required for young men to retain their church membership. Unmarried women 19 years and older may also serve as missionaries, generally for a term of 18 months. However, the LDS Church emphasizes that women are not under the same expectation to serve as male members are, and may serve solely as a personal decision.
There is no maximum age for missionary service for women. Other men and women who desire to serve a mission, but may not be able to perform full-time service in another state or country due to health issues, may serve in a service mission.
Many opportunities are available. These include a belief in the Bible subject to an acknowledgement that it is imperfect ,  the divinity of Jesus, and his atonement and resurrection. LDS theology also includes belief in the doctrine of salvation through Jesus alone, restorationism ,  millennialism , continuationism , penal substitution ,  and a form of apostolic succession. The practices of baptism by immersion and the eucharist referred to as the sacrament are also held in common.
However, the Catholic Church considers doctrinal differences between the two groups to be so great that it will not accept a prior LDS baptism as evidence of Christian initiation, as it will baptism by other Christian groups, such as the Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches. Nevertheless, the LDS Church differs from the many other churches within contemporary Christianity, and many people do not accept the church as part of Christianity.
From the perspective of Christians who agree with creeds, the most significant area of departure is the rejection by the LDS Church of certain parts of ecumenical creeds such as the Nicene Creed, which defines the predominant view of the Christian God as a Trinity of three separate persons in " one essence ".
LDS Church theology includes the belief in a " Godhead " composed of God the Father, his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost as three separate Persons who share a unity of purpose or will; however, they are viewed as three distinct Beings making one Godhead. Other significant differences relate to the church's acceptance of additional scripture, doctrine, and practices beyond what is found in the Catholic, Protestant, or Eastern Orthodox versions of the Bible. The LDS Church shares a common heritage with a number of smaller faith groups that are collectively called the Latter Day Saint movement.
They also accept the Book of Mormon, and most, but not all, accept at least some version of the Doctrine and Covenants. However, they tend to disagree to varying degrees with the LDS Church concerning doctrine and church leadership. The main branches of the Latter Day Saint movement resulted from the crisis of succession upon the death of Joseph Smith. Other branches may be considered later offshoots of the LDS Church branch, mainly due to disagreements about plural marriage.
The church teaches that it is a continuation of the Church of Christ established in by Joseph Smith. This original church underwent several name changes during the s, being called the Church of Jesus Christ, the Church of God,  and then in , the name was officially changed to the Church of the Latter Day Saints.
The term Mormon Church is in common use,  but the church began discouraging its use in the late 20th century, though takes no issue with the term Mormon itself. Tax-exempt corporations of the LDS Church include the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ,  a corporation sole which was organized in under the laws of the state of Utah to acquire, hold, and dispose of real property ; the Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ,  which was established in in Utah to receive and manage money and church donations; and Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Church congregations are organized geographically. Members are generally expected to attend the congregation with their assigned geographical area; however, some geographical areas also provide separate congregations for young single adults between the ages of 18 and 30 , single adults aged 31 to 45,  or for speakers of alternate languages.
Although the building may sometimes be referred to as a chapel, the room used as a chapel for religious services is only one component of the standard meetinghouse. The church maintains a virtual tour online of a typical example and also an online meetinghouse locator, which can be used to find the locations and meeting times of its congregations all over the world. Regional church organizations, encompassing multiple congregations, include stakes , missions , districts , areas , and regions.
The church's definition of "membership" includes all persons who were ever baptized, or whose parents were members while the person was under the age of eight called "members of record" LDS Church , pp. The church continues to seek recognition in regions where it has had little or no influence. On August 30, , church leaders announced that they were making significant progress on "regularized operations for the Church in China.
The LDS Church is organized in a hierarchical priesthood structure administered by men. Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus leads the church through revelation and has chosen a single man, called "the Prophet" or President of the Church, as his spokesman on the earth. While there have been exceptions in the past, he and two counselors are normally ordained apostles and form the First Presidency , the presiding body of the church; twelve other apostles form the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Monson on January 2, , senior apostle Russell M. Nelson became the presumptive successor to the church presidency; he formally was named president on January They exercise both ecclesiastical and administrative leadership over the church and direct the efforts of regional leaders down to the local level. General authorities and mission presidents work full-time and typically receive stipends from church funds or investments. Twice each year in April and October , general authorities address the worldwide church through general conference, which includes five two-hour sessions over the course of two days.
General conference sessions are translated into as many as 80 languages and are broadcast from the 21,seat Conference Center in Salt Lake City. At the local level, the church leadership are drawn from the laity and work on a part-time volunteer basis without stipend. An exception to that rule is for LDS missionaries, who work at the local level and are paid basic living expenses from a fund that receives contributions from their families or home congregations.
But, prospective missionaries are encouraged to contribute the cost of their missions to this fund themselves when possible. Members volunteer general custodial work for local church facilities.
All males who are living the standards of the church are generally considered for the priesthood and are ordained to the priesthood as early as age Ordination occurs by a ceremony where hands are laid on the head of the one ordained. The priesthood is divided into an Aaronic priesthood for young men 12 and up, and a Melchizedek priesthood for men 18 and up. Under the leadership of the priesthood hierarchy are five auxiliary organizations that fill various roles in the church: Relief Society a women's organization ,  the Young Men and Young Women organizations for adolescents ages 12 to 18 , Primary an organization for children up to age 12 , and Sunday School which provides a variety of Sunday classes for adolescents and adults.
Women serve as presidents and counselors in the presidencies of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary, while men serve as presidents and counselors of the Young Men and Sunday School.
Many of these auxiliaries and programs are coordinated by the Priesthood Correlation Program , which is designed to provide a systematic approach to maintain worldwide consistency, orthodoxy, and control of the church's ordinances, doctrines, organizations, meetings, materials, and other programs and activities. The church also operates Institutes of Religion near the campuses of many colleges and universities. For high-school aged youth, the church operates a four-year Seminary program , which provides religious classes for students to supplement their secular education.
The church also sponsors a low-interest educational loan program known as the Perpetual Education Fund , which provides educational opportunities to students from developing nations. The church's welfare system, initiated during the Great Depression , provides aid to the poor. It is financed by fast offerings: Money from the program is used to operate Bishop's storehouses , which package and store food at low cost.
Distribution of funds and food is administered by local bishops. The church also distributes money through its LDS Philanthropies division to disaster victims worldwide. Other church programs and departments include LDS Family Services , which provides assistance with adoption , marital and family counseling , psychotherapy , and addiction counseling ; the LDS Church History Department, which collects church history and records; and the Family History Department, which administers the church's large family history efforts, including the world's largest family history library and organization FamilySearch.
Although the church has not released church-wide financial statements since , in , Time magazine called it one of the world's wealthiest churches per capita.
The church receives significant funds from tithes and fast offerings. Try that again or refresh your browser. There's been no activity for an extended amount of time. For security reasons, we've signed your account out. Please sign in again. Your membership record is currently not assigned to a ward. Please contact the bishop where you live, and ask him to request your record from Church headquarters.
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