The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; Mormons

A Protestant sect founded by Joseph Smith at Fayette, Seneca County, New York, 1830. The following year headquarters were established at Kirtland, Ohio, and Smith and his associates organized many churches. They were expelled from Missouri, 1839, as a result of friction between them and the early settlers. Smith and his brother were killed by a mob at Carthage, Illinois, 27 June, 1844. Brigham Young was then chosen president of the church and two years later established the present headquarters in Salt Lake Valley, Utah. A large group who refused the leadership of Young formed the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Both bodies accept the following doctrines: belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and in the Holy Ghost; belief that men will be punished for their own sins, not for Adam's, and that through the atonement of Christ all men can be saved by obeying the ordinances of the gospel. The Bible, so far as it is translated correctly, and the Book of Mormon, are both regarded as the Word of God. The ecclesiastical organization is based upon the priesthood, which is "the power delegated to man by virtue of which he has authority to act or officiate in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ as His representative." Its two grand divisions are the Melchizedek, or higher priesthood, and the Aaronic, or lesser priesthood; the former holds the power of presidency and the right of authority over all the offices of the church; and the latter, the keys of authority in the temporal affairs of the church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints advocates the doctrine of polygamy. Brigham Young, 1852, published the doctrine of celestial marriage (marriage for eternity as well as for time), including plural marriage; however, because of great discussion throughout the country various acts of Congress forbade plural marriages. Since 1890, such marriages have been prohibited by the church although there have been cases where those contracted have not been annulled. The Reorganized Church repudiates the revelation of plural marriage and maintains that the law of God provides for but one companion in wedlock for either man or woman.

New Catholic Dictionary

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