The \LDS Restorationist movement,
including the Mormon cnurches
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
Terminology, Practices, Opposition....
Topics covered in this essay:
The largest faith group within the Mormon movement, centered in Salt Lake
City, UT, believe that God revealed the full name of "The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" to Joseph Smith in 1838. Many
incorrect versions of this name are seen on the Internet and in non-Mormon
sources. The most common are:
||Leaving off "The"
||Capitalizing the first letter in "day"
||Omitting the "-" after "Latter."
The Church discourages the use of the nickname
"Mormon Church." There are almost 100 LDS Restorationist denominations to which this
nickname could apply.
When printed in full, the name is rather long.
Where an abbreviation is needed, "the Church" or "the Church of Jesus Christ" is
encouraged. Unfortunately, there are over 1,000 faith groups in the U.S. to
which the term "the Church" would apply. There are over 20 faith groups who use
the term "Church of Jesus Christ."
The Church states that the term " 'Mormonism'
is acceptable in describing the combination of doctrine, culture and lifestyle
unique to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." They do not
recognize the many dozens of other restorationist denominations as legitimate
Mormon groups. In return, most or of the other restorationist denominations do
not recognize each other. 1
With almost 100 faith groups considering
themselves to be the only legitimate successor to Joseph Smith's original
Church of Christ. With most of these
groups not recognizing each other as legitimate, the umbrella term "Mormon
movement" would probably be rejected by most of them. We suggest that
the preferred term to represent those groups who believe they are
following God's revelation through Joseph Smith is "LDS Restorationist
We use the term "LDS church" to refer to
the largest of the LDS Restorationist movement's denominations, centered in Salt Lake City.
Their practices are similar to those of other conservative Protestant
Christian groups. Church teachings on marriage, church attendance, tithing, and
their opposition to most abortions, divorce, pre-marital sex, equal rights for women,
etc. differ little. Exceptions are:
||Prior to the dedication of a temple, the general public is invited to an
open house to inspect its various facilities. After it is dedicated, only
worthy members with temple recommends can participate in temple ordinances
such as eternal marriage or baptism for the dead.
||A regular temple recommend requires that an individual
be a member for one year, and be found "worthy." i.e. has
paid a tithe in support of the church, followed the "Word of
Wisdom", followed the commandments, remained "morally
clean," and has passed an interview with the stake president. They
expire after two years, or immediately if the person is found to be
||A limited use recommend can be obtained from their bishop by youths (12
to 20 years of age) or for new members of any age after a few months'
membership. This allows the person to do baptisms for the dead.
||The church sponsors a massive missionary movement involving tens of
thousands of young missionaries at any one time (typically a ratio of 4 male
elders to each female sister). As of the end of 2003, there were
56,237 full-time missionaries worldwide. This decreased to 52,060 by the end of
2005. They dedicate two years of their life
in seeking converts. They are trained in one of 17 Missionary Training
Centers (MTC) which are located in Provo, UT, and in Argentina,
Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, England, Ghana, Guatemala, Japan,
Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, and Spain.
3 Missionaries live under very strict restrictions
devoid of entertainment and contact sports. In the past, they could
indicate a preference for their country of service. Now, they go
wherever they are called. They finance their own way.
||At least in the early years of the Church of Christ, there appears to be
a close association between Freemasonry and the Church. Founder Joseph Smith's
father was a Master Mason. His older brother, Hyrum, was also a Mason. Author Terry
Chateau has written:
"The first five Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, Brigham
Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and Lorenzo Snow were all made
Masons in Nauvoo Lodge. ... When the first Mormon pioneer company
entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, under Brigham Young's
leadership, a significant body of Masons entered with him. As of that
date, the full Mormon Hierarchy was comprised of Masons. Also
practically every member of the hierarchy was or became a Mason shortly
after the Prophet was raised to the degree of Master Mason." 4
Some Mormon ceremonies have very strong similarities to rituals of
the Masonic Lodge and were probably derived from that source. The LDS use
of ritual handshakes; their images of square, compass and rule; signs,
etc. have obviously been adopted from the Masons, with little or no
Joseph Smith taught a theology of restorationism: that the
Christian church abandoned the teachings of Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus Christ)
and the apostles in the very early 2nd Century CE.
Joseph Smith restored the original beliefs and practices of the primitive
Christian church when he founded the Church of Christ in 1830. LDS Restorationism
currently consists of almost 100 denominations, many centered in Utah and
Missouri. Many consist of a single congregation and a few hundred or even fewer
members. Some broke away from the LDS church over matters of theology. Many
regard their own group, however small, to be the only
legitimate Christian church. These groups include:
||Aaronic Order: unknown membership; 6 centers; 20 ministers
||Apolstolic United Brethren: about 7,000 members. They
disagree with the LDS' decision to allow ordination of African-Americans
and allowing women to assume leadership positions.
||Church of Christ (Fetting/Bronson): about 2000 members
||Church of Christ (Temple Lot): about 2400 members
||The Church of Christ "With The Elijah Message,"
established anew in 1929:
12,500 members worldwide
||Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite): On the order of 10,000
||The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: about 12
||The Community of Christ: about 250,000
members. This denomination was formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
-- the "RLDS Church". It was formed in 1860 by remnants of the
original church who did not make the trek to Utah. They reject certain
beliefs and practices of the LDS church, including marriage sealing for
eternity; they allow both men and women into the priesthood; their services
are open to the public.
|| The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints (FLDS) This is a theocratic dictatorship led by a
single prophet, Warren Jeffs, who is, as of 2006-OCT, in jail. They have an estimated 6,000 to 11,000 thousand members
in the U.S., and a single colony of about 1,000
members in Canada. They practice polygyny freely and openly with little
interference from state, provincial and federal governments.
||The Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: It
split from the Reorganized Church in 1991 because of the latter's
liberal theology. It is centered in Independence, Missouri, and had an
estimated membership of 2,500 in mid-1996. They publish a periodical "The Restoration Advocate"
six times a year.
||United Order Effort: a polygyny practicing group,
excommunicated by the main LDS church, of perhaps
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
"Style Guide - The Name of the Church," LDS, (2006) at:
Art Toalston & Herb Hollinger, "SBC in Salt Lake City to top 1 millionth messenger mark," BaptistPress Archive,
Stories for 1998-APR-15. Search at: http://www.baptistpress.org/
- "The Ensign," the official magazine of the LDS Church, 2004-SEP, Page 76.
Terry Chateau, "The Mormon Church and Freemasonry," California Freemason On-line, 2001-MAY/JUN, at:
Copyright © 1995 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on
Latest update: 2010-MAY-20
Author: B.A. Robinson