The LDS Restorationist movement,
including the Mormon churches
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
Terminology, Practices, Opposition....
Topics covered in this essay:
By far, the largest faith group within the LDS Restorationist
movement ia "The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," centered in Salt Lake
City, UT, U.S.A. They teach that God revealed the full name 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."
In the past, most references to the main denomination by the media and on the Internet have used abbreviations, like "Mormons," "Mormon Church," "LDS Church," etc. The Church discouraged the use of the first two because there are almost 100 LDS Restorationist denominations to which this
nickname could apply.
During 2018-AUG-16, the denomination believes that God instructed them to abandoned all abbreviations of the church name. They are now to use the full denominational title: The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints."
The next day, Jana Riess, a columnist for the Religion News Service wrote:
"Yesterday, the church that invested millions in its Meet the Mormons movie and exports its Mormon Tabernacle Choir as its ambassador to the world asked us all to stop using the word 'Mormon.'
Ahem. It seems Iím no longer a Mormon columnist. Iím a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints columnist, and isnít that just so fun to say?
Whatís more, this is being presented not as a simple branding change but in the language of divine revelation:
'The Lord has impressed upon my mind the importance of the name He has revealed for His Church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,' said President Russell M. Nelson. 5
There is considerable doubt about whether other faith groups will abandon the terms "LDS" and "Mormon." Richard E. Bennett, a church history professor at Brigham Young University said:
"I don't think it's going to stop our friends outside the church from calling us nicknames. But certainly among members of the church, we'll be making a greater effort to follow the directions."
The famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which as been singing for over 150 years, has changed its name to "The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square." Choir president Ron Jarrett said:
"A new name for the Tabernacle Choir will represent a change after so many years. But we have always been a forward-looking people, and we are focused on what is not changing: the world-class musicianship, the inspiring arrangements and programming, and our weekly ĎMusic and the Spoken Wordí broadcast." 6 [Repeated from this web site's LDS Church menu.]
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, and with most of these
groups not recognizing each other as legitimate, using the full name is clear and unambiguous. 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 have used the term "LDS church" to refer to
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." As we update existing essays and write new essays, we will use their full title.
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. A recommend
expires 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. According to Wikipedia:
"As of the end of 2016, there were 70,946 full-time missionaries serving in 421 church missions throughout the world. Their work, often in cooperation with local members, resulted in 240,131 convert baptisms in 2016." 6
They dedicate two years of their life
in seeking converts. They are trained in one of 15 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
to avoid 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 appeared 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
||There are a number of annual days of celebration that are related to
the LDS church:
||JAN-13: The city of Parowan celebrates its birthday on
this date. This was the first Mormon pioneer settlement in
||JUL-24: Pioneer Day is generally celebrated to recall the first entry
of Mormons into Salt Lake Valley in 1847, after a long trek
westward to escape religious persecution.
Other dates that are sometimes recalled are:
||APR-6: The date in 1830 CE when the LDS church was
founded in New York state.
||MAY-15: The date in 1829 CE when Joseph Smith was
visited by John the Baptist, who restored the Aaronic priesthood.
|Mormons rarely date persons outside their faith. This can be a hurdle for
non-Mormons living in Utah, where most of the population is Mormon.|
|Devout Mormons follow the LDS "Word of Wisdom" and do
not smoke. They avoid coffee, black teas, any harmful drugs
(particularly street drugs or abused prescription drugs) and alcohol.
Some also avoid caffeinated sodas.|
Voters in Utah will be voting in a ballot initiative at the mid-term elections during early 2018-NOV. It is called Proposition 2 and concerns the legalization of medical marijuana. If passed, it would allow some edible forms, lotions, and electronic cigarettes for health reasons. Smoking marijuana would remain illegal. The LDS Church opposed the initiative as it was originally written. However, ranking global leader Jack Gerard said that they are now "thrilled [to be part of the effort to] alleviate human pain and suffering." Gov. Gary Herbert (R-UT) expects to hold a special session of the legislature to consider a new law. 7
||Most conservative Christian groups strongly support the
of children; they follow the many Biblical passages in the book of
Proverbs which they believe require parents to discipline their children
through the use of physical force and pain. However, the LDS church has
consistently discouraged this approach to child rearing. President
"... called physical abuse of children unnecessary,
unjustified and indefensible ... I have never
accepted the principle of 'spare the rod and spoil the child.' I am persuaded that violent
fathers produce violent sons. Children don't need beating. They need love and
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 of these 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
||Apostolic 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 (1955-), who is, as of 2018-OCT, in jail serving a sentence of life plus 20 years. 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:
Janet Riess, "Iím a Mormon! But Iím not supposed to call myself that anymore," Religion News Service, 2018-AUG-17, at: https://religionnews.com/
"Missionary (LDS Church)," Wikipedia, as on 2018-OCT-08, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
"Mormon church backs deal to allow medical marijuana in Utah," Religion News Service, 2018-OCT-08, at: https://religionnews.com/
Copyright © 1995 to 2018 by Ontario Consultants on
Latest update: 2018-OCT-08
Author: B.A. Robinson