The Latter Day Saint movement (also called the LDS movement or LDS restorationist movement) is the collection of independent church groups that trace their origins to a Christian primitivist movement founded by Joseph Smith in the late 1820s. Collectively, these churches have over 15 million members. The vast majority of members belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), with their predominant theology being Mormonism. The LDS Church self-identifies as Christian. A minority of Latter Day Saint adherents, such as members of the Community of Christ, believe in traditional Protestant theology, and have distanced themselves from some of the distinctive doctrines of Mormonism. Other breakaway groups include the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints which support lineal succession of leadership from Joseph Smith's descendants, and the more controversial Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who defend the practice of polygamy.
The movement began in western New York during the Second Great Awakening when Smith said that he received visions revealing a new sacred text, the Book of Mormon, which he published in 1830 as a complement to the Bible. Based on the teachings of this book and other revelations, Smith founded a Christian primitivist church, called the Church of Christ. The Book of Mormon brought hundreds of early followers, who later became known as "Mormons", "Latter Day Saints", or just "Saints." In 1831 Smith moved the church headquarters to Kirtland, Ohio, and in 1834 changed its name to the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the LDS Church or, informally, the Mormon Church) is a Christian primitivist church that considers itself to be a restoration of the church founded by Jesus Christ. The church is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has established congregations (called wards or branches) and built temples worldwide. According to the church, it has over 80,000 missionaries worldwide and has 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 started by Joseph Smith during the period of religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening.
Adherents, sometimes referred to as Latter-day Saints or, more informally, Mormons, view faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement as the central tenet 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 dictated by Joseph Smith and 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.
Mormon studies is the interdisciplinary academic study of the beliefs, practices, history and culture of those known by the term Mormon and denominations belonging to the Latter Day Saint movement whose members do not generally go by the term "Mormon". The Latter Day Saint movement includes not only The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) but also the Community of Christ (CoC) and other groups, as well as those falling under the umbrella of Fundamentalist Mormonism.
Apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, "speaking in defense") is the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of information. Early Christian writers (c. 120–220) who defended their faith against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called apologists.
Missionary Training Centers (MTCs) are centers devoted to training missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The flagship MTC is located in Provo, Utah, adjacent to the campus of Brigham Young University (BYU), a private university owned and operated by the church.
At the beginning of their service, LDS missionaries usually spend 3–12 weeks at an MTC where they receive training in doctrine, conduct, proselytizing methods, and, when required, a foreign language. There are a total of 15 MTCs in nations throughout the world, in locations in addition to Provo, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Guatemala, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
It is difficult to discuss the setting of The Book of Mormon without suggesting that the book itself is either historical and set in real-world geography, or to suggest that the book is fiction. Either assumption carries profound implications for the claims of Joseph Smith, Jr. and the religion[s] he founded. However, to Latter Day Saints, the book is regarded as a historical record of sacred scripture.
According to Smith, an angel named Moroni told him "there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang." Smith identifies these "inhabitants" as the "indians" of his own country. According to Smith, Moroni explained that the coming forth of the Book of Mormon was concomitant with the fulfillment of various ancient prophecies. According to Latter Day Saint scripture, these divine pronouncements came to an end in the ancient land Cumorah, which some claim is the same land containing the "Hill Cumorah" near Joseph Smith's home in Palmyra, western New York (from whence the gold plates of the Book of Mormon were retrieved).
Algeria · Nigeria · Sudan · Ethiopia · Seychelles
Uganda · Zambia · Kenya · South Africa
Afghanistan · Pakistan · India
Nepal · Sri Lanka · Vietnam
China · Hong Kong · Macau · Taiwan
North Korea · South Korea · Japan
Malaysia · Singapore · Philippines · Thailand