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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a restorationist, nontrinitarian Christian denomination belonging to Mormonism. The church is headquartered in the United States in Salt Lake City, Utah and has established congregations and built temples worldwide. According to the church, it has over 17 million members and 62,544 full-time volunteer missionaries.


The church was founded as the Church of Christ in western New York, in 1830 by Joseph Smith during the Second Great Awakening. Under Smith’s leadership, the church’s headquarters moved successively to Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. After Smith’s 1844 death and a resultant succession crisis, the majority of his followers sided with Brigham Young, who led the church to its current headquarters in Salt Lake City.


Church theology includes the Christian doctrine of salvation through Jesus Christ, and his substitutionary atonement on behalf of mankind. The church has an open canon of four scriptural texts: the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C), and the Pearl of Great Price. Other than the Bible, the majority of the church canon consists of material the church’s members believe to have been revealed by God to Joseph Smith, including commentary and exegesis about the Bible, texts described as lost parts of the Bible, and other works believed to be written by ancient prophets, including the Book of Mormon.


Because of doctrinal differences, many Christian groups consider the church to be distinct and separate from mainstream Christianity. Latter-day Saints believe that the church president is a modern-day “prophet, seer, and revelator” and that Jesus Christ, under the direction of God the Father, leads the church by revealing his will and delegating his priesthood keys to its president.

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