This paper is on the LDS Church. I am interested in this topic because I found this Church in 1966 and became interested in its colorful yet violent history. I am also interested in it because I want to know what I believe in. I believe this Church to be the true Church of God and was baptized into this Church in May, 1976.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded by Joseph Smith, Jr., in 1830. Since that time the Church, which started with six members has grown to over 5 million members in the US alone. There are members of the Church in Africa, Asia, Canada, Central and South America, Europe, Great Britain, Mexico, Russia, the South Pacific, and the Caribbean.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' story begins long before the founding of the Church. The story actually begins with Joseph Smith, Jr., a farm boy from Manchester, New York. Smith was born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont. When he was 10 his family moved to Manchester, New York. In 1830 the different denominations in New York were vying against each other for members. Great revivals were held. The people filed into the different churches. The Smiths were caught up in this great revival and were drawn to one of the churches. Joseph was confused with the different interpretations of the Bible, and hearing each church claim itself to be the true church of God. He decided to turn to God for an answer to his question. One day, at age 14, Joseph went to the woods alone to pray. He offered up his heart to God, and in answer to his prayers, God revealed himself and His Son, Jesus Christ, to Joseph in a revelation. God called Joseph by name and told him to listen to Jesus. Jesus told Joseph not to join any of the churches then in existence. He said they were all abominations in His sight.

Three and a half years later Joseph received another revelation. This second revelation was from the Angel Moroni. Moroni told Joseph that God had many plans for him, and that people would think him good and evil. Moroni also told Joseph about a book that was hidden in the Hill Cumorah. It was written on gold plates and was an account of the lives of the first inhabitants on this continent, and where they came from. Joseph received this same revelation three times that night, and once the next day.

The day of the last revelation from Moroni, Joseph went to the Hill Cumorah, near Palmyra, New York, where the plates were buried and was commanded to visit the place at the same time each year.

On September 22, 1827, Joseph received the gold plates. By the power of God he translated the plates and dictated his translation to Oliver Cowdery. In 1829, on a question of baptism for the remission of sins, Joseph and Oliver went to the woods to pray. A messenger of God, John the Baptist, descended from the heavens and conferred the Aaronic Priesthood on them. He also commanded them to baptize each other, and ordain each other to the Aaronic Priesthood. That same year, Peter, James, and John confirmed the higher, Melchezidek Priesthood, on them.

In 1829 Joseph and Oliver finished the translation. The complete work was entitled the Book of Mormon because, as one reference states:

Mormon is "a name which Smith said was a compound of English an Egyptian which he translates as 'more good'."

Martin Harris, a good friend of Joseph's, helped finance the publication of the Book of Mormon by selling part of his farm. The first publication sold over 5,000 copies.

The Church was organized in 1830 in Fayette, New York, with six charter members.

In 1831 the Mormons left New York for Kirtland, Ohio. The community was founded with 150 people, but soon grew to over a thousand. That same year Joseph founded a community in Jackson County, Missouri. The persecution began almost immediately. The people that lived near the Mormons thought that the people and their Book of Mormon were blasphemous.

Not too long after the Mormons had settled in Missouri, they were driven out of town by armed vigilantes aided by the state militia. In 1833 they founded the community of Far West, Missouri.

In February 1834 Joseph Smith organized an army he called Zion's Camp to march to Missouri to redeem and restore Zion. On May 6 the 100 man army began their march with Joseph as commander-in-chief. The camp was divided into companies of tens and fifties with a captain over each group. Additional volunteers joined the camp as they marched west. On June 9 at the Salt River in Missouri, the camp reached its maximum strength: 207 men, 11 women, 11 children, and 25 baggage wagons. The Camp was disbanded on June. Zion's Camp failed to help the Missouri Saints regain their lands, and it was marred by dissension, apostasy, and unfavorable publicity, but it had positive results, as well. Zion's Camp chastened, polished, and spiritually refined many of the Lord's servants. It was an invaluable training ground for Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and others.

In 1835 Joseph chose the Twelve Apostles with Brigham Young, the second President of the Church, as the head.

In 1838 Joseph Smith's community in Kirtland was driven out of town. They moved to Far West with the other community from Jackson County.

The Mormon history is riddled with massacres, one of the bloodiest is that of Haun's Mill. On October 30, 1838, two hundred militiamen, under orders from the Governor of Missouri, descended upon Jacob Haun's mill and killed 15 Mormons and wounded 15, both men and boys. The governor also signed an order to exterminate or drive all the Mormons from the state for the public good.

Not too long after the Haun's Mill Massacre, the Mormons moved to Illinois and started the construction of Nauvoo.

In 1844 the Governor sent militia to Nauvoo to arrest Joseph Smith for the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor, a newspaper put out by non-members. Joseph, his brother Hyrum, and several others were jailed in June, 1844. On June 27 Joseph and his brother, Hyrum, were killed by a lynch mob while awaiting trial in Carthage Jail.

Shortly after Joseph's death the Quorum of the Twelve gathered from various parts of the country to Nauvoo as soon as they heard what had happened. Sidney Rigdon arrived from his self-imposed exile. He tried to become "guardian" of the Church.

He "maintained that 'no man can be the successor of Joseph,' but since he had been spokesman for Joseph Smith when he was alive, he proposed that he continue to speak for him."

Brigham Young spoke after Sidney finished, and the people of the Church voted for the Quorum of the Twelve to guide them. For the next three years Brigham Young, as President of the Quorum of the Twelve, guided the Church.

In 1846 the Mormons were driven out of Nauvoo. They moved across the river near Nauvoo in the middle of February to camp on the opposite shore. That same year President Young sent an advance party to the Great Salt Lake to set up a settlement there. One hundred forty-eight men, women, and children made the trip in three months. They reached the Great Salt Lake in late July. Over the next 30 years thousands of Mormons made the long journey to Utah in covered wagons and with handcarts. Hundreds died along the way, and many died during the first winter in Utah.

The United States approached the Mormons in June 1845 to form a battalion and march to California to fight in the war with Mexico. Brigham Young urged his people to join the battalion, and promised that not one life would be lost. The battalion consisted of five companies of 100 men. By the time the battalion arrived in California the war with Mexico was over, the men had not had to fight, and no lives were lost.

The trek west was long arduous for the Saints. They were ill-prepared for making the journey in the winter. Many of the people were sick. During the winter of 1846-47 they settled in Nebraska, in a place they named Winter Quarters. During these months the people were busily preparing for the trek to the Rocky Mountains. The journey was made in stages and was well organized.

A vanguard company left Winter Quarters on April 5, 1847. The purpose of this company was to blaze a trail for the rest of the Saints to follow. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on July 22, 1847.

In 1847 Brigham Young became the second President of the Church, by popular vote of the people.

In 1849 Brigham Young became governor of the State of Deseret, as the Mormons called the territory they lived in. In July that same year, the Mormons applied for recognition of their territory in Washington, DC. They did not succeed. It was not until 1850 that Utah became a territory.

In 1852 "Brigham Young published the doctrine of Celestial Marriage ... including plural marriage, stating that this was based on a revelation received by Joseph Smith."

In 1857 there was a great battle in the East concerning polygamy among the Mormons. The government sent troops to Utah to settle the matter.

In 1877 Brigham Young was found dead. John Taylor succeeded Young as First President of the Church. He became President of the Church during its greatest persecutions. He spent the last six years of his life in forced seclusion due to the persecution of the Saints by the US government.

In 1887 there was a law passed that denied the Mormons the right to vote, and confiscated all Church properties.

In 1890 the US government passed a law making polygamy against the law. The General Authorities issued a manifesto which forbade the Saints to practice anything which the law forbade. By outlawing polygamy the Mormons made peace with the non-mormons.

In 1896 Utah became a state.

During the early years of the Church, the Church played a very important part in the Mormon way of life. The Church was the focal point in the social and cultural way of life.

Today the Mormon Church is a rich institution, in contrast with its pauper beginnings. The Church itself has holdings in agriculture, mining, transportation, real estate, and industries. All these holdings provide jobs for the jobless, and also help provide money to help those who need food, clothing, and anything else which would help.

Since the 1890's the Church has made it a practice never to go into debt, and once the Church debt was paid, it has not been in debt. Whenever construction is planned, the funds are raised in advance. That way, when a building goes up, it is fully paid for.

Today the Church has wards and branches in over 159 nations and territories. With membership that exceeds 12 million members.


Part II

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is run the same way as the Primitive (Biblical) Church. The Authorities of the Church are elected by popular vote of the membership during the regular Sunday services.

The Church is organized into geographical areas called stakes and missions. Each stake is presided over by a three man presidency and consists of 2,500 to 5,000 members. Stakes are further divided into wards (or congregations), consisting of from 300 to 500 members, presided over by a bishop and two counselors. Smaller congregations within stakes are called branches. A branch is led by a president and two counselors.

Missions are presided over by a president and two counselors. They are usually much larger geographically than stakes. Missions are made up of districts and branches. When membership in a mission becomes great enough, a stake is usually formed.

New stakes are being organized nearly every week, through divisions of present stakes or creation of new stakes consisting of branches taken from missions. The Church's 1,000th ward was organized on August 12, 1985. An average of 36 wards are created each month throughout the world. The 1,900th stake of the Church was organized on August 30, 1992 in Orlando, Florida. The end of 2005 there were 2,701 stakes and 23,307 wards.

"A ward has been defined by Church historians as a sort of 'Church community', which when created inherits a well-organized set of about 150 offices to be filled, and about 400-600 members to serve."

The basic government of the Church is based on apostles and prophets, just as the Primitive Church was. The Church is run by the First President, who, at this time is Gordon B. Hinckley.

The General Authorities of the Church are the men who regulate, or have charge of the Church. These General Authorities are, going down in order:

The First Presidency, made up of three High Priests, the First President and his two counselors. The First Presidency presides over the High Priesthood and directs the affairs of the Church. The members of this Presidency are prophets, seers, and revelators. There is no Biblical evidence to support the First Presidency, yet it is felt that evidence does support the supposition that Peter, James, and John formed the First Presidency of the Church after Jesus' ascension.

The Twelve Apostles and the twelve assistants to the Apostles is next in order. The Twelve officiate under the direction of the First Presidency and forms a quorum equal in authority and power to the Presidency. At the death of the President, the Twelve hold the keys and authority necessary to reorganize the Presidency. The duty of the Twelve is to build up the Church and regulate all affairs of the same in all nations.

Then comes the First Council of the Seventy, the seven men who preside over the Quorums of Seventy. The Seventy are called to preach the gospel and to be special witnesses to the gentiles and in all the world. They form a quorum equal to that of the Twelve special witnesses or Apostles. They act under direction of the Twelve. The Seven Presidents are chosen from the Seventy. The seventh President presides over the remaining six.

The Second Quorum of the Seventy was organized at the 159th Annual General Conference on April 1, 1989. It has the same responsibility as the First Quorum of the Seventy, and serves under the direction of the Presidency of the Seventy.

Last of all is the Presiding Bishopric, with three High Priests, the Presiding Bishop and his two counselors. Three High Priests, chosen, ordained, and set apart as Bishops to preside over all the Aaronic Priesthood and in connection with Stake Presidents to hold jurisdiction over the duties of other Bishops.

In the LDS Church there is no professional, paid clergy. The Bishops and the Authorities are called from all walks of life. Some of the Authorities are doctors, lawyers, engineers, farmers, businessmen, presidents and professors of universities. The General Authorities are called by the First President and leave their careers to serve the Church. The stake and ward leaders continue their careers while serving in Church positions.

Before the Church was organized, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery learned of the Priesthood and received it at the hands of John the Baptist and later Peter, James, and John. The Priesthood is divided into two parts, the higher Priesthood called Melchizedek, and the lesser Priesthood called Aaronic. There is a difference between Priesthood and the 'keys' of the Priesthood. The Aaronic Priesthood holds the power to baptize, yet as a Deacon, Teacher, or Priest he has not received the right to perform this ordinance until authorized by a Bishop. Every Priesthood office has certain duties delegated to it. These are listed below.

The Priesthood is open to every boy at age 12, if he is worthy enough. At this time he is ordained a Deacon. Deacons pass the Sacrament, act as ushers, keep the Church buildings and grounds clean and in good order, act as messengers, and fulfill special assignments.

At age 14 the boys are ordained Teachers. Teachers have all the duties of Deacons, plus they are to help Church members live the commandments. They are usually assigned as Home Teaching companions with an adult. They prepare the Sacrament. They also take charge of meetings when no Elder or Priest is present.

When the boy is 16 he is ordained a Priest. A Priest has all the duties of Deacons and teachers, plus he may baptize. He may administer the Sacrament, ordain Priests, Teachers, and Deacons. He may take charge of meetings when there is no Melchizedek Priesthood holder present.

A Bishop is ordained and set apart to preside over the Aaronic Priesthood. He is president of the Priest's Quorum. He has the gift of discernment. A Bishop is the highest office of the Aaronic Priesthood, as well as an office of the Melchizedek Priesthood. A Bishop is the leader of the ward.

"Responsible for the Church community is the Bishop, whose time demand averages 32 hours per week in a typical ward."

After the office of Priest, a young man enters the Melchizedek Priesthood. The offices of the Melchizedek Priesthood are Elder, High Priest, Patriarch, Apostle, and Presidency of the High Priesthood.


Part III

The Sunday services have changed several times since the founding of the Church. In 1849 the first Sunday School was organized for children. The first Church magazine, the Juvenile Instructor, was begun in 1866 due to the new Sunday School.

The Relief Society was begun in 1842, but had not flourished due to the westward movement of the Church. In 1866 the organization was rekindled. Through the Relief Society, other Church organizations began the appear. In 1869 the Young Women's Association began, and in 1878 the Primary Association started. Since that time many changes have occurred.

The first Primary met with 225 children, now it has grown to over 800,000 children. From the 1920's to the 1940's the classes in Primary were called Bluebirds, Seagulls, and Pathfinder Mikonwees. In 1995 the Primary changed for the third time, this time to simplify matters. Class names were dropped and classes were combined. With all the changes in Primary, they still encompass the original purposes, teaching children gospel truths. The current emphasis is Scripture study and learning the Articles of Faith.

The Primary time is divided into opening exercises, sharing time, and classroom time. In class the children study gospel concepts. During sharing time and opening exercises they play games, give talks, and learn songs. They draw, color, and make things representing the occasion, such as Christmas, Mother's Day, Easter, Father's Day, or a Church holiday.

The Cooperative Retrenchment Association began in 1869. This was an organization designed to abandon extremes in dress, speech, and social activity. In 1875 this became the Young Women's Mutual Improvement Association (YWMIA).

In 1987 the Young Women program was modified and seven values were introduced. Each value was given a color. White for faith, blue for divine nature, red for individual worth, green for knowledge, orange for choice and accountability, yellow for good works, and purple for integrity. New symbols for each of the YW classes were announced in October 1987, as well as a new YW logo.

In June 1875 an organization for self- and mutual improvement for young men was begun. This was the beginning of the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA).

The adult Sunday School offers a variety of classes. For non-members there is a class called Gospel Essentials. For members there is the Gospel Doctrine class. The student manuel is the Standard Works. The Gospel Doctrine class studies the Standard Works on a rotating, 4 year schedule: the Old Testament one year, the New Testament one year, the Book of Mormon one year, and the Doctrine and Covenants one year. Also offered on a rotating basis throughout the year are 12 week classes in family history, family relations, teacher development, and temple preparation.

Relief Society is an organization open to all women in the Church from 18 years and up. Relief Society offers a variety of lessons each month. In 1986 the Relief Society Sunday lessons focused on Spiritual Living, Home and Family Education, and Compassionate Service/Social Relations. Then, in 1998 another change was instituted. At this point, the Relief Society and Priesthood meetings studied from a book entitled Teachings of the Presidents of the Church 2 Sundays a month. On the first Sunday the president of the organization teaches on a topic she feels is improtant. On the last Sunday of the month the lesson is on a topic chosen by the First Presidency. Once a month a special Homemaking Meeting is held. The lesson in these meetings deals with Home Management. Also, during these monthly meetings, mini-classes are held that teach special skills, such as sewing, cooking, organizing our homes, and tending to our children.


The YW/YMMIA published the Contributer and the Young Women's Journal until 1897. At that time the Contributer became the Improvement Era, then in 1929 the Journal merged with the Era. Other magazines published were The Instructor, The Children's Friend, and the Relief Society Magazine. In 1970 the Church revised all the magazines and began publication of three magazines, The Children's Friend became The Friend, the magazine for Primary. The New Era replaced The Improvement Era, and became the magazine for the Young Men and Young Women programs. The Relief Society Magazine was discontinued and The Ensign (pronounced N-sign not ensun) began publication. This is the magazine for all adults in the Church.

The three magazines are also published as The International Magazines, with selections from the three Church magazines, in 16 languages.



Until 1980 Church meetings had settled into a pattern of three meetings on Sunday, Primary on a weekday afternoon, Relief Society on a weekday morning, and YW/YMMIA on a week night. In 1980 all this changed. At that time it was recognized that families needed more time together. With the new format all Sunday meetings are held within a three hour time period, requiring only one trip to Church on Sunday. Primary and Relief Society were moved to Sundays. Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and special Young Men/Young Women activities are held on a week night. One week night during the month is reserved for Relief Society Homemaking meeting.

The first Sunday of every month is reserved as Fast and Testimony Sunday. On this Sunday all members of the Church are asked to abstain from two meals. Sacrament meeting on this day is cancelled and a special Testimony meeting is held. During this meeting the members are invited to stand up and share their testimonies. A testimony is a statement a person makes regarding his belief in the Church and in God.

"A testimony is a spiritual witness that the gospel is true, that we have a living prophet, and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God through whom the gospel was restored."

Members' ward meetings can range from the 14 hours weekly of an active teenager to the three hour Sunday block for an average member. During a year's time, ward members may attend as many as 16 different kinds of meetings and be involved in some 24 activities ranging from work in a welfare project to singing in choir practice.



"establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God." (D&C 88:119)

The Church builds special Temples throughout the world. Temples are special buildings dedicated to the Lord. Sacred ordinances and covenants are performed there. The LDS go to the Temple to learn more about God and His plans for them. Ordinances performed in the Temples are performed by the power of the Priesthood. Some of the ordinances performed are marriages for eternity, special Temple endowments, and ordinances for the dead.

The LDS believe that those of our families who died without learning of the gospel can be baptized and endowed and even married in the Temple by proxy. To do this, a member of the Church must research his family history and submit the information to the Church. The information is then submitted to the Temples and the ordinances performed by proxy for the dead.

The LDS believe that through these ordinances those who are dead have the opportunity to accept or reject the gospel. These ordinances are not binding unless the person accepts the gospel. The ordinances do not make the deceased person a member of the Church, and his name is not included in the Church membership.

From 1830 to 1880 5 temples were dedicated. From 1880 to 1930 5 more temples were dedicated. From 1930 to 1980 12 more temples were dedicated. As of December 2000, there were 102 Temples dedicated. And by the end of 2006, 22 more Temples were dedicated. The Church now has Temples in the US, Canada, South America, Central America, Europe, South Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, and Tahiti.

You can read more about temples and their locations at LDS Temples.



Man without woman cannot accomplish the full measure of his creation. For this reason God ordained marriage. It was intended to last for eternity, not just for this life. Due to wickedness the authority to perform eternal marriages was taken away. Through the restoration of the gospel, this authority has been restored. Through eternal marriage, families can remain together forever.

The first family on earth was established by Heavenly Father when he gave Eve to Adam in the Garden of Eden. He then commanded them to multiply and replenish the earth.

The purpose and plan of marriage is to provide mortal bodies for God's spirit children. For this reason, the LDS Church is a family centered Church. Mormons believe that the home is sacred. Home life is a part of the religion. It was for this purpose that marriage was meant as an eternal union.

The Church teaches that in marriage neither the man nor the woman is more important than the other; they are equal partners, although the man is the head of the house, as the holder of the Priesthood. This teaching is based on Biblical teachings. As the Priesthood holder in the family, the father can name and bless babies, administer to the sick, baptize his children, and give special Priesthood blessings and ordinations. It is his responsibility to provide for his family.

Motherhood is woman's noblest calling. It is a sacred calling, a partnership with God. Bearing children is one of the greatest blessings. To refuse is a serious sin. Of course, many people believe that Mormons just have children indiscriminately. That is not the case. The number of children in each family is determined by how many the mother can have, and how many the family feels they can properly care for.

The Prophet has told the members that they should not have children indiscriminately. It should be entered into prayerfully. While some mothers find taking care of ten children easy, others may find two or three more than they can handle. Also, some women just cannot bear ten children safely. A woman should not enter into pregnancy if it is dangerous to her or to the baby.

In some instances a woman does not marry. This does not mean that she has failed. The Mormons teach that any unmarried person will have the opportunity to marry and bear children during the Millennium.

Everyone must remember to enjoy children, play with them, and teach them. It is also important to raise children in a religious atmosphere. Each week the family has a Family Home Evening. During this time the family members are given a lesson by the parents, or brothers or sisters, on the Church, the Bible, or the Book of Mormon. President Harold B. Lee once said:

"The most important of the Lord's work that you will ever do will be the work you do within the walls of your own home."

"A loving and happy family does not happen by accident. Each person in the family must do his part. The Lord has given responsibilities to both parents and to children. The Scriptures tell us that each must be thoughtful, cheerful, and considerate of others. When we speak, pray, sing, or work together, we can enjoy the blessings of harmony in our families."

The Prophet has counseled women, whenever possible, to remain in the home in order to care for their families. The care of children should not be left to babysitters or daycare centers.

This advice does not mean our young women should not obtain marketable skills in case she has to work. We still encourage all young women to obtain a higher education and training in order to work for a living. We advise all young women to plan for any eventuality.



"And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come." (Doctrine & Covenants 130:18-19)

"It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance." (Doctrine & Covenants 131:6)

"... seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom: yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith." (Doctrine & Covenants 88:118)

"... men are that they might have joy." (2 Nephi 2:25)

"The glory of God is intelligence." (Doctrine & Covenants 93:36)

"As God is, man may become." (Eliza R. Snow, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow, p. 46)

Education is very important to the Mormon people. The better educated the members are, in their religion and in the general studies, the better off they are. Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.

When the Mormon would first arrive in a new area, the first building to be built was a schoolhouse/meetinghouse. When the people were sent to colonize, each group had a teacher.

The Church feels so strongly about education that they created the Church Educational System. In many areas of the world where educational opportunities have been small, the Church has established schools for the children of the area. As the area develops, the Church eventually turns the schools over to the local government. The Church has schools in Fiji, the Gilbert Islands, Indonesia, Mexico, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, and the United States. The schools operating in the United States are Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and Laie, Hawaii, and Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho. There are also seminaries and Institutes of Religion throughout the world.

Seminary is a program the Church offers to all high school aged children throughout the world. The program is offered as home study, early morning, or released-time, depending on where you live. The program began on May 2, 1912, and has progressed ever since. The students in Seminary study the Standard Works on a rotating basis. Each year they memorize 30 passages of Scripture, and have contests on locating the passages as fast as they can. They call these "Scripture Chases". At the end of the school year all the Seminaries in the Stake have a Scripture Chase to see who is the best in the Stake.

"The program spans the world, providing religious education to 363,202 students in 136 countries and territories.

"Approximately 22,452 full time, part time, and volunteer teachers keep the program running, teaching students about the scriptures in different languages and dialects.

"Seminary compliments Young Men and Young Women programs, Sunday School, and the teaching the parents give children in their own homes.

"Seminary provides an additional important thing: a gathering place where teenagers can get together with peers who share their same faith, standards, and goals. Together young people can strengthen one another while studying the scriptures."

Institute is a college level program similar to Seminary. In some areas, Institutes of Religion are located near major colleges. In other areas, Institute classes are held at Stake Centers. It can also be taken as a home study course. Institute studies the Standard Works, the same as Seminary. The Church has published student manuals for Institute.



"The Lord's Church has always been a missionary Church."

"Missionary work began again when the Lord's Church was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith."

The first missionary of the LDS Church was Samuel Harrison Smith, the Prophet's brother. He departed on his mission in June 1830. Since that time thousands of missionaries have served. Latter-day Saints serve missions at their own expense. The Church sends missionaries to all parts of the world to preach the gospel message.

"With the end of the war came also the opportunity to expand the missionary program. The number of full-time missionaries jumped from 386 in 1945 to 2,297 in 1946. An estimated 60% of those who accepted mission calls were war veterans."

All young men who reach 18 and are out of high school are eligible to serve a mission. All young women who are 21, or older, are also eligible. Missionaries serve for two years.

Older couples who no longer have children at home can serve a mission. Their term of service is 12 to 18 months, depending on if they stay in the country or go overseas. There are eight types of missions for older couples: finding and teaching, mission office staff, leadership/membership work, public relations, visitors' center, Welfare Services, family history, education, temple, and International Mission.



With the advent of missionary work came the necessity of translating the Book of Mormon into the languages of the people the missionaries were teaching. The first translation of the Book of Mormon was into Danish, then followed Welsh, Italian, French, German, and Hawaiian.

By 1985, the Book of Mormon was translated into 70 languages.

"Book of Mormon in 70th language, Bislama, language South Pacific islands of Vanuatu. Completing the Book of Mormon in this language follows trend of having translators reach more and more into obscure corners of the globe, said Translation Department officials. These efforts answer a mandate to have the Book of Mormon 'taught unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples.' (D&C 42:58)"

In April 1987 another language was added:

"The Book of Mormon has been translated in Greek, Arabic, and a South American Indian language, Aymara. Selections have been translated in Malagasy. The complete Book of Mormon has now been translated into 32 languages with selections in 40 languages. (This includes some of the same languages as the full book). The total number of different languages with all or selections is 71."

In January 1988, there were 80 languages:

"The Book of Mormon appeared in three other languages for the first time in 1987 -- Tagalog, a native language of the Philippines; Akan (Fante), a prominent dialect of Ghana, Africa; and Zulu, an aboriginal language spoken in the province of Natal, South Africa. A complete Book of Mormon was also produced in modern-day Greek language, called Demotike. (Only portions were available in Greek). The total of seven new editions represents the most completed in one year since 1983, when 13 were produced."

Since its publication in the fall of 1979, the new Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Version of the Bible has been heralded as one of the most significant resources ever made available for understanding the word of God.

It took seven years, and countless hours of labor by dedicated individuals to bring forth the LDS edition of the Bible. This was only the beginning of the project. The publication, in 1981, of the new "Triple Combination" -- the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price -- was the completion of the project.

President Spencer W. Kimball gave the original committee the charge "to assist in improving doctrinal scholarship throughout the Church."

The Bible has always been very important to Latter-day Saints. In 1867 President Brigham Young "spoke on education and said if he were to select the books his first choice would be the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants."

President Wilford Woodruff in 1890 urged that the Standard Works should be the "chief text books" of the members of the Church.

And, President Kimball in 1976 asked the members of the Church "to begin now to study the Scriptures in earnest, if you have not already done so."

Not one word of the King James text has been changed in this edition. What has been added are chapter and verse designations at the top of the pages, new explanatory chapter headings, new cross references to all volumes in the Standard Works, over 600 quotations from the Joseph Smith Translation, new language notes, a 750-category topical guide, a revised Bible Dictionary, and a 24-page section of 4-color maps.

The project began in 1972 when the Scriptures became the adult curriculum of the Church, and the Seminary and Institute curriculum began concentrating more heavily on the Scriptures.

All four of the Standard Works were put on computer. Typesetting was done by Cambridge University Press in England. They have published the King James Bible since 1611. After careful investigation with computerized typesetting, the "old fashioned" technique of hot metal monotype was finally chosen.

The footnote system is so simple and flexible. Footnotes within a verse of the text are indicated by the letters a, b, c, and so on, depending on the number of references the verse contains. Cross-references for that footnote letter are identified at the foot of the page by chapter number (in boldface type), by verse number and by individual internal reference.

The footnotes contain several types of information. The most important type, of course, is the cross-reference. Another form of reference is JST - The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. Among the cross-references also appear the language aids, with four kids of keys. HEB and GR refer to the Hebrew translation for the Old Testament term or the Greek translation of a New Testament term. IE or OR give modern synonyms for archaic or obscure words in the King James Version. Another broadly useful note is TG - the topical guide, and BD - Bible Dictionary.

With the publication of the LDS edition of the Bible, work on the Triple Combination was put into high gear. The same changes and additions have been made in the new Triple Combination, verse designations, explanatory chapter headings, footnotes, etc. In addition, in the Book of Mormon, after careful research of all previous editions and the extant original handwritten manuscript, typographical errors have been corrected, as well as errors involving misspellings, matters of grammar or style. None of the corrections changed the meaning of the verses.

With the publication of the LDS edition of the King James Bible and the 1981 edition of the Triple Combination, the Scriptures are now one in the hand. This fulfills a prophecy in the Bible regarding the Book of Joseph and the Book of Judah being one book.

Much work has gone into research on the Book of Mormon. This research has proven the book was written by various authors and in a style suitable for the time period in which it was written.

One literary style used prominently in the Bible and the Book of Mormon is chiasmus. Chiasmus is a literary devise used in middle eastern countries for over 3,000 years. It is where a statement is made, then repeated in reverse order. It is used in the poetic form. It was virtually unheard of in the 1830's, and Joseph Smith had been dead a full ten years before the John Forbes's book on the subject was published in Scotland.

Computers came into use to identify wordprints in order to show different writing styles by comparing sentence construction, use of specific words, etc.



1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgressions.

3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

4. We believe that the fist principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

5. We believe that man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands, by those who are in authority to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul -- We believe all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

From the time of their first promulgation, the Articles of Faith have been accepted by the people as an authoritative exposition; and on October 6, 1890, the LDS Church in general conference assembled, readopted the Articles as a guide in faith and conduct.

In 1842, at the invitation of John Wentworth, the editor of the Chicago Democrat, Joseph Smith wrote a letter designed for publication in which he sketched the history and faith of the Latter-day Saints. The letter closed by stating thirteen points of faith. They have come to be known as the Articles of Faith. Except for certain minor changes, particularly to the fourth, fifth, sixth, and tenth articles, we still use these statements today as they originally appeared on March 1, 1842.

The Mormons believe that God has a body of flesh and bones like man, and that He is separate and distinct from Jesus Christ, and the two are separate and distinct from the Holy Ghost. They also believe that God was once as we are and that He "became supreme by mastering universal knowledge."

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints there is one belief that has not been mentioned in the above Articles. This belief is that of the Spirit World. The Mormons believe that before one is born, he lives in the Spirit World with Heavenly Father. Heavenly Father decides when one of His Spirit Children should be born on earth, then that Spirit Child is born of human parents. The Spirit Child lives in the human form until he lives out his life, not remembering or knowing of the Spirit World. When that person dies, he goes to the Spirit World and is reunited with his friends and family. If the person was married in the Temple, he is reunited with his wife and they remain together for eternity in the Celestial Kingdom.

Man is born free of sin. He acquires sin as he acquires knowledge of right and wrong. This is what the second Article of Faith says. This is one reason why the Mormons wait until a child is eight years of age to baptize him. At age eight a child should know right from wrong. If a person is mentally handicapped, the Church teaches that that person cannot sin and therefore does not need baptism.

In the Mormon Church there is a belief that may seem strange to most people. In the Mormon beliefs there is one that says that anyone in the Spirit World that displeased God was given black skin when he came to earth. From this belief negroes could not hold offices of Priesthood until the 148th Semiannual General Conference in 1978. At that time, President N. Eldon Tanner presented what is now called "Official Declaration-2", which revealed that all worthy male members could hold the Priesthood and receive Temple blessings.

Another belief in the Church is that of the American Indians. In the Book of Mormon one of the authors tells us about the Lamanites being cursed with "dark skin." The Mormons believe that the American Indians are the descendants of the Lamanites. They also believe the natives of the Pacific Islands to be descendants of the Lamanites.

Much research has been done that supports this belief. In 1853 there was a report written "that concludes that the first settlement (in America) was made shortly after ... the Tower of Babel."

Archaeological discoveries show that two distinct classes of people inhabited this continent in early times. Some spread from the north and some from the south, just as described in the Book of Mormon.

The American Indians and the eastern peoples share the same traditions regarding the creation and the deluge. Also, the written language of the ancient Americans has been shown to be ancient Hebrew as well as a form of Egyptian.

It is well-known that all the American Indian tribes came from common parentage.



The first School of the Prophets was held in a small room over the Prophet Joseph's kitchen in a house which belonged to Bishop Whitney. The brethren came to that place for hundred's of miles to attend school in a little room probably no larger than 11x14. When they assembled together in this room after breakfast, the first thing they did was to light their pipes and, while smoking, talk about the great things of the kingdom and spit all over the room, and as soon as the pipe was out of their mouths a large chew of tobacco would be taken. Often when the Prophet entered the room to give the school instructions he would find himself in a cloud of tobacco smoke. This, and the complaints of his wife at having to clean so filthy a floor, made the Prophet think upon the matter, and he inquired of the Lord relating to the conduct of the Elders in using tobacco, and the revelation known as the Word of Wisdom was the result of his inquiry.

The revelation was received on February 27, 1833, and was given "not by commandment or constraint." It was given as a guide, but not a requirement. It wasn't until September 9, 1851, 18 years after the revelation was given, that the Word of Wisdom was accepted as a commandment and a requirement in the Church.

The reason for the 18 years between receipt of the revelation and acceptance of it was because the Church needed a time period in which to adopt the Word of Wisdom in their lives. Today, the Word of Wisdom is a requirement for all members of the Church.

The Word of Wisdom is a dietary guide for the members of the Church. This revelation tells the members to abstain from alcoholic beverages and the use of tobacco.

The members are urged to use wholesome herbs, to eat flesh of animals, to eat whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. They are told to eat in moderation.

The Word of Wisdom also urges the members not to drink hot drinks. At the time of this revelation, the common hot drinks were coffee and tea.

In 1833, at the time of this revelation, people did not know that alcohol, coffee, tea, or tobacco were harmful. The Church members followed the Word of Wisdom without question. It wasn't until this century that these items were known to be harmful.

If a man follows the Word of Wisdom, he is promised health, wisdom, and strength.

The body is a temple and should be treated as such. Mormon families do not spend the thousands of dollars a year that other families spend on coffee, tea, alcohol, and tobacco. They don't have the physical illnesses that these products cause. By keeping their bodies clean of these substances, they gain a spiritual uplift.

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