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The Columbia Guide to Religion in American History$
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Paul Harvey and Edward Blum

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231140201

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231140201.001.0001

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”)

(p.352) 19. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”)
The Columbia Guide to Religion in American History

D. Michael Quinn

Columbia University Press

This chapter sketches the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), or Mormons, in America. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, the LDS has a worldwide membership of more than 14 million, with two-thirds of these adherents outside the United States. It likewise received international media attention in 2008 as the proudly avowed faith of a “conservative Republican” candidate for the U.S. presidency. This merging of ecclesiastical growth with political prominence began to characterize North America's homegrown religion within a few years of its formal inception in 1830. That amalgam resulted from the faith's insistence that there is no real distinction between the secular and the religious, “for all things are spiritual” to God. The Mormons are noted for their own exclusionary assertions of authority, truth, and liturgy, as well as claims of continued revelation to a series of “living prophets of God” on earth in modern times. This claim alone separates Mormonism from traditional Christianity. The first of these prophets was Joseph Smith Jr., the founder of the Mormon Church.

Keywords:   American history, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormons, America, religion, liturgy, revelation, living prophets of God, Mormonism, Joseph Smith Jr.

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