Mormon converts are urged to undergo lifestyle changes, repent of sins, and adopt sometimes atypical standards of conduct. The most important part of the church services is considered to be the Lord's Supper commonly called sacrament , in which church members renew covenants made at baptism. In , around 13—14 percent of Mormons lived in Utah, the center of cultural influence for Mormonism.
Nonetheless, whether they live in Utah or elsewhere in the U. Mormons have a strong sense of communality that stems from their doctrine and history. The church is divided by locality into congregations called " wards ", with several wards or branches to create a " stake ". Many LDS young men, women and elderly couples choose to serve a proselytizing mission , during which they dedicate all of their time to the church, without pay.
Mormons adhere to the Word of Wisdom , a health law or code that is interpreted as prohibiting the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, coffee and tea,  while encouraging the use of herbs, grains, fruits, and a moderate consumption of meat. The concept of a united family that lives and progresses forever is at the core of Latter-day Saint doctrine, and Mormons place a high importance on family life. Latter-day Saint fathers who hold the priesthood typically name and bless their children shortly after birth to formally give the child a name.
Mormon parents hope and pray that their children will gain testimonies of the "gospel" [ vague ] so they can grow up and marry in temples. Mormons have a strict law of chastity , requiring abstention from sexual relations outside opposite-sex marriage and strict fidelity within marriage. All sexual activity heterosexual and homosexual outside marriage is considered a serious sin, with marriage recognized as only between a man and a woman.
Worldwide, only 25 percent of young single Mormons are active in the LDS Church
Church members are encouraged to marry and have children, and Latter-day Saint families tend to be larger than average. Mormons are opposed to abortion, except in some exceptional circumstances, such as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, or when the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy. Latter-day Saints are counseled not to partake of any form of media that is obscene or pornographic in any way, including media that depicts graphic representations of sex or violence. Tattoos and body piercings are also discouraged, with the exception of a single pair of earrings for LDS women.
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LGBT Mormons , or Mormons who self-identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, remain in good standing in the church if they abstain from homosexual relations and obey the law of chastity. However, several smaller groups substantially differ from "mainstream" Mormonism in various ways. LDS Church members who do not actively participate in worship services or church callings are often called " less-active " or "inactive" akin to the qualifying expressions non-observant or non-practicing used in relation to members of other religious groups.
A majority of less active members return to church activity later in life.
Members of sects that broke with the LDS Church over the issue of polygamy have become known as fundamentalist Mormons ; these groups differ from mainstream Mormonism primarily in their belief in and practice of plural marriage. There are thought to be between 20, and 60, members of fundamentalist sects, 0. In addition to plural marriage, some of these groups also practice a form of Christian communalism known as the law of consecration or the United Order.
The LDS Church seeks to distance itself from all such polygamous groups, excommunicating their members if discovered practicing or teaching it,  and today a majority of Mormon fundamentalists have never been members of the LDS Church. For liberal Mormons, revelation is a process through which God gradually brings fallible human beings to greater understanding. Although this term is more commonly used to describe a different group with distinct motives to live the gospel in a non traditional manner . Liberal Mormons place doing good and loving fellow human beings above the importance of believing correctly.
Cultural Mormons are individuals who may not believe in certain doctrines or practices of the institutional LDS Church yet identify as members of the Mormon ethnic identity. In some cases they may not be members of the LDS Church. Mormons, however, have a relatively open definition of scripture. As a general rule, anything spoken or written by a prophet , while under inspiration, is considered to be the word of God. The Book of Mormon is also believed to have been written by ancient prophets, and is viewed as a companion to the Bible.
By this definition, the teachings of Smith's successors are also accepted as scripture, though they are always measured against, and draw heavily from the scriptural canon. Mormons believe in "a friendly universe", governed by a God whose aim it is to bring his children to immortality and eternal life. For instance, Mormons believe in a pre-mortal existence where people were literal spirit children of God,  and that God presented a plan of salvation that would allow his children to progress and become more like him.
The plan involved the spirits receiving bodies on earth and going through trials in order to learn, progress, and receive a "fulness of joy". According to Mormons, every person who lives on earth will be resurrected, and nearly all of them will be received into various kingdoms of glory. According to Mormons, a deviation from the original principles of Christianity, known as the Great Apostasy , began not long after the ascension of Jesus Christ.
In particular, Mormons believe that angels such as Peter , James , John , John the Baptist , Moses , and Elijah appeared to Smith and others and bestowed various priesthood authorities on them. Mormons believe that their church is the "only true and living church" because of the divine authority restored through Smith.
Why Mormons Make Good Neighbors
Mormons self-identify as being Christian,  while many Christians, particularly evangelical Protestants, disagree with this view. The LDS Church has a top-down hierarchical structure with a president—prophet dictating revelations for the whole church. Lay Mormons are also believed to have access to inspiration, and are encouraged to seek their own personal revelations.
They place considerable emphasis on "asking God" to find out if something is true. Most Mormons do not claim to have had heavenly visions like Smith's in response to prayers, but feel that God talks to them in their hearts and minds through the Holy Ghost. Though Mormons have some beliefs that are considered strange in a modernized world, they continue to hold onto their beliefs because they feel God has spoken to them.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 14 November Religious group part of the Latter Day Saint movement. For the religion, see Mormonism. For other uses, see Mormon disambiguation. See also: History of the Latter Day Saint movement. Further information: Mormonism as a world religion. Main articles: Mormonism and Mormon cosmology. Christianity portal Latter Day Saint movement portal. Michael Quinn Summer Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. Retrieved April 30, Retrieved April 26, Pew Research Center.
May 22, Retrieved September 13, Vandenburg May Retrieved January 25, The Latter-day Saint experience in America. Greenwood Publishing Group. The full name of the church originated in an revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants ; the term "saint" was used by Paul the Apostle to refer to members of the early Christian church—the "latter-day" being added to differentiate the modern church from the early church; Smith, Joseph LDS Newsroom. Retrieved November 11, The church cites the AP Stylebook , which states, "The term Mormon is not properly applied to the other Latter Day Saints churches that resulted from the split after [Joseph] Smith's death.
Journal of Mormon History. Hinckley November Retrieved October 6, Nelson May Russell Ballard November Retrieved August 18, BBC News. Retrieved August 19, The charge of practicing polygamy annoys many Mormons because it is so far out of date. Bushman , pp.
More millennial Mormons are choosing a middle way — neither all-in nor all-out of the faith
Carmen Hardy Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Michael Quinn Spring Christian Review.
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June The Mormonites:Their origin, history, and pretensions : being an exposure of the blasphemous doctrines of the Latter-day Saints : the deception and falsehood practised [practiced] upon ignorant emigrants - specimens of their hymns of praise to Joseph Smith : and the ridiculous absurdities of the Book of Mormon with a notice of their recent sufferings in America, through their own violence and folly.
Mathews, Brothers, Bristol, Printed at the Office of Henry Adams, Tunstall, Enoch's city was a Zion "because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there were no poor among them" Bushman , pp. Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon.
Bushman , p. Smith also published several new revelations during the Kirtland era.