The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, widely known as the LDS Church or the Mormon Church, is the largest and most well-known denomination originating from the Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. The church is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has established congregations and temples worldwide, reporting approximately 13 million members on its rolls.
The LDS Church is the largest of the denominations from the Latter Day Saint movement that claim to be a continuation of the Church of Christ, founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. on April 6, 1830 in New York. Joseph Smith organized the church soon after publishing the Book of Mormon, one of the faith’s scriptures, which Joseph Smith said he translated from a book of golden plates that were buried near his home in a place shown to him by the angel Moroni.
The church rapidly gained a following, who viewed Joseph Smith as their prophet. In late 1830, Smith envisioned a “city of Zion” in Native American lands near Independence, Missouri. In October 1830, he sent his second-in-command, Oliver Cowdery, and others on a mission to the area.
The earth, according to church teachings in the temples, was created by Jehovah, which the church identifies as the pre-mortal Jesus, and Michael the archangel, who is identified as the pre-mortal Adam. The earth was “organized” from pre-existing matter, as were other planets with their inhabitants. Michael’s spirit was implanted in a body created by God the Father and Jehovah, and became Adam.
Members are expected to donate their time, money, and talents to the church, and those who have participated in the Endowment ceremony make an oath to donate all that they have, if required of them, to the Lord. To be in good standing and to enter the church’s temples, church members are required to tithe their income to the church, which is usually interpreted as 10% of income. In addition, members are expected to donate monthly charitable “fast offerings” (at least the equivalent cost of two meals), which are used to help the needy, regardless of whether or not they are church members, and are encouraged to make other humanitarian donations when necessary.