Latter Day Saints
A Latter Day Saint is an adherent of the Latter Day Saint movement, a group of religions tracing their heritage to the teachings of Joseph Smith, Jr. and the Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints) he organized in 1830. For general information about this movement and its denominations, see Latter Day Saint movement. This article concerns the use of the term Latter Day Saint and its variant Latter-day Saint (used exclusively by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church)).
Usage of the term
Origin of Latter Day Saint
The first known use of the term Latter Day Saint was in 1834, soon before the Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints), organized in 1830, was renamed as the Church of the Latter Day Saints. The term derives from the teaching of Joseph Smith, Jr. that adherents of the religion God established were "saints" in the same sense that Paul of Tarsus used the term, meaning that they were followers of Jesus. They are termed latter day saints in order to distinguish them from the saints of the early Christian church (former day saints). Usage of the term Latter Day Saints first appeared in the mid-1830s, when Smith's Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints) was renamed the Church of Latter Day Saints, and later, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (which was sometimes hyphenated as Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).
Latter Day Saint vs. Latter-day Saint
The British English styling Latter-day Saint—including both the hyphenation and lower-case d—came into common use in about 1852 when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was incorporated by that name in Salt Lake City, Utah, Utah. This form is used only by that denomination, and its usage and the abbreviation LDS generally denote only members of the Utah-based church.
Because the LDS Church is by far the largest and most well-known of the various Latter Day Saint denominations, a number of churches who consider themselves Latter Day Saints prefer more informal terms to refer to their members, in order to avoid confusion. For example, the denomination that is officially named the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) refers to itself informally as the Strangites. Similarly, members of the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) are often referred to as Hedrickites. In 2001, the Community of Christ, the second largest Latter Day Saint denomination, changed its name from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, partly to avoid these types of confusions. Nevertheless, the term Latter Day Saint may be appropriately applied to all denominations within the Latter Day Saint movement.
Latter Day Saint vs. Mormon
Latter Day Saints are sometimes also referred to as Mormons, a nickname derived from the title of The Book of Mormon. However, the size and prominence of the LDS Church have led to the terms Mormon and Mormonism being generally understood to apply only to the LDS Church and its members, that is, to the Latter-day Saints. The desire of the LDS Church to emphasize doctrinal teaching of Jesus Christ has led to the LDS Church urging journalists to use the terms Latter-day Saint and Mormon only in reference to members of the church or as an adjective in such expressions as Mormon pioneers, while referring to the church as either The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or the shortened form, The Church of Jesus Christ. Accordingly, the Associated Press AP Stylebook now states the following concerning the use of the term Mormon: “The term Mormon is not properly applied to the other churches that resulted from the split after Joseph Smith’s death.”
- Latter Day Saint movement
- Succession crisis (Mormonism)
- Criticism of Mormonism
- LDS.org - Official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Mormon.org - An official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about the basic beliefs of the Church
- cofchrist.org - Community of Christ official website
- LDS Search Engine - Search engine from the Google Co-op Program that searches only LDS related websites and topics.
- GrupoSUD.com - GrupoSUD.com is a large general interest Spanish-language discussion list for LDS Church members. Includes several thousand members who get messages from a Mormon perspective.
- Mormoninfo.org - Mormoninfo.org is a source of links critical of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a fundamentalist protestant point of view.
- Mormon MommaA Mormon Blog from a female perspective.
- JosephSmith.net - An LDS Church-sponsored website describing the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his instrumentality in bringing forth the Book of Mormon as well as other modern day revelations (The Doctrine and Covenants).
- Exmormon.org - A comprehensive site summarizing critical information about Mormonism and personal stories of ex-Mormons and their reasons for exiting.