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For a topic outline on this subject, see Outline of Joseph Smith

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The Latter Day Saints Movement

Portrait of Joseph Smith, Jr
An 1842 portrait of Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement

The Latter Day Saint movement (also called the LDS movement, LDS restorationist movement, or Smith-Rigdon movement) is the collection of independent church groups that trace their origins to a Christian primitivist movement founded by Joseph Smith in the late 1820s. Collectively, these churches have over 16 million members. The vast majority of adherents--about 98%--belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), with their predominant theology being Mormonism. The LDS Church self-identifies as Christian. A minority of Latter Day Saint adherents, such as members of the Community of Christ, believe in traditional Protestant theology, and have distanced themselves from some of the distinctive doctrines of Mormonism. Other groups include the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which supports lineal succession of leadership from Smith's descendants, and the more controversial Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which defends the practice of polygamy.

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In the Latter Day Saint movement, the President of the Church is generally considered to be the highest office of the church. It was the office held by Joseph Smith, founder of the movement, and the office assumed by many of Smith's claimed successors, such as Brigham Young, Joseph Smith III, Sidney Rigdon, and James Strang. Several other titles have been associated with this office, including First Elder of the church, Presiding High Priest, President of the High Priesthood, Trustee-in-Trust for the church, Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Translator. Joseph Smith was known by all of these titles in his lifetime (although not necessarily with consistency).

Smith died in 1844 without having indisputably established who was to be his successor. Therefore, his death was followed by a succession crisis in which various groups followed leaders with succession claims. Years later, the office of President was reorganized in many of the resulting, the largest of which are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), and The Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite). Some smaller denominations, such as the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), reject the office as an unscriptural creation. Read more...

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Map of Wisconsin highlighting Walworth County where the unincorporated community of Voree is located

Voree (pronounced "Vor-ee") is an unincorporated community in the Town of Spring Prairie in Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. It is best known as the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite), a denomination of the Latter Day Saint (Mormon) movement. According to James Strang, founder of the Strangite church and of the town, the name means "Garden of Peace". The community is situated along former Wisconsin Highway 11 just west of the Racine County line. Read more...

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The Pure Church of Christ was the first known schismatic organization to emerge within the Latter Day Saint movement.

The Pure Church of Christ was organized in 1831 in Kirtland, Ohio, by Wycam Clark, Northrop Sweet, and four others who claimed that Joseph Smith was a false prophet. They had a few meetings and soon disbanded. According to speeches made by George A. Smith that were recorded in the LDS Journal of Discourses, this church never had more than six members.

According to George A. Smith, Wyman Clark was baptized about the same time as Sidney Rigdon. He, another follower of Joseph Smith named Northrop Sweet, and four unnamed others were responsible for the creation of the "Pure Church of Christ".

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Photo of Joseph Smith III ca 1900's

Joseph Smith III (November 6, 1832 - December 10, 1914) was the eldest surviving son of Joseph Smith Jr., founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, and Emma Hale Smith. Joseph Smith III was the Prophet-President of what became known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, now called Community of Christ, which considers itself a continuation of the church established by Smith's father in 1830. For fifty-four years until his own death, Smith presided over the church. Smith's moderate ideas and nature set much of the tone for the church's development, earning him the sobriquet of "the pragmatic prophet". Read more...

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