Latter day saints and dating
is the collection of independent church groups that trace their origins to a Christian Restorationist movement founded by Joseph Smith in the late 1820s.
Collectively, these churches have over 16 million members, although the vast majority of these—about 98%—belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).
The largest of these, Community of Christ (originally known as the "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints"), was formed in Illinois in 1860 by several groups uniting around Smith's son, Joseph Smith III.
The founder of the Latter Day Saint movement was Joseph Smith, and to a lesser extent, during the movement's first two years, Oliver Cowdery.
The term "Mormon" derives from the Book of Mormon, and most of these adherents refer to themselves as Latter Day Saints or Mormons.
Mormonism and Christianity have a complex theological, historical, and sociological relationship.
A minority of Latter Day Saint adherents, such as members of Community of Christ, believe in traditional Protestant theology, and have distanced themselves from some of the distinctive doctrines of the LDS Church.The church was formally organized under the name of the "Church of Christ".By 1834, the church was referred to as the "Church of the Latter Day Saints" in early church publications, In 1844, William Law and several other Latter Day Saints in church leadership positions publicly denounced Smith's secret practice of polygamy in the Nauvoo Expositor, and formed their own church.Although the various branches of Christianity have diverse views about the nature of salvation, the Mormon view is particularly distinct. Mormons regularly proselytize individuals actually or nominally within the Christian tradition, and some Christians, especially evangelicals, proselytize Mormons.A prominent scholarly view is that Mormonism is a form of Christianity, but is distinct enough from traditional Christianity so as to form a new religious tradition, much as Christianity has roots in but is a distinct religion from Judaism.
Throughout his life, Smith told of an experience he had as a boy having seen God the Father and Jesus Christ as two separate beings, who told him that the true church of Jesus Christ had been lost and would be restored through him, and that he would be given the authority to organize and lead the true Church of Christ.