The are about 14 million followers of Mormonism worldwide. Where did Mormonism start? What are their beliefs? Are they a cult? How does it compare with Christianity? Is there any truth to their ideas?
Mormonism was founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. Smith claims that when he was 14 years old, in 1820, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him while he was praying in the woods. They told him all of the current Christian denominations were incorrect. Three years later, in 1823, Smith claimed that an angel named Moroni appeared to him and told him to translate some golden plates written in reformed Egyptian, supposedly by the angel’s father. The angel told him where to find these plates in a stone box buried in the ground at a hill in Manchester, New York, near Smith’s home. There is no evidence for the existence of these plates, but some people claimed to have seen them with their own eyes. It was not until 1827, when Smith “found” the plates and began to translate them into English. In 1830, this was published as the Book of Mormon.
Basically, the Book of Mormon is a narrative of people who traveled from the Middle-East to the Americas. It covers the time period from 600 B.C. to 400 A.D. Like the Bible, it includes the death and resurrection of Jesus, with the addition that Jesus appeared in the Americas after his resurrection. Later, Joseph Smith also wrote his own translation of the Bible, which Mormons also believe to be the word of God. As Mormonism began to grow, Joseph was persecuted by the law. He eventually ended up in jail along with his brother Hyrum in Nauvoo, Illinois. A mob broke into the jail and ended up killing them both.
After Joseph’s murder, the Mormon church divided into two groups: one lead by his widow in Missouri which is today now known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). The other was lead by Brigham Young to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1847, and is still there today.
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