Young incorporated the LDS Church as a legal entity, and initially governed both the church and the state as a theocratic leader. For example, since the early s, the church has instituted a Priesthood Correlation Program to centralize church operations and bring them under a hierarchy of priesthood leaders. He also publicized the practice of plural marriage ,  a form of polygamy. In , the church reported 60, missionaries  and global church membership stood at just over 11 million. During the 20th century, the church grew substantially and became an international organization, due in part to the spread of missionaries around the globe. Another source of authoritative doctrine is the pronouncements of the current Apostles and members of the First Presidency. They donate at least the cost of the two skipped meals as a fast offering , which the church uses to assist the poor and needy and expand its humanitarian efforts. Beginnings[ edit ] Adherents believe that Joseph Smith was called to be a modern-day prophet through, among other events, a visitation from God the Father and Jesus Christ.
The church teaches that all will have the opportunity to hear and accept or reject the gospel of Jesus Christ and the blessings that come to those who faithfully adhere to it, in this life or the next. Members of the church acknowledge sustain them regularly as prophets, seers, and revelators —this is done publicly twice a year at the church's worldwide general conference. Eventually, the church adopted a policy of excommunicating its members found practicing polygamy and today actively distances itself from " fundamentalist " groups still practicing polygamy. The church believes that this Angel Moroni is at least partial fulfillment of Revelation During the Great Depression , the church also began operating a church welfare system, and it has conducted numerous humanitarian efforts in cooperation with other religious organizations including Catholic Relief Services and Islamic Relief , as well as secular organizations such as the American Red Cross. By , tensions had again escalated between Mormons and other Americans, largely as a result of accusations involving polygamy and the theocratic rule of the Utah Territory by Young. During the 20th century, the church grew substantially and became an international organization, due in part to the spread of missionaries around the globe. Beginnings[ edit ] Adherents believe that Joseph Smith was called to be a modern-day prophet through, among other events, a visitation from God the Father and Jesus Christ. The church characterizes the Book of Mormon as "the most correct of any book on earth and the keystone of [the] religion". This vision would come to be regarded by the LDS Church as the most important event in human history since the resurrection of Jesus. Relations further improved after , when church president Joseph F. The church teaches that the First Presidency the church's president and his counselors and the Quorum of Twelve Apostles are prophets  and that their teachings are generally given under inspiration from God through the Holy Spirit. He also publicized the practice of plural marriage ,  a form of polygamy. For example, since the early s, the church has instituted a Priesthood Correlation Program to centralize church operations and bring them under a hierarchy of priesthood leaders. For two years after Smith's death, conflicts escalated between Mormons and other Illinois residents. Relations with the United States markedly improved after , such that Utah was admitted as a U. United States , decreed that "religious duty" to engage in plural marriage was not a valid defense to prosecutions for violating state laws against polygamy. Teachings and practices[ edit ] Authorized texts[ edit ] The written canon of the LDS Church is referred to as its standard works. The most authoritative sources of theology are the faith's canon of four religious texts, called the " standard works ". LDS faithful donate a ten-percent tithe on their annual income, for the operations of the church, including construction of temples, meetinghouses, and other buildings, and other church uses. The LDS faithful observe a health code called the " Word of Wisdom ," in which they abstain from the consumption of alcohol, coffee, tea, and tobacco. These groups have no affiliation with the LDS Church. In , the church reported 60, missionaries  and global church membership stood at just over 11 million. Soon thereafter, church president Wilford Woodruff issued a manifesto that officially suspended the practice. According to these doctrines, every human spirit is a literal child of a Heavenly Father , and each has the potential to continue to learn, grow, and progress in the eternities, eventually achieving eternal life which Latter-day Saints view as distinct from immortality , which is to become one with God in the same way that Jesus Christ is one with the Father, thus allowing the children of God to become divine beings or "gods" themselves.
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