Mormonism Overview and News
Mormonism is the predominant religious tradition of the Latter Day Saint movement. This movement was founded by Joseph Smith, Jr., in the 1820s as a form of Christian primitivism. During the 1830s and 1840s, Mormonism gradually distinguished itself from traditional Protestantism. Mormonism today represents the new, non-Protestant faith taught by Smith in the 1840s. After Smith's death, most Mormons followed Brigham Young west, calling themselves the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Other branches of Mormonism include Mormon fundamentalism, which seeks to maintain practices and doctrines such as polygamy that were discontinued by the LDS Church, and various other small independent denominations.
The word Mormon is derived from the Book of Mormon, one of the faith's religious texts. Based on the name of that book, early followers of founder Joseph Smith, Jr. were called Mormons, and their faith was called Mormonism. The term was initially considered pejorative, but is no longer considered so by Mormons (although other terms such as Latter-day Saint, or LDS, are generally preferred).
Mormonism shares a common set of beliefs with the rest of the Latter Day Saint movement, including use of, and belief in, the Bible, as well as other religious texts including the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. It also accepts the Pearl of Great Price as part of its scriptural canon, and has a history of teaching eternal marriage, eternal progression, and plural marriage (although the LDS Church had abandoned that practice by the early 20th century). Cultural Mormonism includes a lifestyle promoted by the Mormon institutions, and includes cultural Mormons who identify with the culture, but not necessarily the theology.