The term Mormon only refers to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The name "Mormon" was first used in the 1830s for followers of Joseph Smith, Jr. who accepted "The Book of Mormon" as scripture. It originated as a derogatory term, but the name soon lost most of its negative connotation, and is not considered offensive today. In fact, because many individuals are most familiar with the title "Mormon," the LDS Church maintains an official website presenting its basic beliefs and tenets at mormon.org . Still, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prefer to be called "latter-day saints" over "mormons," as they feel that "mormon" is of an earthly nature while "latter-day saint" is a name given of God.
Scope of the term "Mormon" within the Latter Day Saint movement
Some scholars feel the terms "Mormon" and "Mormonism" are useful to collectively describe all denominations within the Latter Day Saint movement, who claim to originate from the religion founded by Joseph Smith. However, some feel the terms "Mormon" and "Mormonism" should be used exclusively to refer to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Associated Press Stylebook notes: "The term Mormon is not properly applied to the other ... churches that resulted from the split after [Joseph] Smith's death." But this statement is ambiguous regarding churches that split from the LDS Church in the 20th Century, some of which continue to call themselves Mormons. Sometimes "Restorationist" or "Restoration Movement" is used as umbrella terms, but they can lead to confusion since there is an entirely different group of Christian churches (those derived from the Campbellites or Stone-Campbell churches, for example, the Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ) which are also known as Restorationists.
Some scholars, such as Melton, in his Encyclopedia of American Religion, subdivide the Mormons into "Utah Mormons" and "Missouri Mormons." The Missouri Mormons are those Mormons who did not travel westward to Utah, and the organizations formed from them (the Community of Christ, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite), Church of Christ (Temple Lot), etc.), although not all of these religions were based in Missouri, such as The Church of Jesus Christ (The Church) , which was established by Sidney Rigdon in Monongahela, Pennsylvania. The Utah Mormons are members of the LDS Church who did travel westward to Utah with Brigham Young, and the term is sometimes also applied to the organizations formed from them (such as the various polygamy-practicing groups; True & Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, scattered in usually isolated communities mostly in Utah, Idaho, Arizona, and British Columbia). The term "Utah Mormon" is still popularly used today among the American members of the LDS Church just to point out cultural differences and/or geographical positioning of Utah State members. "Missouri Mormon" nomenclature, on the other hand, is not common among Mormons anymore. The term "Utah Mormon" when referring to members of the LDS Church is now a misnomer, since now a majority of Mormons live outside Utah and the United States.
Distinguishing Mormons from Quakers, Mennonites, and the Amish
Despite some misconceptions over similar nicknames and stereotypes, Mormons are not the same religious group as Quakers, Mennonites, or Amish. Mormons originated separately from all of these groups. One source of confusion comes from the mistranslation of the movie Witness with Harrison Ford into Spanish, French, and Italian. In it "Amish" was translated into "Mormon." The Quakers are officially known as members of the Religious Society of Friends. As stated above, the term Mormons originated from "The Book of Mormon" and is associated with members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Official websites of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- LDS.org - the official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Mormon.org - information on basic beliefs, a meetinghouse locator, and a place to email questions
- Provident Living - addresses lifestyles for spiritual and temporal welfare
- The Scriptures - Internet Edition
- FamilySearch.org - used for family history and genealogical research
- Gospel Library - contains official publications and texts
- BYU Speeches - given by Latter-day Saints at Brigham Young University, Provo, addressed to BYU students
- Mormon Tabernacle Choir - the official website of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
- LDSresource.net - an online listing for aspects of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Mormon Answers - frequently asked questions about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- LDS Today - news related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- FAIR - the Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research
- Meridian Magazine - online publication for Latter-day Saints.
- Exmormon.org - by former members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Apologetics Index - by Evangelical Christians, provides research resources from a variety of perspectives
- Mormonism and the LDS Church - a fairly extensive critical collection by a former Mormon missionary.
- Utah Lighthouse Ministry - a ministry to Mormons of Evangelical Christians who have left the LDS Church
- Concerned Christians - an Evangelical ministry by former Mormons to Mormons