Sunday, 11 March 2012

Latter Day Saints & Mormonism in America.

After initially looking for a minority faith in America to look at this week, I eventually chose to look at American Mormonism, on the LDS News Website. It turns out the Church of the Latter-Day Saints and Mormons make up the fourth most popular Christian denominations in the United States.

Headquartered in Salt Lake City in Utah, the LDS Church considers itself to be a restoration of the church founded by Jesus Christ.

On January 8 of 2011 an article was posted on the LDS Church News website which brought attention to the number of LDS and Mormons present in America's government; The majority leader of the US Senate and the most senior Republican senator are two of the 15 church members serving in the 112th United States Congress this year - these members were sworn in on January 5th.

The religion itself has an official website, which plays biblical videos and modern day videos which back up their beliefs on a constant loop.
The website also looks into depth on subjects such as the first presidency message "Why do we need Prophets?" as well as keeping the Mormons up to date with the latest general conference.
There is an events section; which allows Mormons to get involved in a varied range of events including a general young women's meeting.

However the website does stray from religion and move onto a more marketable approach occasionally; the online official LDS store for example. Where one can subscribe to magazines, order LDS clothing, music, media, art and the equivalent of what looks like Mormon-written self help books.

The website encourages the teaching and spreading of the religion with sections entitled "visiting teaching messages" or "prepare a lesson or a talk". The LDS also offer services in "teaching the gospel" as well as becoming missionaries for the "humanitarians".

In the interest of the growth rate of the religion, it would seem that the National Council of Churches has named the LDS Church the second fastest growing church in the US. However, it did take a full 117 years, until 1974 for the LDS to grow from the initial six members to a staggering one million. Still, missionaries were a feature of the church from its earliest days, extending to Native American lands, then Canada. Then in 1837, England. The religion then spread across Europe.
According to the website more than 50, 000 missionaries are serving missions for the LDS Church at any one time. However, most of them are under 25, which makes the majority of them men; men can serve from 19-25 whereas women can only serve from 21+.

There is also a section on clearing up some common misconceptions, the most prominant and heavily debated of them all:
1. Mormons practice polygamy.
- Joseph Smith, the original mormon did, however now in the 21st century, polygamy is not practiced.

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