Mormon Denominations

"We do not indorse the teachings of any so-called Mormons or Latter Day Saints, which are in conflict with the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as taught in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. They have departed in a great measure from the faith of the Church of Christ as it was first established, by heeding revelations given through Joseph Smith, who, after being called of God to translate his sacred word--the Book of Mormon--drifted into many errors and gave many revelations to introduce doctrines, ordinances and offices in the church, which are in conflict with Christ's teachings."
- David Whitmer (an elder in the Church of Christ), 1887 [1]

About Mormon denominations

After the Succession Crisis which followed Joseph Smith's murder in 1844, a number of competing hierarchies were organized that fall into the two main branches of the movement, sometimes called the "Prairie Saints" and the "Rocky Mountain Saints."

Today, there are as many as 100 organizations claiming to be a part of the Latter Day Saint movement, most centered in Utah or Missouri. Most regard their own group, however small, to be the only legitimate Christian church. Most of these organizations are very small, but overall, but the second largest denomination, the Community of Christ, reports over 200,000 members.

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a.k.a. The Church of Jesus Christ, and the LDS) is by far the largest Mormon denomination. It is a continuation of the "Rocky Mountain Saint" branch of Mormonism.
  • The more liberal Community of Christ (formerly called the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) is second in size. It is a continuation of the "Prairie Saint" movement. Although generally referred to as "Mormons," they do not use the term themselves, because of its association with polygamy and because they believe the name was not part of the original church.
  • Many additional small Mormon faith groups, including:
    • Aaronic Order: unknown membership; 6 centers; 20 ministers
    • Apostolic United Brethren: about 7,000 members. They disagree with the LDS' decision to allow ordination of African-Americans and allowing women to assume leadership positions.
    • Church of Christ (Fetting/Bronson): about 2000 members
    • Church of Christ (Temple Lot): about 2400 members
    • The Church of Christ "With The Elijah Message," established anew in 1929 12,500 members worldwide
    • Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite): about 2700 members
    • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: about 11 million members
    • The Community of Christ: about 250,000 members. This denomination was formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints -- the "RLDS Church". It was formed in 1860 by remnants of the original church who did not make the trek to Utah. They reject certain beliefs and practices of the LDS church, including marriage sealing for eternity; they allow both men and women into the priesthood; their services are open to the public. They have about 250,000 members.
    • United Order Effort: a polygamy practicing group, excommunicated by the main LDS church,  of perhaps 10,000 members
    • The Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It split from the Reorganized Church in 1991 because of the latter's liberal theology. It is centered in Independence, Missouri, and had an estimated membership of 2,500 in mid-1996. They publish a periodical "The Restoration Advocate" six times a year.


  1. An Address to All Believers in Christ, 1887.
  2. "Latter Day Saint movement," Wikipedia, accessed October 2005.
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Mormon Denominations
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