Mormon is a term first used colloquially in the 1830s to describe those who accept The Book of Mormon as a sacred text or who trace their religious heritage to Joseph Smith, Jr The term was originally derogatory, but Mormons have generally considered the casual reference as inoffensive though most prefer the term Latter-day Saint.

Mormon doctrine, culture, and lifestyle are referred to as Mormonism.

Mormon Denominations

LDS Church

The largest Mormon denomination is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and its members called Latter-day Saints (LDS).

From the LDS Church's point of view, there has never been a "Mormon Church". The church makes occasional efforts to remind the public of the church's full name, and although it objects to the use of the referrent "Mormon Church", it stops short of rejecting the terms "Mormonism" and "Mormon" and defends these terms as exclusive references only to the Church and its members. In a press release from 2001, the LDS Church stated that the word "Mormon" as an adjective in such expressions as "Mormon pioneers", "Mormons" as a noun in reference to members of the church, and "Mormonism" as a doctrine, culture, and lifestyle, were all acceptable. Indeed, the LDS has acquired and set up a website at intended for those who are not members of the Church, but are seeking more information.

The LDS Church also notes that the use of the terms "Mormon", "Mormon fundamentalist" and "Mormon dissident" in reference to organizations or groups outside of the LDS Church (especially those that practice polygamy) is a misunderstanding of Mormon theology, in particular the principle of continuous revelation and Priesthood authority.

Despite the LDS Church's efforts to encourage use of its official name, the Associated Press has continued to recommend "Mormon Church" as a proper second reference to the Church in its influential Style Guide for journalists.

Community of Christ

The next largest denomination of Mormonism, the Community of Christ, has throughout its history rejected the name "Mormon", though it is arguably a "Mormon" denomination.

Other Denominations

Several other much smaller groups and organizations are also referred to as Mormons. Some scholars feel the terms "Mormon" and "Mormonism" are useful to collectively describe all those groups which claim to originate from the Mormon religion founded by Smith. Moreover, some other churches and groups disagree with the position of the LDS Church, and continue to call themselves Mormons. Sometimes "Restorationist" or "Restoration Movement" is used for this purpose instead, but that 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 the Restoration Movement.

Some scholars (e.g. 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.), while the Utah Mormons are those who did travel westward to Utah, and the organizations formed from them (the LDS Church and the various polygamy-practising groups such as the True & Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). The "Utah/Missouri Mormon" nomenclature is not common among Mormons.

Quakers, Mennonites, and Mormons

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. The Quakers are officially known as members of the Religious Society of Friends. As stated above, Mormons were originally identified as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Quakers, Mennonites, and Amish have embraced the nicknames or pejorative terms that were applied to them, while the Latter-day Saints, as a whole, reject the nickname "Mormon".

Mormon, the Prophet

The name "Mormon" in the title of The Book of Mormon refers to a man by that name, who according to the title page was the book's main author. The book states that Mormon was a prophet who lived in the Americas circa 400.

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