Latter Day Saints

Written by Beth Hrusch
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Latter Day Saints are, by definition, those people who identify with the Latter Day Saint Movement. They are also known as those who practice Mormonism. When hyphenated, the term refers to the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest LDS organization in existence. Other LDS sects are within the movement are referred to as Latter Day Saints without the hyphen. While members are often called "Mormons" by those outside this religious group, this appellation is not the correct way to address LDS members. They prefer to be called "Saints" of the "Church of Jesus Christ."

The Latter Day Saints and Mormonism

A Latter-day Saint practices Mormonism, a belief system based on Jesus as the Messiah. This religion diverges from mainstream Christianity on many points, mainly because the LDS believe that the traditional Christian religions of the world have lost the original meaning that Jesus intended for them. This occurred through the centuries after the death of Christ in a process they refer to as the Great Apostasy. It is the aim of Mormonism to restore Christianity to the Church of Jesus Christ and the Apostles.

By referring to themselves as "saints," the Latter Day Saints are identifying themselves with the original believers in the Christian Church. "Saint" means "holy one", and "one set apart for God". In this sense, according to Mormonism, all who believe in the true Church as God intended it to be are saints. This opposes the traditional Catholic and Protestant view of saints as extraordinarily holy people who are recognized formally for their faith and elevated to a level above other Christian believers. In the LDS vision of Christianity, all people can be saints.

Thus, LDS members see their role as one of restoration. Through this, they seek to bring Christianity back to its roots as directed by Jesus Himself in the time before His death. By preaching the Word and living the tenets of their faith as an example to others, they bear witness to their faith. To be a saint, in their eyes, is to believe in Jesus as Savior and live one's life in accordance with true Christian principles. Study of Scripture plays a large role in the lives of Latter Day Saints.

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