Mormons Not FLDS
The general term “Mormonism” can be used to represent members of three different Mormon branches. The largest and most familiar branch is known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and members of this church often have strong adverse feelings with being associated with the other two branches known as the Reorganized Latter-day Saints and the Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints due to their rejection of the prophets and practice of unseemly traditions. We are, however, connected in our history-
The prophet, Joseph Smith, founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints based on revelation he received through angelic visions and a visitation from God the Father and His Son. He was directed to a buried ancient book of scripture, written by the people of the Americas, and guided through the translation. During this time of translating, he was also given the Priesthood, which authority all “Mormon” members believe to have been lost during a time of apostacy. He was eventually martyred, and the first split between members happened after his death.
When Joseph Smith died, the method for prophetic succession had not yet been established and the people were unsure who to follow. Twelve apostles had been appointed before he died, each holding the Priesthood keys that would allow them to receive revelation from God. At this time of confusion, Brigham Young (a member of the twelve) was asked to speak to the people, and he said:
“I do not care who leads the church …, but one thing I must know, and that is what God says about it.
Their has been much said about President Rigdon being president of the Church leading the People, being the head. If the People want President Rigdon to lead them, they may have him. But I say unto you that the quorum of The Twelve have the keys of the kingdom of God in all the world. They stand next to Joseph and are the Presidency of the Church, and hold the keys and would have to ordain any man unto that appointment that should be Chosen, if one was to be chosen. You Cannot appoint any man at our head. We should have to ordain him. You Cannot appoint a man at our head. But if you want any other man to lead you, take him, and we will go our way to build up the kingdom in all the world…
But who is the head? The Twelve. If one Thousand rise up and say they have the Prophets Joseph shoes I know they are impostures. … Now If you want Rigdon Lyman or Law to lead you or any body else, you may have them. But I tel you in the name of the Lord, that no man Can put another between the Twelve and the Prophet Joseph. Why? Because Joseph was their file leader and he has Committed into there hands the keys of the kingdom for all the world. Dont put a thread between the Priesthood and God.”
After this address, most of the members accepted Brigham Young as the new prophet, and since this time the successor of each prophet within the church has been chosen by God and appointed by the current twelve apostles. However, there were a small number of members who believed the Priesthood authority and call as prophet did not pass on to Brigham Young but rather followed the lineage of Joseph Smith. These fell into a time of confusion as Joseph Smith III was too young to take on a leadership role at the time of his father’s death, but eventually banded together under the leadership of Joseph Smith’s descendants and called themselves the Reorganized Latter-day Saints or the Community of Christ.
The FLDS church was not to break off until later. Brigham Young moved the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints westward in order to avoid persecutions. The Mormons then founded their own community, away from the influence of the United States in what is now Utah. The Saints were practicing polygamy until the fourth prophet- Wilford Woodruff asked in prayer if He wanted them to continue the practice, as the United States influence had spread and the people were again facing persecution and were not being allowed to be ceded into the states due to their practice of polygamy. He received revalation that the practice should be stopped, and the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints followed his leadership or were excommunicated.
The Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints include members whose roots come from those excommunicated members. They believe that the “Manifesto” (Wilford Woodruff’s revelation to stop polygamy) was wrong and that he failed in his prophetic authority. Like the RLDS members, when the FLDS group first broke away from the church they were uncertain of their leadership authority and fell into confusion.
Members of the LDS, RLDS, and FLDS churches all share a common history, starting with the vision of young Joseph Smith, when he sought out the Lord in prayer wondering what church he should join and saw our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in the sacred grove. As such, the foundational points of many of our doctrines and beliefs are the same. However, we each strive to clarify the differences so that we are not associated with those who we each believe does not act with prophetic authority and are therefore wrong in their practices and interpretations.