The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, aka the Mormon Church claims itself not as a reformed Christian organization, but rather as a restoration of the Gospel as it was in Jesus Christ's time and shortly following his crucifixion, specifically under the leadership of Peter the Apostle.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints outlines it beliefs generally in what are known as The Articles of Faith, written by Joseph Smith in response to questions from a reporter with the New York Times. There are thirteen of them, and they are as follows:

  1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
  2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.
  3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
  4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
  5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
  6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
  7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
  8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
  9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
  10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisical glory.
  11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
  12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
  13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul--We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

The organization of the Mormon Church claims Christ at its head, with a Prophet, the President of the Church, authorized to receive revelation for the whole of the Church. He has two counselors, and together, they constitute the First Presidency of the Church. Underneath the Presidency is the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, as a body equal in authority to the First Presidency, but, incidentally, never in discord with the First Presidency. Underneath the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are the Quorums of the Seventy, whose function is to assist to the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve in the administration of the Church. These constitute the General Authorities. Area and regional authorities operate under the guidance of higher authorities, and regions are broken down into stakes of zion, which are in turn broken down into wards consisting of 100-500 or so members. Stakes are presided over by Stake Presidents, and wards are presided over by Bishops.

In addition to this priesthood organization and leadership of the Mormon Church, there are several sub-organizations. The Primary program exists for teaching children under the age of twelve. There are Young Men and Young Women organizations for youth ages 12-18. Men, upon reaching adulthood and if they are found worthy, receive the Melchizidek priesthood and are advanced into Quorums of that priesthood. Women, upon reaching adulthood, join the Relief Society, which happens to be the largest women's organization in the world.

The declared mission of the Mormon Church is three-fold: Perfect the saints (which its members are called), redeem the dead, and proclaim the gospel. The first part, perfecting the saints, is pursued with a variety of programs, and nearly every member having opportunity to watch out for each other and teach each other. The second part, redeeming the dead, is the purpose of temple work and the vast increase in the construction of LDS temples throughout the globe (less than 10 in 1950, and more than 100 today). The third part, proclaiming the gospel, is done under commandment both anciently in the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and through claimed modern revelation, in the Doctrine and Covenants. Moreover, Latter-day Saints, believing their gospel to be the truth, and generally deriving great satisfaction and joy from it, feel an obligation to share their beliefs with everybody. They cite in Doctrine and Covenants, Section 18:

14 Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people.
15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
16 And now, if your joy will be great with one sould that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!
17 Behold, you have my gospel before you, and my rock, and my salvation.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints further claims that the restoration occurred through Joseph Smith, who claimed to have seen a vision in 1820 when praying to ask which church he should join, he having previously read and believing James 1:5, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." In the vision, he purportedly saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, who told Joseph Smith that none of the churches were the true Church of God, and that he should join none of them. In the course of time, Joseph Smith claimed additional visions from the Angel Moroni, who directed Smith in the restoration of the ancient church. The Book of Mormon was eventually published with the assistance of Oliver Cowdery, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints officially organized in the state of New York in 1830. Various persecutions and opposition in New York, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois forced the Saints to relocate several times, eventually heading west to Utah following the shooting and death of Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum Smith (who held the position of patriarch of the church, another priesthood office) at Carthage Jail, in Carthage, Illinois.

From starting out with six members when it was first organized in 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has grown to a membership of more than 11,000,000 today, with more than half of those members outside the United States. The missionaries who go out for two years to proselytize now number more than 60,000 worldwide.

The Mormon Church has rather its own sub-culture, with Elders being 19 years old, single women often refusing to get involved with men who aren't "R-Ms" (returned missionaries), children in Primary knowing answers to questions like, "Why are we here? Where did we come from? Where are we going?", and a very strong emphasis on family as the fundamental unit of the church and society.

Young Men, where they fit in
The Young Mens organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is organized to support the activities and teaching of the 12 through 18 year old boys. Its primary purpose is furthering the work of the Aaronic Priesthood. It is carried out through Sunday Priesthood Lessons, Sunday Evening Discussions, Youth Conferences, Weekday Evening Scouting Activities, and monthly weekend camping activities. Activities include but are not limited to service projects, sports, scout camp, skills training, and joint young men/young women activities. Much of the planning for activities is done by the young men themselves.

The Young Mens organization began in 1875 with the formation as the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association. The YMMIA was established by President Brigham Young, who called Junius F Wellto organize associations throughout the wards. It was intended that YMMIA help young men develop spiritually and intellectually and provide supervised recreational opportunities. In 1972 the organization was changed to the Aaronic Priesthood-MIA placing more emphasis on the priesthood and the role of local leaders. In 1974 the name was shortened to Aaronic Priesthood and the organization fell under the supervision of the Presiding Bishopric. Three years later in 1977 it again changed its name this time to its current title of the Young Men and a general presidency was re-instated.

The Young Men's organization is presided over world wide by the Young Men's General Presidency consisting of a president and two counselors. They work under the direction of the Quorum of the Twelve Aposles and the First Presidency. Since October 1979 the presidency has been called from among the Quorums of the Seventy.

Since the Young Men's organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was formally organized in 1875 there have been eighteen presidents (superintendents prior to 1972) including the present incumbent.

Book concerning this topic: Young Mens Mutual Activities - Written by Blair and Tristan Tolman (Legacy Book Publishing).

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