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The Latter Day Saint movement
The Latter Day Saint movement (also called the LDS movement, LDS restorationist movement, or Smith–Rigdon movement) is the collection of independent church groups that trace their origins to a Christian Restorationist movement founded by Joseph Smith in the late 1820s.
Collectively, these churches have over 16 million members, although the vast majority of these—about 98%—belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The predominant theology of the churches in the movement is Mormonism, which sees itself as restoring the early Christian church with additional revelations.
A minority of Latter Day Saint adherents, such as members of Community of Christ, believe in traditional Protestant theology, and have distanced themselves from some of the distinctive doctrines of the LDS Church. Other groups include the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which supports lineal succession of leadership from Smith's descendants, and the more controversial Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which defends the practice of polygamy.
In Mormonism, blood atonement is a controversial doctrine which teaches the view that the atonement of Jesus does not apply because some crimes are extremely heinous. Instead, to atone for these sins, the perpetrators should be killed in a way that allows their blood to be shed upon the ground as a sacrificial offering.
The doctrine is no longer accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), but it was significantly promoted during the Mormon Reformation, when Brigham Young governed the Utah Territory as a near-theocracy. Sins that Young and other members of his First Presidency mentioned as meriting blood atonement included apostasy, theft, fornication (but not sodomy), and adultery.
Young taught that sinners should voluntarily choose to practice the doctrine, but he also taught that it should only be enforced by a complete theocracy (which has not existed in modern times). Young considered it more charitable to sacrifice a life than to see them endure eternal torment in the afterlife. In a full Mormon theocracy, the practice would be implemented by the state as a penal measure. Read more...
An etching of the Carthage, Illinois jail, circa 1885. This was the location of the Death of Joseph Smith on June 27, 1844
Selected Schismatic Histories
The Church of Christ, informally referred to as the Fettingites, is a denomination within the Latter Day Saint movement which split from the Church of Christ—informally known as "Hedrickites"— in late 1929. The faction was formally established on April 8, 1930, and an Associated Press report published in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times April 7, 1930, describes it as having been briefly named "The Church of Jesus Christ" and later, the "Church of Christ". It is informally referred to as the "Church of Christ (Fettingite)", after its founder, Otto Fetting, but this sect has never officially been named as such. Otto Fetting, an Apostle in the Church of Christ, was the alleged recipient of a series of messages delivered by John the Baptist concerning construction of a temple on the Temple Lot, along with other aspects of Hedrickite doctrine and practice. The rejection of his "Twelfth Message" by a majority vote of his fellow Apostles in October 1929 led to a split in the Temple Lot organization between those who rejected Fetting's messages and those who accepted them. The "Fettingites" subsequently established their own church organization.
While Fettingite doctrine and practices are virtually identical to those of the Church of Christ, a significant difference exists today in the acceptance of the messages' authenticity between Hedrickites and Fettingites. The Hedrickite leadership voted at their April, 1936 conference to formally reject Otto Fetting's claim of having heard from John the Baptist, but some laity in the Hedrickite sect have informally expressed interest or belief in his claims, to where about a half-dozen Hedrickites today believe Fetting received some or all of the revelations he claimed. After its founder's death in 1933, the Fettingite sect further divided into various factions, including The Church of Christ (Restored), the Church of Christ at Halley's Bluff, and the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message. As with the Church of Christ, each of these groups declares itself to be the "only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth." Read more...
Otto Fetting (November 20, 1871 – January 30, 1933) was an American realtor and editor from Port Huron, Michigan who served first as a pastor and evangelist in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and then later as an apostle in the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), commonly referred to as the "Hedrickites". Fetting claimed to have been visited by John the Baptist thirty or more times between February 4, 1927 and his death on January 30, 1933. Fetting was reportedly given instruction concerning the doctrine and practices of Hedrickites and other factions of Christianity, together with directives to begin construction of a temple on the Temple Lot, including its exact dimensions.
After initially accepting his first eleven revelations, a Hedrickite conference vote in early October 1929 rejected a key portion of Fetting's twelfth message, leading him to found the "Church of Jesus Christ" on April 8, 1930. This breakaway faction, later referred to as "Church of Christ", subsequently gave birth to additional rival factions after Fetting's death, which have still further subdivided. These "Fettingite" or "Dravesite" (named after W.A. Draves, a follower of Fetting) factions include: the Church of Christ "With the Elijah Message" Established Anew 1929; the Church of Christ (Restored); the Church of Christ (Assured Way); "The Church of Christ with the Elijah Message, Established in 1929 Anew, The Church of Christ with the Elijah Message, Inc. and the Church of Christ at Halley's Bluff. Read more...
||When brother Brigham and brother Joseph Young went up to see the Prophet, they found him chopping wood; for he was a labouring man, and gained his bread by the sweat of his brow. They made themselves acquainted with him. He received them gladly, invited them to his house, and they rejoiced together in the Gospel of Christ, and their hearts were knitted together in the spirit and bond of union.
|— Wilford Woodruff, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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