Does anyone know how the Mormon religion came into being?

A question from a reader: I am reading a book right now about some of the crimes committed by Fundamentalist Mormons that believe in polygamy. There is several chapter that talk about how Joseph Smith started the Mormon religion.
Without the golden plates ever being seen by others how do Mormons believe in him and his doctrine?
What do you know about the faith?

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8 Responses to “Does anyone know how the Mormon religion came into being?”

  • Bob says:

    They were camera worshippers. That is why you asked this in the camera forum right?

  • Alabaster Finch says:

    First, be sure to understand that Fundamentalist Mormons are separate from the mainstream Mormon, or LDS, Church. The official LDS Church doesn’t practice polygamy; it was renounced over 100 years ago.

    As for beliefs, the LDS church has a website called “” for those wishing to learn more about the religion. It’s pretty helpful in explaining basic beliefs and how the church began. Also, you can probably click on a link for the church to send you literature, if you desire, such as a “Book of Mormon” (the translated version of the “gold plates.”) If you don’t want to go through the LDS church for that, you can buy a copy of it in bookstores usually in the religion section.

    Short version: The LDS Church believes Joseph Smith to be a prophet in the tradition of the prophets from the Bible. The LDS Church (formal name “The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints”) is founded on the principles of revelation in the present day, just as in the Bible day, and they believe Jesus Christ, not Joseph Smith or any other figure, to be the head of the church, with a current prophet (Gordon B. Hinckley) as the prophet on earth today, guiding the church through divine guidance.

    As for never seeing the “Golden Plates” Mormons must rely on faith and prayer for that confirmation. Just as millions of Christians have never seen Jesus, yet still believe in him, Mormons can believe in Joseph Smith and the “Book of Mormon.”

    “We walk by faith, not by sight.”
    2 Cor 5:7

  • Sandy says:

    I was raised in the RLDS church/sect. It is the same as LDS but less members, no polygamy, maybe that is why.
    I do not know is the answer to that question. It is a matter of faith, so it is subject to as much belief or ridicule that an individual chooses to ascribe to it.
    I read the books that were printed by them as well as the ones that decried them. That is why I added sect, that is a little definition that goes unheeded by many in any church.

    1. A group of people forming a distinct unit within a larger group by virtue of certain refinements or distinctions of belief or practice.
    2. A religious body, especially one that has separated from a larger denomination.
    3. A faction united by common interests or beliefs.
    See most every church is a sect. Actually all are, by definition.
    And this one:

    Pronunciation: (sekt), [key]
    1. a body of persons adhering to a particular religious faith; a religious denomination.
    2. a group regarded as heretical or as deviating from a generally accepted religious tradition.
    3. (in the sociology of religion) a Christian denomination characterized by insistence on strict qualifications for membership, as distinguished from the more inclusive groups called churches.
    4. any group, party, or faction united by a specific doctrine or under a doctrinal leader.

    That #4 explains alot.
    Then there is:
    Sect – (Gr. hairesis, usually rendered “heresy”, Acts 24:14; 1 Chr. 11:19; Gal. 5:20, etc.), meaning properly “a choice,” then “a chosen manner of life,” and then “a religious party,” as the “sect” of the Sadducees (Acts 5:17), of the Pharisees (15:5), the Nazarenes, i.e., Christians (24:5). It afterwards came to be used in a bad sense, of those holding pernicious error, divergent forms of belief (2 Pet. 2:1; Gal. 5:20).
    So I choose what Christ said about the judging thing, I don’t judge others for beliefs, I do form an opinion on there actions.
    The Mormons are okee dokee. There is good and bad in every group of individuals. That is the rub of it, individual and group. Some are swayed by others words and cite them as Gospel or Truth. It does not make it True, but through faith things can get pretty beyond what is expected, for better or worse.
    The Mormon faith is a strong Community based faith, they help the community,themselves first, but then they help others outside of the faith, that is pretty neat.
    These two groups, and about every other mainstream or off the wall religion also fall under the term cult:
    The Merriam-Webster online dictionary lists five different meanings of the word “cult”32.

    1. Formal religious veneration
    2. A system of religious beliefs and ritual; also: its body of adherents;
    3. A religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also: its body of adherents;
    4. A system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator;
    5. Great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book).

    The Random House Unabridged Dictionary definitions are:

    1. A particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies;
    2. An instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, esp. as manifested by a body of admirers;
    3. The object of such devotion;
    4. A group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc;
    5. Group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols;
    6. A religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader;
    7. The members of such a religion or sect;
    8. Any system for treating human sickness that originated by a person usually claiming to have sole insight into the nature of disease, and that employs methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific.

    For authoritative British usage, the Compact Oxford English Dictionary of Current English definitions of “cult” and “sect” are:


    1 a system of religious worship directed towards a particular figure or object.
    2 a small religious group regarded as strange or as imposing excessive control over members.
    3 something popular or fashionable among a particular section of society.


    1 a group of people with different religious beliefs (typically regarded as heretical) from those of a larger group to which they belong.
    2 a group with extreme or dangerous philosophical or political
    So I no longer choose to participate or advance the teachings of some other human that is no better or no worse than any other human being.
    I do admire the philosophies of the dude called Jesus. I also admire the teachings of Buddha, Mohamed, Kant, Aquinas, Bacon, Hobbes, Lao Tzu, list goes on and on.
    Thing is that escapes many is that it is okay to believe that a God is a pony ride or a Creator and Destroyer of Universes.
    Long as they don’t knock on my door and order me to convert or die, they are all good.

  • FootballFan52670 says:

    why is this in the camera area? We can ask the same questions about all religions…mormonism just seems a little more wacked out than usual.

  • Woody says:

    If you read the introduction to the Book of Mormon you will see that there were 11 witnesses. There was a 12th, Mary Whitmore who was able to see the plates outside the possession of any of the others. Of the three witness who also saw the angel Moroni, they each at some point broke with Joseph Smith and left the Church. None ever recanted their testimony.

    As to believing in the doctrine, it is basically the same message that Christ based the original church upon. Few other faiths teach pre-mortal existence, but there it is all through the Bible.

  • Pinkadot says:

    Well, first off, there are witnesses that gave their testimony about seeing and handling the same plates the Joseph translated. There is the testimony of Joseph Smith, the testimony of the 3 witnesses and the testimony of the 8 witnesses all recorded at the first of the Book of Mormon. You can read them on or if you have access to the Book of Mormon. I suggest you read their testimonies. Some will argue that some of those men left the church, which some did, but not one EVER denied their testimony of those ancient records.
    One thing you must also understand is that “fundamentalist mormons” and not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, therefore they are also not really Mormons.
    I would suggest you read from Joseph’s own account how the religion came to be restored, (not “started”) in the Joseph Smith history on
    I know a lot about the faith because I am a faithful member…how do I know Joseph Smith saw whom he saw and is infact a true prophet? Because I have asked my Heavenly Father in prayer and on several occasions, and through many sacred, spiritual experiences, the Holy Ghost has testified in my heart and in my mind that he IS a true prophet. It is not something I can make any other person believe or even have that person understand how or why without that person experiencing the same comforting, assuring and loving answers I have received. It’s different for all of us.


    Probably by not playing poker!

  • straightup says:

    As another has stated, there were actually 12 witnesses to the plates from which the Book of Mormon were translated. Also, Joseph Smith didn’t necessarily “start” the Mormon religion, but was a prophet called by God to lead the restored church of Jesus Christ, as was set up by Christ in the Bible; he was a tool in Gods hands. He was like prophets of old, spreading the world of God. Lastly, because religion (ALL) is faith based, you can not count on objective or factual evidence to be the foundation of your belief. Just like you likely haven’t seen God, but may still believe He exists, we must have faith and seek confirmation from God through the Holy Spirit and prayer.

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