The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the LDS Church or, colloquially, the Mormon Church for their belief in the Book of Mormon) was started by Joseph Smith during what is called the Second Great Awakening. The church is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has established congregations and built temples worldwide.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints pray and worship in the name of Jesus Christ. He is the center of [their] faith and the head of [their] Church. The Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ and witnesses of His divinity, His life, and His Atonement.
The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. ... The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites soon after his resurrection. It puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come.
A living prophet directs the Church today. This prophet, the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the authorized successor to Joseph Smith. He and the present Apostles trace their authority to Jesus Christ in an unbroken chain of ordinations through Joseph Smith.
What began with God, Jesus and a single farm boy has now become a worldwide religion with more than  million members. But more than a religion, Mormonism is a lifestyle, an island of morality, they believe, in a time of moral decay. Hinckley acknowledged it is not easy to follow the Mormon faith, and called it the most demanding religion in America. ... For example, Mormons adhere to a very strict health code: no alcohol, no tobacco, no coffee, no tea, not even caffeinated soft drinks.
Since the roots of Mormonism are not a break off from the Catholic or Protestant churches, it is seen by some as “unorthodox.” For example, the LDS definition of the Godhead differs from the Nicene Creed accepted by most Catholic or Protestant churches. ... Such misunderstandings often vanish when people begin to realize the commonality of what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really teaches and believes. That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world whom we love and worship.
From Mitt Romney to Harry Reid, Mormons are increasingly visible in different spheres of American society, particularly in politics and the Fortune 500. Traditionally conservative but not really part of the religious right, the church opposes gay marriage and abortion (unless the mother's life is in danger or in cases of rape or incest). ... There is also room for policy differences among public figures who happen to be Mormon: Romney opposes fetal-stem-cell research, while Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah supports it.
God gives priesthood authority to worthy male members of the Church so they can act in His name for the salvation of His children. Priesthood holders can be authorized to preach the gospel, administer the ordinances of salvation, and govern the kingdom of God on the earth. ... Although the authority of the priesthood is bestowed only on worthy male members of the Church, the blessings of the priesthood are available to all—men, women, and children.
It was only in 1978 that the church opened up the priesthood to “all worthy male members,” no matter their race. ... Mr. Mueller also said that “the idea that Mormons” were until recently “exceptionally exclusionary or racist is probably unfair.” While no other large, predominantly white church barred blacks from the clergy in the 1970s, none was particularly integrated or had notable black leaders, either.
"You see, the Mormon Church is the only church in the history of this country that had an extermination order out against it by Governor Lilburn Boggs of Missouri. We went through untold persecutions," Sen. Hatch said. To escape the persecutions, Mormons moved west. And when they reached Salt Lake, their leader, Brigham Young, pointed and declared it their promised land. And now Temple Square is their Vatican.
There are more than 14 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and not one of them is a polygamist. The practice of polygamy is strictly prohibited in the Church. The general standard of marriage in the Church has always been monogamy, as indicated in the Book of Mormon. For periods in the Bible polygamy was practiced by the patriarchs Abraham and Jacob, as well as kings David and Solomon. It was again practiced by a minority of Latter-day Saints in the early years of the Church. Polygamy was officially discontinued in 1890 — 122 years ago.
Joseph Smith founded cities, built temples and ran for president. But his most meaningful contribution was as "prophet, revelator and seer," as he called himself--and as the architect of a church that tends to nurture the bonds between its members in a spirit of charity. Smith's vision--optimistic, vigorous, a source of continuing personal growth for all who accept its blessings--in many ways echoes the American Dream.