The rise and expansion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormons, constitute a unique chapter in the study of world religions. Not only did this tradition emerge in the modern era and on the North American continent, but it has expanded quickly throughout the world as a lay movement, that is, without a distinctive class of clergy leaders. The very vigor of the movement has contributed to its controversial nature, and its financial and numerical strength have also been a source of much speculation and investigation. Moreover, Mormonism's relationship to Christianity is unique among world religions and a matter of ongoing debate. For these very reasons the story of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of importance both within the American context and on the broader global stage. It is important to pierce the many myths and stereotypes that enshroud Mormonism and seek a more thorough understanding of this significant tradition that now claims the religious loyalties of twelve million persons worldwide.
In the first session we will look at the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), or Mormons. The second session will review its beliefs and look at important differences between Mormons and other Christians.