List of sects in the Latter Day Saint movement


List of sects in the Latter Day Saint movement
Contents
Before 1844 Brigham Young: Mainstream LDS  · Woolley / other fundamentalists · Progressive · Miscellaneous

Other lineages: Joseph Smith III · Hedrick · Rigdon · Bickerton · Cutler · Strang · Additional factions Self-originated
Relationship tree · Arrangement rationale · Photo gallery · See also · References · Further reading · External links
Index: A · B · Ce ·Church of–––  · Co · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z   Biggest 8:

1st sect  · AUB  · Ch of Christ–Elijah  · Ch of JC ('Bickerton')  · Ch of JC–LDS  · Comm of Christ / RLDS  · FLDS  · Restoration Branches


Portrait of Joseph Smith, Jr
An 1842 portrait of Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the Latter Day Saint movement

This list of sects in the Latter Day Saint movement provides a listing of churches that form a part of the Latter Day Saint movement—sometimes collectively referred to as Restorationism or Mormonism—whether still extant or not. A member of any of these sects is properly referred to as a Latter Day Saint in the general sense, regardless of the particular church to which he or she may belong (or belonged). While this list is far from complete, it currently incorporates all of the major known sects within the movement, past or present.

The Latter Day Saint movement includes:

  • The original church within this movement, founded in April 1830 in New York by Joseph Smith, Jr., was the Church of Christ, which was later named the Church of the Latter Day Saints. It was renamed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1838, which remained its official name until Smith's death in 1844. This organization subsequently splintered into several different sects, each of which claims to be the legitimate continuation of this original church, and most of which dispute the right of other sects within the movement to claim this distinction.
  • The largest denomination within the contemporary movement is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church or, colloquially, Mormon church) with 14 million members. It is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, and uses the term Latter-day Saints to describe itself and its members (note the hyphenation and variation in capitalization usage).
  • The second-largest denomination is the Community of Christ (first named the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from 1872–2001), a Missouri-based, 250,000-member denomination. Though members of this church have traditionally been called Latter Day Saints (without the hyphen), the Community of Christ has more recently stated that it rejects the use of the term Saints as a designation for its members in any official reference or publication.[1]
  • Other sects within the movement either formed around various would-be successors to Joseph Smith, Jr., or else broke from sects that did. These, together with the two sects listed above, are detailed in the table of denominations within the Latter Day Saint movement, below.

The term Mormonism is often used as a collective description of the movement and especially of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; however, many other Latter Day Saint sects are opposed to the use of this term, as they consider it to be derogatory and connected to the polygamy once practiced by the Utah church.[2] These other groups tend to prefer the terms Restorationist or Latter Day Saint.

Though a few minuscule factions broke with Smith's organization during his lifetime, he retained the allegiance of the vast majority of Latter Day Saints until his murder in June 1844. Following Smith's death, his movement experienced a profound leadership crisis which led to a schism within his church. The largest group followed Brigham Young, settling in what would become the Utah Territory (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). The second-largest faction coalesced around Joseph Smith III, eldest son of Joseph Smith, Jr. (the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), currently headquartered in Independence, Missouri. Other would-be leaders included the senior surviving member of the First Presidency, Sidney Rigdon, the newly-baptized James Strang from Wisconsin, and Alpheus Cutler, one of the Council of Fifty. Each of these men still retains a following as of 2010—however tiny it may be in some cases—and all of their organizations have experienced further schisms.[3][4][5] Other claimants such as Granville Hedrick, William Bickerton and Charles Thompson, among others, later emerged to start still other factions, some of which have further subdivided.

List of Latter Day Saint – movement churches

Era of Joseph Smith, Jr.
Joseph Smith's original church,[3] and those bodies which broke with him during his lifetime.
Original church within movement
The original organization, founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1830, later called the Church of the Latter Day Saints and then Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.[6][7]
Name Organized by Date Current status Notes
Church of Christ[3] Joseph Smith, Jr. April 6, 1830 Joseph Smith's original organization; multiple sects currently claim to be true successor In 1834, official name changed to "Church of the Latter Day Saints". In 1838, official name changed again to "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints".[6][7] Unofficial names included Church of God and Church of Jesus Christ.[8]
Breakaway churches established before 1844
Other small churches formed on the basis of disagreements with Smith prior to his murder in 1844 (including church established by William Law within 1844), all of which are now defunct.
Church name Organized by Date Split off / Continuation of Current status Notes
Pure Church of Christ[9] Wycam Clark 1831 Church of Christ Defunct First schismatic sect in the Latter Day Saint movement.
Independent Church[10] – Hoton[11] 1832 Church of Christ Defunct Little is known about this second schismatic sect apart from the date of establishment, the surname of its founder, and that Hoton denounced Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.[11]
Church of Christ[3] Ezra Booth 1836 Church of the Latter Day Saints Defunct Taught that Joseph Smith was not a prophet, and the Book of Mormon was not scripture.
Church of Christ (Parrishite)[12] Warren Parrish 1837 Church of the Latter Day Saints Defunct Believed that Joseph Smith was a "fallen prophet". Rejected the Book of Mormon and parts of the Bible.
Alston Church[9] Isaac Russell 1839 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Defunct Taught that the Latter Day Saints should remain in Missouri, and not emigrate to Illinois.
Church of Christ[3] William Chubby Late 1830s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Defunct Established with the special mission of ministering to African Americans.
Church of Jesus Christ, the Bride, the Lamb's Wife[9] George M. Hinkle 1840 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Defunct Taught that Joseph Smith was not a prophet, and the Book of Mormon was not scripture.
Church of Christ[3] Hiram Page 1842 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Defunct Little is known concerning this sect.
True Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints[9] William Law 1844 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Defunct Opposed plural marriage; published the Nauvoo Expositor. Charges levied against Joseph Smith over the destruction of this periodical led to his assassination.

Lineage of Brigham Young
Sometimes called "Rocky Mountain Saints," "Brighamites," or "Mormons", tracing their leadership or influence through Brigham Young.

The LDS Church
By far the largest and best known Latter Day Saint church, which is colloquially, but imprecisely, referred to as the "Mormon Church".
Name Organized by Date Split off / Continuation of Current status Notes
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints[3][13] Brigham Young
and
Quorum of the Twelve
1844
(trust reorganized);
1851[14]
(incorporated)
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 14 million members as of 2011 The largest Latter Day Saint denomination. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (abbreviated as the LDS Church), is often colloquially referred to as the Mormon Church. Adherents are popularly called Mormons or Latter-day Saints. Resulted from Latter Day Saints that followed Brigham Young after succession crisis. Practiced plural marriage until the early 20th century.

Mormon break-away churches upholding polygamy
Churches that believe they are strictly following the revelations and teachings of Joseph Smith, Jr. and Brigham Young, including the practice of plural marriage, which was discontinued by the LDS Church in the late 19th century.
Name Organized by Date Split off / Continuation of Current status Notes
Short Creek Community[15] Lorin C. Woolley 1920s The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Multiple sects claim to be true successor Originally headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. One of the earliest Mormon fundamentalist groups, originating at end of plural marriage in LDS Church. Later splintered into several groups, particularly upon death of Joseph W. Musser in 1954. Most modern Mormon fundamentalist groups may be traced back to this organization.
Latter Day Church of Christ[15] Elden Kingston 1926 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Roughly 2,000 members Headquartered in Davis County, Utah. Commonly known as the "Kingston clan" and the "Davis County Cooperative Society".
Apostolic United Brethren[15] Rulon C. Allred 1954 Short Creek Community Approximately 10,000 members (1998)[16] Headquarters in Bluffdale, Utah. Organized during schism between two groups over issue of presiding authority between Rulon C. Allred and Leroy S. Johnson, upon death of Joseph W. Musser.[15]
Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints[15] Leroy S. Johnson 1954 Short Creek Community 8,000–10,000 members[17] Traditionally headquartered in Colorado City, Arizona, with a community of roughly 700 members near Eldorado, Texas. Also called "FLDS Church" and is the largest group of Latter Day Saints who practice plural marriage and Mormon fundamentalism.
Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness of Times[15] Joel F. LeBaron 1955 Apostolic United Brethren[18] Under 1,000 members[19] Headquartered in Colonia Lebaron, Mexico[20] Established in northern Mexico, this group claims a priesthood line of authority through Benjamin F. Johnson, a member of the Council of Fifty.
Church of the Lamb of God[15] Ervil LeBaron 1972 Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness of Times Current status unknown, may continue in LeBaron family in Los Molinos, Baja California Ervil LeBaron split with his brother, Joel F. LeBaron in 1972. Ervil then ordered his brother Joel killed in 1972, and Apostolic United Brethren leader Rulon C. Allred killed in 1977. LeBaron was extradited to the United States and sentenced to life in prison where he died in 1981.
Church of the New Covenant in Christ[9] John W. Bryant 1975 Apostolic United Brethren Headquartered in Salem, Oregon Previously called the "Church of Christ Patriarchal" and the "Evangelical Church of Christ". One of Bryant's estranged wives says Bryant converted temple ordinances into sexual rites and that he authorized a type of "free love" among the members.
Confederate Nations of Israel[15] Alex Joseph 1977 Apostolic United Brethren Approximately 400 headquartered in Big Water, Utah Hybrid church – political organization patterned after the Council of Fifty. Members can be from any religious denomination or atheist. Around one-quarter of members practice plural marriage.
Righteous Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints[15] Gerald Peterson, Sr. 1978 Apostolic United Brethren Approximately 100 members. Headquartered in Modena, Utah. This small group of about 100 people was founded by Gerald Peterson, who claims Rulon Allred returned after his death to restore the priesthood to Peterson.
School of the Prophets[9][21] Robert C. Crossfield 1982 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Headquartered in Salem, Utah In 1968 Crossfield published the Book of Onias which, among other things, condemned many LDS Church leaders and was excommunicated in 1972.[22] Through associations, and initially well received, with Mormon fundamentalists in Creston, British Columbia, Canada, in 1982 Crossfield established his own "School of the Prophets", presided over by a President and six counselors.[22] Ron and Dan Lafferty, convicted of the 1984 murder of their brother's wife and infant daughter, served as counselors in the Provo, Utah School of the Prophets in 1984.[21]
Centennial Park[15] Marion Hammon
and
Alma Timpson
1984 Short Creek Community Roughly 1,500 members[15] Also known as the "Second Ward". Organized by group who broke from Leroy S. Johnson over questions regarding presiding authority.[15]
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Kingdom of God[15] Frank Naylor
and
Ivan Neilsen
1990 Centennial Park 200–300 members. Headquartered in Bluffdale, Utah[23] Also known as the "Naylor group" and the "Third Ward".[15] Organized by group who broke from Centennial Park over conflicts in the leadership of Alma Timpson.
True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days[15] James D. Harmston 1994 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 300–500 members (2004)[24] Headquartered in Manti, Utah. Also called "TLC Church" and formed independent of the Woolley or the LeBaron priesthood lineages.
The Church of the Firstborn and the General Assembly of Heaven[25] Terrill R. Dalton 2001 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Currently headquartered in Fromberg, Montana Originally organized in Magna, Utah by former members of the LDS Church. Practice polygamy and the law of consecration. Dalton purports to be the Holy Ghost and the Father of Jesus.[26]
Blackmore/Bountiful Community[15] Winston Blackmore 2002 Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Headquartered in Bountiful, British Columbia with approximately 700 members Schism from the FLDS Church when Church president Warren Jeffs excommunicated Blackmore, causing the community of Bountiful to split nearly in half.

Left-of-center Mormon breakaway churches
The defunct Godbeites and a few other small churches that broke with the LDS Church to pursue a more liberal, inclusive, or rationalist theology.
Name Organized by Date Split off / Continuation of Current status Notes
The Church of Zion[27] William S. Godbe 1868 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Defunct Also known as "Godbeites".
United Order Family of Christ[28] David-Edward Desmond 1966 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Lasted until at least 1973, probably until 1974. Founded in Denver, Colorado; the church was founded specifically for young gay men only, ages 18 to 30; members practiced the United Order.
Restoration Church of Jesus Christ[28] Antonio A. Feliz 1985 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Around 500 members in Utah and California. Majority of members are LGBT. Commonly called the "Gay Mormon Church" or the "Liberal Mormon Church". Originally called the "Church of Jesus Christ of All Latter-day Saints".

Additional churches claiming lineage through Brigham Young and/or founded in the U.S. Intermountain West
Several small churches rooted in Mormonism; formed under the belief that their leader was inspired to restore a new religious tradition in the mold of Joseph Smith, Jr.
Name Organized by Date Split off / Continuation of Current status Notes
Church of the Potter Christ[29] Arnold Potter 1857 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Defunct Potter wore a long beard and white robes; his followers wore black robes; followers emigrated from California to Council Bluffs, Iowa, in 1861.
Church of the Firstborn (Morrisite)[30] Joseph Morris 1861 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Assumed defunct Remnants of this organization survived into the mid-20th century. Involved in the Morrisite War; believe in reincarnation. Morris claimed to be the successor of James Strang, though his organization broke from the LDS, not the Strangite, church.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Gibsonite)[31] Walter M. Gibson 1861 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Defunct Organized in Pacific Islands; sold leadership offices to native peoples; gathering place established on Lanai, Hawaii.
Kingdom of Heaven[32] William W. Davies 1866 Church of the Firstborn (Morrisite) Defunct Lived a communal life near Walla Walla, Washington, from 1867 to 1881.
Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Most High[33] John R. Eardley 1882 Church of the Firstborn (Morrisite) Disbanded in 1969 The last known surviving remnant of the "Morrisites".
Order of Enoch[34] James Brighouse 1884 Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Church of the Firstborn (Morrisite) Continues into in the 21st century Believe in reincarnation; rejected plural marriage; believe that Jesus reincarnated as Brighouse and again in 1909 as Dr. Dahesh and that the millennium will commence in the 24th century.
Aaronic Order[32] Maurice L. Glendenning 1942 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Less than 1,000 members Also called "House of Aaron".
Zion's Order, Inc.[32] Merl Kilgore 1951 Aaronic Order and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Headquartered in Mansfield, Missouri; approximately 100 members Formerly known as Zion's Order of the Sons of Levi; use all of the scriptures of the LDS Church except section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants, plus 650 revelations to Kilgore.
Perfected Church of Jesus Christ of Immaculate Latter-day Saints[32] William C. Conway 1955 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Unknown Also called "Restored Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ of Immaculate Latter-day Saints"; Conway claimed to be the reincarnation of Moroni and to have been visited by a reincarnation of Joseph Smith.
Church of Jesus Christ (Bullaite)[32][35] Art Bulla 1983 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah Bulla taught other Latter-day Saints that he was the "One Mighty and Strong" that Joseph Smith, Jr. prophesied would come to set the church in order. Bulla was interviewed in the anti-Mormon movie The God Makers II with the title "Mormon Prophet" under his name.
Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ[36] Matthew P. Gill 2007 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Headquartered in Derbyshire, England Met informally as "The Latter Day Church of Christ" until formal organization. Added the Book of Jeraneck to scriptural canon.[37]

Other lineages
Those churches rejecting Brigham Young's leadership, in favor of some other claimant. These adherents are occasionally referred to, collectively, as "Prairie Saints."

Community of Christ or other "Josephite" Restorationist churches
The Community of Christ and related churches tracing their leadership through Joseph Smith III.
Name Organized by Date Split off / Continuation of Current status Notes
Community of Christ[38] Joseph Smith III 1860 Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints; some early members came from Strangite church
More than 250,000 members as of 2006[39] Second-largest Latter Day Saint denomination. Headquartered in Independence, Missouri. Previously known as the "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" (RLDS church); organized by Joseph Smith III in 1860.
Church of the Christian Brotherhood[40] R. C. Evans 1918 Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Defunct Split with Reorganized Church over belief that Joseph Smith practiced plural marriage; Evans published a book documenting evidence that Smith was a polygamist, then went on to reject most of the tenets of Mormonism.
Church of Jesus Christ (Toneyite)[32] Forrest Toney 1980 Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Headquartered in Independence, Missouri Left Reorganized Church in 1980; claimed to be "Elijah and only prophet" of his organization.
Independent RLDS / Restoration Branches[41] Various local leaders of the RLDS church 1980s Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints As of 1993, 15,000–30,000 sympathizers who yet retained membership in the RLDS Church (Community of Christ);[42] as of 2011, c. 10,000 members attending several hundred distinct congregations.[43] Affiliated branches and study groups, with each branch relatively autonomous and the movement as a whole centered in Independence, Missouri.[41][44] RLDS church branches that became independent of the RLDS church individually throughout the 1980s, due to opposition to changes in RLDS church doctrines and practices. Most priesthood holders of these branches soon became affiliated with the "Conference of Restoration Elders". At a three-day conference in November 2005, the "Joint Conference of Restoration Branches" was formed,[45] which had 6,000 to 7,000 members as of 2010.[46]

Members consider themselves members of the [historical] Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in a direct line of succession from those who dissented following doctrinal changes roughly coinciding with the RLDS denomination's name change to Community of Christ.[47]

Church of Jesus Christ Restored 1830[32] Nolan W. Glauner Mid-1980s Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Members in Missouri and Africa; headquartered in Tarkio, Missouri Regards Wallace B. Smith as a "fallen prophet" of the RLDS church, for opening the priesthood to women and for choosing to build the Independence Temple as opposed to the city of Zion.
Church of Christ[48] David B. Clark 1985 Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Headquartered in Oak Grove, Missouri Also known as "Lion of God Ministry". Clark broke from the RLDS church in November 1985. In May 1987 Clark began to issue a newsletter, "The Return". Group adheres closely to the King James Version of the Bible and "The Record of the Nephites", but does not consider other Mormon scripture to be authoritative. They keep annual feasts, including Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles, etc.[48]
Church of Jesus Christ (Zion's Branch)[3] John and Robert Cato, among others 1986 Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 200 or so members; headquartered in Independence, Missouri Largely composed of former members of the RLDS church who oppose what they consider to be recent doctrinal innovations, especially the giving of the priesthood to women in 1984.
Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints[49] Several RLDS entities 1989 Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Headquartered in Independence, Missouri The church broke off from the Community of Christ because of its belief that women should not hold the priesthood.
Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints[50] Frederick N. Larsen 2000 Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 1,000–2,000 members; headquartered in Independence, Missouri Chiefly composed of former members of the RLDS church who oppose what they consider to be recent doctrinal innovations, especially the passing of the church presidency to someone not descended from Joseph Smith, Jr. (Larsen is a descendant of Joseph Smith, Jr. through his grandson Frederick Madison Smith).

Restorationist churches ("Hedrickite")
The Church of Christ (Temple Lot) and related churches tracing their leadership through Granville Hedrick.
Name Organized by Date Split off / Continuation of Current status Notes
Church of Christ (Temple Lot)[51] Granville Hedrick 1863 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; some members from Gladdenites 5,000 members; headquartered on the Temple Lot in Independence, Missouri Owns the Temple Lot; adherents commonly referred to as "Hedrickites."
Church of Christ (Fettingite)[52] Otto Fetting 1929 Church of Christ (Temple Lot) Sect divided into various factions A denomination which split with the Temple Lot church over reported revelations from John the Baptist to its founder, Otto Fetting; adopted sabbatarianism under Apostle S.T. Bronson in 1950s.
Church of Christ at Halley's Bluff[53] Thomas B. Nerren
and
E. E. Long
1932 Church of Christ (Temple Lot) Headquartered at Schell City, Missouri; less than 100 members Members originally believed Otto Fetting's revelations but did not join the Church of Christ (Fettingite). Formally named "Church of Christ at Zion's Retreat" until a 1972 schism in which Dan Gayman led most of its followers away to his Church of Israel.
Church of Christ (Restored)[54] A.C. DeWolf ca. 1937 Church of Christ (Fettingite) Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri;approx. 450 members Split from Fettingite organization in late 1930s when that sect initially accepted William Draves' "messages"; claims to be the true continuation of Fetting's church. Non-sabbatarian.
Church of Christ "With the Elijah Message"[55] Otto Fetting
and
William Draves
1943 Church of Christ (Fettingite)[52] c. 12,500 members worldwide as of 1987.[56][57] Headquartered in Independence, Missouri Split with the Church of Christ (Fettingite) when that sect rejected revelations from John the Baptist given to its founder, William Draves, following the death of Otto Fetting.
Church of Christ (Hancock)[3][58] Pauline Hancock 1946 Church of Christ (Temple Lot) Defunct as of 1984 First Latter Day Saint denomination to be established by a woman; accepted KJV Bible and Book of Mormon only; later rejected Book of Mormon and dissolved itself in 1984. Among its former members were Jerald and Sandra Tanner, opponents of the Latter Day Saint movement and founders of the Utah Lighthouse Ministry.
Church of Christ[9] Howard Leighton-Floyd
and
H. H. Burt
1965 Church of Christ with the Elijah Message Around 35 members Leighton-Floyd and Burt Split with the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message during the reincorporation of that church under its present name. Leighton-Floyd left shortly after the formation, with Burt assumed leadership of the group. The membership is centered on an agricultural cooperative near Holden, Missouri.[59]
Church of Israel[32] Dan Gayman 1972 Church of Christ at Halley's Bluff Headquartered in Missouri Name was "Church of Our Christian Heritage" until incorporation in 1981. The church has been accused of being a Christian Identity church, a charge which is denied by Gayman. Few Latter Day Saint beliefs or practices remain in the church.
Church of Christ with the Elijah Message (The Assured Way of the Lord)[60] Leonard Draves 2004 Church of Christ with the Elijah Message Headquartered in Independence, Missouri Split from the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message, Inc., which in turn split from the Church of Christ With the Elijah Message; founders claim that they are the legitimate continuation of William Draves' organization.

Restorationist churches ("Rigdonite" and/or "Bickertonite")
Churches tracing their leadership through Sidney Rigdon and/or William Bickerton.
Name Organized by Date Split off / Continuation of Current status Notes
Church of Jesus Christ of the Children of Zion[3][4] Sidney Rigdon 1844 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Dissolved by 1847 Originally also used the name "Church of Christ". Also known as Rigdonites.
The Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite)[4] William Bickerton 1862 Organized by former members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Children of Zion (Rigdonites), by then defunct 12,136 as of 2007;[61] headquartered in Monongahela, Pennsylvania Adherents commonly referred to as Bickertonites (church actively opposes use of this term).
Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite)[32] Half of the Bickertonite Quorum of Twelve Apostles 1907 Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite) Defunct Dispute over nature of life in the millennium split Bickertonite Quorum of the Twelve in two; later merged with the Primitive Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite).
Primitive Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite)[32] James Caldwell 1914 Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite) Defunct Rejected the First Presidency as a valid leadership organization of the church; later merged with the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite).

Restorationist churches ("Cutlerite")
The Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite) and related churches tracing their leadership through Alpheus Cutler.
Name Organized by Date Split off / Continuation of Current status Notes
Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite)[5] Alpheus Cutler 1853 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Approximately 12 members (2010);[62] headquartered in Independence, Missouri Adherents commonly called "Cutlerites"; practice "United Order"; retains Nauvoo-era Temple endowment and Baptism for the Dead.
True Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite)[63] Clyde Fletcher 1953 Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite) Never more than 10; headquartered in Clitherall, Minnesota Split from Cutlerites over presidential succession issue; church folded with death of its founder in 1969 and schism was subsequently healed.
Restored Church of Jesus Christ[32] Eugene O. Walton 1980 Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite) 25 members; headquartered in Independence, Missouri Split from Cutlerites when they rejected Walton's claim to be the "One Mighty and Strong".

Restorationist churches ("Strangite")
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) and related churches tracing their leadership through James Strang.
Name Organized by Date Split off / Continuation of Current status Notes
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite)[3] James J. Strang 1844 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints A few hundred members; headquartered in Voree (now Burlington) Wisconsin Currently split between proponents and opponents of incorporation in 1961. Anti-incorporation factions headquartered in Shreveport, Louisiana and Independence, Missouri
Church of Christ (Aaron Smith)[64] Aaron Smith 1846 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) Defunct Short-lived sect formed in Voree, Wisconsin.
Church of the Messiah[65] George J. Adams 1861 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) Defunct Led followers from Maine to Palestine; attempt to establish mission there failed.
Holy Church of Jesus Christ[32] Alexandre R. Caffiaux 1964 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) Congregations in France and New Mexico Caffiaux claimed to be the rightful successor to James J. Strang. Church headquartered in France.
Church of Jesus Christ (Drewite)[32] Theron Drew 1965 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) Extant; one congregation led by Richard Drew, Theron's son Drew organized the church after being excommunicated from the Strangite church, on account of Drew's promotion of Merl Kilgore as the "One Mighty and Strong" and a potential successor to James Strang.
True Church of Jesus Christ Restored[66] David Roberts 1974 Church of Christ with the Elijah Message and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) Headquartered in Independence, Missouri Difficult to categorize; Roberts claimed to be Strang's successor.

Additional LDS Restorationist churches (usually headquartered in U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains)
Other "Prairie Saint" branches of the movement, such as the Church of Christ (Whitmerite), none of which is known to be extant today.
Name Organized by Date Split off / Continuation of Current status Notes
Church of Christ (Wightite)[67] Lyman Wight 1844 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Extant until around 1958 Wight rejected the claims of leadership made by Brigham Young, William Smith and James Strang. He moved a group of Latter Day Saints to the central Texas frontier. He accepted Joseph Smith III as his father's successor, but did not live long enough to join the RLDS church (though most of his followers later did).
Church of Christ (Whitmerite)[9] William E. M'Lellin
and
David Whitmer
1847 and 1871 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Extant until around 1925 William E. M'Lellin claimed that Joseph Smith, Jr. had designated David Whitmer, one of the Three Witnesses, as his successor. By 1925, most remaining members of the Whitmerite church had united with the Church of Christ (Temple Lot).
Church of Christ (Brewsterite)[9] James C. Brewster
and
Hazen Aldrich
1848 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Defunct Published a periodical entitled The Olive Branch.
The Bride, the Lamb's Wife[68] Jacob Syfritt 1848 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Defunct Syfritt claimed to have been taken to heaven to converse with Joseph Smith, who designated him as his true successor.
Congregation of Jehovah's Presbytery of Zion[9] Charles B. Thompson 1848 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Defunct Also called (Baneemyites and Conjespresites). "Thompson claimed to be "Baneemy" mentioned in The Doctrine and Covenants, D&C 105:27. Said the church had been rejected by God following Joseph Smith's death, and he had been called to renew the priesthood among the gentiles.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Gladdenite)[9] Gladden Bishop 1851 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Dissolved after Bishop's death in 1865 Many members later helped to form the Church of Christ (Temple Lot).
Pentecostal Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints[69] Mike Bethel 1994 Several different Latter Day Saint sects[70] Extant as of 1998; Status currently unknown The sect holds to the canonicity of the Bible and the Book of Mormon, but does not accept other texts in the Latter-day Saint movement such as the Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine and Covenants.[70]

Spontaneous or unknown lineage
Those sects which originated independent from other organizations and do not trace their doctrinal or priesthood lineage to any 19th-century Latter Day Saint factions, but still hold Latter Day Saint beliefs.
Name Organized by Date Split off / Continuation of Current status Notes
Independent Latter Day Saint congregations in Nigeria[71] Anie D. Obot ca. 1953 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (with LDS Church influences) Extant until around 1978 After LDS Church missionaries visited the town of Uyo in 1953, Obot decided to form unauthorized branches of the church in Nigeria and wrote for more information to LDS headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. However, due to Nigerian government visas restrictions and the absence of church leadership, these branches deviated from LDS Church doctrine. This included some practicing of polygamy and establishment their own black priesthood hierarchy, both of which were prohibited at the time by church doctrine.
Independent Latter Day Saint congregations in Ghana[72] Joseph W. B. Johnson 1964 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (with LDS and RLDS influences) Extant until around 1978 Upon receiving a copy of the Book of Mormon, Johnson started "Latter day Saint" congregations in Ghana independent from any other Latter day Saint sect. In 1976, Johnson went to find "The Mormons" (i.e., the LDS Church) and found the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints instead. However, no further contact was established with the RLDS Church. Upon the announcement of the Official Declaration—2, allowing those of of African descent into the priesthood, Johnson and most of his group were baptized into the LDS Church.[72]
Apostolic Divine Church of Ghana[72] Cape Coast group of the independent Latter-Day Saint congregations in Ghana 1976 Independent Latter-Day Saint congregations in Ghana Extant for only a few months The Cape Coast group of the independent Latter-Day Saint congregations in Ghana (Johnson) schismed when ongoing contact was not established with the LDS or RLDS churches in 1976. Some of the individuals in this group formed the Apostolic Divine Church of Ghana, however, this sect lasted only a few months.[72]

Table of provenances


Categorizing the churches

Lithograph of the Martyrdom of Joseph Smith, Jr.
An 1851 tinted lithograph depicting the death of Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1844

Given the large number of Latter Day Saint churches and their differing backgrounds, categorizing them can be difficult. A common approach in a number of histories and studies is to use Rocky Mountain Saints for those denominations headquartered in the American West and Prairie Saints for those sects that formed in and around Nauvoo, Illinois; Voree, Wisconsin; Independence, Missouri, and other locations in the Midwest and East. These terms do not necessarily relate the current geographical locations of all sects within those two groupings, but rather the original location of their respective parent organizations, which may be seen in the table below.

Another method uses provenance: for instance, all sects that ultimately trace their history back to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah are organized as one factional group, since the LDS church is directly connected historically to Joseph Smith, Jr.'s, organization, of which it claims to be the sole legitimate continuation. Divergent Paths of the Restoration—a reference work on this subject—follows this approach.[3]

In such studies, and in general Latter Day Saint parlance, the -ite-suffixed terms Josephite and Brighamite have been used for Missouri-based "Community of Christ" and Utah-based "LDS Church" respectively; and these terms have sometimes been used to distinguish groups of sects, as well. Those sects within each group share a common ancestry and basic beliefs that are different from groups sharing other provenances. The present article, in a similar fashion, distinguishes among groups of sects by use of commonly understood names such as Mormon Fundamentalist or else by short descriptions that often reference a founder of the first church within a factional group (for example, Joseph Smith III in reference to "Community of Christ" ("Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints") as well as various churches and factions that trace their origin to it).

Gallery

Images
Founders of factions
Alleged photograph of Joseph Smith, Jr.
Alleged photograph of Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the Latter Day Saint movement 
Portrait of William Law
Portrait of Brigham Young
Portrait of Sidney Rigdon
Sidney Rigdon, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Children of Zion 
Portrait of James Strang
Portrait of George J. Adams
George J. Adams, founder of the Church of the Messiah (George J. Adams) 
Portrait of David Whitmer
David Whitmer, one of the Three Witnesses and co-founder of the Church of Christ (Whitmerite) 
Portrait of William E. M'Lellin
Portrait of Joseph Smith III
Joseph Smith III, prophet of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now the Community of Christ). 
Portrait of R. C. Evans
R. C. Evans, founder of the Church of the Christian Brotherhood 
Portrait of Charles B. Thompson
Charles B. Thompson, founder of the Congregation of Jehovah's Presbytery of Zion 
Portrait of William S. Godbe
William S. Godbe, founder of the The Church of Zion, also called Godbeites 
Portrait of Joseph Morris (Latter Day Saints)
Joseph Morris (Latter Day Saints), founder of the Church of the Firstborn (Morrisite) 
Portrait of Walter M. Gibson
Portrait of Walter M. Gibson, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Gibsonite) 
Photo of Lyman Wight
Photo of Lyman Wight, founder of the Church of Christ (Wightite) 
Photo of Otto Fetting
Photo of Otto Fetting, founder of the Church of Christ (Fettingite) 
Photo of Lorin C. Woolley
Photo of Lorin C. Woolley, known as the father of Mormon fundamentalism amongst most fundamentalists sects 
Selected houses of worship
The Kirtland Temple
Kirtland Temple Built by Joseph Smith's Church of Christ Passed through hands of several factions after Smith's death; today owned by the Community of Christ 
The Salt Lake Temple
Salt Lake Temple of the LDS Church, in Salt Lake City, Utah 
The Independence Temple
Temple Lot, Independence, Missouri
Panorama of the Temple Lot in Independence, with (L to R) the Stone Church, the Temple Lot Church, the Independence Temple, and the Auditorium 
Church of Christ (Temple Lot)
World Headquarters and Independence Branch of the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), located in Independence, Missouri 
Outreach Restoration Branch
Current location of the Outreach Restoration Branch, in Independence, Missouri. Previously the location of the now-defunct Church of Christ (Hancock)
Meetinghouse of Strangite Branch
Headquarters of the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message
Headquarters and Independence Branch of the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message, in Independence, Missouri 
Church of Christ (Fettingite)
Meetinghouse of the Church of Christ (Fettingite), in Independence, Missouri 
Church of Jesus Christ (Zion's Branch)
Meetinghouse of the Church of Jesus Christ (Zion's Branch), in Independence, Missouri 
Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite)
Meetinghouse of the Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite) in Monongahela, PA 
Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite)
Headquarters and sole branch of the Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite) in Independence, Missouri 
Church of Christ (Assured Way)
Headquarters of the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message (Assured Way of the Lord), Inc. in Independence, Missouri 
FLDS Temple
Temple of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Eldorado, Texas 
Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Meetinghouse and Conference Center of the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in Independence, Missouri 
TLC "Red Brick Store"
Church of Christ (Restored)
Meetinghouse of the Church of Christ (Restored), in Independence, Missouri 
Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Meetinghouse of the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in Independence, Missouri 
Church of the Firstborn (Morrisite)
Schoolhouse of the Short Creek Community
Schoolhouse of the Short Creek Community in Colorado City, Arizona (site of the 1953 Short Creek raid). 
Pyramid shaped temple of the Righteous Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Pyramid-shaped temple and headquarters of the Righteous Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located near Modena, Utah 

Index

Links to entries in this article
Bold: Sects estimated to have 10,000-or-more members as of 2011.   Non-italics: Existent as of 2011.   Italics: Formerly existed or current existence unknown
A Aaronic Order · 'Alston Church group' · Apostolic Divine Church of Ghana · Apostolic United Brethren

N

'Nigeria's independent Latter Day Saint congregations'
B 'Bountiful community' · Bride, the Lamb's Wife, The
Ce 'Centennial Park community' O Order of Enoch

Ch

Church of Christ (Assured Way) · Church of Christ (Ezra Booth) · Church of Christ (Brewsterite) · Church of Christ (William Chubby) · Church of Christ (David Clark) · Church of Christ (Fettingite) · Church of Christ (Hancock) · Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints;  note: original LDS-movement church) · Church of Christ (Leighton-Floyd/Burt) · Church of Christ (Hiram Page) · Church of Christ (Parrishite) · Church of Christ (Aaron Smith) · Church of Christ (Temple Lot) · Church of Christ (Whitmerite) · Church of Christ (Wightite)

P

Q 

Pentecostal Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints · Perfected Church of Jesus Christ of Immaculate Latter-day Saints · Primitive Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite)
Church of Christ with the Elijah Message · Church of the Christian Brotherhood Pure Church of Christ
Church of the Firstborn (Morrisite) · Church of the Firstborn and the General Assembly of Heaven, The · Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness of Times · Church of Israel

R

Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ
(Bickertonite)
The Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite) · Church of Jesus Christ, the Bride, the Lamb's Wife · Church of Jesus Christ (Bullaite) · Church of Jesus Christ of the Children of Zion · Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite) · Church of Jesus Christ (Drewite) Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints · Restored Church of Jesus Christ
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Restoration Branches · Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints · Righteous Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Gibsonite) · Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Kingdom of God · Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) · Church of Jesus Christ Restored 1830 · Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Most High · Church of Jesus Christ (Toneyite) · Church of Jesus Christ (Zion's Branch)
Church of the Lamb of God · Church of the Messiah (George J. Adams) · Church of the New Covenant in Christ · Church of the Potter Christ · Church of Zion, The

S

School of the Prophets (Crossfield) · 'Short Creek community'
Co Community of Christ · Confederate Nations of Israel · Congregation of Jehovah's Presbytery of Zion

T

True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days · True Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite) · True Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints · True Church of Jesus Christ Restored
D‑F Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
G 'Ghana's independent Latter Day Saint congregations'
H Holy Church of Jesus Christ
I  J Independent Church (Hoton) U United Order Family of Christ
K Kingdom of Heaven (Daviesite)

V

X
Y 

Zion's Order, Inc.

L

M 

Latter Day Church of Christ · Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ

See also

References

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