Is There A Difference Between LDS And Mormon?

Have you ever wondered if there is a difference between LDS and Mormon? Many people use these terms interchangeably, but the truth is, there is indeed a distinction. While both refer to the same religious group, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), the term Mormon has a broader scope, encompassing not only the LDS Church but also various sects and individuals who identify with the teachings of Mormonism. In this article, we will explore the nuances between LDS and Mormon and unravel the rich tapestry of beliefs and practices that shape this vibrant faith community.

Definition of LDS and Mormon

LDS Defined

LDS, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a Christian religious organization that emerged in the early 19th century in the United States. Members of the LDS Church consider themselves to be followers of Jesus Christ, and they believe in the restoration of the original Christian Church as described in the Bible.

Mormon Defined

“Mormon” is a term often used to refer to members of the LDS Church. The nickname “Mormon” comes from the Book of Mormon, a sacred text that members of the LDS Church consider to be an additional witness of Jesus Christ alongside the Bible. The term “Mormon” has been used historically to describe both the religious beliefs and the cultural heritage associated with the LDS Church.

Origin and History

Origin of LDS

The LDS Church traces its origin back to a religious movement known as the Restoration, which began in the early 19th century in upstate New York. The movement was founded by Joseph Smith Jr., who claimed to have received divine revelations and was chosen by God to restore the true teachings and authority of Jesus Christ. The founding event of the LDS Church is considered to be the organization of the Church on April 6, 1830.

Origin of Mormon

The term “Mormon” originates from the Book of Mormon, which is believed by members of the LDS Church to have been translated by Joseph Smith from ancient records revealed to him by God. The origins of the Book of Mormon are traced back to ancient American civilizations and their interactions with Jesus Christ. The publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830 played a significant role in the establishment of the LDS Church.

History of LDS

Since its establishment, the LDS Church has experienced significant growth, both in terms of membership and influence. This growth was accompanied by a journey westward, as members of the Church faced persecution and sought a place where they could practice their religion freely. Ultimately, they settled in the Salt Lake Valley in what is now Utah, where the headquarters of the LDS Church remain today. Over the years, the LDS Church has expanded its geographic reach, with members found all over the world.

History of Mormon

Throughout its history, the term “Mormon” has been used to describe both the religious beliefs and the cultural practices associated with the LDS Church. The early history of the LDS Church was marked by its distinctive teachings and practices, including the practice of polygamy, which was officially discontinued in 1890. Today, the term “Mormon” is often used to refer to the historical origins and unique characteristics of the LDS Church.

Beliefs and Teachings

Core Beliefs of LDS

The core beliefs of the LDS Church revolve around the belief in God as the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, as the Savior and Redeemer of humanity. LDS Church members also believe in the importance of personal revelation, the power of prayer, and the eternal nature of families. They have a strong belief in the potential for individuals to progress and become like God.

Core Beliefs of Mormons

Mormons, or members of the LDS Church, share the same core beliefs as outlined above. They believe in the teachings and authority of Joseph Smith as a prophet of God, and they accept the Book of Mormon as scripture alongside the Bible. Mormons place a strong emphasis on the importance of living a moral and virtuous life, as they believe it brings happiness and draws them closer to God.

Unique Doctrines of LDS

The LDS Church teaches several unique doctrines that set it apart from other Christian denominations. One of these is the belief in continuing revelation, meaning that God can and does reveal additional guidance and instructions to His church and its leaders. Another distinctive doctrine is the belief in the preexistence and the potential for eternal progression and exaltation, whereby individuals can become gods and goddesses in the eternities.

Unique Doctrines of Mormons

As Mormons embrace the unique doctrines of the LDS Church, their faith is deeply rooted in the teachings of the Book of Mormon. They believe in the divine calling of Joseph Smith as a modern prophet and the restoration of the true gospel of Jesus Christ through him. Mormons also place great importance on the principle of ongoing revelation, believing that God continues to guide His church today.

Scriptures followed by LDS

The LDS Church recognizes the Bible as sacred scripture and regards it as the word of God. In addition to the Bible, members of the LDS Church also accept additional scriptures, including the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. These scriptures are considered to be additional witnesses of Jesus Christ’s ministry and teachings and provide guidance for modern-day believers.

Scriptures followed by Mormons

Mormons, as members of the LDS Church, embrace the same set of scriptures as outlined above. The Book of Mormon holds a central place in their religious teachings and is considered to be another testament of Jesus Christ. The Doctrine and Covenants contains revelations received by Joseph Smith, and the Pearl of Great Price includes additional translations and writings by Joseph Smith.

Organization and Structure

Leadership Structure of LDS

The LDS Church operates under a hierarchical leadership structure led by a president, who is regarded as a prophet, seer, and revelator. The president is considered to hold the keys of the priesthood, which are believed to be the authority to act in God’s name. He is assisted by two counselors, forming the First Presidency, and together, they provide overall direction and spiritual guidance to the Church.

Leadership Structure of Mormons

The leadership structure of the Mormons aligns with that of the LDS Church. Mormons recognize the president of the LDS Church as the prophet and the highest authority within the Church. Under the direction of the president, the First Presidency, and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the Church is organized into various administrative levels, including stakes, wards, and branches, each led by local leaders.

Congregational Units in LDS

The basic congregational unit in the LDS Church is called a ward. A ward typically consists of several hundred members living within a specific geographical area. Wards are led by a bishop who, with the assistance of his counselors, oversees the spiritual and temporal needs of the members in the ward. Multiple wards are organized into larger administrative units called stakes.

Congregational Units in Mormons

Mormons follow the same congregational unit structure as the LDS Church. They belong to wards and stakes, and these local units provide opportunities for worship, fellowship, and service. Within each ward, various organizations exist to meet specific needs, such as women’s, youth, and children’s organizations. This structure allows for a sense of community and support while fostering a strong sense of belonging among members.

Missionary Work in LDS

The LDS Church places great emphasis on missionary work and actively encourages its members to share their beliefs with others. Young men and women are often called to serve full-time missions, during which they dedicate themselves to teaching others about the LDS Church and inviting them to investigate its teachings. Missionaries typically serve for eighteen to twenty-four months and live by a strict code of conduct.

Missionary Work in Mormons

Mormons, as members of the LDS Church, fully participate in the missionary efforts outlined above. They consider it a privilege to share their beliefs and invite others to come unto Christ. While not all Mormons serve full-time missions, they actively engage in everyday missionary work by sharing their faith and inviting others to learn more about the LDS Church.

Cultural Practices

Worship Services in LDS

LDS Church members gather on Sundays for worship services, which include sacrament meetings, Sunday School classes, and various auxiliary meetings and activities. Sacrament meetings typically consist of hymn singing, prayers, talks, and the administration of the sacrament, a symbolic ordinance commemorating Jesus Christ’s Atonement. Sunday School classes and other meetings focus on gospel study and learning.

Worship Services in Mormons

Mormons embrace the same format for worship services as practiced by the LDS Church. They come together on Sundays to worship, learn, and partake of the sacrament. In addition to sacrament meetings and Sunday School, Mormon congregations also have meetings specifically tailored for different age groups, such as Primary for children, Young Men and Young Women programs, and Relief Society for adult women.

Dress Code and Modesty

Both the LDS Church and Mormons emphasize the importance of modesty in dress and appearance. While there are no specific dress codes enforced, members are encouraged to dress in a way that shows respect for sacred spaces and reflects their commitment to living a Christ-centered life. This often translates to wearing conservative and modest clothing that covers the shoulders, knees, and does not reveal excessive skin.

Dietary Practices

Neither the LDS Church nor Mormons have specific dietary restrictions or practices. Members are not required to adhere to any specific diet, and there are no religiously prescribed dietary rules. However, like many Christians, Mormons often choose to abstain from harmful substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs as part of their commitment to living a healthy and clean lifestyle.

Family and Values

Family plays a central role in both the LDS Church and Mormon culture. Members are encouraged to prioritize family relationships and strive to create nurturing and loving home environments. Mormons value strong marriages, emphasize the importance of parenthood, and place great emphasis on the eternal nature of families. They believe that families can be together forever through sacred ordinances performed in LDS temples.

Community Involvement

LDS Church members and Mormons actively participate in their communities and seek to make a positive impact. They engage in various community service projects, volunteer efforts, and humanitarian initiatives. The LDS Church operates extensive welfare and humanitarian programs, providing assistance to those in need, regardless of their religious affiliation. Mormons believe in the importance of reaching out to others and being good neighbors and citizens.

Relationship with Christianity

LDS as a Christian Denomination

The LDS Church considers itself to be a Christian denomination and claims to be a restoration of the original Christian Church established by Jesus Christ. They believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Savior of humanity, and the central figure of their faith. While there are theological differences that set them apart from other Christian denominations, the LDS Church retains its focus on Christ and professes belief in His teachings.

Mormons as Christians

Mormons identify as Christians and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. They strive to live their lives in accordance with Christian principles and seek to emulate Christ’s example of love, compassion, and service. While there may be theological variations and differences in certain doctrinal beliefs, Mormons firmly consider themselves to be followers of Christ and Christians in the truest sense of the word.

Christian Opposition to LDS

Throughout history, various Christian groups and individuals have expressed opposition to the beliefs and practices of the LDS Church. Some Christians dispute the LDS Church’s claim of being a restoration of the original Christian Church and criticize specific doctrines or practices they perceive as deviating from mainstream Christianity. These differences in theological interpretation have sometimes led to tension and debate between different Christian groups.

Christian Opposition to Mormons

Similarly, Mormonism has faced opposition and criticism from certain Christian groups. Some Christians object to unique LDS doctrines, such as the belief in ongoing revelation, the preexistence, and the potential for eternal progression. This has resulted in a degree of theological disapproval or the labeling of Mormons as non-Christians. Nonetheless, there are also Christians who recognize and respect the faith and devotion of Mormons as genuine expressions of Christianity.

Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation

In recent years, there has been a growing trend of interfaith dialogue and cooperation between different Christian denominations, including the LDS Church. Efforts are being made to foster understanding, promote respectful dialogue, and find common ground on issues of shared concern. Through these endeavors, bridges are being built, and opportunities for cooperation and partnership are emerging, promoting unity among Christians of diverse backgrounds.

Perceptions and Stereotypes

Public Perception of LDS

Public perception of the LDS Church varies. While some view the Church and its members with respect and admiration, others may hold misconceptions or stereotypes. The portrayal of Mormons in the media has influenced public perception, sometimes reinforcing stereotypes or creating misunderstandings. It is important to approach the perception of the LDS Church with an open mind and seek accurate information to dispel myths and misconceptions.

Public Perception of Mormons

Mormons, as individuals, may also face varied public perception. Some people may have formed opinions or stereotypes based on limited exposure or misinformation. However, as more people become acquainted with Mormons personally, they often find that the stereotypes do not align with the reality. Building relationships and fostering understanding can help dispel negative perceptions and promote a more accurate understanding of Mormons as individuals.

Media Representation

Media has played a significant role in shaping the public perception of the LDS Church and Mormons. Unfortunately, media representation has not always been accurate or balanced. Portrayals may focus on sensationalized aspects or reinforce stereotypes, often ignoring the diversity and complexity of the LDS Church and its members. It is important for media consumers to critically evaluate the information presented and seek out diverse perspectives.

Common Stereotypes

Several stereotypes and misconceptions exist about Mormons. Some common stereotypes include the practice of polygamy (which is no longer condoned by the LDS Church), strict rules and restrictions on personal freedom, and an insular, closed-off community. It is essential to challenge these stereotypes and recognize that Mormons, like members of any faith, are individuals with diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences.

Challenges Faced

Both the LDS Church and Mormons may face unique challenges as a result of misconceptions, stereotypes, or opposition from other Christian groups. These challenges can range from prejudice and discrimination to misunderstandings and barriers to cooperation. However, many members of the LDS Church and Mormons have embraced these challenges as opportunities for growth, learning, and fostering understanding among different faith communities.

Controversies and Differences


Historically, the practice of polygamy has been associated with the early history of the LDS Church. However, the LDS Church officially discontinued the practice in 1890 and strictly prohibits it today. While some splinter groups continue to practice polygamy, it is essential to differentiate between these groups and the mainstream LDS Church, which no longer condones or practices polygamy.

Historical Conflicts and Tensions

The LDS Church has experienced conflicts and tensions throughout its history, both within the United States and internationally. These conflicts have ranged from persecution and discrimination to legal challenges and clashes with other religious groups. It is important to understand the historical context and the complexities surrounding these conflicts while recognizing the progress made in fostering mutual respect and understanding.

LGBTQ+ Rights

The LDS Church and Mormons have found themselves entangled in discussions and debates around LGBTQ+ rights. Like many religious organizations, the LDS Church upholds traditional teachings on marriage and relationships. However, in recent years, the Church has taken steps towards fostering compassion and understanding for LGBTQ+ individuals and families, promoting a balance between religious principles and loving inclusivity.

Gender Roles

The LDS Church has traditionally emphasized distinct gender roles, with men fulfilling leadership positions and women primarily focused on nurturing and family life. In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the value and contributions of women within the Church. Efforts are being made to provide increased opportunities for women to participate, lead, and contribute in various capacities within the Church.

Political Involvement

Throughout its history, the LDS Church has actively encouraged its members to be engaged in their communities and participate in political processes. However, the Church maintains a strict policy of political neutrality and does not endorse specific candidates or parties. Mormons are encouraged to be informed, responsible citizens and to exercise their right to vote according to their individual conscience.

Unified Identity

Embracing the Term ‘Latter-day Saint’

In recent years, there has been a shift within the LDS Church and among its members towards embracing the term “Latter-day Saint” as a preferred designation, aligning with the official name of the Church. This term reflects the belief in being followers of Jesus Christ in the latter days, emphasizing the Church’s focus on modern revelation, restoration, and the ongoing nature of God’s work.

Difference in Usage

While “Latter-day Saint” is becoming increasingly common, the terms “LDS” and “Mormon” are still widely used and recognized. Recognizing the historical significance and colloquial usage of “Mormon,” many members of the LDS Church, and Mormons themselves, continue to identify with and respond to the term. The usage of different terms reflects the diversity and evolving understanding of the LDS Church and its members.

Strength in Unity

Despite the complexities, controversies, and differing terminology, there is strength in the unity found among members of the LDS Church and Mormons. They share a common faith in Jesus Christ, a commitment to following His teachings, and a desire to make a positive difference in the world. By focusing on shared values and faith, the LDS Church and Mormons can foster understanding, bridge divides, and build strong relationships with others.


Acknowledging the Semantics

The difference between LDS and Mormon hinges largely on semantics. While some may prefer one term over the other, it is crucial to recognize that both terms refer to members of the same religious organization, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Bridge Between LDS and Mormon

Rather than divisive distinctions, the difference in terminology should be seen as a bridge between the historical origins and the unique characteristics of the LDS Church. It reflects the diversity and complexity of a faith community that has undergone significant growth and development over the years.

Shared Values and Faith

Ultimately, the LDS Church and Mormons share core values and a deep faith in Jesus Christ. They seek to follow His teachings, promote love, kindness, and service, and strive to make the world a better place. By acknowledging and embracing shared values and faith, the LDS Church and Mormons can foster understanding, build bridges, and work towards a more united and compassionate society.