Why Are Mormons Called Latter-day Saints?

Let’s uncover the fascinating reason behind why Mormons are referred to as Latter-day Saints. This distinct name arises from their belief in the restoration of the original Christian church, as led by Joseph Smith in the early 19th century. As followers of Jesus Christ, Mormons believe that in these latter days, God has restored His gospel and chosen His followers to be modern-day saints. Thus, the term “Latter-day Saints” embodies their conviction in being part of the restored church, embracing their faith and commitment to living a Christ-centered life.

Mormonism and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Mormonism, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), is a religious movement that traces its origins back to the early 19th century. It was founded by Joseph Smith in the state of New York, and today, it has millions of members globally. The LDS Church is unique in its beliefs and practices, which center around the Book of Mormon and have a strong emphasis on the latter days and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Why Are Mormons Called Latter-day Saints?

Connection to the Book of Mormon

One of the main reasons why Mormons are referred to as Latter-day Saints is their strong connection to the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is considered to be another testament of Jesus Christ, alongside the Bible. It is believed to have been translated by Joseph Smith from ancient golden plates, and it contains the religious history of an ancient civilization that migrated to the American continent. The title “Latter-day Saints” highlights their belief in the divine inspiration and relevance of the Book of Mormon in modern times.

Belief in Jesus Christ

Central to Mormonism is the belief in Jesus Christ as the Savior and Redeemer of the world. Mormons view Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the central figure in the Plan of Salvation. They believe that through his sacrifice and atonement, individuals can be forgiven of their sins and ultimately return to live with God in the afterlife. The use of the term “Saints” emphasizes their devotion and commitment to following the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Restoration of the Gospel

Mormons also refer to themselves as Latter-day Saints because they believe that their faith represents a restoration of the original Christian gospel taught by Jesus Christ during his mortal ministry. According to their beliefs, after a period of apostasy and the loss of priesthood authority, God called Joseph Smith as a prophet to restore the true teachings and organization of the original Church of Jesus Christ. This restoration is seen as a continuous process, with modern-day prophets receiving ongoing revelation from God.

Revelation from God

The LDS Church places great emphasis on the concept of ongoing revelation from God. Mormons believe that God continues to communicate with his children through prophets and other inspired leaders. This ongoing communication is considered vital for guidance and direction in navigating the challenges of today’s world. By referring to themselves as Latter-day Saints, Mormons highlight their belief in the necessity of divine revelation in the modern era.

Emphasis on the Latter Days

The term “Latter-day Saints” also reflects the Mormon belief in the latter days, a period of time preceding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Mormons believe that we are currently living in the last dispensation, where important events are unfolding as part of God’s plan for humankind. This belief in the imminent return of Jesus Christ influences their perspective on society, family, and personal preparedness.

Connection to the Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon as Another Testament of Jesus Christ

The Book of Mormon is a central scripture in the LDS Church and serves as an additional witness of Jesus Christ. Mormons believe that the book contains the writings of ancient prophets who lived on the American continent and provides spiritual guidance and insights in addition to the Bible. The connection to the Book of Mormon is an integral part of Mormon identity and reinforces their understanding of Jesus Christ as the Savior of all mankind.

Reference to the Latter Day Saints in the Book of Mormon

Interestingly, the Book of Mormon itself refers to its followers as “saints” and describes their role in the latter days. It prophesies of a time when the gospel will be restored, and a remnant of the House of Israel will be gathered. The term “Latter-day Saints” not only reflects the church’s understanding of its own identity, but it also serves as a reminder of the prophetic fulfillment found within the Book of Mormon.

Belief in Jesus Christ

Mormon Understanding of Jesus Christ

Mormons have a distinctive understanding of Jesus Christ that is based on their interpretation of scripture. They believe that Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God and that he plays a crucial role in the Plan of Salvation. Mormons teach that Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice makes it possible for all individuals to repent, be forgiven of their sins, and progress spiritually. They see Jesus Christ as the ultimate example of love, compassion, and righteousness.

Importance of the Savior’s Atonement

The atonement of Jesus Christ is central to Mormon beliefs. Mormons believe that through his suffering in Gethsemane and his crucifixion on the cross, Jesus Christ paid the price for humanity’s sins and overcame physical and spiritual death. His atonement offers individuals the opportunity to be reconciled with God and to find forgiveness and healing. Mormons strive to remember and apply the Savior’s atoning sacrifice in their daily lives, seeking to become better disciples and emulate his teachings.

Restoration of the Gospel

Joseph Smith and the Restoration

The restoration of the gospel is a pivotal event in Mormon history, and it is closely tied to the prophet Joseph Smith. According to Mormon belief, Joseph Smith was chosen by God to restore the true gospel of Jesus Christ. In 1820, as a young boy, Joseph Smith claimed to have seen God the Father and his son Jesus Christ in a vision. This experience, known as the First Vision, marked the beginning of a series of heavenly visitations and revelations that led to the establishment of the LDS Church.

Establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In 1830, Joseph Smith officially organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This marked the formal establishment of the church and the beginning of a significant religious movement. The church established its headquarters in Kirtland, Ohio, before eventually relocating to Nauvoo, Illinois, and then migrating west to what is now Utah. The establishment of the LDS Church as a distinct religious institution was a foundational moment for the Latter-day Saints.

Revelation from God

Continuing Revelation

A fundamental belief of the LDS Church is the belief in continuing revelation. Mormons believe that God still speaks to his children through living prophets and apostles. This ongoing revelation provides guidance and direction to the church and its members. It is seen as a way for God to adapt his message and teachings to the needs and challenges of each generation. The concept of continuing revelation sets the LDS Church apart from many other Christian traditions.

Divine Guidance in the Church

Latter-day Saints believe that the LDS Church is led by a prophet who receives revelation directly from God. This belief in divine guidance extends to other leaders of the church, who receive inspiration for their specific responsibilities. Mormons place a high value on personal revelation as well, encouraging individuals to seek guidance from God through prayer and spiritual promptings. This emphasis on ongoing communication with God is an essential aspect of Latter-day Saint faith.

Emphasis on the Latter Days

Prophecies of the Latter Days

The LDS Church places a significant emphasis on the latter days and the events associated with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Mormons believe that we are currently living in a time of great significance and that prophesied events are unfolding. Key prophecies related to the latter days are found throughout the scriptures, including the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and other LDS canonized texts. The focus on the latter days shapes the perspective and priorities of many Latter-day Saints.

Preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ

Mormons believe that part of their purpose on Earth is to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This preparation involves personal righteousness, service to others, and strengthening families. Latter-day Saints promote living in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ and strive to be a positive force in their communities. They understand that their actions today have significance in the context of the latter days and the establishment of God’s kingdom on Earth.

Distinctiveness of the Latter-day Saints

Unique Beliefs and Practices

The LDS Church has several unique beliefs and practices that set it apart from other Christian denominations. These include beliefs in eternal families, temple worship, the potential for personal divinity, and the practice of baptism for the dead, among others. Mormon doctrine and theology encompass a comprehensive worldview that addresses many aspects of life and spirituality.

Integration of Mormon Culture with the Church

Another distinctive feature of the LDS Church is the close integration of Mormon culture with its religious practices. The church provides a framework for a unique way of life, encompassing aspects such as family values, education, missionary work, and community involvement. The strength of Mormon identity is often seen in close-knit communities and supportive networks that extend beyond religious services.

Misunderstandings and Controversies

Misconceptions about the Name “Mormon”

Despite efforts by the LDS Church to emphasize its full name, there are still common misconceptions regarding the name “Mormon.” Some individuals mistakenly believe it to be the official name of the LDS Church, when in fact, it is a nickname derived from the Book of Mormon. The use of the term “Mormon” can lead to misunderstandings and misrepresentations of the church and its beliefs.

Criticism and Opposition to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

As with any religious movement, the LDS Church has faced criticism and opposition throughout its history. Some controversies have centered around theological differences, such as the church’s teachings on polygamy or the role of women. Others have arisen from societal and cultural factors that have shaped public perception and led to misunderstandings. Despite these challenges, the LDS Church continues to grow and thrive, attracting new members worldwide.


Mormonism, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a unique religious movement that places a strong emphasis on the latter days and the teachings and atonement of Jesus Christ. Mormons are called “Latter-day Saints” because of their belief in the relevance and importance of the Book of Mormon, their commitment to following the teachings of Jesus Christ, and their understanding of the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith. With a distinctive belief system, ongoing revelation, and a focus on preparing for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the Latter-day Saints have carved out a vibrant and growing community worldwide.