A Mormon is "a member of a religious group called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which began in the U.S. in 1830" (Cambridge Dictionary). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) was founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. (1805-1844) in New York, whose Book of Mormon (1830) purported to be a new revelation of Christianity and provided the nickname by which its adherents would be called.

A denomination founded in and representative of the United States in the nineteenth century, Smith's LDS embraced "a particularly extreme version of American exceptionalism" by espousing the spiritual homes of both Christianity and Judaism to be in the United States rather than the Middle East (Howe, What Hath God Wrought, 316). Smith garnered a large following, particularly among low-income farmers from New England within the folk Puritanism tradition. After creating communities across the Midwest, particularly in Missouri, Ohio, and Illinois, the LDS faced extreme violence throughout the 1830s and 1840s due to what many other Christian denominations viewed as unorthodox political, social, and religious views.

Nineteenth-century Mormonism differed sharply from many other contemporary Protestant denominations by its open practice of polygamy, focus on collectivism, tightly intertwined church and state structure, and distinctly non-evangelical and isolationist stance toward others. After Smith's murder in 1844 in Illinois, successor Brigham Young (1801-1877) inspired a collective movement of Mormons to seek out a safe place for their community and established Salt Lake City in modern-day Utah, which has been considered the center of LDS operations since. By establishing a residency in a territory that did not yet belong to the United States, the LDS also aided in the nation's westward expansion and colonial ambitions (Howe, What Hath God Wrought, 312-19, 723-31; Wikipedia).

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