With all the news in the media about the FLDS polygamist ranch "Yearning for Zion," it has become apparent that some journalists link the FLDS with the LDS church.
Makes sense in some regards...with those initials so close to each other. In fact, in the 1800s the FLDS church didn't exist; its members were part of the actual Mormon church (although this was more than 120 years ago).
But that is where the similarities end.
Certain members from the late 1800s broke with the Mormon church and began a church of their own. Thus, will there be similarities between the two churches? I suppose. Apparently members of the FLDS do own Book of Mormons. And they follow men they call prophets (based on Amos 3:7).
But there are many differences, far more than there are similarities.
In fact, they are as different from the Mormon church as another splinter group that originated with the Mormon church: the RLDS church. For example, the RLDS church membership also has ancestry that goes back to the early days of the official Mormon church. But those early RLDS members themselves broke off and formed their own church, calling it originally the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (currently changed to the Community of Christ). Thus, are there similarities between this other offshoot? A few. But many more differences than there are similarities.
But is this any different than the large amounts of different kinds of Christian churches? How many different kinds of Baptist churches are there? If one were to claim they were all the same, would this be fact? Just speak to a devout member of the Southern Baptist organization? There are a number of differences they would vehemently defend in what sets them apart. I very much respect many of those concerns.
So what does all this mean for the reader of modern media with the confusing mixup of terms about the FLDS polygamists and the LDS non-polygamists? A lot of confusion. The differences are actually rather fascinating and important to understand. Over the coming weeks, I will be delineating what it is that the official Mormon church holds as doctrinal beliefs.
The most important thing to begin with is contained within the First Article of Faith held by the official Mormon church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints):
Article of Faith #1.
We believe in God the Eternal Father and in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
This belief is held by Christians throughout the world, and it is tightly held by those who belong to the official Mormon church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To learn more about the official Mormons, visit this website that delineates quite clearly what we believe.
The FLDS do believe in Jesus Christ, but their application of His gospel is as different as night and day compared to how the members of the official Mormon church live.