The Mormons

   The Mormons are the mem­bers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This church is not an old one. It was founded in Fayette, N.Y., in 1830. The founder was Joseph Smith. When he was 14, Joseph Smith began having visions. They led him when he was still only 25 to found the new religion.

   The name "Mormons" comes from the Book of Mormon, which is one of the sacred books of this church. The founder, Joseph Smith, said that he saw in a vision tablets of gold on which the Book of Mormon was written. Others wrote down what he read from the tablets. The Bible is also sacred to the Mormons.

   At first there were few believers in the new religion. But soon there were Mormon churches in a number of places—chiefly in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Illinois.

   Through the ages many groups of people have been badly treated because of their religion. The Mormons were one of these groups. Joseph Smith himself was killed by a mob. But the Mormon religion did not die. Brigham Young became the new leader.

   Since the Mormons were being badly treated, Brigham Young decided to lead them far to the west. In 1847 he and his band reached Great Salt Lake. Great Salt Lake and the region around it are now a part of the state of Utah. Then this region belonged to Mexico. Only a few Indians lived there. In the Mormon band that reached Great Salt Lake there were 143 men, 3 women, and 2 children. The region was desert. Without a day's delay, the Mormons began work to irrigate it and turn it into fertile farmland.

   One reason the early Mormons were bad­ly treated is that they taught that a man might have more than one wife at a time. The Mormons have now given up that teaching; having more than one wife is against the laws of the United States.

   There are now more than a million Mor­mons. The Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City is famous all over the world. Its organ and its choir are also famous.

   Their church plays a very important part in the lives of the Mormons. The church takes care of its members who are sick and old. It helps educate its children. The re­ligion is not a gloomy one. The Book of Mormon teaches that people are meant to be joyful. The church provides amusement of many kinds. But it does ask its members not to drink alcoholic liquors or smoke.

   The church needs big sums of money to carry on its many kinds of work. The money needed is given by the members. Each member gives the church a tenth of all he earns.

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