Latter-Day Saints

LATTER-DAY SAINTS, see  Mormonists.

MORMONISTS, or LATTER DAY SAINTS. The founder of this sect was Joseph Smith, born in 1805, of poor parents, in the State of Vermont, U.S. At the age of 15 he declared himself to have seen a vision of "two personages," who informed him that all existing Christian sects were erroneous. According to his own account, this vision was repeated three years afterwards, when he was informed that the American Indians were a remnant of the Israelites, and that certain prophetical writings of the Jews were buried in a spot from which he was destined to rescue them. The absurd story goes on to say that Joseph Smith accordingly found in a stone box, just covered with earth, in Ontario, the "Record," consisting of gold plates engraven with "Reformed Egyptian" characters. Although discovered in 1823, the angel would not allow Smith to remove them until 1827. Luckily he also discovered the Urim and Thummim in the same box with the golden plates, and by its aid he was able to translate a portion of the revelation, which, when complete, composed a large volume. This volume he called the "Book of Mormon," "Mormon" meaning, as he explained, more good, from "mor," a contraction for more, and "mon," the Egyptian for goodMormon, too, was the name of a supposed prophet living in the fourth or fifth century. The golden plates, said to have been discovered in the above extraordinary manner, were never publicly produced, but three witnesses were found to testify that they had actually seen the plates, an angel having exhibited them. These three witnesses were the two brothers and the father of Smith. Four other witnesses of the name of Whitmer also testified the same. The "Book of Mormon" was succeeded by a "Book of Doctrine and Covenants," being a collection of special revelations made to Smith and his associates. Followers soon began to flock around the new "prophet," as Smith called himself. But at the same time much hostility was shown to the sect. They were expelled from different States, until at last they settled in Illinois. An altercation between the "Saints" and the county resulted in the imprisonment of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum; but in 1844 a mob broke into the prison and the brothers were shot. Brigham Young succeeded to the post of "prophet." Fresh troubles with the State caused another migration of the "Saints" in 1846, who, after much suffering, settled in the valley of the Great Salt Lake. There they have prospered, and the settlement itself, by the name of Utah, has been admitted to the United States Confederacy. They send missionary agents to all parts of the world to make fresh converts. The practice of polygamy they justify by their doctrine concerning "spiritual wives." They have published a "Creed," in which they profess their belief in the Holy Trinity, in Salvation through Christ, in the necessity of the Sacraments and the ordinary means of grace. They further believe that the miraculous gifts of the Spirit continue. They believe in the word of God recorded in the Bible, and in the Book of Mormon. They look for the restoration of the Jews, and expect a millennium. They have 82 congregations in England.

MORNING PRAYER The construction  of the Morning and Evening Services is so similar that they will both be considered under this heading. It will be noticed that the Services recognise distinctly what may be called God's part and man's part in the communion of worship. They open by the message of God to His people, calling for penitence and promising forgiveness, which is met by the response of the Confession. Next pardon is pronounced in God's Name, which naturally awakens in the pardoned soul the outburst of Praise and Thanksgiving in the Lord's Prayer, the Psalms and the Canticles. Then the voice of God is again heard in the Lessons, and His revelation is accepted by the response of faith in the Creed. Lastly, in the sense of His grace and the knowledge of His will, we turn to Prayer for ourselves and for others, and end with the commendation of all to His blessing.

Many parts of the Morning and Evening Service are considered under their own particular names, but the history of the rest is given here.

The Introductory Sentences, from the Psalms, the Prophets, and New Testament, are taken from old Lent Services. The Exhortation, 1552, was composed partly from the preceding sentences, and partly from ancient forms. The Confession, 1552, is derived from old forms.

The Absolution, like the previous part of the service, was added in 1552. In the Rubric, the words "Remission of sins" were added by the Hampton Court Conference in 1604, to meet the objection that the word Absolution  was popish. In 1661 the word Priest  was substituted for "Minister," showing that a deacon may not read the Absolution.

With the Lord's Prayer  the old Latin Service begins. The Rubric directs it to be said with an "audible voice," because formerly it was said inaudibly, to keep it from the ears of the unbaptized. The direction that the people are to say it with the Minister was added in 1661. The Versicles  date from the 6th century. The answer, "The Lord's Name be praised," was added in 1661. For the Canticles and Creed  see different articles.

The Salutation, "The Lord be with you," is apostolic. Next comes the Lesser Litany. The Versicles  following are said by the Priest "standing up," in accordance with mediaeval custom. Morning Prayer ended with the Collect for Grace until 1661, when the five final prayers were added. The Second Collect  dates from 5th century, the third  from 6th century. The prayers for the Queen, and for the Clergy and People, stood in the Litany in 1559, and the Prayer of St. Chrysostom  (John, the Golden Mouthed) was in the Litany in 1545, and dates from the 4th century. The Prayer for the Royal Family  was composed in 1604.