Difference between Mormons and LDS

By: | Updated: Nov-20, 2017
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The Mormon sect is sometimes referred to as LDS, which stands for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Most LDS members call themselves “Mormons.” However, there are exceptions to this. There are also some differences between the practices of some of the sub-branches of the LDS and mainstream Mormonism. We will discuss these exceptions and differences in this article.

Summary Table

Mormon LDS
Members of mainstream Mormon Church are called Mormons Some leaders of the Church demand that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints aren’t referred to as the Church of Mormon
Polygamy is practiced within part of the Mormon community Polygamy is forbidden


Joseph Smith preaching to the Indians. A painting by Carl Christian Anton Christensen

The Mormon Church was founded by Joseph Smith in the 19th century in the United States. Joseph Smith wrote his seminal Book of Mormon after, by his admission, he had a series of visions presented to him by the Angel named Moroni. The Angel “showed the way” for the author to find the series of plates on which was written the history of American dwellers with the focus on the teachings of Jesus Christ practiced within the communities.

Mormons historically belong to Christianity, but the two religious teachings and beliefs differ substantially. Among other beliefs written in the Book of Mormon is the belief that any Mormon has the capacity to become God if he follows the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Mormon Church representatives claim that there are over fifteen million people among the followers of the teachings of the Church today. The Mormon community is famous for its unity and strives to become an autonomous society.

Global distribution of LDS Church members in 2009
Global distribution of LDS Church members in 2009

The LDS Church sees its mission in the restoration of the teachings of Jesus Christ. The LDS Church authorities view mainstream Christianity as being misrepresentative as far as “true” Christianity is concerned. The LDS Church is the fourth largest Christian community in the US, and biggest among the other organizations within the Latter Day Movement, founded by its mastermind Joseph Smith. The Church leaders claim the mission and religious practices of the Church stem from the Church of Christ which Joseph Smith founded in 1830. The Church has branches all over the world. The missionaries of the Church go through an extensive training and are required by The Church to serve a two year long mission in the place in the world they choose to serve.

Mormon vs LDS

What is the difference between Mormon and LDS?

  • Some LDS sub-branches, such as Community of Christ do not agree to be referred to as “Mormons.” The LDS Church representatives prefer the organization not to be called “The Mormon Church.” They agree, however, on referring to the members of the Church as “Mormons.” This position comes from the requirement to use the name of Jesus Christ whenever The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is referred to.
  • Since the beginning of the movement, Mormonism has become notorious for practicing plural marriage. Early Mormon Church members openly engaged in polygamy. At the beginning of the 20th century, under pressure from mainstream Christianity, the LDS Church renounced plural marriage. However, the practice of plural marriage is still going on among the members of the Mormon community who do not associate themselves with the LDS Church.
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