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Welcome to

Site Version January 2011


Name of the Church

We are not a regularly organized church, at least in the corporate and administrative sense.  But we are the original church, comprised of people who are members and priesthood holders, continuing uninterrupted as the original church as it was organized in 1830 and as it existed when Joseph Smith was killed in 1844.

   There were three successive names used by the original church:

  1. “Church of Christ” was made official by Joseph Smith in April 1830.

  2. “Church of Latter Day Saints” was made official by Joseph Smith in April 1834.

  3. “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” was made official by Joseph Smith in April 1838.

  1. “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” was still in use by Joseph Smith when he was killed in 1844.

  2. “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” was used by James J. Strang from 1844 until he was killed in 1856.

  3. “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” has been continuously used by members of the church ever since.

  4. “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” is a name or phrase that has been in the public domain since 1844.

  5. The additional corporate first article and British hyphenation differentiate “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, which is now incorporated as “Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah”; which existed without a presidency from 1844 to 1847, was incorporated in 1851, and was dissolved as a corporation by an Act of Congress in 1887 (see the Late Corporation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints v. The United States, Supreme Court, which upheld the dissolution).

  6. We are the original, and we welcome any publicity and clarification about the name difference.

  7. We own the domain name rather than an acronym.

To see early name usage, click any image for an enlargement

Evening and Morning Star,
Church of Christ
Early 1830s

Elders’ Journal
“Church of Latter Day Saints”
Late 1830s

Times and Seasons
“Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”

Letter from Joseph Smith, signed over the church name:
“Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”
June 1844

James J. Strang’s Gospel Herald
“Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”
Late 1840s

As people, we prefer to be called Latter Day Saints.  We have occasionally been called by short nicknames, including Mormons, True Latter Day Saints, Original Latter Day Saints, Voree Mormons, Wisconsin Mormons, Islanders, Beaver Island Mormons, Great Lakes Mormons, Michigan Mormons, Primitive Mormons, Seventh-day Mormons, and Strangites, depending on the context and place.

Some religious prejudice is inherent in Anglo-Saxon language. Our vocabulary is problematical in that it evolved in a church-state with few avenues of religious protest. English has only pejorative words to distinguish unusual people—such as divergent, separatist, apostate, heretic, dissenter, dissident, break-off, offshoot, faction, splinter, extremist, fanatic, and schism. Yet unusual objects are assigned favorable names like rare, extraordinary, scarce, uncommon, special, unique, distinctive, exceptional, and precious.

Moreover, discriminatory people prefer to affix the suffix of nouns “-ite” to distinguish anyone smaller than themselves. The suffix is not itself disagreeable in consideration of the larger groups identified by words such as Israelite, Levite, Nazarite, Nephite, Jaredite, Mormon(ite), and Wisconsinite. But in affixing the suffix to the name of James Strang, the intent has always been derogatory, contemptuous, and belittling. Besides, there is a similar appearance between Strang (rhymes with “sang”) and strange, an already derisive word for anyone unusual. That invokes preconceptions when a person sees the name of Strang with the suffix “-ite” for the first time, and more so when they hear it mispronounced. Additionally, every intelligent, educated, and skilled historian abandoned the terms “Brigham-ite” and “Joseph-ite” decades ago in favor of acronyms. Any similarly derived words related to Strang are inappropriate and unscholarly.

Definitively, denominating a church by the name of Strang is repugnant to its own christening attributed to Jesus: “And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses’ name then it be Moses’ church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel.”  ( 3 Nephi 27:8 ).  The precise name and style in use by Joseph Smith Jr. from 1838 to 1844, and by James Strang from 1844 to 1856, was “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.”

Though members of the church prefer to be greeted as “Latter Day Saints,” we acknowledge that where the different churches are compared and contrasted in printed works, there needs to be some differentiation. For that purpose the term “Great Lakes Mormons,” parallel to the term “Rocky Mountain Mormons” (now used by many professional historians), is most historically specific.  Even so, the proposed phrase is only appropriate in cultural histories or sociological studies, not as a title for personally addressing people.

Strang’s presence around the Great Lakes was meaningful. His first headquarters, Voree, Wisconsin, was twenty-six miles from Lake Michigan, in Racine County bordering the lake. His second headquarters, St. James, Michigan, was on the largest island archipelago in Lake Michigan. On 8 July 1850, the church “appointed the Islands of the Great Lakes for the gathering of the Saints.” Strang also settled islands in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Drummond Island in Lake Huron, and dominated the mainland in several Michigan counties bordering the lake. He honeymooned on serene Lake Superior in a Native American bark canoe. Church members constantly traversed the Great Lakes on missions to Canada and the East, particularly Lake Erie to reach Kirtland, Ohio, and New York State; and return emigration was by water. They had their own schooners on Lake Michigan. Finally, they were dependent on the lakes because salted fish and steamboat timber were their primary exports, and merchandise and dry goods were shipped in as trade from port cities. Truly, they were the Great Lakes Mormons in every sense that there were Rocky Mountain Mormons.

Both terms indicate the historical region that the respective churches settled. While Strang declared that the church should gather to the “Great Lakes,” Brigham Young comparatively chose the “Rocky Mountains” as his geographic location, based on a spurious prophecy attributed to Joseph Smith: “I prophesied that the Saints would . . . be driven to the Rocky Mountains. . . [and] become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains” (posthumously added in the margin of the manuscript history of the church, in an unknown hand—original in the possession of the Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah).


Continuing Faith

For baptism for the remission
of sins, it is necessary only to have
faith toward God, and to repent of all sin.

To receive baptism by immersion, contact:


Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Mormon Road and Hwy. 11
Burlington, Wisconsin

(800) 862-5667



One example of our
concise priesthood lineage

Prophet Joseph Smith, 1829

Ebenezer Page, 1830
(Early Mormon in N.Y., Missouri, brother of John E. Page,
Later an Apostle at Voree, Wis., and Beaver Island)

Elder Wingfield Watson, 1858
(Lived on Beaver Island)

Elder Joseph H. Hickey, 1907
(Son of L.D. Hickey who lived at Palmyra, N.Y., Nauvoo, Ill.,
Voree, Wis., and was an apostle on Beaver Island)

Elder Steve Barany, 1953
(Son-in-law of Joseph H. Hickey, died in 2010 at 95)



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© 1996-2011 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  All Rights Reserved.
The First Presidents of this Church were Joseph Smith Jr. 1830-1844, and James J. Strang 1844-1856.
The First Presidency was at Voree, Wisconsin 1844-1850, and St. James (Beaver Island), Michigan 1850-1856.

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