What are Mormons?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (sometimes called LDS Church or Mormonism) is a sect of Christianity founded by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the 19th century. People who are members of the LDS Church are called Mormons.
Mormons are similar to other Christian denominations in the fact that they believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior. Their major divergence from other sects of Christianity is that they include the Book of Mormon in Scripture alongside the Bible. The Book of Mormon holds that Jesus Christ visited the Americas long before any European explorers and ministered there, establishing a peaceful society. Members of the LDS Church believe that a prophet named Mormon (hence the name of the Church) recorded this occurrence on golden plates and his son later buried them in a hill in the state of New York. In 1823, Joseph Smith found these plates in the hillside and translated them to English and founded the Church. The Book of Mormon is believed to have been a revelation of new information concerning Christ's actions in the Americas.
Mormons also differ in some of their social behaviors compared to other Christian sects and the greater population. They abstain from alcohol, cigarettes, caffeinated beverages, and illegal drugs. Modest dress is also favored by Mormons, and though this is encouraged in most faiths, Mormons (especially women) feel quite strongly that dressing modestly is a duty.
Though the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was founded in New York and flourished in the Western United States, the faith has spread around the world. Outside of the United States, the nations with the most members of the LDS Church are Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Peru.