Mormons are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or (to abbreviate) the LDS Church, a Christian restoration movement headquartered in Salt Lake City. They believe that in the 1830s, the angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith Jr. and revealed the location of buried golden plates on which were inscribed the contents of the Book of Mormon. This book revealed that not only had early Jews built ships and sailed to the Americas in Abrahamic times, but that Jesus had also visited these Jews and established his Church on the Earth. This book is considered gospel, sort of a third portion of the Bible itself.
Earlier on, they were infamous for practicing polygamy, which they abandoned to achieve statehood. Some splinter branches – particularly the FLDS (the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) church – still engage in polygamy. They are easily recognizable by their dress.
Today, Mormons are known for being polite, accommodating, being blonde, having lots of children, and sending their young men and women (though more men) out on missions. Missions typically last 18 to 24 months and are considered one of the most important times of a young Mormon’s life. During this time they have minimal contact with the world outside of their “mission call” (which can be anywhere nationally or internationally) and work to convert others to the Mormon church.
While Mormons now enjoy the ability to freely practice their faith — particularly in Utah, where they have a practical stronghold on the state culture — the early church faced a lot of persecution and they were forced to flee the bounds of the United States in order to live the lives they felt God was calling them to. This website explores this secession movement on the part of the Mormons, and particularly how their need for self-preservation was the motivation both to abandon the United States and then to rejoin it later on.