The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized in 1830 in Fayette, New York. Its unique message was that the original gospel of Jesus Christ had been restored through a modern prophet, Joseph Smith. The Church became known as the Mormon Church because of its belief in the Book of Mormon, a book of scripture which was translated from gold plates by Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon provides another testimony of Jesus Christ and is used by Church members as a companion to the Bible. The new religion grew rapidly in the northeastern United States, and missionaries soon began teaching in others areas as well.
In June 1832 six Latter-day Saint missionaries entered Canada, preaching in Ernestown and Loughborough Townships. This group of missionaries included Phineas and Joseph Young, Eleazer Miller, Elial Strong, Enos Curtis, and a sixth man whose name is not known. During their six weeks of preaching they converted several families and formed, in Ernestown Township, the first branch of the Church outside the United States.
Other Latter-day Saint missionaries followed, and branches of the Church were soon organized in Sydenham and surrounding area. The Prophet Joseph Smith, first President of the Church, visited areas in Ontario to preach the gospel in 1833 and visited Canada again in 1837. Another missionary was Brigham Young, brother of Joseph and Phineas, who became the second President of the Church after the death of Joseph Smith. In July 1833 Young led a group of converts from Ernestown and Loughborough Townships to join the Saints in Kirtland, Ohio, headquarters of the Church at the time. He later led the Mormon pioneers exodus to Utah.
During the 1830s and 1840s many more missionaries came to Ontario. One who had outstanding success was John E. Page, who preached in various communities along the Rideau Canal and converted over 600 people between 1836 and 1838. Among those who heard Page preach was Ira Nathaniel Hinckley, whose grandson, Gordon B. Hinckley, later became the fifteenth President of the Church
The new faith was embraced by hundreds of Canadians in Lennox and Addington, Frontenac, Leeds and Grenville, and Lanark Counties as well as in the Toronto and Brantford areas. Many of these early converts left Canada to join the main body of the Church in the United States, but in the twentieth century, strong permanent congregations have become established here.