Mormon Worship Infographic

Many people are unfamiliar with what actually takes place during a worship service in a chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Research also shows that there are many people who feel that they are not welcomed inside an LDS chapel to worship with Latter-day Saints to be able to observe for themselves that Mormon worship is focused on the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is often the basis for misunderstandings among communities where Latter-day Saints live and leads many to believe that the close-knit ties of the Latter-day Saint community is both clannish and secretive. Part of this misconception may be caused by the differences between worship services in LDS chapels and temple worship. All are invited to attend services in LDS chapels, but only those members of The Church of Jesus Christ who are deemed worthy and hold a valid temple recommend are permitted to enter the sacred temple – the House of the Lord.

The infographic below is an excellent comparison of worship in an LDS chapel and temple worship.

Mormon Temple Demographics

 

Mormon Church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called the “Mormon Church” by the media) invites other people to come unto Christ. All services and activities center around the Savior Jesus Christ.

Who Funds the “Mormon Church”?

Mormon churchMany other Christian churches may pay their clergy but the “Mormon Church” depends upon volunteers. The bishop (local pastor) asks members to teach classes or volunteer their time and talents to bless those around them. Under the bishop’s direction, I have enjoyed teaching various gospel doctrine classes, play the piano, play the organ, organize musical numbers and plan activities. My family has helped clean the chapel, cooked meals for sick neighbors, and done various community service projects.

Members of the Latter-day Saint Church pay tithing money (10% of one’s income) which is distributed as needed.”Tithing funds are used to build churches and temples, to sustain missionary work, and to build the kingdom of God on earth (Tithing, “The Guide to the Scriptures”).” Tithing has always been a commandment from God and modern prophets today have taught us to still obey this commandment. Read more

Mormon Women

by Roy

Mormon-womenPerhaps all of us will agree to the notion that most of the successful men and women in any field anywhere in the world are largely a product of good nurturing and teaching at home. The mother plays a very important role in the home. She is the most effective teacher and nurturer. And with the help of her husband in establishing righteousness in the home, they create an excellent place to learn the gospel of Jesus Christ.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, former president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which church is frequently misnamed the “Mormon Church”) shared a story about the essence of motherhood:

The story is told that in ancient Rome a group of women were, with vanity, showing their jewels one to another. Among them was Cornelia, the mother of two boys. One of the women said to her, “And where are your jewels?” To which Cornelia responded, pointing to her sons, “These are my jewels.” Under her tutelage and walking after the virtues of her life, they grew to become Gaius and Tiberius Gracchus—the Gracchi, as they were called—two of the most persuasive and effective reformers in Roman history. For as long as they are remembered and spoken of, the mother who reared them after the manner of her own life will be remembered and spoken of with praise also (“These, Our Little Ones,” Ensign, December 2007).

In God’s Plan of Salvation, a father and a mother have equal responsibilities in building family relationships.

And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (Genesis 2:18–24).

mormon-woman-and-childIn The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormon women are highly valued and are given great care and respect. The Church believes in the capacity of these Mormon women in building righteousness in their own homes as well as in their communities. The Church also, under the direction of the Lord, organized the societies of Mormon women commonly known as the Young Women Organization for women ages 12–17 and the Relief Society Organization for women ages 18 and older to help them develop sisterhood and to teach one another the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, helping each other develop their testimonies of Jesus. In the Relief Society and in the Young Women organizations, women are also taught about their temporal well-being like modesty in dress and action, according to the standard of the Church, home-making skills, and most importantly, about their divine potential as daughters of God.

Elder Douglas L. Callister, one of the Church leaders, shared an experience that illustrates the sweet essence of womanhood:

I once visited briefly with the great actress Audrey Hepburn while she was making the movie My Fair Lady. She spoke of the opening scene in the movie in which she depicted a modest, unpolished flower girl. Her face had been besmirched with charcoal to make her seem part of her surroundings. “But,” she said with a twinkle in her eye, “I was wearing my perfume. Inside I still knew I was a lady.” It doesn’t take expensive perfume to make a lady, but it does require cleanliness, modesty, self-respect, and pride in one’s appearance (“Your Refined Heavenly Home,” BYU Devotional, September 19, 2006).

Mormon women are also actively participating in different righteous acts, whether that be a Church-run activity or a community faith-promoting experience. They strive to follow the examples of Dorcas in the New Testament.

Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive (Acts 9:36–41).

Although people may sometimes forget the face or the name of a person who once served them or helped them in their difficult times, the righteous acts will always be there in their hearts. Mormon women strive to be like their Savior, serving those around them in love and righteousness.

Additional Resources:

Mormon Families

Mormon View of Jesus Christ

RoyRoy Patrick is currently working as a Call Center Agent in the Philippines. He served a full-time mission in San Francisco, CA. His family is one of the pioneers of the LDS Church in Panay Island, Philippines.

Mormon Beliefs: Fast Offerings

Fasting is a familiar term among Christians, and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon Church) make it a regular practice to participate in a twenty-four hour fast on the first Sunday of every month. Not only is this fast beneficial to ourselves, helping us draw closer to the spirit and cleanse our bodies, but we find that fasting with a purpose can work like a prayer in seeking out particular blessings for those in need. We help further that purpose by paying a fast offering each month.

Mormon beliefs fast offeringChurches are run on donations, and in most denominations a collection plate is passed around for people to place their donations in. Latter-day Saint members are encouraged to pay a tithe of 10% of their income to the Church, but such is not collected during meetings. We can pick up envelopes with tithing slips from our bishop’s office and hand our offerings to a member of the bishopric. The fast offering is a special offering separate from our tithing, and there is a spot on the tithing slip to specify the amount we are paying for a fast offering. We are advised to have the amount of the offering be the amount of money we saved on food by participating in the monthly twenty-four hour fast, making it roughly the cost of two meals. Those with the means are encouraged to be generous and pay more, but the actual amount members pay for a fast offering is entirely up to the individual. Read more

Mormons’ Focus on Marriage & Family Highlighted in Pew Survey

SMITHFIELD — After dinner, three baths, four bedtime stories and a half-a-dozen goodnight kisses for 2-year-old twins Brock and Isaac and 6-year-old Ellie, Erin and Brian Thompson finally sink into the couch with weary smiles.

Being parents is just what they always wanted. And they love it.

“Of course we have our crazy moments,” Thompson says, “but for the most part we just try to find the good things in the day and remember that they’re only going to be little for so long.”

Mormon family marriage focus PewAs members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Thompsons believe that maintaining a strong marriage and raising and teaching children are essential keys to happiness and their most important responsibilities on earth.

In fact, 81 percent of Mormons say being a good parent is “one of the most important things in life,” according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life — the first survey of Mormons about Mormons, by a non-LDS research organization.

The survey of more than 1,000 self-identified Latter-day Saints from across the country asked how accepted Mormons feel in American culture, as well as their thoughts on religious practices, political issues and family roles.

The survey showed that Mormons are more likely to be married than the general population, 67 percent of the sample size compared to 52 percent of the general public. Read more

Pew Study on Mormons in America

As the “Mormon moment” extends into 2012, the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life today released a groundbreaking new survey, the first ever published by a non-LDS research organization to focus exclusively on members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their beliefs, values, perceptions and political preferences.

Entitled “Mormons in America: Certain in Their Beliefs, Uncertain of Their Place in Society,” the survey was conducted between Oct. 25 and Nov. 16, 2011 among a national sample of 1,019 respondents who identified themselves as Mormons. The results validate a number of long-held stereotypes (most American Mormons are white, well-educated, politically conservative and religiously observant) while providing a few interesting surprises (care for the poor and needy is high on the list of LDS priorities, while drinking coffee and watching R-rated movies aren’t as taboo among the rank and file as you might think).

Pew Study on Mormons in America“While this survey comes amid a contentious election campaign, it is not solely or even chiefly about politics,” said Luis Lugo, Pew Research Center director, in the published survey’s preface. “Rather, we hope that it will contribute to a broader public understanding of Mormons and Mormonism at a time of great interest in both.”

For example, in one very interesting section of the new survey, respondents were asked several questions about what is essential to being a good Mormon. According to the survey, 80 percent said “believing Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ” is essential to being a good Mormon, 73 percent said “working to help the poor,” 51 percent said “regular Family Home Evenings,” 49 percent said “not drinking coffee and tea” and 32 percent said “not watching R-rated movies. Read more

Mormon Beliefs

In 1842, Chicago Democrat editor, John Wentworth, wrote a letter to Joseph Smith, who had organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, through authority from and under the direction of Jesus Christ, on April 6, 1830. Wentworth asked Joseph Smith what the new church, already referred to then as the Mormon Church, as it still often is today, believed. Joseph Smith responded with a concise list of basic Mormon doctrine. These thirteen beliefs have come to be called the Articles of Faith, and were later canonized as scripture. These articles are listed below, along with a brief explanation of how each doctrine differs from other Christian interpretations of similar principles.

1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

mormon-beliefs-godheadMormon doctrine differs greatly from the rest of the Christian world’s understanding of the Trinity. Mormons call this organization the Godhead and believe that three different and distinct beings comprise it: God, the Father; Jesus Christ, God’s son; and the Holy Ghost (also called the Holy Spirit). Mormons believe that God and Jesus Christ each have bodies of flesh and bone, but their bodies are immortal. The Holy Ghost is just that; a spirit. He does not have a body, because this allows him to speak to our hearts and our souls, to cleanse us, and (when we are worthy) to dwell with us.

2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.

Mormons believe that Adam and Eve transgressed the law of God when they partook of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. For this transgression, they were cast out of the presence of God (spiritual death) and were made mortal (physical death). Both of these effects extend to all of humanity; we will each suffer physical death, and we suffer spiritual death because we as mortals, we sin and are thus unworthy to enter the presence of God again. However, both of these consequences are resolved through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He suffered for our sins so that we might repent and be cleansed. He also conquered death that we may be resurrected and have our spirits eternally reunited with our bodies. Thus, we will be judged for our own choices and actions and will suffer no eternal consequences for Adam and Eve’s transgression.

3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

Because Jesus Christ was a perfect being, with a mortal mother but an immortal father, he had power over death. Jesus Christ was the only being capable of taking upon himself the consequences of someone else’s sin and paying the price of that sin on his or her behalf. He was able to do this not only because he was sinless, but also because he had power over death and could not be killed unless it was willingly. His body was able to take upon itself the consequences of all the sorrows, sufferings, and sins of this world. No other being could have borne what he bore.

Jesus Christ took upon himself the price of mortality while in the Garden of Gethsemane. While the apostles slept, he suffered and struggled. Then he was taken prisoner and crucified. He took upon himself all the consequences of both spiritual and physical death, and he overcame them all. Because he gained power over both deaths, he has won the right to set the stipulations by which we gain access to the power of his Atonement. He has laid forth the law of heaven, that if we keep the commandments of God, Jesus Christ will apply the cleansing and healing power of the Atonement in our lives and we will benefit from these blessings. However, we only qualify if we keep the commandments.

4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The first principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ is faith that Jesus Christ is actually the Son of God. Once we obtain that faith, we must exercise that faith to repent of our sins in the manner that he has shown us. When we repent of our sins by making amends the best we can and striving to never commit that sin again, we can be cleansed by the power of the Atonement through the power of two ordinances. The first ordinance of the gospel is that of baptism by immersion. Jesus Christ was baptized by immersion in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. This ordinance symbolizes a cleansing of our spirit. It also symbolized the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Once a person has been baptized, he or she is given the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands of those who hold the power of the priesthood. This is the baptism by fire spoken of in the New Testament.

Once a person has been given the gift of the Holy Ghost, he or she can call upon the Spirit for guidance as long as the individual remains worthy by doing his or her best to keep the commandments of God. The Holy Ghost can cleanse our spirit of sins and iniquities when we truly repent and seek forgiveness.

5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

The priesthood is the power and authority to act in God’s name. This power was given to the first apostles by Jesus Christ. However, this power was lost from the earth when the apostles were killed and the early church fell into darkness and lost many truths. This power was restored to the earth in 1830 by those who held it last: Peter, James, John, and John the Baptist. The priesthood was given to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and God has promised this power will not be lost again from the earth before Jesus Christ comes again.

The priesthood makes it possible for God to reveal His will to men on the earth today. All the ordinances of the gospel are performed by those who worthily hold the priesthood. Only a man called of God can receive this power, and only those who maintain righteous living may continue to exercise this power.

6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

Mormons believe that the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was lost from the earth after the death of the apostles. However, since it was Jesus Christ who restored His church in our day (1830), the structure is the same. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the same structure as the Primitive Church did when Jesus Christ organized it after His resurrection.

7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

One of the many things the Primitive Church lost with the loss of the priesthood authority was the gifts of the spirit. These were both widespread and desired in the early church, and when they were lost, people missed these gifts greatly. Because the priesthood power has been restored, so too have the gifts of the spirit. The LDS Church has the priesthood, and this means that the gift of tongues, the gift of healing, the gift of revelation—all of these and more have also been restored to the earth. These gifts are available to all faithful followers of Jesus Christ.

8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

Mormons are often criticized for rejecting the Bible and putting their own Bible in its place. This is not true. Mormons accept the Bible as the word of God, but they recognize that many plain and precious truths have been lost from its pages. Some of these truths were lost in translation, some through the transmission of text over time, and some by evil designs of men who had no authority but changed the doctrine to suit themselves. Mormon doctrine teaches that continuing revelation is an essential element of the gospel of Jesus Christs. God continues to speak to His children on the earth today through a prophet. The first latter-day prophet was Joseph Smith, and he was guided to an ancient record of the inhabitants of the American continent and God’s dealings with them. This record, translated by Joseph Smith through the power of God, was published as the Book of Mormon, and it is a second witness that Jesus is the Christ. It is meant to be a companion book of scripture to the Bible, not a replacement for it.

9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

In addition to the Bible and the Book of Mormon, Mormons believe that God continues to speak to His children on the earth today through modern and continuing revelation. This is not because God changes, but because man changes and needs guidance in his own day. Other scriptures of the Mormon faith include the Doctrine and Covenants (modern revelations given to prophets and church leaders), the Pearl of Great Price (modern revelation about ancient scripture as well as a translation of an ancient text of the Book of Abraham), and the words of our modern prophet. The Mormon canon remains open because God has not ceased to speak to us.

10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

Mormons are very literal in their understanding of the scriptures. While they also believe that many scriptures are also figurative, Mormons take things far more literally than most other Christian denominations. Included in this literal interpretation is that the lost ten tribes of Israel will be gathered before Jesus Christ returns to the earth. Latter-day Saints also believe that the New Jerusalem will be built on the American continent, while the old Jerusalem will also be strengthened. Most importantly, Jesus Christ will literally return to the earth in His resurrected body, because He really did rise from the dead and He is the Son of God.

11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

Early Mormon history is full of persecution and intolerance by the world. Joseph Smith was very sensitive to this issue, because Mormons were persecuted heavily for their religious beliefs, despite the freedom supposedly accorded to the in the U.S. Constitution. Joseph Smith never ceased appealing to the law for its protection, but was continually turned down. Tolerance of others’ beliefs has always been the official doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While Mormon doctrine does not believe in many of the practices of the world, the freedom which others have to choose for themselves has always been respected, as long as that same freedom and respect is accorded to the Church and its rights are not trampled on.

12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

Mormon doctrine has always promoted law and order. Joseph Smith had a great respect for government and the peace and structure it was intended to give society. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have always been told to follow and respect the laws of whatever country they reside in. The only exception is when the Law of God is violated by the law of the land; the Law of God always takes precedence, but usually both coincide with each other.

13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

In addition to being law-abiding citizens, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are encouraged to be good citizens and people, active in their communities and seeking for the good and betterment of everyone around them.


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