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.
You are invited to worship with a local LDS congregation
Many different organizations, sects, and people from all parts of the world continuously praise The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (frequently misnamed the “Mormon Church”) for its high standards when it comes to dealing with family relationships. Mormon women are doing a great job in raising their families as they work together with their husbands to create atmospheres of love, peace, and respect in their homes, carrying out the wonderful Plan of Salvation of God for His children. An old proverb says, “The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue. It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house” (Proverbs 25:23–24).
Mormon women believe that some of the greatest blessings God has bestowed to His children are found in the home. They know that motherhood is the most noble status and act that any woman can achieve. It is in the home where the greatest lessons of life can be learned; it is also the best place to teach God’s plan for us. In the Mormon Church, the home is often likened in sacredness to Mormon temples of God where the Spirit of the Lord can be strongly felt and manifested. With both the husband and the wife equally doing their responsibilities in their family, and their children helping the parents achieve their goals, anyone can say that indeed the home is where the most joy can be found on this earth. It is just like the temple of God; a piece of heaven on earth and a glimpse of what life will be like in heaven.
Mormon women also know that life here on earth is a big test where sometimes unpleasant things happen, even if somebody doesn’t really deserve it. There seem to be a growing disintegration within the family in society. The family unit is being attacked. Satan wants us to believe the family is not nearly as important as a good career and earning lots of money to give a great financial life to your family. Even some Mormon women fall into this trap, but the truth is money does not give happiness. Once a family’s basic needs are provided for, the strengthening of relationships should take far more precedence than earning an increasingly better living. Mormon doctrine teaches these principles, and Mormon women and men are called to accountability for these teachings. True happiness comes through obedience to the commandments found in the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is central to God’s plan of salvation because it contains the authority, ordinances, and teachings necessary to our salvation. It is an essential element and should be the center of every Mormon family. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has put so much emphasis on teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in the home, because children learn life’s lessons from their families. David O. McKay, a latter-day Mormon prophet, said, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home” (Quoted from J. E. McCullough, Home: The Savior of Civilization , 42; Conference Report, Apr. 1935, 116).
Elder Douglas L. Callister, a Mormon General Authority, shared a story about how the husband and the family could at least give something back about the mother’s efforts in their home:
Many years ago an associate of mine decided he would please his wife by sharing with her a specific compliment each night as he arrived home. One night he praised her cooking. A second night he thanked her for excellence in housekeeping. A third night he acknowledged her fine influence on the children. The fourth night, before he could speak, she said, “I know what you are doing. I thank you for it. But don’t say any of those things. Just tell me you think I am beautiful.”
She expressed an important need she had. Women ought to be praised for all the gifts they possess—including their attentiveness to their personal appearance—that so unselfishly add to the richness of the lives of others (“Our Refined Heavenly Home” by Elder Douglas L. Callister, June 2009, Ensign).
Mormon women sacrifice a great deal to be mothers in Zion. Some of the manage to fulfill their own dreams at the same time. How each woman manages this is a personal matter between her and her Heavenly Father. Still, there is no contribution a woman can make to the world which would exceed the importance of her influence on her family.
More about Mormon Women
Roy 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.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the official name of the often misused title the “Mormon Church.” The misnomer comes from a book which Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”) regard as holy scripture: the Book of Mormon. While Latter-day Saints accept a few different books as scripture (including the Bible), the Book of Mormon sets it uniquely apart. The Book of Mormon is a record of some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas who were led out of Jerusalem by the hand of the Lord. It contains His dealings with this people and records the instance of His appearance to them after His death and resurrection. The book is another testament, along with the Bible, that Jesus is the Christ. Its name comes from the man who abridged the book, and that is where the misnomer originates.
While there is nothing offensive to Latter-day Saints about being called “Mormon,” replacing the Church’s true name with “Mormon Church” takes away the focus of the Church on Jesus Christ. Faithful Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus is the Christ, the literal Son of God, and that He died for us. They strive to live their lives to emulate His.
The Mormon religion has been steadily growing since its organization on April 6, 1830. It was organized by a man named Joseph Smith, called to be a prophet in our day. Latter-day Saints believe that this church is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the same church which Jesus Christ organized when He was on the earth. Because of wickedness, the priesthood authority was lost along with many sacred truths, and a restoration was essential to bring the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ again to the earth.
Today, the “Mormon Church” has grown into a global religion. It now has more members outside of the United States than inside it and gains more members outside the United States each year than in it. Membership exceeds 14 million people in more than 100 countries around the world. The faith centers on Jesus Christ and on following His example of love and charity to all those around us, not just to others who are members of the Mormon faith.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has one of the largest humanitarian aid programs in the world, which serves all those who stand in need of help. Millions of people have been served in response to famine, war, flooding, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters. Individuals and communities are helped without regard to race or religion, because we are all God’s children. In addition to emergency response aid, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has many programs which help communities become self-sufficient and take better care of their own.
One thing that sets Latter-day Saints apart from other Christians is their lifestyle. While many Christians live similar lifestyles to Latter-day Saints, few live so strict a code. This code, called the Word of Wisdom, is a health law which teaches faithful Latter-day Saints to take care of their physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Some restrictions outlined include the consumption of alcohol, coffee, tea, and tobacco, as well as any substance which is harmful to the body. Latter-day Saints are also commanded to get ample rest, to limit their consumption of meat, and to get regular exercise. Each person’s adherence to this health code is personal, though the consumption of those things listed above will keep a person from being worthy to enter Mormon temples.
The Mormon religion is one of happiness, love, hope, and obedience. Those who live the religion faithfully find joy in their lives. This does not mean they have no trials or struggles, but they do have the forbearance and faith to deal with them better than if they had no knowledge of God. Latter-day Saints believe families can be together forever, as part of God’s plan for us, which also brings them joy and perspective in their lives.
Of all the numbers in the Pew Research Center’s recently released survey of “Mormons in America,” the highest, most overwhelming numbers are these: 98 percent of respondents said they believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and 97 percent say their church is a Christian religion.
This comes on the heels of earlier surveys indicating that 32 percent of non-LDS U.S. adults say the LDS Church is not a Christian religion, and an additional 17 percent are unsure of LDS Christianity. The theological and semantic reasons for this can be complex, but for the 1,019 self-identified Mormons who participated in the Pew survey, their theological position is clear: Mormons believe in Jesus Christ, and they consider themselves to be Christian.
“Certainly in Latter-day Saint theology is this idea that if you understand who you are, you understand that there’s a purpose in life, you understand your connection to God, that certainly has an impact on how you live your life and what you do, but also how you feel about your life and what you are doing,” said Michael Purdy of the LDS Church Public Affairs office. Read more
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).
“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
From a very young age, Mormons are taught to look towards the temple and to have the desire to be married in a temple. This is because Mormon doctrine teaches that a Mormon wedding, or a marriage performed in a Mormon temple is for time and all eternity, not just “until death do you part.” Many people believe that when they marry, they will be with their spouse again after they die. However, no church doctrine teaches this. It is always a union which dissolves with the death of one spouse.
Mormons believe that, through the power of the priesthood, a Mormon wedding performed in the temple can last forever. There are still conditions which must be met in order for this to happen: the couple makes promises to God and to each other, and if either of them fails to keep these promises, then God’s promise to them that their marriage will last forever may not hold true. God promises blessings which are conditional upon our faithfulness (Doctrine & Covenants 130:20–21). If both parties keep their promises, however, this is one of the greatest blessings one could imagine. Mormon doctrine also teaches that any children born to a couple who have been previously sealed in the temple are “born in the covenant,” meaning they are automatically sealed to their parents and to each other, again conditional upon the faithfulness of the parents.
With these blessings available, it is hard to imagine that anyone would choose to not get married in the temple, but there can be sacrifices. If a parent, both parents, grandparents, siblings, good friends, etc., are either not members of the Mormon Church or are members but are not worthy to enter the temple, then they cannot be present at a temple wedding. This is a lot to ask, and often, if they do not understand this Mormon doctrine, they can have their feelings hurt or may even be angry. There is simply no replacement for a temple marriage, though. The blessings, protection, and peace which come with being sealed in the temple are unparalleled in the world, and it is worth any sacrifice in order to be worthy to participate in this beautiful ordinance.
Mormon temple marriages, or Mormon weddings, take place in sealing rooms. The bride and groom kneel across from each other at an altar and face parallel mirrors, which create infinite reflections. This image symbolizes the eternal nature of their union. It is stretching out forever. Here each person makes promises to each other and to God. They receive promised blessings in return for their faithfulness.
The bride does not walk down an aisle, is not “given away” by her father. The ceremony is very simple, but beautiful. The exchange of rings is in fact not a part of the temple ceremony, though in countries where it is traditional to exchange rings, this can be done quietly. Some couples, who have relatives or friends not able to enter the temple, will choose to hold a separate ring-exchange ceremony at the location where their reception is held. This allows their loved ones the opportunity to feel part of the marriage union.
In order to be worthy to have a temple marriage, individuals must remain chaste before marriage, in addition to keeping several other high standards. They must continue to keep these high standards after their marriage in order for the wonderful blessings to remain in force in their lives.