Ask A MormonOctober 18th, 2011 | Posted by in Perspectives
There has been a lot of media coverage about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In my opinion, most of the articles have been written by non-Mormons, and I think if you really want to know what Mormons believe, you should ask a Mormon.
We believe in the The Holy Bible as well as The Book of Mormon, which is a compiled text assembled and edited by a man named Mormon. Most people refer to us as the Mormons because of our belief in that book. Mormon’s name is not the name of our church. We appreciate Mormon as an ancient prophet in the same way we appreciate people like Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The entire Book of Mormon focuses on Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah and Redeemer of the world. We do not rever Mormon. We rever Jesus Christ. We worship Jesus Christ. We pray to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. It is through His grace that we are saved. That is why we go to church: to learn of Him, and try to become worthy of His great love that He has so benevolently bestowed upon the entire family of man.
The following is an outline of a typical Sacrament Meeting, which is our worship service. The biggest difference you are going to see is that the church is run by its members. There are no paid clergy, and every member of the congregation has a job. In other words, we don’t come to church and just listen. We actively participate by teaching, leading, playing the organ or piano, etc. The outline below is the way we do things every Sunday, with the exception of the first Sunday of the month. We call the first Sunday, Fast Sunday. On Fast Sunday, we partake of the Sacrament as usual, but there are no assigned speakers. Those in the congregation who would like to offer their heartfelt spiritual thoughts or personal experiences are invited to speak. This is called bearing testimony.
Welcome to Church. This is the way a typical Sacrament Meeting unfolds.
We start with an Opening Song: Here is a link to our hymnbook. As you can see, we sing many of the same songs as other Christian churches. What a shocker.
Following the prayer, a member of the bishopric (unpaid pastor) stands up and gives the announcements. Following the announcements, we prepare for the Sacrament.
The Sacrament: This is the most sacred part of our worship service, and it is held every Sunday. The congregation sings a Sacrament Hymn. These hymns are chosen between pages 169 — 196. Following the song, the priests bless the Sacrament. They begin by blessing the bread, and then the water. Here is a link to the prayers: Bread Water. Both of these prayers are found in The Book of Mormon. Following the prayer, the deacons distribute the bread and water to the congregation. The Sacrament portion of the meeting usually takes about fifteen minutes, depending upon the size of the congregation. During this silent time, members are asked to focus on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We also consider this a time when we renew our covenant (promise) to follow Jesus Christ.
Following the Sacrament, we have two youth speakers ranging in age from twelve to eighteen. These “talks” usually last less than five minutes each.
A special musical number may follow the youth speakers.
Then we have “talks” from two adults, which last about fifteen minutes each. Those assigned to speak are usually given a conference talk to expound upon. Here is a link to the topics the entire Church is focusing on for the next six months.
After the talks we sing a closing hymn and have a closing prayer. The whole meeting takes about an hour and twenty minutes.
After Sacrament Meeting, we have Sunday School, Nursery, Primary, Young Mens & Young Womens, Priesthood Meeting, and Relief Society Meeting. All classes are taught by members of the congregation. The entire church uses the same teacher’s manuals. Here is how it breaks out.
Nursery: Children eighteen months to three years go to the Nursery where they play with toys, have snacks, singing time, and a very short lesson, usually about 2 minutes in length.
Primary: Children ages three to twelve go to Primary, which is an hour and forty minute block. Primary consists of class time, then Sharing and Singing Time, which is when all the children come together. Here is a link to the manual for class time. Here is a link to the things that are taught during Sharing Time 2011. After Sharing Time, we have Singing Time. Here is a link to The Children’s Songbook.
Youth: Ages twelve to eighteen go to Sunday School. Here is a link to the Sunday School Teacher’s Manual for the youth. After Sunday School, they go to either Young Mens or Young Womens. Here is the link to the teachers manual for those classes. Young Men Young Women.
Men and Women go to Sunday School. Here is the link to the teacher’s manual for that class. Following Sundays School, Men go to Priesthood Meeting and women go to Relief Soceity. Here is the link to the teacher’s manual for those classes.
From Sacrament Meeting through Relief Society takes three hours. We call this our three hour block.
For more information about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, go to their website. This is the same website church members use when they have to teach a lesson.
To read more about my faith, please see my profile on Mormon.org.