Latter Day Saints Unplugged: What you will Discover if you Attend a Church Service

 
LDS-uniquenes of the church

 

Attending a church service at a meeting-house of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is pretty unique from attending a church service from other Christian Churches.  Here are the differences.

 

The LDS Meeting-House

  • First, Sunday services are held in meeting houses.  Meeting houses are the venue for all church meetings, including Sacrament Service, Sunday School, Primary (children’s Sunday school) and all other official church meetings during the week. All Latter Day Saints are divided into districts, sort of like a school system.  You attend services at your district meeting-house.  Meeting houses are fairly simple in appearance.   You won’t see a lot of stained glass and ornate word work.  Basically, there is a large room, where the sacrament service takes place.  Surrounded, are a lot of smaller rooms where the Sunday School, young women/young men and Sunday School meet.

Meeting house Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
 

  • Being a fairly new convert to the church (almost 4 years), this is the sticking point about the church for a number of people.  You will not see any crosses or crucifixes in the building.  Why?  Latter Day Saints like to think of Jesus Christ as living – rather than dying.  Pictures of Jesus on the cross represents the dying Jesus.  Here is a typical view of the inside of a meeting-house.  This if very typical of the details you will see.  Of course each meeting-house is different.  This one has exposed beams, but not all are so rustic looking.  The meetings houses can be bigger or smaller depending upon the number of people who attend.

inside-of-LDS-meeting-house-mormon

 

The Sacrament Service – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

  • No Church garb, ministers or priests.  One thing that you will notice is that there is no special clothing – or even anybody that ministers to the congregation.  We have a bishop who is called and sustained by the members.  He is the leader of all who are within his district.  On Sunday, he is in charge of running the sacrament meeting.  In the beginning, he is the one who does the announcements – but he doesn’t wear any special clothes.  He just wears a suit.  The members are the ones who are assigned to give talks.  3-4 people are designated to give a talk each week.  Those topics are assigned by the bishop and his bishopric (his councilors).  So, there isn’t a designed person who gives a sermon – like in other churches.
  • Sacrament services are quiet and traditional.  You won’t see people dancing or yelling during the sacrament service at a LDS service.  It’s pretty quiet.  There are some traditional hymns that are sung during the service.  Who chooses the songs that are sung during each sacrament service?  Someone is called to be a musical director.  Using inspiration from “On High” , they are able to choose the appropriate songs.

 

LDS-sacrament service

 

  • Clothing:  Women typically wear skirts or dresses and men typically wear suits.  In my opinion, as long as I am dressed, I’m good.  Being a more “liberal” member of the church – I figure as long as I am there, it doesn’t matter much what I wear.  I’m doing pretty well if my hair is combed.  But, if you are going for the first time – with the exception of me, you will see women in skirts and men in suits.  What will be will be.  Everyone still accepts me and I have met some really close friends.
  • Family is the center.  As a result, kids are included in the sacrament service.  As a result, you will see kids running around, you will hear them, you will see them, and they will be distracting.  This is the one thing that attracted me to the church.  I have a family and my family is the center of my life – so it makes sense to me.  I like seeing and hearing the kids.
  • Taking the sacrament is of utmost importance because it renews or baptismal covenants each and every week.  We drink water and eat bread.  Young men of age 12 and above are the ones who pass the sacrament.  Before taking the sacrament, a prayer is administered before the bread and water (the only one that is said over and over the same each time) in the church (that I know of).

 

Here is the prayer that is offered to bless the bread

“O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen” (D&C 20:77).

Here is the prayer that is offered to bless the water:

“O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine [water] to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen” (D&C 20:79).

 

Other Sunday Meetings – The LDS Church

Sacrament service is typically an hour to one hour and fifteen minutes.  There are two other meetings which happen on the typical week.

 

2nd Hour – Sunday School/Primary

After Sacrament service, the children go to Primary and the adults attend Sunday School.  This is called the second hour.  Defined topics are discussed each and every week – and according to what I understand about the church, all LDS Churches discuss the same topics each and every week.  By the time everyone gets settled down, the meeting lasts about 45 minutes.  There are stated guides which are followed.

 

3rd Hour – Relief Society and Priesthood Meetings

The third hour, the children stay in primary learning, singing songs and playing games.  The women and men are separated into Relief Society (the largest women’s organization in the world) and Priesthood meetings.  These meetings are meant to learn, increase faith, create or make friendships stronger, and build and empower families, communities  and faith.

 

Church Members

Everyone is called to positions – including the bishop.  Nobody is paid, some everyone completes their church duties in addition to their daily work.  Church members run all meetings, including primary.  So, the same members you meet during the Sacrament service, will greet you as you drop off/pick up your kids from primary.

 

 

I hope I was able to give you an appreciation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints without going too deeply into complicated church doctrine (one because I’m a chicken, and two – because I don’t feel qualified to talk about deep doctrine).  I hope you can appreciate that there is a lot of organization and tradition buried into each and every meeting.  Mostly, I hope to give you a real account of what you will see and experience if you attend a Ladder Day Saints Church service on Sunday.

 

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Faith-blog-hop-multicuotural-kids-blogs

 

This post is part of the Faith Celebration Blog Hop with my fellow bloggers of the MKB community.  When we strive to learn about our differences, we can live better all together.  Take a look at all the others posts and religions by clicking on the link above and try to win this giveaway:

Wisdom Tales Press is offering a reader a copy of the book
 Everyone Prays: Celebrating Faith Around the World by Alexis York Lumbard.
To enter the giveaway (January 26 to February 10, 2015), follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter at MKB.

 

Lisa
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About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile

Comments

  1. Thanks for that inner peek! I have friends who are Mormon, but aside from some historical fiction, I don’t know much about the LDS church. Have you read The Light and The Glory series by Gerald Lund? Amazing books. They made a couple of them into movies, but the books are much better.
    Shecki recently posted…Always On My MindMy Profile

  2. Hi Lisa! I’ve been lurking on your blog a little (love the title) but had no idea until reading this post that you were Mormon, too. I liked your post and thought it was a great intro if you’re going to an LDS church service and have no idea what to expect. I also didn’t realize you had a blog hop – I’ll definitely be participating in that this week. Thanks for this post!
    Jenny recently posted…7 Quick Takes about Juno, Writing Emails with a Crayon, and Keyboard Discoveries for the Seriously ObliviousMy Profile

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