The Mormon Religion
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed Mormons by some) worship on Sundays. However, they worship on Saturday in Israel and Friday in Egypt. Every Sabbath, members participate in three meetings.
- Sacrament Meeting: Attending sacrament meeting is a commandment, and a requirement for attending the Mormon Temple. A ward is a congregation of about 100 families, and membership is determined by location. Mormons don’t choose a congregation for the good sermons or because friends go there. They worship where they are assigned. Sometimes, several wards share a meetinghouse. Sacrament meeting is often the first meeting of a 2-hour block of worship. Start times are determined by how many wards meet in a building and what works best for the membership. If there are three wards meeting in a building, start times are usually 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 1:00 p.m. Each year, the wards will switch time slots. Once in awhile, a ward will reverse the order of sacrament meeting and classes.
Sacrament meeting is the most important meeting to go to on Sunday because of the passing of the sacrament, which is a serving of blessed bread and water to the members of the Church. The bread and water are symbolic of the body and blood of Christ. When we take the sacrament, we renew the covenants we made at baptism, to take upon ourselves the name of Christ and to keep His commandments. In return, He promises His spirit to be with us. Also in Sacrament Meeting, there are speakers on gospel subjects, called beforehand from the membership, and sometimes simple musical performances. Sacrament meetings usually last about 75 minutes.
- Sunday School: Is always the meeting that’s in the middle of the 3-hour block of worship. It consists of many different type of classes. Adults 18 and over may attend “Gospel Doctrine,” wherein the scriptures are studied. There is a four-year course of study — Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants/ Church History. The Pearl of Great Price is studied along with the Old Testament. Often there is also a choice of a Gospel Principles class, a Temple Preparation class, a Missionary Preparation Class, or a Marriage and Family class. Children and teens are assigned to classes with their age groups.
- The name of the third meeting differs depending on age and gender. For men and boys 12 and older, there are Priesthood quorum meetings. For women who are older than 18, there is Relief Society, while the younger girls, age 12-18 attend Young Women. In the Young Women, girls are divided into different age groups, with a different name for each group. Beehives are age 12-13; Mia Maids are age 14-15 and the Laurels range from age 16-18. While the Young Women divide themselves into their groups right away, the men meet together for prayer, a hymn and announcements (if any), after which they separate into their different classes. The boys separate at the same age the females do, starting from Deacons, age 12-14; then Teachers, age 14-16; and the 16-18 year olds are the Priests. These are all part of the Aaronic Priesthood. After the men turn 19, they attend Elder’s Quorum and High Priest’s Quorum. The latter being for the older men who have held leadership positions in the Church.
Even though meetings are held primarily on Sunday, there are other gatherings that take place among the members of the Church. Boys and Girls between the age of 12 and 18, go to the meetinghouse on a selected day of the week, for Young Men and Young Women’s activities and classes. Here they do a variety of things, from having a spiritual lesson, to participating in a group activity that brings them together as young men or young women. There are also some activities that are put together for the single college students who live in the area, and for older members of the Church.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worship in temples in a different way than they worship in meetinghouses (which are comprised of a chapel, classrooms, kitchen, and cultural hall). Temples are open most of the week (usually not Mondays, and never on Sundays) from early in the morning until about 9 p.m. Patrons may attend as often as they are able. They go to make their own covenants, to do work for the dead, and to pray and meditate.