RELIGION LIBRARY

Mormonism

Rituals and Worship

Worship and Devotion in Daily Life

Mormons focus their worship in Sunday meetings but then attempt to reinforce their faith daily through a series of prescribed practices.  Sunday worship services consist of a three-hour block of meetings.  Sacrament meeting, a gathering that lasts a little more than an hour and that features sermons from members of the congregation and the performance of the sacramental ritual of the Lord's Supper, is the focal point of Sunday worship services. 

In addition to this main meeting, children attend classes called Primary, and teenagers and adults attend classes on scripture and LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) history.  Adult men attend priesthood meetings that are divided according to age and rank in the priesthood while adult women attend a meeting of the women's auxiliary, which is called the Relief Society.  Mormons who hold lay leadership positions attend additional administrative meetings on Sundays either before or after the main block of devotional meetings.  

During the week, high school students attend courses of religious instruction. These "seminary" classes are held before school in areas where LDS population is sparse, and during school hours in Utah, Idaho, and other areas where Mormons are the dominant religious group. Mormon teenagers also meet for a variety of activities involving recreation and service projects.  Similarly, adult Mormon women occasionally hold "enrichment" meetings on weekday evenings.  Within Mormon homes, daily prayer and scripture study is considered ideal, and many families make concerted efforts to gather children and parents for group prayers morning and evening, and scripture study sessions either early in the morning or in the evening.  Monday nights are reserved for "family home evening"—a time when the family gathers for a gospel lesson, games, or other recreational activities.

Men and women are also assigned in pairs to be "home teachers," in the case of the men, and "visiting teachers," in the case of the women.  Male home teachers generally meet with all the members of a family, while female visiting teachers usually meet only with the adult females in the family.  These paired companionships are assigned to visit a list of families in the congregation once each month.  The Church's official magazine, the Ensign, contains the official message for the month from Church headquarters that home and visiting teachers are expected to deliver.  In addition to teaching the message from the Ensign, home and visiting teachers also ask about the general welfare of the families they visit and report any problems or needs to the bishop of the ward (congregation).  Mormons are thus expected to visit a number of families each month in this capacity, and also to make time for home and visiting teachers to visit them in their homes once a month.

LDS temples also play a major role in the devotional life of Mormons.  Mormons are encouraged to qualify for a temple recommend, which is a document certifying that the holder lives in accordance with Mormon standards of sexual purity, doctrinal orthodoxy, the Mormon dietary laws, and other rules.  Nearly 130 temples are in operation worldwide. Qualified Mormons who live close to one of these are expected to attend temple services with some regularity.  Within the temples, Mormons participate in rituals called endowments and sealings that involve covenant making and the creation of eternal families.  Once a Mormon has personally received these rites, he or she then returns to perform them on behalf of deceased ancestors or other deceased persons.  After receiving the endowment, a Mormon is expected to wear special underclothing called "garments." These white undergarments are available in a variety of fabrics and are to be worn night and day throughout the endowed person's life.  For Mormons, these garments function as a reminder of the sacred covenants made in the temples, and serve as a protection against evil and temptation.


Study Questions:
1.     Describe Sunday worship for a Mormon.
2.     Describe the role between education and mission.
3.     How are the lessons of “Home Teachers” kept consistent?
4.     What is a temple recommend? What privilege does it grant to Mormons?

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