What is the Relief Society?

Sorry I haven’t written on the blog for a couple of weeks. We’ve had spring break, and I’ve actually started teaching for the Pathway program, so I feel like I’m on the computer all the time. ANYWAY…

I’ve been thinking a lot about Mormon Women lately. Here is a list of reasons why:

  • The Ordain Women group has been gaining traction in the media. While I don’t agree with their movement, they have been making me think about being a woman in the LDS church including my roles, rights, and blessings.
  • In what seems to be a reaction to the Ordain Women movement, another Movement has sprung up – Mormon Women Stand
  • I often get overwhelmed by my duties and the challenges of this world. I crave a sisterhood with like-minded women who are noble, nurturing, and strong.

As these three things swirl in my brain, I find that there is one common solution to them, and that is The Relief Society.

What is the Relief Society?

First of all, it is important to understand what the Relief Society is. According to mormon.org, the Relief Society is defined as follows:

“The Relief Society is the oldest and largest women’s organization in the world. Relief Society was established in 1842 for women 18 years of age and older. Its purpose is to build faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and help those in need.”

Now – onto how the Relief Society has been able to be the solution to the mind-swirling I’ve been having lately.

The Ordain Women Movement

According to the Ordain Women Group, their purpose is:

“Ordain Women aspires to create a space for Mormons to articulate issues of gender inequality they may be hesitant to raise alone. As a group we intend to put ourselves in the public eye and call attention to the need for the ordination of Mormon women to the priesthood.”

First, and foremost, I don’t necessarily agree with the assertion made by the Ordain Women group. I don’t agree that there is an issue of gender inequality in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Neither do I think that the Family Proclamation perpetuates antiquated ideas or inequality between men and women.

This being said, I don’t deny the fact that some women might feel marginalized in the Church. I understand this. I have experienced being in counsels with men who won’t listen. I don’t personally believe that if I held the Priesthood I would have been seen as any kind of authority. I just think that some dudes are like that a little chauvinistic and kind of jerky – even if they don’t mean to be.

For some reason, this kind of attitude has prevailed over the millennia. I think that men have a hard time understanding why the women think that the way they do. Straight away, I think of Peter and Mary Magdalene:

“Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.

10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.

11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.” – Mark 16:9-11

To be fair: these apostles didn’t believe the disciples who saw Christ on the Road to Emmaus. And Thomas didn’t believe all of the apostles that had seen the resurrected Lord.

But I’ve always found this striking: Christ first appeared to Mary Magdalene. She didn’t hold any kind of Priesthood authority, but He came to her and revealed himself to her. And the apostles didn’t believe her.

Sometimes I think that all of this misunderstanding between men and women comes only because men have a hard time understanding women, and it may seem that they tend to belittle and downplay women. I hate making this blanket statement because I have met and known many open minded men. But let’s just say that I have had discussions with men about women and emotions.

Really quickly – so – some men seem to downplay women because we can be a little more emotional or intuitive. Some men seem to only be able to respond to logic and reason. I totally understand this. And I say, It is totally illogical and unreasonable to ignore our intuition, emotions, and spirits! We are people, we aren’t robots. We have emotions and unique Spirits how would it be logical to discount this side of who we are when making any kind of decision in life???

(Oh, and I have also found that men have an especially hard time with women who react emotionally. I, too, find that it is best to not react, but this isn’t because I want to deny my woman-ness. Instead, it is because I want to make a wise decision. AND BESIDES, sometimes I think that men forget that anger is an emotion, and reacting in anger is often more illogical than a woman’s weeping…Interestingly enough, in the General Relief Society Broadcasts, I have experienced listening to prophets compliment and comfort the women. My opinion – it just takes some men, even good men, about 80 years to really understand the value of a woman’s emotions, opinions, and intuitive nature).

anyway!!!

I just want to say that while I don’t necessarily agree with the Ordain Women women, I don’t doubt that they honestly feel the way that they do. Additionally, I don’t think that it is necessarily wrong to feel confused, belittled, or unequal. That happens sometimes! And sometimes that happens for a good reason.

However, there is one thing that I do disagree with – and that is the way that the Ordain Women group has gone about their purposes. I believe that the best way to take an issue up with God is by taking it up with Himand praying! I know that God answers our prayers. I know that He listens to us. I know that He will influence our prophet and apostles if it is the right thing to do/pray about.

I mean, think about it this way – when members of the church desire to have a temple built in an area we are taught to pray, we are taught to pay our tithing, we are taught to attend the temple. We are not taught to write a letter Salt Lake and petition the prophet to have a temple. He isn’t in charge of the Church, the Lord is. Priesthood or not, every woman, every man, every child has access to our Heavenly Father. We just have to get on our knees. Heck, we don’t even have to get on our knees! Just Pray!

And now – to the Relief Society, I think that the Relief Society is the answer to this problem. When we understand our role in the church and in our family, and when we understand the blessing and honor it is to be a member of the Relief Society, we will understand what we need to do in order to have our concerns addressed.

The motto of the Relief Society is charity never faileth. Can you come up with anything more inspired, more enabling, more beautiful, more Christlike? As members of the Relief Society, we will seek to understand Charity more. We will be cognizant of the fact that Charity is a lot more than quilt tying and giving service. And as members of the Relief Society that understand the meaning of charity, we will also remember that Christ’s love never fails. Mormon teaches us about Charity:

“And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—

But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.” – Moroni 7:45-47

It just seems to me that if we, members of the Relief Society, understand what Charity is, then, when we have questions about the church – legitimate questions, when we have qualms, when we are wronged, when we have issues that come from our hearts, then we will address them with faith and with charity.

Relief Society can help us when we struggle.

Mormon Women Stand

I was invited to be a part of Mormon Women Stand. This is a group that seems to have sprung up in reaction to the Ordain Women movement. Here is their mission:

“Mormon Women Stand is a collaborative online effort to join like-minded female members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who share a desire to make a public stand as witnesses of Jesus Christ and in support of ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World’. We believe standing together will reflect the divine nature and power that LDS women are endowed with to influence others for good. We unequivocally sustain the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles—commissioned by God and sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators. We support how the Lord has delegated priesthood authority to organize and administer the gospel among all of His children.” – Mormon Women Stand

Like the Ordain Women movement, I believe that this group is thoughtful. They want to stand up for their beliefs at a time when they believe that their beliefs are being assailed.

Initially, I went ahead and “liked” the Facebook group. I, essentially, agree with them. I believe in standing as a witness of Jesus Christ. I have promised to do so …in all times, and in all things, and in all places [I am in] even unto death.” (See Mosiah 18:10.)

But I started to think about this group. And I wondered, Why isn’t my membership in the Relief Society and in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints enough. As I just mentioned, because I’ve been baptized and have covenanted with Christ, then I have already committed myself to being His witness.

Additionally, as a member of the Relief Society, I have also decided to live up to it’s motto – that Charity never faileth, which means that I wouldn’t really be provoked or threatened by other groups or adversity – whether it comes from an external or internal source.

My membership in the Church and in the Relief Society is enough, and instead of singling myself out (whether with the Ordain Women group or with Mormon Women Stand), I ought to simply seek sisterhood with all saints in the gospel. I feel like Satan is trying to destroy us by dividing us, and even if our intentions are good, if we aren’t careful, then we might stop being charitable. And if we aren’t charitable, then we will fail.

I Crave Sisterhood

This leads me to my last point, and why I love the Relief Society, and why I need the Relief Society.

Yesterday, I read an article about Peter Lanza and Sandy Hook in the New Yorker. It was sad, terrifying, horrible, depressing, you name it. I also read An article about the rising generation and problems with p*rnography. It was sad, terrifying, horrible, depressing, you name it.

Both of these articles, read within hours of one another, had me wondering, how do I do it? I have four little children. I have three beautiful girls, and one delightful son. I see the good in them, and I want that to shine throughout their lives. I want them to know the good in themselves. I want them to know God, and to know the truth.

But there are so many lies. So many difficulties. What do I do???

And, I realized, the answer is The Relief Society.

Through the Relief Society, I have been able to meet like-minded sisters who also are striving. Some of the sisters are young, married mothers; some of these sisters are women who have never married; some sisters are women in the middle of their lives like me. Some are old, some are divorced, some are tall, some are short, some are thin, some are blonde, some are white, some are black, some are from Mexico, some are from Croatia, some are just like me, some are nothing like me. but we are all sisters, and we are all striving to obtain charity – that pure love of Christ which never fails.

This Saturday evening at 6PM MDT, the General Women’s Broadcast will be aired. We will be meeting as women – as sisters – ages 8 and up – to be taught by our leaders, the apostles, and prophets. We will be able to attend this meeting, for the first time, with our mothers and young daughters. All together!!! We will be reminded of our work, we will be edified, and we will be able to leave the meeting resolved to keep striving and overcome the sad, terrifying, horrible things that the world is trying to throw at us.

***

Moi, Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother, Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints and the Relief Society.

Moi, Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother, Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints and the Relief Society.

I am so grateful for my membership in the Relief Society. Ironically, the longest I’ve ever been in Relief Society was when I was a teacher for about three or four months. Otherwise, I have served with the children or youth. But this doesn’t nullify my membership in this divine group of women. I love knowing that anywhere I go, I will find women that I can call my sisters. I’m convinced that we, members of the Relief Society, can change the world – little by little. I don’t think my claim is outrageous, either. After all, the Relief Society claims that Charity never faileth, and we have the opportunity to live up to this standard.

Through my membership in the Relief Society, I have become a better woman. I have come closer to my Heavenly Father. I have been able to better understand the meaning and purpose of my life, personally. At Relief Society, I have felt camaraderie, I have laughed, I have cried, and I have been elevated.

***
Are you a member of the Relief Society? How do you feel about being a member of this sisterhood? What can you do to commit yourself to it’s motto – that Charity never faileth? What are your feelings of Relief Society and being a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

If you are not Mormon, what are the questions that you have about the Relief Society and about women in the LDS church. I am open to a kind and honest dialogue, so ask away!

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Why the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Antidote to Sociopathy

Okay…I read an article in Psychiatry Today titled, Confessions of a Sociopath. It sounds pretty interesting, right?

I have to admit that I’m pretty intrigued because I feel like I have been very close to a sociopath in my life. I’ve been reading a few books lately on the subject, and I have had thoughts swirling in my mind. I wasn’t planning on blogging about it, but then I came across the following quote in the aforementioned article:

What Is Evil, Really?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a sociopath’s dream. Mormons believe that everyone has the potential to be godlike—I believe this includes me. Every being is capable of salvation; my actions are what matters, not my ruthless thoughts, not my nefarious motivations. Everyone is a sinner, and I never felt that I was outside this norm.

When I read this, I’m not sure if I was incredulous or simply entertained. I started to laugh. Really!? Does this author even go to the LDS church?! I came to realize that my I was so surprised because prior to reading this article – as I’ve been reading other literature on sociopathy and psychopathy – repeatedly I’ve had the thought, “These people need the gospel.”

I’m not going to take the time to describe sociopathy or psychopathy now. If you are unfamiliar, you can find some good, general information here. I want to make a disclaimer, that I don’t really think I personally know how to help an individual who is seeking healing from such a disability. Obviously, I don’t have the training. However, I know that the gospel can help put anyone on the right track. Above all, I know that the claim that this author made is untrue. The Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints isn’t a “sociopath’s dream.” The connotation of this statement is that the LDS church breeds sociopaths. The rest of the quoted paragraph is flat-out false. The author should, perhaps, read the scriptures. Of course, the author claims to be a sociopath, so I shouldn’t find the statement to be all that surprising. 😉 Additionally, Psychology Today might do well to fact-check statements made by a self-proclaimed sociopath before publishing as if it is true.

Learn more about how to be Christ-like here...

Learn more about how to be Christ-like here…

Enough of that. Here are a few points on why the gospel is actually anti-sociopathy:

Jesus is our Exemplar

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior, Redeemer, Creator, King, Master, Messiah, and more. We believe that He is our Example to follow. We have been bidden to follow Christ-not only in where we go, but how we live. We are taught to follow His example.

We are taught by Nephi:

“And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?

And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son.

And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.” – 2 Nephi 31:10-13

We have been invited, by Christ to follow Him. In doing so, we must be repentant and be baptized. Nephi teaches us the qualifications – we must follow Christ with full purpose of heart – which means that we cannot pretend our motivations. We take on Christ’s name without hypocrisy or deception before God. We cannot follow Christ unless our intent is real. It is a matter of heart. Following Christ is not made up only of outward performances.

It is the LDS belief that we can become like God. Not only do we feel it a belief, but we feel it a commandment. Jesus Christ, himself taught:

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” – Matthew 5:48

“Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” – 3 Nephi 12:48

We are commanded to be perfect, or whole/complete, just as both Christ and Heavenly Father are. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we know that we are not capable, in and of ourselves, of keeping this commandment. Yet, we also know that the Lord gives no commandments unto the children of men save He shall prepare a way for them to accomplish the thing that He hath commanded them. (See 1 Nephi 3:7.) Becoming perfect, or like God, is only possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is only possible as we do what Nephi described above – when we repent, and are baptized. And these covenants only take effect in our lives when we do them with real intent, without hypocrisy, with a full heart.

In modeling our lives after the Savior, we will see that we need to be full of Charity. Honestly, as I’ve begun studying sociopathy (and I will admit that my “study” of sociopathy is rudimentary), I have seen that Charity is the sociopathy’s polar opposite.

Mormon teaches us about charity:

“And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” – Mormon 7:45

As you can see, each trait of one who has obtained charity is completely antithetical to the traits commonly attributed to sociopaths. Charity is the pure love of Christ and can only come through His grace (See Ether 12:36). To receive the blessings of Christ’s grace, we need to follow Him, and then – (Again!) as Nephi teaches: repent, be baptized, and – well – you can read the rest of it at the beginning of this post.

If we seek to keep the command given to us to be perfect and follow Christ, then we must understand what He is teaching us. God isn’t a power-hungry God. He isn’t a psychopath. He isn’t arbitrary or unfeeling. He doesn’t destroy without care. God is a loving God. He is merciful and kind. Everything that the Savior did was for the benefit of the world (See 2 Nephi 26:24). In our pursuit to be like God, we shouldn’t be confused by a worldly idea of an arbitrarily omnipotent being. We must remember that God is motivated by His pure love. When we seek to be like Him, we will be moved by charity.

Actions Matter…So Do Thoughts and Motivations

In the Book of Mormon, King Benjamin taught:

“And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them.

But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not.” – Mosiah 4:29-30

If we aren’t watching our thoughts and words, then our deeds will often follow the darkness of sin that might lurk in our minds and hearts. Even if we try to be good on the outside, having a rotten core isn’t acceptable. We have been taught to cleanse our inner vessels. Christ doesn’t really have much patience for hypocrites.

I suppose that this idea of what we do being so important comes up because Mormons believe that we must qualify for the healing balm of Christ’s Grace through our works. (See 2 Nephi 25:23). Obviously, what we do is important. The Lord expects us to work hard and be anxiously engaged in a good cause. But the works aren’t enough. Mormon teaches:

“For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing.

For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.

For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.

And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such.

Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift.” – Moroni 7:6-10

We can give gifts all day long. We can, like the Pharisees, cast our money into the treasury at the temple. We can broaden our phylacteries, and show off our supposed devotion to God. Yet, when these “good” deeds are done without real intent, or, in other words, with “nefarious motivations”, then it is as if the “giver” retained the gift, and he is “counted evil before God.”

Our hearts, our intents, our motivations–they matter.

***

This is long, but I have to say – sure, LDS people can become sociopaths. I have known a sociopathic Mormon. I don’t know the conditions of what causes a person to be a sociopath. Perhaps they are born with different brain patterns. Maybe they are raised in a bad environment. But I know that ultimately, we exercise our own agency. We make the choice to lie, manipulate, hurt, and even destroy. The Lord does not sanction such action no matter what religious organization we affiliate with.

We don’t need to be fooled that sociopathy-life with “power” and without conscience-is desirable. Read the scriptures. God expects us to become as He is. He doesn’t lie. He doesn’t start fights or feuds. He doesn’t manipulate to get what He wants. He doesn’t arbitrarily destroy for entertainment. He loves. He blesses. He teaches. He guides. He builds us up. He weeps for us. He corrects us. He has laid down His life for us. He is full of charity.

When we truly follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then we will one day become God-like: full of love, kindness, mercy, charity, and happiness. This is the antidote to sociopathy.

What are Mormon Church Services Like?

When I was growing up, I often went to two churches. We would go to my Mom’s church – the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Then, we’d also attend a Mass with my dad at the local Catholic Parish.

While both services had plenty in common; I always noticed two major differences: Dad’s church wasn’t long. And you didn’t have to wear a dress. (Just so you know, my Mom always made us wear a dress or dressy clothes to my Dad’s church because we were going there to worship God. We were expected to worship God in our Sunday best – the girls wearing dresses, the boys in suits and tied, and all of us with hair and teeth brushed.)

As I got older, and the topic of church came up with my friends, they would often act horrified to learn that our church lasted for three hours. They couldn’t imagine sitting for that long…and in a skirt, or suit and tie! Usually, when this reaction came up, I’d try to explain a little bit about our services…

Sacrament Meeting

The Ordinance

The Ordinance of the Sacrament (similar to communion) is the most important part of our Sunday worship. It is what Sunday Worship is all about. We are commanded to keep the Sabbath Day holy, worshiping God is an integral part in keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. In the Doctrine and Covenants, we learn

“And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day;

For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High;

Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times;

But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord.” – Doctrine and Covenants 59:9-12

We have been commanded to prayerfully and humbly pay our devotions to God. We do so through commemorating the Lord’s Last Supper: we partake of these holy emblems in remembrance of the Body and Blood of Christ. Through this ordinance, we recognize our need for Him – that The Atonement He performed will pay for our sins and enable us to be reunited with our God. Through Christ’s atonement, we can overcome both physical and spiritual death. The Sacrament is a token of our commitment to Him. It is a sign of the covenant that we have made with Him at baptism: that He will cleanse and sanctify us from our sins – and we will keep His Commandments and Always Remember Him.

As you can see, this is a very personal and intimate experience. Sacrament is a reverent meeting – revolving around the actual ordinance of the Sacrament: where bread and water is blessed by those with authority and then passed to the congregation – who may partake of it if they wish.

Attendance

All are invited to attend Sacrament Meeting. You do not have to be a member of the Church. We do not have an age restriction. Everyone is welcome.

Entire families attend Sacrament together – which means children are there. This can seem a little distracting. Often, Mormon Sacrament Meetings (where there is a large amount of families with children) can have the lively buzz of children. We try to teach our children to be reverent, but we understand what Christ taught about the Children “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 19:14).

If you attend a Mormon Sacrament meeting, you can expect to find a meeting that may be lively, but that is also filled with the love of those who come to worship their God.

Dress

At Mormon Sunday Services, we are encouraged to wear our “Sunday Best.” This means different things to different people. But, just as the ordinance of sacrament is deeply personal, so is the concept of “Sunday Best.” Typically, in churches in the U.S., you will see men wearing suits and ties, and women wearing skirts or dresses. There is no limitation, though. I have seen men in jeans, tee-shirts, shorts. I have seen women in slacks. I honestly don’t have much of an opinion about what people wear. For myself, I dress modestly and in a fashion that promotes and denotes my worshipful and loving attitude for the Savior. The meeting is about Him – about His sacrifice for me and all of human-kind.

I also encourage my children to dress modestly – in a way that doesn’t draw attention and in a way that helps them to act a little more reverently. I have found that the way I dress can influence the way I act. I want my children to act reverent and to respect the sacredness of the Ordinance of the Sacrament. Two of my children have been baptized. They are under an obligation to the Lord. They need to renew their covenants as much as I do. It is up to me to teach them how to do that in a way that is loving and respectful. Dress is a part of it. Of course, it isn’t the most important thing – Above all, I want my children to turn their hearts to the Lord, and it is crucial that I do the same.

The Sacrament Meeting/Program

Sacrament meeting consists of

  • announcements (usually made by a member of the Bishopbric – local leaders)
  • prelude music
  • opening hymn (all of the congregation sings)
  • We will then be welcomed, again, to the meeting by a member of the bishopbric. If there is some kind of business that needs attending (perhaps the blessing of a child or welcoming of a new member to the congregation) then it will be attended to after the opening prayer
  • the rest of the program is announced
  • The ordinance of the sacrament is performed
  • Speakers – typically there are two to three assigned speakers. They are usually members – men and women – of the congregation. Often, they have been asked in advance to prepare a talk to give for the meeting.
  • There may also be a special musical number at some point after the ordinance of the Sacrament itself.
  • Closing Hymn
  • Closing Prayer

Sacrament usually lasts about 1 hour 10 minutes.

Other Sunday Meetings

After Sacrament meeting, most Mormons attend other meetings including:

  • Sunday School – 60 minutes – organized by age group from ages 12 to adult
  • Primary – for children ages 3-11
  • Nursery – for children ages 18 months to 3
  • Young Women – for girls ages 12-17
  • Relief Society – For women over 18 years
  • Priesthood – for men ages 12-adult

***
I have to admit, I love my Sunday services. It is nice to see my church friends. Each week, when I attend church, I feel refreshment and renewal. It helps me to strive and stay determined on the course back to my Heavenly Father. But, above all, I’m grateful for the opportunity I have to partake of the Sacrament and renew my covenants with the Lord. I love Him. I want to please Him.

You can find out more about Mormon Sunday Services here.

Can you tell me about Mormon customs: how you dress for church, what holidays you celebrate, etc.?

A few years ago, I worked at a French company. I was working in the U.S., but many of the people I worked with were French. It was a really great job. For the most part, I minded my business about my religion. I lived in PA, and the topic of religion just didn’t come up much during the working day. However, after time, people started to learn that I was Mormon. No big deal.

One day, the VP of my department (Jean-Pierre) found out I was a Mormon. The conversation went like this:
J-P: Wow! You are a Mormon, that is great!
Choco: Yeah. Thanks.
J-P: And you drive? I didn’t know Mormons drive. And you use the computer!
Choco: Yeah…I drive and use the computer. (I was getting confused)
J-P: But most Mormons, don’t drive. Or wear those clothes. Or make-up. And you are still Mormon?
Choco: (realizing what was going on)…You know, I think that you’re confusing Mormons for Amish. I’m not Amish. The Amish people don’t drive, use electricity. Wear make-up. Mormon…we do.
J-P: Really? I thought you didn’t drive. In the movies…
Choco: You’re thinking of the Amish. It’s okay. Mormons do all the same things anyone else does.
(by this time, another colleague who knew more about me assured J-P that I wasn’t Amish, and he was just confused. Eventually it got cleared up)

I don’t think that Jean-Pierre is the only one who gets confused about Mormon customs.

Dress
Mormons don’t really have a “dress code”, per se. For the most part, we are pretty practical. We dress appropriately for the occasion. For example, if I’m going running, I will wear running shorts, and a shirt dependent on the weather. If I’m gardening, I wear my hole-y, grubby jeans, old sneakers, and a tee-shirt. When I’m on a date with my husband, I try to look attractive (and appropriate for the activity). When I go to church, I wear my “Sunday Best” – a modest, dressy outfit. I want my clothes to reflect my devotion to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Additionally, I don’t want my clothes to be too showy – or to compete with the reverence of Sabbath-day worship.

In general, Mormons believe that our bodies are temples. The Spirit of God can dwell within each of us if we show it the proper respect. We believe that dressing in a modest, neat, and nice way will help to keep the Spirit of God with us. We try to be like the saints in the Book of Mormon:

“And they did impart of their substance, every man according to that which he had, to the poor, and the needy, and the sick, and the afflicted; and they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely.” – Alma 1:27

You can see that there is not a strict rule on dress – for Sunday or otherwise. We simply try to dress in a way that is neat, comely. We try to treat each activity we engage in appropriately – and that is reflected by the way we dress.

Holidays
Mormons love their holidays. We celebrate Easter and Christmas. These are the most important Holidays, and you will always see LDS churches throughout the world pay attention to these holidays.

Christmas and Easter are important to Mormons.

We also celebrate various national and cultural holidays. I live in the U.S. Our family loves to celebrate New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I feel like I’m missing something. President’s Day. MLK Day. There are so many!

I’m dressed up in my Halloween Garb…

There is no “official” way to celebrate a holiday. It is up to each family. But I think that Holidays are important to Mormons because often they promote harmony and unity in the home. As a mother, I love the Holidays our family celebrates. These Holidays promote bonding and forge happy memories.

We also celebrate Birthdays, Anniversaries, and well…anything that gives us a chance to have fun, play games, eat, and maybe have a little ice cream. 😉

Find out more about Mormon Customs (etc) here.

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