Going to a new church can often feel like your first day at a new school. Today I want to share what an LDS church is like. Maybe answer a few of your questions before you go — so you can feel more comfortable there.
Who attends the LDS church? In general, it is members of the LDS church. In order to be a member of the church — you have to be at least 8, and baptized to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. However, all people are welcome at our church and you 100% do not need to be a member to attend.
The LDS church is put on entirely by “lay” people — there are no paid clergy in the church. Everyone receives a “calling” that they do to the best of their ability. I am currently in charge of our ward’s Facebook page and I play the piano in the women’s meeting. Prior to that I ran the children’s programs — all unpaid.
Talks in the main meeting are given by members of the congregation.
LDS church assigns each geographic area into a “ward” — those wards are assigned times, and most often they rotate times each year.
You can find your local LDS meetinghouse here, as well as the times church is held — but you can also feel free to go with a friend wherever you’re comfortable.
LDS churches all seem very similar. There is not usually any stained glass, or sculptures. sometimes there are paintings, although not usually in the chapel. Most also include a gym (which they sometimes call a “cultural hall”).
There are pews, but we do not kneel during our services, so there will be no kneelers.
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FYI, no Sunday meeting are held in our temples — they are held in churches (and temples are closed on Sundays so people can worship with their families).
Why church? I get asked that a lot. I think the idea behind church is that we are there to build each other up. Give each other ideas of how to be a little better and happier. Also to enjoy the fellowship of like-minded people.
In reality I think we do this some weeks better than others. And some wards do it better than others.
Ok, after that brief synopsis, here are 12 things you should know before you go to an LDS Church (also called Mormon — but our full name is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”):
- During the main meeting (called “Sacrament Meeting”) they will pass around bread and water to help us remember to try harder to make changes in our lives to be better & happier. You are welcome to partake of these items, or not — it’s up to you!
- Most women wear skirts or dresses. Most men have on shirt & tie or suits — but you are welcome to wear whatever you feel comfortable wearing. I might bring a sweater, as it is sometimes pretty chilly in the buildings.
- People will be friendly — but just say hello and share as much as you are willing to. If you’d prefer to stay private, just thank them for their friendliness.
- We are not going to sell you on joining. Yes, the missionaries might come up to ask you if you have questions or want to know more — but it is all up to you if you want more info — and church members will respect those feelings.
- Feel free to ask questions. Ever wanted to know something about Mormonism — ask away (or ask me in the comments, I’m happy to answer there as well)
- Families are together are in the main meeting (again, called Sacrament meeting) and because we are encouraged to have families, and many LDS families are large — it can get a little loud. There is no reason not to smile at the baby in the next row. I bet their mom appreciates the distraction for them.
- Feel free to sing out. We do have singing in several sections of our church — and we’re often most well-known for our Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
- LDS meetings are 3 hours long. They consist if Sacrament meeting, Sunday School and then the men/women split off in the 3rd hour for Relief Society & Priesthood. Children & youth have their own classes/activities during the 2nd and 3rd hours as well. Don’t feel like you have to come to all 3 hours — just come to what sounds good to you!
- Did you know that the LDS Relief Society is the largest world-wide organization committed to proving relief to those around them? You can learn more about strong LDS women in this post.
- Sit Anywhere. No assigned seating.
- There may be some “business” conducted at the beginning of the meeting. That is just people accepting callings, and the ward saying it supports them as they serve in that manner. People will raise their hand — again — feel free to raise yours, or not.
- Things are pretty sub-dued, no clapping or shouting Amen’s…
MOST of all, just try to feel as comfortable as you can in your new surroundings. We know it’s awkward….
Like all groups, the LDS religion has terminology that is kind of different. Feel free to ask someone what a word means, or just skip it — it might make sense later on.
The LDS religion is not wanting everyone to convert. We do feel like we have something so good, that we want to share it. BUT, it may or may not be for you. I recommend everyone give the meeting a try. See what you think.
Ever been to an LDS meting before? Tell me about it in the comments. As always, Pulling Curls only accepts comments of a respectful nature. Any comments that bridge into disrespect will be deleted.