I’m a Mormon, So…

I’m a Mormon, so I attend church on Sunday every single week*. The format will be the same no matter what LDS meetinghouse I go to anywhere in the world, as will the general lesson plans and materials used.

Every Sunday*, we LDS attend two hours of church service, split into Sacrament Meeting and either Sunday School or auxiliary classes.

To elaborate and clarify:
(1) There is always* one hour of Sacrament Meeting. Everyone attends, all together, and sits in family groups -unless they are helping with running the meeting.

(2) There is always* one hour of instruction.
(2A)The first and third Sunday are everyone together in classes by age. Children ages 18 months through eleven-ish years attend Nursery and Primary classes, a combination of a sharing time with a lesson and singing and class instruction by age group. Youth in their twelfth through seventeenth year attend youth Sunday school by age group. Women and men attend Sunday School together.

(2B) The second and fourth Sunday are everyone meeting together by age and sex. Young women recite their theme and discuss announcements; they then split to classes by age, where one of them teaches a lesson. Young men follow the same format.
Women, in a group called the Relief Society, discuss announcements and then learn a lesson together; they are taught by a teacher who is almost always a woman from Relief Society. Men, in a group called the Elders Quorum, follow the same format.

(2C) Yes, there is sometimes a fifth Sunday. Everyone meets together in the Sunday School format of first and third, although there is sometimes a special program planned.

Clear as mud? Anyone is welcome to attend and see what I’m talking about. 😉 We meet every Sunday*; if multiple wards (more on wards, later) need to use one building, the time that each ward’s church starts will be staggered across the day, at intervals like 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 1:00 p.m.

There is also an expected dress code of at least dress shirts and ties with slacks for males, dresses or skirts and nice tops for females. Everyone needs to be clean and modest. It’s not like you’ll get kicked out for showing up in ratty jeans, of course, but regular members are expected to dress nicely as outlined.

©2022 Chel Owens

*This block schedule is not followed: twice a year to instead allow members to watch General Conference (more on that, later), when it’s a ward’s Stake Conference or Regional Conference (wherein members attend two hours of speakers talking about gospel subjects); during initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic (we did at-home church); and whenever Christmas falls on or near to Sunday (when we only have Sacrament Meeting).

……

We Mormons are officially members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are to drop any name but that. Since many still run with the nickname of ‘Mormon,’ however, I will keep pace.

My other note is that I will keep to official doctrinal practices. I will add my own application of them, especially in response to comments.

My final note is that I LOVE discussing anything I write. Don’t be rude, obviously, but any and all queries or responses are welcome.

My final note beyond the final note is that I do not seek to convert anyone. I ought to, but am motivated by forming connections, answering curiosity, and straightening pictures. So, you’re safe.

60 thoughts on “I’m a Mormon, So…

  1. Nope, Not Pam April 5, 2022 / 1:55 am

    Do the lessons vary a lot, do they reaffirm the overall message of your faith, or are they more impromptu, perhaps looking at current situations and the relationship to your faith.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens April 5, 2022 / 8:11 am

      Good question. Currently, the Sunday School lessons are studying a book of scripture throughout the year. This year is the Old Testament. The instructor is someone from the congregation (could even be me) who is asked (we call it “called”) to be the instructor; s/he is given an outline of scriptures and topics to cover and general guidelines on how to teach (those guidelines are available online, by the way).

      For the Relief Society/ Elders Quorum/individual youth classes, we’re currently being taught by someone called to that position who is told to teach from a talk given by someone who spoke at General Conference. Although, sometimes a visiting leader or the local leader (the bishop or his counselors) will teach on a subject they feel inspired to share.

      Class input is encouraged.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nope, Not Pam April 5, 2022 / 2:20 pm

        It sounds like a good way to study a topic. Very supportive

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chel Owens April 5, 2022 / 3:28 pm

          It’s a lot like a study group this way. 🙂

          Like

    • John Teal April 8, 2022 / 11:45 pm

      Thanks for sharing. Fellow LDS bloggers here just in a different part of the world (England) its always nice to know wherever you are on the surface of this globe, someone else is doing the same thing elsewhere.

      I’ve just set up a series of posts for each day of Easter Week. If like me your always looking for blogging topics check.them out. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Chel Owens April 9, 2022 / 8:44 am

        Hi, John! I’ll give your posts a read. I’m naturally curious so thought others might want to know how different the LDS lifestyle is.

        Like

  2. Tippy Gnu April 5, 2022 / 4:33 am

    I hope you enjoy those meetings. I think I’d get tired of it after awhile. To me, it seems like a waste of a Sunday, when there can be so much fun outside, to be had.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens April 5, 2022 / 11:18 am

      Everyone feels that way. Think of it like spending all the rest of the week (98.8%) doing as you wish and giving your Heavenly Father a measly two hours.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Richmond Road April 5, 2022 / 4:01 pm

        I hardly think that they promote this idea! Unless, of course, ‘what you wish’ coincides with what your Heavenly Father wishes. Certainly there are a lot of people from many religions who pay a weekly lip service to their commitment (I am not accusing you of that Chel!) and that has always puzzled me. Some people claim to be ‘not very religious’ or ‘a little bit religious’ and that has always struck me as meaningless. It is, surely, a binary option. You believe in something, or you don’t. There’s no room for half-belief.
        I don’t think your Heavenly Father would be happy with ‘a measly two hours’ – the church, as you have pointed out, extends far beyond the four walls of a building. The building is just somewhere to get together and have a chat about it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chel Owens April 5, 2022 / 5:07 pm

          On that point, RR, we participate in activities and prepare for church during the week as well, and are encouraged to keep Heavenly Father in our minds and in our hearts.

          Like

          • Richmond Road April 5, 2022 / 5:20 pm

            Chel, I knew that applied to you …. but I often wonder about others. I think we discussed my issues with absolution – that people like to think that forgiveness negates sin. It doesn’t. You cannot undo sin, but, hopefully you can move forward with forgiveness.
            Hence people of religion sometimes live under the misapprehension that trotting along to church once a week, mumbling a few prayers and making a few confessions ticks all the boxes. That they can then whistle their way through the nest 6 days without giving it another thought. I imagine that God would find them more contemptuous than an atheist. At least an atheist is sincere.
            But, as I say, I was not including you, Chel, in this group, for you are clearly more pious (this part of your blog is sufficient evidence of that).

            Liked by 1 person

            • Chel Owens April 5, 2022 / 6:12 pm

              Ah, thanks. Atheist or LDS, I’m always authentic.

              We actually had someone talk about the very thing you’ve pointed out, during General Conference this last weekend. I believe the speaker was outlining how repentance and forgiveness should work.

              Like

  3. Frank Hubeny April 5, 2022 / 4:43 am

    I like the arrangement for the Sacramental hour of the meeting that everyone attends together as a family. I also like how the Instruction hour is varied and groups based on age and sex are routinely organized.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens April 5, 2022 / 11:18 am

      It’s all rather organized. I do think the EQ meetings sound more interesting when Kevin tells me about what they ended up talking about.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Matt April 5, 2022 / 4:50 am

    Clear as mud is right, that schedule sounds confusing 😄
    I’m curious, is the congregation dressed to the nines as noted in the LDS media file ? I’ve been to a lot of different church services where the dress code is quite casual.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens April 5, 2022 / 11:19 am

      Dangit Matt! I’m going to add that. Yes, dressed up.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Annette Rochelle Aben April 5, 2022 / 8:00 am

    Our Thursday night services are what one might refer to as a “sacrament service” and our Sunday morning services are “lesson services” and then we always had “circle” every Friday evening for a less formal lesson sharing time. Alas, the Friday “circles” are no longer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens April 5, 2022 / 11:29 am

      I’ve learned that the LDS meeting schedule used to have the classes throughout the week as well, but some members of the LDS church don’t live very close to their meetinghouse and that would be time-consuming to drive there so much.

      I’m sorry you don’t have your circle on Friday but maybe it will start up again with COVID cases clearing up.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. D. Wallace Peach April 5, 2022 / 8:58 am

    I grew up in New England, Chelsea, and didn’t know any Mormon kids, though I never really thought much about religion in general, coming from a non-religious family. Moving to Oregon meant meeting a lot of people of the LDS community, but again, other than having huge families, they’re all just regular people. A nice thing about being an aetheist is I don’t have to defend or debate any particular faith.

    We did have a missionary couple here, and the woman, a highly accomplished artist, wasn’t permitted to have an ipad or cellphone by her husband. I did find that level of control demeaning and disrespectful (and she seemed to think so too), but that also seemed like an exception. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that. Hugs, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens April 5, 2022 / 11:32 am

      Hi! Yeah; Latter-day Saints are pretty normal, but I have noticed we seem more like relics of the 50s as time moves on.

      Missionaries were not allowed things like cell phones for a long time (that just changed), but I thought that was only the young adult ones. What year did you meet them? What you describe sounds like it’s not official church doctrine but instead falls into the ‘unrighteous dominion’ category we’re told to avoid. I would’ve found it odd too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • D. Wallace Peach April 5, 2022 / 3:28 pm

        That was about 7-8 years ago. They were here for a couple of years and then moved back to Utah. The woman was lovely and new-agey and extremely talented. Her “subservience” to her husband didn’t seem typical of other LDS folks around here. I’m glad it would have seemed odd to you too!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chel Owens April 5, 2022 / 4:59 pm

          You’ll have to send me their names and I’ll see if I’ve heard of them. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • D. Wallace Peach April 6, 2022 / 8:01 am

            Honestly, the old brain doesn’t remember. I have a few friends here who’ll remind me. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  7. John W. Howell April 5, 2022 / 9:04 am

    I enjoy learning about the construct of religious worship services. I do have a question about the pandemic and its effect on the church services. Were the services suspended during the pandemic or were other accommodations made?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens April 5, 2022 / 3:20 pm

      It was so weird for everyone! We had church at home, where people who had the priesthood could administer the Sacrament to their own family. Then, we’d do Zoom meetings still doing our own Sacrament. Then, we attended in person with masks and no singing… etc. Till it’s basically to where it was before.

      Liked by 1 person

      • John W. Howell April 5, 2022 / 3:54 pm

        Thanks. I could see where the interference of the pandemic made things more complex. Our churches just broadcast the service and that was it.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Pam Webb April 5, 2022 / 9:11 am

    The photo shows the men wearing white shirts. Is this an expectation? Is there a dress code?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens April 5, 2022 / 3:22 pm

      Sorry, yes. I tried to add that later. 🙂

      The guys wear white shirts if they’re going to participate in the Sacrament and/or if they are in leadership positions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pam Webb April 5, 2022 / 3:41 pm

        One of my coworkers was LDS and she said her husband wore pink shirts now and then. Would he be considered a rebel? 🤨

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chel Owens April 5, 2022 / 5:00 pm

          It’s a standard for the situations I’ve described and used to be standard across the board, so.. yes. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Richmond Road April 5, 2022 / 3:48 pm

    Why the separation of girls and boys? What is the reasoning for that?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens April 5, 2022 / 5:01 pm

      I’m no official authority on that answer, RR. Perhaps it’s because we fill different niches as different sexes.

      Like

      • Richmond Road April 5, 2022 / 5:11 pm

        Yeah, I guess so. I imagine that, especially for adolescents, one must always suspect that the really interesting stuff is being discussed in the other room (what are they telling them that they’re not telling us?) which is fun, I suppose, and enhances the mystery. I often wonder whether religion is really about solving the great mystery or just about pointing to it (the second option seems more ‘literary’ somehow).

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Priscilla Bettis April 6, 2022 / 2:08 pm

    It’s kind of like being Roman Catholic. No matter where you are in the world, you can attend mass and know exactly what’s going on and what’s expected of you because the services follow the same format every Sunday everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens April 6, 2022 / 5:59 pm

      That’s really neat! I didn’t know they did that as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ian Kay April 7, 2022 / 2:21 am

        I wondered about the practicalities of attending a service anywhere in the world and am surprised to see there are three LDS churches near me. In fact, I wouldn’t need to travel very far to find others.

        It would be no good though as I neither own a dress shirt or a tie: I swore to give them up, symbolically, once I retired from organised employment. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chel Owens April 7, 2022 / 4:09 am

          Ha ha! I know where you could get one…

          Yeah; You would find the same format at each of those churches. As a side note, one of them is the meetinghouse for your area -like school zone boundaries.

          Like

          • Ian Kay April 7, 2022 / 4:16 am

            According to the latest census here, there are around 200,000 who identified as belonging to LDS in the UK. I imagine the church congregations are quite small. That’s not to say that UK congregations aren’t small anyway: in the same census, 53% of us consider ourselves non-religious.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Chel Owens April 7, 2022 / 10:41 am

              Those figures are not surprising.

              Like

              • Ian Kay April 7, 2022 / 10:50 am

                Yes, we’re predominantly heathens! 😆

                But our churches are very old and worth a look around.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Chel Owens April 7, 2022 / 10:51 am

                  😀 It’s the way the world is moving.

                  Like

                • Ian Kay April 7, 2022 / 11:40 am

                  Wait until we start to travel to new worlds, seek out new civilisations… Will there be aliens in Heaven then?

                  Liked by 1 person

                • Chel Owens April 7, 2022 / 3:26 pm

                  Wait for it – there are tales that God lives on another planet…. 😀

                  Like

                • Ian Kay April 7, 2022 / 3:33 pm

                  Of course He does: He’s omnipresent. 😀

                  Liked by 1 person

          • Ian Kay April 7, 2022 / 4:39 am

            Out of interest, do you wear crucifixes? I see women in the photos with obvious jewellery when the dress for church but not one wearing a cross.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Chel Owens April 7, 2022 / 10:43 am

              No, we do not. I’ve heard that we don’t because of a desire to focus on the life of Christ instead of His death. I’m not sure how official that standing is.

              Like

  11. dumbestblogger April 6, 2022 / 9:04 pm

    What would happen if a regular member showed up in ratty jeans a few weeks in a row?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens April 6, 2022 / 9:11 pm

      Probably, one of the leaders would pull him aside and ask if everything was all right.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dumbestblogger April 6, 2022 / 9:28 pm

        Interesting. On one level I get it, on another level I’m not sure. My Dad told me a story about a church he went to that was very strict. The pastor’s daughter got pregnant, and said that she couldn’t understand why everyone was so upset about it, because she knew people who went to the movies all the time. It seems to me that exterior things like clothing tend to receive undue attention in spiritual communities, when it’s the things you can’t see that are really important.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chel Owens April 7, 2022 / 4:07 am

          I’ll freely admit that no community is perfect. Since I live in such a highly-concentrated area of LDS people, I’ve seen plenty of members not adhering to rules. The point of the commandments (not “LDS rules;” there’s not a monopoly) is to encourage personal growth in a continued path toward being as perfect as Jesus Christ.

          As to the dress code? Its main purpose is that whole ‘clean aspect’ thing I mentioned in a previous post. We’re showing respect to Heavenly Father and a deference to His Sunday services as being a special and different event than the regular day-to-day.
          Why do we dress up for a job? A date? A wedding? A funeral?

          I’m with you on the “things you can’t see that are really important.” I didn’t want to keep attending church services when I was in my atheist time period because I thought that wouldn’t be honest. I felt a sort of mental agony being around so many people spouting, “How are you” who didn’t really want to know how I was.

          Liked by 1 person

          • dumbestblogger April 7, 2022 / 5:21 am

            I hate that question! It’s what kept me away from Church for years. The saving grace was finding a church where people don’t really talk to me. Haha.

            What pulled you away from atheism?

            Liked by 1 person

            • Chel Owens April 7, 2022 / 10:48 am

              All gospel questions are fun to answer, right? -especially personal, invasive ones that are no one’s business.

              Honestly, what brought me back was inspiration to attend the LDS Church’s Pathways program. It’s like preschool for adults who didn’t attend college. I have attended college and didn’t know why I would feel like doing it, but answered the inspiration. I should probably write about all this since there are likely to be other people in my shoes, but having an atheistic view and then coming to God from that perspective helped my testimony to be the real and authentic thing I always thought it should be.

              Liked by 1 person

              • dumbestblogger April 7, 2022 / 9:03 pm

                That’s very interesting. I would certainly be interested in reading more about that experience.

                Liked by 1 person

            • Chel Owens April 7, 2022 / 10:48 am

              I’m certainly more pragmatic about it all than I was. 😀

              Liked by 1 person

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