I’m a Mormon, So…

I’m a Mormon, so I sing. I sing hymns with other members of the Church or Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during our Sacrament Meeting, if it’s part of the lesson during the second hour of Sunday worship services, in the Primary during their singing time, or as part of the ward choir or a special choir that may form for other meetings.

Sacred music increases faith in Jesus Christ. It invites the Spirit and teaches doctrine. It also creates a feeling of reverence, unifies members, and provides a way to worship Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

LDS General Handbook, “Music

We use music in many places:

Sacrament Meeting begins with an opening hymn, has a sacramental hymn before the sacrament service, and ends with a closing hymn. There is often an intermediary, or rest, hymn midway through the hour. These hymns are taken from the official LDS Hymnbook.

The children who attend Primary sing songs pertaining to the theme of the year, ones they will be performing as part of the Primary Program held annually (more on that, later), a special birthday tune if the leaders wish to celebrate those, or welcome songs for visitors or new members. This singing time ran for at least half an hour when members spent three hours at church; now, this time is truncated to fifteen minutes.

Likewise, the other meetings (Sunday Schools, Young Men’s, Young Women’s, Relief Society, and Elder’s Quorum) had opening and closing hymns when the meeting block was longer. Now, these groups do not sing during their second-hour meeting.

Every ward or branch is encouraged to have a choir. Ward choirs tend to sing during the rest hymn time of Sacrament Meeting or for the Sundays near to a holiday.

When wards or branches plan Stake, Regional, or General Conference (more on that, later); a choir is organized to sing at those.

Besides these official, scheduled, uniform moments of song; the music coordinator of a ward or branch might also organize special musical numbers by those playing an instrument or those who wish to sing a special (bishop-approved) musical number.

The LDS Church also owns and operates the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square (formerly the Mormon Tabernacle Choir) -and the Orchestra at Temple Square -and the Bells at Temple Square. These are made up of volunteers who must audition for positions and commit to a certain level of attendance and performance in order to participate. They sing for General Conference, special concerts, on tour, and each Sunday for Music and the Spoken Word.

The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, singing “Amazing Grace”

©2023 Chel Owens

……

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 recognize the nickname of ‘Mormon’ and it works with the alliteration so well, however, I will use the term.

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 am motivated by forming connections, answering curiosity, and straightening pictures. So, you’re safe.

I’m a Mormon, So…

I’m a Mormon, so I abstain from eating two consecutive meals on a special Sunday once a month. This is referred to as Fast Sunday. I donate the money I would have used for the meals to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a fast offering.

Fast Sunday is almost always the first Sunday of the month. Everyone, churchwide, observes Fast Sunday. Each person begins his or her fast with a prayer toward a goal, person, blessing, etc. s/he would like assistance with. At the end, when s/he breaks the fast, s/he ends with a prayer as well.

Some wards and branches send their priesthood-bearing youth to visit each home and collect the fast offerings from LDS members of that ward or branch. A member fills out a special slip of paper and includes a check with whatever amount s/he thinks is appropriate. Members may also pay by direct deposit.

What is the money used for?

Members can give fast offerings to one of the bishopric or branch presidency members. The bishop or branch president uses the money to help those in need in his ward or branch.
Fast offerings may be used to help feed the hungry.
Fast offerings might be used to care for the sick.
In each way a fast offering is used, it helps take care of Heavenly Father’s children.

Liahona Magazine, June 2005, “What Are Fast Offerings?

When members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attend their church Sacrament Meeting on Fast Sunday, the format is that of an open mic testimony-bearing session. Anyone may come to the front and express his or her feelings, as prompted by the Holy Ghost to do so.

Fasting is a commandment from God but is also a powerful aid. A member may choose to fast besides his or her official Fast Sunday. It is to be used in conjunction with prayer. It is to be used for a special purpose; wards, families, individuals, and the entire LDS Church will call a special fast when heavenly guidance or aid is needed.

©2023 Chel Owens

……

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 recognize the nickname of ‘Mormon’ and it works with the alliteration so well, however, I will use the term.

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 am motivated by forming connections, answering curiosity, and straightening pictures. So, you’re safe.

The Festival of Trees, with Children

I had a brief announcement up yesterday explaining the delay in announcing the poetry contest winner. Despite some residual tiredness and inability to lift heavy objects, I honored our family’s annual tradition of attending the local children’s hospital’s fundraising event, Festival of Trees.

Donor companies, families, or entities decorate a Christmas tree, small Christmas tree, door, gingerbread house, quilt, or other item and completely donate it. Wednesday evening before the event begins, companies and extremely wealthy entities bid for purchase of the items they wish to own and display in their lobbies or front rooms.

Some trees still had their price tags. An elaborate one we saw was labeled as $3,500. All of the money goes to the hospital, to use for patients who cannot pay for hospital services.

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This first tree pictured is one donated by 1-800 Contacts and decorated by them. It was purchased anonymously; always noted as Friends of Festival. The next image is a mantel 1-800 Contacts decorated as part of the display as well.

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Sometimes, tree-creators are creative. One year we saw two made from ascending wood planks. Other designs have included marble works, an upside-down tree, and a few formed from recycled glass bottles.

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I was impressed with the idea of a tree dress, and with the execution of the idea. It made for an elegant result.

On the less-elegant side, many donations are character-themed. I liked the fun, colorful elements of this Muppets arrangement.

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And, I’m always up for literary references. Besides two ‘trees’ of stacked books, we found this Where the Wild Things Are model. It has a furry tail coming down off the side of the tree, plus a tent and sailboat.

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I’m not a personal fan of My Little Pony, but was impressed with how very, very pony this piece of …work was.

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Many, if not most, Christmas trees are donated in memory of someone. Often that someone is a family member who passed away from disease (prematurely) or old age, though some groups donate in the name of one who miraculously healed.

When I was a young Girl Scout, I volunteered for Festival of Trees. I learned that, occasionally, the story of the tree is printed and put on the back of the identifying card nearby. Gabi was a sweet, happy child who never seemed to mind the nurses coming in every day. She always loved horses and we just had to build her a galloping tree... or Dale led a life full of friends, family, and a love of skiing… or Despite a hopeful outlook, Mia lost her battle with leukemia. We will miss our little angel…

I tear up as I walk around with my children, remembering those stories and seeing the pictures and references for this year.

The following pictures are from the gingerbread houses area of the festival. I love the talent, creativity, and feeling of the whole event.

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This amazing ‘gingerbread’ tower is a bit tangled up.

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Last but not least, my children appreciated this decorated door after watching The Muppet Christmas Carol Thursday evening.

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“We’re Marley and Marley!”

I neglected to note that ticket sales also go to the hospital. In addition, there are the following for purchase: a gift shop of homemade items, fudge shoppe, chocolates counter, desserts cottage, a Santa with purchaseable picture ops, children’s area of crafts, concessions, and cinnamon rolls or scones.

 

I also realize this is a rather mind-numbing description of the whole event. Perhaps I’ll have the likes of Geoff narrate the next one.