I’m a Mormon, So…

I’m a Mormon, so I am a missionary.

I’ve promised to share my testimony and the teachings of the LDS Church to the peoples of this world*.

If I were to couch in definite terms two of the most potent convictions in the hearts of the Latter-day Saints, I would name: First, an abiding assurance that the gospel, as taught by the Redeemer when he lived among men and which was later modified, changed and corrupted by men, has been restored by the Redeemer in its purity and fulness; and second, following naturally the first, a conviction in the heart of every member of this Church that the responsibility rests upon the membership of the Church to preach the restored gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.

David O. McKay, In Conference Report, Apr. 1927, 102

This is different than what most think of with the phrase ‘Mormon missionary.’ In terms of an official calling to serve, there are four specific opportunities:

First is the classic missionary who knocks on doors and hands out copies of The Book of Mormon. Single, unmarried young men or single, unmarried young women may devote a specific period of their young lives to serving and teaching. For young men, they may apply for a mission at age 18 and serve for two years; for young women, they may apply for a mission at age 19 and serve for 18 months. This is different than the standard was for years, when men were 19 and women 21.

Serving a mission in that fashion is a commitment to the work -where the young people are called to a specific area; live and work with a companion of the same sex at all times; and follow rules and regimens regarding dress, behavior, daily schedule, service, contact with family back home (though this has also improved), and what sort of media they view or listen to.

Second, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may be called as a mission president while he is married with a family at home. His entire family travels to the mission site with him and supports him and lives their regular lives for the duration of the three-year calling.

Mission presidents share a variety of responsibilities in their service. They are directed to first maintain their own well-being and that of their families. They instruct missionaries to effectively teach gospel principles as well as to maintain their individual health. In addition, the president assumes responsibility for the baptism of new converts and their initial development as new members of the Church.

LDS Newsroom, “Mission President

Third is older adults who wish to apply for and be called to a senior mission:

You may be recommended to serve as a missionary beginning at the age of 40 if you have no dependent children under the age of 18 living in your home. There is not an upper age limit for senior missionary service as long as you are physically able to meet the needs of the assignment.

Senior Missionary Service

Senior missionaries are usually a retired couple, and they can do the same sort of tasks as the young ones everyone is familiar with. Usually, however, they keep to less strenuous tasks like office work, visits, and training.

Fourth is serving in the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square (formerly known as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir), or in places like the LDS Church museums. Also, within this and the other three categories, an interested person may be called to a service mission.

Missionaries in all these shapes and sizes and ages do not get paid for their service. Certain expenses are covered by mission funds; like subsidization so all missions for young adults cost a uniform amount, housing for the mission president, clothing for the choir members, etc.

©2022 Chel Owens

*Although I’ve promised to be a missionary, this doesn’t mean I’m attempting to convert any readers. My sole purpose in writing about the LDS Church is to inform, clarify confusion, and answer questions.

……

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 attend church each Sunday* as part of a ward; the wards (or branches) are grouped into stakes (or districts), then areas. There is a man called to preside over each level, leading up to the president of the entire Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (currently President Russell M. Nelson).

Like school boundaries, an LDS ward or branch (if there aren’t enough church-goers to form a full ward) is a geographical area drawn to include 150 to 500 members. That group is assigned a building and a time to meet each Sunday. A man is called to be the bishop; he, in turn, calls two counselors and a secretary. Those three men are known as the bishopric.

The bishop holds the priesthood keys to lead the work of the Church in the ward (see 3.4.1). He and his counselors form a bishopric. They receive guidance from the stake presidency. They care for ward members with love, helping them become true followers of Jesus Christ (see Moroni 7:48).

LDS General Handbook, “The Bishopric

The bishop is like a pastor, rabbi, or priest. None of the bishopric is paid, however, and each is usually married.

The bishoprics in a stake are presided over by a stake presidency, which also has a president and counselors. They are also not paid and are usually married.

Stake presidencies are presided over by an area president and counselors. Again, unpaid. Again, usually married.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has many, many councils, counselors, presiding members, general authorities, presidents of specific levels and groups, members of the Seventies, etc. above the local level of leadership. For an explanation, read the General Handbook on “Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Above it all is the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The head of the LDS Church and the Twelve is President Russell M. Nelson, the current president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Unlike the majority of callings in the LDS Church, those filling the positions in upper management levels do receive a monetary stipend. In 2000, the pay of one of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve was estimated at $89,325.05.

General Authorities, as these upper-level leaders are referred to, serve full-time as their only job. They often travel. They oversee operations all over the world.

General Authorities leave their careers when they are called into full time Church service. When they do so, they focus all of their time on serving the Church, and are given a living allowance. The living allowance is uniform for all General Authorities. None of the funds for this living allowance come from the tithing of Church members, but instead from proceeds of the Church’s financial investments.

Eric Hawkins, reported in “MormonLeaks web page posts documents about ‘living allowance’ of LDS general authorities

©2022 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 wear clothing that is modest. On Sunday, I wear a dressier outfit for attending church. I wear that same level of attire when attending the temple.

Our clothing expresses who we are. It sends messages about us, and it influences the way we and others act. When we are well groomed and modestly dressed, we can invite the companionship of the Spirit and exercise a good influence on those around us.

LDS Study Manual, “Modesty

I therefore wear clothing that covers my temple garments all the time, unless I’m swimming or exercising excessively -even then, quite prudishly, my workout clothes could cover garments.

I wear a dress or a skirt and blouse each Sunday. I’ll wear those clothes if I go to the temple, attend General Conference (more on that, later), or sit through LDS Church-sponsored meetings that ask for it. The LDS men wear dress slacks and a dress shirt at the least, although most go for a full suit and tie.

The youth (12ish-18ish) in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are given specific guidelines about dress:

Immodest clothing is any clothing that is tight, sheer, or revealing in any other manner. Young women should avoid short shorts and short skirts, shirts that do not cover the stomach, and clothing that does not cover the shoulders or is low-cut in the front or the back. Young men should also maintain modesty in their appearance. Young men and young women should be neat and clean and avoid being extreme or inappropriately casual in clothing, hairstyle, and behavior. They should choose appropriately modest apparel when participating in sports. The fashions of the world will change, but the Lord’s standards will not change.

LDS Study Manual, Standards for Youth, “Dress and Appearance

The LDS missionaries are also given an official dress standard -which, by the way, can be those bright young people knocking on your door, an older couple giving tours of LDS Church sites, or even members of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.

The missionary dress standards address grooming, modesty, appearance, and attitudes. There are rules for the men and rules for the women.

Those who are not youth or missionaries (the rest of the regular members of the LDS church) simply dress to be modest. The rest of our church dress getup (dresses, suits, ties) is mostly due to tradition and appearing respectable.

©2022 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 am NOT a polygamist.

Joesph F. Smith, a former President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his family. ©pbs.org

Today, the practice of polygamy is strictly prohibited in the Church, as it has been for over a century. Polygamy — or more correctly polygyny, the marriage of more than one woman to the same man — was a part of the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for a half-century. The practice began during the lifetime of Joseph Smith but became publicly and widely known during the time of Brigham Young.

LDS Newsroom

Joseph Smith received revelation regarding plural marriage in 1831. He instated the practice privately; only those given permission or commandment to marry two or more women did so. Brigham Young‘s rather public, sizeable family drew attention to this peculiar tenet.

Even at that time, most men participating in a plural marriage only had two wives (LDS Study Manual, “Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah”). ‘Twas a unique practice, still, given that.

But, Latter-day Saints haven’t been polygamists for a really long time now.

In 1890, the Lord inspired Church President Wilford Woodruff to issue a statement that led to the end of the practice of plural marriage in the Church. In this statement, known as the Manifesto, President Woodruff declared his intention to abide by U.S. law forbidding plural marriage and to use his influence to convince members of the Church to do likewise.

LDS Study Manual

There are pockets of peoples still practicing plural marriage; none do so as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since “any person who practices plural marriage cannot become or remain a member of the Church” (LDS Study Manual). They’re splinter groups who formed awhile ago.*

Pretty much what these groups dress and groom like. You see them around border towns and at Costcos now and then. ©Route-Fifty

©2022 Chel Owens

*If you’re looking to understand the polygamist way of life, I recommend reading Love Times Three, by (ish) Joe Darger, Alina Darger, Vicki Darger, Valerie Darger; but mostly Brooke Adams who edited everyone’s words.

……

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 support the men who hold the power to administer the priesthood.

The word priesthood has two meanings. First, priesthood is the power and authority of God. It has always existed and will continue to exist without end (see Alma 13:7–8Doctrine and Covenants 84:17–18). Through the priesthood, God created and governs the heavens and the earth. Through this power, He exalts His obedient children, bringing to pass “the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39; see also Doctrine and Covenants 84:35–38).
Second, in mortality, priesthood is the power and authority that God gives to man to act in all things necessary for the salvation of God’s children. The blessings of the priesthood are available to all who receive the gospel (“Priesthood Authority,” Handbook 2, Administering the Church).

LDS Gospel Topics, “Priesthood

The blessings of the priesthood include vital ordinances like baptizing, conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost, blessing and administering the Sacrament, healing the sick, receiving inspiration and guidance for those whom a member is responsible for (including his or her own family), conducting and participating in temple rituals, and giving Patriarchal Blessings.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints received the priesthood and the ability to use it again when Joseph Smith applied for direction concerning performing ordinances. He was then blessed with the Aaronic Priesthood at the hand of John the Baptist; then the Melchizedek Priesthood at the hands of Peter, James, and John.

As noted, everyone benefits from the priesthood. In terms of receiving the special ability to directly apply priesthood power and authority, that is the sole responsibility of men.

There is a difference between the authority of the priesthood and the power of the priesthood. Priesthood authority comes from ordination. Power comes from personal righteousness.

LDS Gospel Topics, “Priesthood

Beginning in their twelfth year, young men may receive the Aaronic Priesthood and be called to the office of a deacon. At fourteen, they may receive more responsibilities as, and be ordained to the office of, teacher. Then, at sixteen, comes the opportunity to be a priest. The highest available ordination that is considered part of the Aaronic Priesthood is that of bishop, a man called to be the leader of an LDS ward or branch.

An important side note at this point is that all positions in the LDS church come from the membership. We are asked to volunteer in different roles, sometimes ones of authority, to help run the meetings, community events, or activities. Those called to higher leadership roles with more of a time commitment are paid a reasonable stipend for their labors.

Getting back to the Priesthood: the second tier of priesthood authority is referred to as the Melchizedek Priesthood. A man may be set apart as an Elder when he is eighteen. “The offices of the Melchizedek Priesthood are Apostle, Seventy, patriarch, high priest, and elder. The President of the High Priesthood is the President of the Church (see Doctrine and Covenants 107:64–66).” (LDS Gospel Topics, “Melchizedek Priesthood“).

Men in the Church must be worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holders in order to receive the temple endowment and be sealed to their families for eternity. They have the authority to administer to the sick and give special blessings to family members and others. With the authorization of presiding priesthood leaders, they can bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost and ordain other worthy men to offices in the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods.

LDS Gospel Topics, “Melchizedek Priesthood

Worthiness is essential where the priesthood is concerned, as mentioned in discussing revelation, baptism, and taking the Sacrament. A man may not exercise the priesthood properly if he is not worthy to do so, nor may a recipient of priesthood blessings fully benefit without a measure of faith.

©2022 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 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.

I’m a Mormon, So…

I’m a Mormon, so I don’t shop on Sundays.

Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

Sunday, our Sabbath day, is set aside for honoring our heavenly father. We Latter-day Saints attend church, spend time with family, keep activities low-key, and avoid causing others to work. So, no shopping, eating out, remodeling a bathroom, visiting the local aquatic center, or skipping church to walk around the mall.

It’s “a day of rest.”

The Sabbath is the Lord’s day, set apart each week for rest and worship. In Old Testament times, God’s covenant people observed the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week because God rested on the seventh day when He had created the earth (see Genesis 2:2). After the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which occurred on the first day of the week (see Mark 16:2), the Lord’s disciples began observing the Sabbath on the first day of the week, Sunday (see Acts 20:7).

LDS Student Manual, “Sabbath Day

Online retailers and 24-hour shopping marts can make adherence to this commandment tricky, but I aim for no browsing or impulse-buying when within midnight to midnight of a Sunday.

And, in case you wondered, those who need to work (like, doctors) or those who need to spend money (like, discovering there’s no food) are fine to do so.

©2022 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 take the Sacrament each week at church -if I’m worthy to do so*.

LDS Media Library
(And it’s my favorite Sacrament picture, since this is clearly how a family of boys behaves at church.
)

A Latter-day Saint sacrament meeting follows exactly the same format no matter which building you’re attending anywhere in the world, as I noted when I talked about Sunday worship.

First, the service opens with a congregational hymn, followed by the invocation (opening prayer). A member of the bishopric welcomes everyone and outlines the program. He’ll invite the attendees to prepare for the Sacrament by singing a sacramental hymn.

During the singing, at least one man who holds the Aaronic Priesthood at the level of priest (or higher) will prepare little trays with little cups of water and little trays with bits of broken bread. At the conclusion of the hymn, one priest will say the prayer for bread; the deacons and/or teachers will then distribute a bread piece to the highest order of priesthood in attendance (usually the bishop) and then to everyone else. They repeat this process of prayer and distribution with the water.

The bread is a symbol of Jesus Christ’s body. The water is a symbol of His blood. He suffered for the sins of all mankind and sacrificed himself for us.

Taking the Sacrament is a reaffirming of a member’s covenants s/he made at baptism:

When you were baptized, you entered into a covenant with God. You promised to take upon yourself the name of Jesus Christ, keep His commandments, and serve Him to the end (see Mosiah 18:8–10D&C 20:37). You renew this covenant each time you partake of the sacrament (see 20:77, 79).

LDS Study Manual, True to the Faith, “Baptism

We LDS are encouraged to prepare for sacrament meeting leading up to Sunday, repent of any sins needing repentance, and pray for forgiveness as we take the bread and water. The end result will be the same as when we were baptized: fresh, clean, and ready for a new week!

After the Sacrament service follows a varied program that usually involves members talking from the pulpit about an assigned gospel topic. The meeting ends with another hymn and the benediction (closing prayer).

See Wikipedia for a fairly decent, somewhat-more-expounded version.

©2022 Chel Owens

*Worthiness to take the Sacrament comes into question when a member has been asked not to as part of his/her repentance process or if s/he does not feel worthy. If a person does not feel worthy, s/he is recommended to speak to a member of the bishopric.

……

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.

I’m a Mormon, So…

I’m a Mormon, so I don’t have any tattoos or excessive body piercings.

Photo by Wilson Vitorino on Pexels.com

Our bodies -everyone’s- are created in the image of our heavenly father. Our bodies house the spirit that makes us a child of God. As such, we’ve been asked to keep ourselves clean in many ways: avoiding alcohol or recreational drugs, keeping to healthy habits, maintaining an appropriate sexual purity, and ensuring our bodies are free from permanent inking or extra piercings.

An appropriate number of body piercings has been defined as one pair of earrings, in the lobe of each ear, for females. Naturally, a person may have preexisting tattoos or holes; he or she is not expected to pay out to remove these. Everyone is expected to honor his or her covenants to Heavenly Father to keep him- or herself clean, as outlined, moving forward.

©2022 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 support families and family life.

LDS Media Library

Families are central to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We’re taught their importance from a very young age; the expectation is that everyone will try to marry (and be sealed in the temple) and raise his or her own children in a righteous environment. In the end, we have the chance to be together forever.

The Lord has designated the family to be the basic unit of the Church and of society. As used in the scriptures, a family consists of a husband and wife, children, and sometimes other relatives living in the same house or under one family head. A family can also be a single person living alone, a single parent with children, or a husband and wife without children.
…God organizes us into families so that we can experience happiness and learn patience and selflessness. These traits help us become more like God and prepare us to live happily as families throughout eternity.

LDS Gospel Topics, “Family”

This emphasis also sets up a pattern of patriarchy: the father is responsible for presiding over his family and providing for and protecting them. The mother is primarily a nurturer.

Marriage is between a man and a woman.

Children are only to be born to a married couple -as in, the couple needs to be married before making babies.

Permanent birth control measures are discouraged.

Connecting with one’s family is also tantamount, and will be discussed when I write about family history and temple work.

LDS Media Library

The way Kevin and I have been able to live this life is by his being the main breadwinner while I stay home and write blog posts. We have six boys so far, and are raising them with the expectation that they will marry and care for their own families one day.

©2022 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 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.