Can Non-Mormons Attend Mormon Worship Services?

mormon meetinghouse

A typical Mormon meetinghouse

A visitor to the site recently asked, “can non-Mormons attend Mormon worship services?” This is a great question. Whether it’s the Mormon Church or any other church, people often wonder if they are invited to attend.

The answer is, yes! Visitors are always welcome to attend regular church worship services held (in most parts of the world) each Sunday. Meeting times vary depending on the location, but you can find a local meetinghouse and time here: mormon.org/meetinghouse.

What Should You Expect?

It’s totally normal to feel a little uneasy when visiting a new place for the first time. My experience has been that Mormons are warm and welcoming, and simply excited to have a new visitor in their midst. If you decide to attend a Mormon worship service, hopefully you’ll feel the same way.

A typical worship service on Sunday consists of 3 separate meetings.

  1. Sacrament Meeting: This is the main worship service. But don’t expect to hear a preacher speaking at the pulpit here—the Mormon Church has a lay ministry and sermons (referred to as talks) are usually given by members of the congregation each week. We also partake of the sacrament (aka communion) in remembrance of Jesus Christ.
  2. Sunday School: During this meeting, members meet in different Sunday School classes depending on their age. Children attend primary, young adults attend separate classes based on their age, and adults meet together. Topic discussed are about the gospel of Jesus Christ and may be on any of several Christian topics found in the Bible or Book of Mormon.
  3. Priesthood and Relief Society: For the last meeting, the men and women separate for different lessons and instruction. Men, of which all worthy males hold the priesthood, attend a meeting to discuss the gospel of Jesus Christ and learn how to better fulfill their duties as husbands, fathers, brothers and sons. The women of the Church are part of the largest women’s organization in the world, called the Relief Society. They discuss the gospel of Jesus Christ and receive instruction on how to be the best mothers, wives, sisters and daughters.

For me, attending worship services each week is a great way to take a break from this crazy world and gain a better perspective. Learning about God and Jesus Christ, and hearing from other members teach and share their personal experiences really helps strengthen me for the week ahead.

Have you attended a Mormon worship service before? Tell us about it in the comments below.

April 2013 General Conference Recap

LDS General Conference concluded on Sunday April 7th. It was a spiritually rewarding two-day conference. The prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Thomas S. Monson, along with each of the Twelve Apostles and other Church leaders, delivered short 5 to 15 minute sermons about various gospel topics.

Some topics included:

  • Marriage
  • The Atonement
  • Missionary work
  • Family
  • Repentance

See a full list of Conference topics here.

As a Mormon, and as a Christian, I really look forward to General Conference every 6 months. With all the constant barrage of evil in this world, with all the temptations, it’s such a relief to take a weekend and focus on God and the important things in life. The messages shared are inspiring and uplifting. Furthermore, I know that God has indeed called prophets and apostles in our day. They speak the words of God. I would encourage you to read or listen to their words by visiting gc.LDS.org.

Did you watch General Conference? What were your thoughts and feelings?

April 2013 LDS General Conference

The 183rd Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be held on April 6-7, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Mormon Church holds a world-wide conference every six months in April and October. The April conference typically falls around Easter so many of the addresses will usually have an Easter theme.

Brief 10-20 minute talks (or sermons) are given by various leaders of the Church, including the Prophet and president, Thomas S. Monson; the counselors in the First Presidency; and the Quorum of the Twelve apostles. Various gospel topics are addressed throughout the conference.

Who Is Invited?

People of all faiths are invited to attend. For those not in Salt Lake City, Utah, the services will be broadcast to meetinghouses throughout the world as well as streamed online.

General Conference Schedule:

April 6

  • Saturday morning session: 10am MDT
  • Saturday afternoon session: 2pm MDT
  • Priesthood session: 6pm MDT (not available via live streaming)

April 7

  • Sunday morning session: 10am MDT
  • Sunday afternoon session: 2pm MDT

April 2013 General Conference will be a great event for you and your family. I always leave conference feeling uplifted with the messages of Jesus Christ and His gospel. I hope you can find time to attend!

Proposition 8 Supreme Court Case: Mormons’ View on Gay Marriage

The U.S. Supreme Court will hold 2 days of arguments this week about Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. This event once again puts gay marriage in the spotlight.

I’m not going to spend any time discussing the constitutionality of this proposition and act, nor will I speculate what the Supreme Court will eventually rule in June. But since this is back in the spotlight, I figured I would take a moment to discuss the Mormon Church’s views on homosexuality and gay marriage. Please note that my comments do not necessarily represent the views of the Mormon Church.

I know that this is an emotionally charged issue with strong opinions on either side. My goal in this post is not to start any arguments but rather to present the facts about Mormon belief. If you have any questions, please let me know or leave a note in the comments below.

What is the Church’s Belief on Marriage?

The Church’s view on marriage is best stated in The Family: A Proclamation to the World:

“We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”

And later in the same document, it states:

“The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”

What is the Church’s Belief on Homosexuality?

Because of Mormons’ belief about the family and traditional marriage, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Church does not agree with or condone homosexuality. Again, from the Church’s proclamation:

“All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”(emphasis added)

That being said, the Church has begun to recognize the complexity and sensitivity of this issue. Let’s be clear, Mormons are not denying that homosexuality is real, because it is. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have real and legitimate feelings for those of the same sex. But that doesn’t change the Church’s belief that acting on homosexuality is wrong. The Church recently launched a new website to address this topic: MormonsAndGays.com.

In Conclusion

In summary, Mormons believe:

  • The family is ordained of God
  • Marriage should be between a man and a woman
  • Homosexuality is contrary to God’s eternal plan for His children

Want to learn more? I would encourage you to read the entire proclamation released by the Church in 1995 which explains many beliefs about family and marriage. Read it here.

As the Supreme Court gets ready to hear arguments this week, I hope this post helped explain Mormons’ belief about gay marriage and this heated issue in our country.

58 New LDS Missions Created

mormon missionariesThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced last week it will create 58 new missions in response to a recent surge in missionary applications.

The news comes after an announcement made by President Thomas S. Monson, leader of the Mormon Church, last October in which the minimum age for young men and young women was lowered to age 18 and 19, respectively. Since then, the Church has seen an immense response from young men and women throughout the world who previously left for missionary service at age 19 (for young men) and age 21 (for young women).

Missionary service is an integral part of the Mormon Church. There are tens of thousands of Mormon missionaries throughout the world that serve in pairs, teaching individuals and families about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A mission is defined as a geographical area which is presided over by a mission president. Several hundred missionaries will be assigned to each mission. With the increase of 58 new missions, that brings the total to 405.

The new missions include: