Who Are The Mormons?
Mormon is a term used to describe members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often also referred to as the Mormon Church. The Mormon Church is a restoration of Christ’s Church as it existed during His life on earth. Important information and the authority of the priesthood were lost as Christ’s apostles were killed, or died. Through Joseph Smith, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ restored the truth of the gospel, and the Church was officially organized in1830. Following are a few basics about Mormons and Mormon life.
The membership of the Mormon Church is spread throughout the world. There are more than twelve million members, and more than half live outside of the U.S. There is a high percentage (14%) of Mormon membership in Utah. About half of the members of the Church speak English as their primary language. Other primary languages in the Church are Spanish, and Portuguese, and about 1, 311,000 Mormons speak a language other than English, Spanish or Portuguese.
The Mormon Church accepts all people and does not close its doors to people based on race, sex, or for any other reason. To become a member of the Mormon Church a person must have faith in Christ, repent of their sins, accept the teachings of the Church and be baptized and confirmed a member. You do not have to be a baptized member of the Mormon Church to attend church services or other church activities.
Mormons celebrate the Sabbath on Sundays. The primary church service is called sacrament meeting. Sacrament meeting lasts about seventy minutes and whole families including children are in the congregation. There are also other meetings held on Sundays these meetings include Sunday School (a time when members 12 years old and up break into smaller groups to be taught), Primary (for children under 12 years old), Young Women for girls 12-17, Relief Society for women, and Priesthood for the men 12 years and older. Members attend these meetings dressed in their nicest clothing. Men are asked to wear suits, or a white shirt, nice dress pants and a tie. Women are asked to wear dresses.
Members of the Mormon Church follow a certain lifestyle. This lifestyle includes adherence to the Ten Commandments, The Word of Wisdom (a guideline of what members should and should not eat and drink. This is the reason why members do not drink alcohol or smoke.), The Law of Tithing (the offering of ten percent of all income to the Church so that it may be used to help build God’s Kingdom), and The Law of Chastity (keeping sexual relations within marriage, and dressing modestly).
Mormons celebrate common Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter. These two holidays are revered as the two most spiritually significant events in history because of the birth of Jesus Christ and His suffering, death and Resurrection. Mormons also often participate in regional and national celebrations and celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. A holiday specific to the Mormon Church is Pioneer Day, which is held on July 24th. This holiday celebrates the arrival of the first pioneers in Salt Lake City. A General Conference is also held twice a year on the first weekends in April and October. These conferences are not considered holidays, but Mormons spend time being taught by Church leaders.