Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith. The term Mormon comes from
the Book of Mormon which along with the Bible form the basis of
beliefs. Believers prefer the term LDS (Latter-day Saints) to
Mormon, though it is not considered a rude term. The center of the
church is Salt Lake City, Utah, where the church head is known as
the President and considered a prophet. He (the president is
always a man) governs the church with the assistance of the
Council of the Twelve. Worship is conducted in churches and
temples. Churches are for Sunday worship, and temples are for
greater religious ceremonies, like weddings. There are no
professional clergy. A Bishop is the presiding officer of churches
with men receiving the status of Bishop through works and study
after they are called to the position by revelation of those in
authority. One of the more common but not essential steps to
becoming a bishop is going on a mission, which until about 30
years ago was usually done only by men. Although the first women
to go on mission occured around 1898, it is only more recently
that mission work has become common for both young women and men.
Young men and women may go on a mission, during which they study
and teach to convert followers to their religion while their
families support them for two years. A mission may be within the
U.S. or in any foreign country. There is a worldwide network to
support the young people, usually between the ages of 18 and 25,
while "on mission."
nights are set aside for "Family Home Evening" - a time for
families to gather together to study gospel principles, talk about
upcoming family events and concerns, and have fun.
teaching" is where pairs of priesthood holders visit assigned
families in their congregation ("Ward") on a monthly basis to
share a gospel message as well as help with any needs the family
may have. Women do a similar type of thing- it is called "Visiting
Teaching"- they visit assigned women in their
Belief about illness and
Many LDS wear an undergarment called a
Temple Garment, which is believed to provide extra protection
since it is a privilege to be ceremoniously given this garment.
Since faithfulness and divine protection are associated with the
garment, it is important to honor their wish to maintain the
spiritual comfort this clothing provides.
Mormons are supportive of
persons with disabilities or other life situations that can create
problems. The LDS Welfare system provides support to individuals
and families while asking people to participate as they are able
to help in service. Deseret Industries is a vocational training
system as well as thrift store system that provides work and
materials locally and to projects outside the U.S. Participants
are taught skills from retailing, to maintenance, and job hunting,
as well as utilizing volunteers to maintain the Deseret Industry
programs. No federal money supports this system so that more
flexible guidelines can be used to provide opportunities to
participants. Bishops recommend participants to the programs.
(Additions or corrections can be sent to bdnapier[at]comcast.net)
Beliefs about healing
Prayer provides comfort and is believed to
aid in healing. Those who are priesthood holders will often come
and give blessings of healing to those who are sick.
related to food and health
Healthy diet is part of the LDS teachings.
Latter-Day Saints abstain from tobacco, alcohol, and beverages
such as coffee, tea and some sodas that contain caffeine. They may
drink beverages similar to coffee and tea, such as some
browned-grain beverages. The beverage restricition is not a church
doctrine but fits into ways to promote healthy diet.
related to death and dying
includes a strong belief in life before birth and after death.
Couples marry "for time and all eternity." Death therefore is a
passing to another part of life. Life and death decisions are an
individual or family discussion and decision. Dying persons may be
asked to deliver messages to people who have died before
Members of the LDS church
celebrate Easter and Christmas as the most important holidays.
Members in the US also celebrate traditional holidays such as
Thanksgiving, Halloween, Independence Day, birthdays, etc. The
only particularly LDS holiday is July 24th, on which members
usually have some kind of celebration (in Utah it is a state
holiday) to commemorate the arrival of the Mormon pioneers into