This post is for you. Well, what I mean is, this post is intended for a person who was recently invited to attend a Mormon worship service. Attending church with the Mormons is a lot like other church’s services, but also different. Hopefully this post will help make your first trip more enjoyable.
First of all, there is a webpage that will give you an “official” explanation of what will happen at church. You really should check it out. You’ll find it here. Maybe don’t read any thing else until you read that.
Ok. Now, a couple other things:
- No one in the local congregation gets paid to preach or give sermons. In fact, no one is really trained to give sermons. I mean, there are some good speakers who you’ll really enjoy, but I think you’ll notice that who ever is speaking to the congregation is pretty nervous and is only doing it because they’ve been invited to share some thoughts on whatever gospel topic is assigned. Though you won’t always hear a “polished” talk or sermon, you will hear people speaking from the heart, from the scriptures, and from personal experience.
- Usually the first Sunday of the month is for anyone to go to the microphone and share their testimony. Each month we have the opportunity to share some of the simple truths that are in our hearts. Again, these aren’t professional clergy but are your neighbors who might be school teachers, stay-at-home parents, plumbers, physicians or just about any other profession. I think you’ll find it interesting to hear people just speak, unprepared, on the very basics of the gospel. Because anyone can get up, you might hear some people share some things you’re not used to hearing in church, but most of what you hear will feel very familiar. Sometimes people get so nervous they don’t say exactly what they had planned on saying. But most of these micro-talks are about the central basics of our beliefs.
- Mormons are taught to be welcoming to visitors and I think you’ll find that a lot of people will shake your hand, ask your name, and generally welcome you. Now, there is a chance that not everyone will. Some people will keep to themselves. You know, as much as we enjoy church, sometimes people in church are struggling with a tough week or day and they may keep to themselves. Don’t take it personally. They are happy you’re here, they just need a Sunday to feel close to Heavenly Father and to feel some peace. They’ll warm up next week.
- If you are attending church in your neighborhood, there is the chance you’ll recognize some of the congregants. You work with Mormons. You’re neighbors with Mormons. Heck, one ran for President of the United States recently (technically, two did). You may also recognize a person or two that hasn’t quite lived up to what the Mormons profess to believe. Again, that’s ok. That’s why they’re there. Cut them a little break and get to know them a little better. They’re probably trying.
- You’ve already read about this, but Mormons do have “communion”. We call it “sacrament” and we eat a piece of bread and drink a small cup of water to remind us of the Savior’s sacrifice and our baptism. I just read on some site that people who aren’t Mormons aren’t allowed to take the sacrament. Of course you are allowed to take the sacrament if you’d like to! If you choose to join the LDS church and are baptized, the sacrament will become even more significant to you.
- Give it a few weeks. Part of Mormonism is the feeling of community and family. There’s more to it than that, but if you’ll attend for at least a few weeks and maybe come to a mid-week activity with a friend, you’ll feel more comfortable.
- Lastly, pay attention to how you feel while attending church. Even if the sermons aren’t professionally prepared; even if not everyone flocks to you and hugs you; even if you see a few (or a lot) Mormons who don’t set the perfect example; I think you’ll feel the Spirit of God during the meetings. Stick with it. We’re happy you’re here!
Well, there’s more, but go give it a shot. If you have questions, lean over and ask someone around you. Or, come back here and shoot me an email. I’d be happy to help!
These views are personal, and are not the official views of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints...