"For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light..."

Visitor's Guide

Ever wondered what to expext when attending Mormon church services? The purpose of this page is to give some helpful information to those planning on visiting an LDS congregation for Sunday services.

Dress Standards

What should a visitor wear to Church?  First, you should understand that Latter-day Saints don't have specific dress standards and everyone is always welcome regardless of their state of dress.  Generally speaking, Latter-day Saints wear their "Sunday best" to Church, as a sign of reverence for the Lord.

Women & Girls
Most women choose to wear nice dresses of knee length or longer.   Skirts and blouses are also common.

Men & Boys
Most men wear suits, with white being the most common shirt color.   In less affluent areas, it's not uncommon for men to wear just a dress shirt and tie.  This is especially common for younger men and boys.


Outline of a Typical Service

LDS Sunday worship services are divided into three one hour blocks (3 hours in total), as follows:  Sacrament Meeting,
Sunday School, Priesthood--Relief Society--Young Men/Women--Primary.  The order of the blocks may vary from congregation to congregation, due to building scheduling and similar considerations.   For example, if two congregations share the same building, then one congregation may hold Sacrament meeting in the chapel, while the other congregation uses the rooms for Sunday School classes at the same time.  This procedure allows maximum efficiency in the use of buildings.

Sacrament Meeting

Sacrament meeting begins with a hymn and prayer.  Then, the member of the bishopric conducting the meeting addresses the congregation from the pulpit with any necessary business (e.g., announcements, new callings, etc.).  Next, the congregation prepares to partake of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, which is considered the most important spiritual event of the LDS week.   By partaking of the Sacrament, baptized members of the Church can gain spiritual renewal by rededicating themselves to following the Savior.  While selected members of the priesthood prepare the Sacrament, the congregation sings one of a collection of hymns that pay special tribute to the Savior's atoning sacrifice.  (See The Atonement of Jesus Christ home page)

After the Sacrament, the congregation will normally hear from three speakers speakers previously selected from the congregation.  After the second speaker, the congregation normally rises and sings a hymn, informally knows as the "intermediate hymn".  The congregation gets to stand while singing (they have been sitting for awhile by this point and they get to rest from speakers for a few minutes).  In the LDS Church, since we have a lay priesthood, we do not listen to the same preacher every week.  Instead, members of the congregation take turns speaking.  Most active members of the congregation will be asked to speak to the congregation on an assigned gospel topic (e.g., faith, repentance, baptism, etc.) every year or so.  In larger congregations, the rotation may take a little longer.  

There are several exceptions to this standard format. On the first Sunday of the month, we hold fast and testimony meetings.   During these meetings, there are no assigned speakers.  Instead, after partaking of the Sacrament, members of the congregation are allowed to come to the pulpit and share their testimonies with the congregation.  Those members who choose to take advantage of this opportunity talk about their feelings towards Christ, his gospel and, membership in his Church.  Another exception to the standard format is when a representative from the Stake High Council addresses the congregation on a subject chosen by the Stake Presidency.    He is often accompanied by a "junior speaker" previously selected.

At this point, the congregation has a closing hymn and prayer.  To summarize, the following steps occur in the Sacrament Meeting block:  1) Opening Hymn and Prayer, 2) Congregation Business, 3) Sacrament Hymn and Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, 4) Speakers (or testimonies on the first Sunday of the month), and 5) Closing Hymn and Prayer.

Sunday School

The course of study in Sunday School has a four year rotation.  In 1999, we studied the New Testament.  In 1998, we studied the Old Testament.  In 1997, we studied the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History.  In 1996, we studied the Book of Mormon..  In 2000, we shall the Book of Mormon again.  In 2001, we shall study the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History again, and so forth.

Sunday School classes are normally segregated into the following categories:   Adult (age 18 and above), Youth (age 12-17), and Children (age 11 and under).   The classes for youth and children are further divided by age (e.g., 10-11 year olds in one class, etc.).  Adult classes are divided by subject matter.  The Gospel Doctrine class follows the scheduled noted above (i.e., four year scripture rotation).  The Gospel Essentials class is designed for new members and investigators.  It teaches the basic principles of the gospel by subject (e.g., prayer, faith, tithing, temples).  Other members of the Church may also take the class if they desire (i.e., those wanting to strengthen their understanding of basic gospel principles).  In addition, some special classes may be offered depending upon congregation needs (e.g., a class on preparing for marriage for young single adults, a temple preparation class for those who have never attended the temple, a class in how to do family history, etc.)

Priesthood--Relief Society--Young Men/Women--Primary

A number of different things occur during the third block.   The congregation divides itself into a number of different activities and classes based on age and/or gender.  Children (i.e., 11 and under) go to Primary where they receive instruction tailored to their age.  Women, age 12 to 17, go to Young Women.  Men, age 12 and above, go to priesthood meetings.  Women, age 18 and above, go to Relief Society.   Latter-day Saints segregate some classes by gender because we believe that there are benefits to spending some time developing a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood.

Partaking of the Sacrament

Should a visitor partake of the Sacrament?   No, the Sacrament is a sacred ordinance specifically designed for people who have been baptized into the Church.  It's specific purpose is to renew the covenants such a person made with God at baptism (See Baptismal Covenant).  Therefore, nonmembers should not partake of the Sacrament. 

President Spencer W. Kimball taught:

"If a person, not a member of the Church, is in the congregation, we do not forbid him partaking of it, but would properly advise that the sacrament is for the renewing of covenants. And, since he has not made the true covenant of baptism or temple covenant, he is exempt. However, his partaking of the sacrament if he is clean and worthy and devout would not bring upon him any condemnation as it would for those who have made solemn covenants and then have ignored or defied them." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.226)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie noted:

"If a nonmember with no ill intent partakes of the sacrament, it is in his case as though he had simply eaten bread and drunk wine or water. He will be judged according to the intent of his heart." (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.298)

(See Daily Living home page; Activity in the Church home page)



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Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, Gospel of Abraham

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