Lifestyles of a Mormon

24 January

Mormon Lifestyles & Daily Routines 

     The Mormon life is beset with many activities they see as necessary in their ultimate goal towards salvation.  Now while we can all be guilty of over scheduling our lives at times, we are assured by the Lord that we are never responsible for our own salvation – Ephesians 2:8-9 says; “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”   Good works are always a manifestation of our salvation; they never serve as a result of salvation.  They are faith in action; never because we must earn our own place beside Him.    Unfortunately for the Mormon this is not what they’ve been taught to believe.

     Christian churches throughout the world all have their own schedules for activities during the week.  Of course Sunday is for worship, but besides that they also provide youth group activities, adult bible studies, prayer and mission groups, mentoring and marital workshops are even offered for weeknight activities.  All in all, I’ve never seen any two churches that have a set standard of what must be done on which day.  With all this available we understand these are just some of the things that are offered through our churches and we participate in one or two if that is where God has led us to be to bring Him glory.

     As a Mormon it never occurred to me to think of what others were doing because I was always too busy trying to earn my way to heaven.  For the Mormon the list of “must do’s” never ends and to keep them focused there are sometimes a song that will go along with their daily activity.  The following list is typical for the active member of the LDS Church.

     Sunday – This is the traditional day of worship.  Each member is assigned to a “ward” depending on where you live and it is through this ward the member will participate.  The ward is another name for congregation.  Church services last for three hour blocks and it is expected the member will stay the entire time. 

     The rest of the day is dedicated to the Lord for the sole purpose of focusing on Him.  They highly stress the members stay at home to study their “scriptures” with no shopping or housework.  When I was growing up in Utah there were many days spent at my grandfather’s house obeying these strict rules in addition to not even using electricity or cooking.  My grandmother would cook a meal the day before and we would have cold leftovers; in many Mormon homes this is still the case.

     The members are expected to wear their “Sunday best” every week for church, no exceptions.  This means a dress or skirt for the ladies and girls; for the men and boys you’re looking at business office attire every week.  This manner of dress continues for the entire day, not just the church service.

     Monday – This day is set aside for “Family Home Evening”.  Members are highly discouraged from doing anything outside of spending time with the family and studying “scripture” or participating in a family project at home.  The members can download Family Home Evening lessons from the LDS website and can purchase lesson books for other ideas.

     Tuesdays through Fridays hold various activities depending on the age and gender of the member.  For females there are Relief Society Enrichment Activities that take place usually on a weekly basis.  It is here that she will learn the basics of parenting and homemaking skills.  They are provided to “strengthen faith in Jesus Christ”.

     It is at one of these meetings where the leader will ask for volunteers to demonstrate how to cook a meal, take care of children, etc.  The Relief Society also provides “Visiting Teaching”.  This means members are assigned a handful of families they are to visit each month that are members of their ward.  This is a separate calling and is in addition to the regular Relief Society Meetings.  Keep in mind that even if you’re not one of the visiting teachers you still need to be prepared to receive the teachers into your home.  You may also receive a calling to teach Sunday school or Primary or be a leader for the young women’s group (MIA).  While they are busy prepping for their upcoming teaching lesson there are also the meetings to attend when you’re a teacher.

     For the guys there are Priesthood meetings to attend on one of these nights.  In their priesthood meetings they “will be strengthened” by learning how to be better husbands, fathers and leaders of their ward.  The men may also receive a calling and will serve in various offices such as home teaching, bishops, stake presidents, auxiliary leaders, etc.  They too will have the obligatory meetings to attend in addition to preparing for their upcoming lessons they teach.

     The youth group of the LDS Church is for those between the ages of 12-18.  They are separated by gender and attend their weekly activities by serving in community projects, studying “scripture” or to prepare them to become husbands and wives.  They do meet as a combined group on occasion and depending on where you live in the US the meetings are either well put together or it serves as a “hang out time” with friends.  Roughly once a quarter they’ll have a church dance or sometimes they call them “fireside meetings”.

     The youth in the LDS Church also attends “Seminary” from ninth to twelfth grade.  For those outside of the Wasatch front in Utah these classes are held in the morning before school begins.  They meet daily from Monday to Friday for about an hour or so to study the history of the Church in addition to the Book of Mormon.  The youth in Utah and the surrounding area can attend seminary during their regular class schedules.  And yes they are tested each semester to see what they’ve learned.

     Couples who are temple worthy and have a free evening should be spending that evening at the temple for ordinance work.  This includes sealing of family members to ensure that they will be together forever or to perform proxy work for the dead.  Single members who are temple worthy may also attend various proxy work sessions that usually take place on Tuesday evenings.

     Saturday – This is a day that is reserved for a few things.  1-There is temple proxy work for the dead that needs to be done as well as the basic temple ordinance work.  

2-It’s the day you get ready for Sunday.  (There is a primary song that goes along with this).  3-Depending on the ward, they may organize a work party for the church or community service project.

     As you can see it is literally endless and quite exhausting.  Callings are roles that need to be filled in various capacities in the ward or stake when a vacancy presents itself.  Most callings in Mormonism are filled by volunteers or lay clergy, with no monetary compensation. The bishop literally has a list of names from his ward and if you’ve never filled the position of Primary teacher for example, and you’re a female, expect your phone to ring.  It matters not if you’re good with children or if you don’t know how to cook to be the homemaker instructor; it is now your turn to serve and it is expected you will do your duty to the Lord.  There is really no such thing as being “called by God to be the youth pastor” or “called by God to run the nursery” in the Mormon Church.   

      Marion Romney said; “No one should seek to be appointed to any particular office in the Church. Such an aspiration is not a righteous desire; it is a self-serving ambition…We should demonstrate that desire by living the gospel and diligently performing whatever service we are called upon to render. Holding a particular office in the Church will never save a person. One’s salvation depends upon how well he discharges the duties of the service to which he is called.” – Magnifying One’s Calling in the Priesthood – President Marion G. Romney; Second Counselor in the First Presidency; Ensign, July 1973, 89. 

     Each Mormon is also expected to have a year’s supply of food storage at all times so they will be prepared for the day of calamity.  The Church has always stressed the importance of “self-reliance” and this is one of the ways they can control their lives without having to rely on anyone else.  The Mormon will attend the necessary classes on how to properly store and rotate their food storage and on occasion one of the leaders will address this commandment during one of the General Conferences that are held twice a year.  If you cannot afford to buy a year’s worth of food all at once they also offer classes on how to budget each paycheck to build up your supply.  On the LDS website it says this in the food storage section; “We want you to be ready with your personal storehouses filled with at least a year’s supply. You don’t argue why it cannot be done; you just plan to organize and get it done” (Spencer W. Kimball, August 1976).”  You can also read Ezra Taft Benson’s warning to the saints about the importance of food storage in the same section of their website.  He said; “What are some of the calamities for which we are to prepare? In section 29 the Lord warns us of “a great hailstorm sent forth to destroy the crops of the earth.” (D&C 29:16.) In section 45 we read of “an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land.” (D&C 45:31.) In section 63 the Lord declares he has “decreed wars upon the face of the earth. …” (D&C 63:33.)

     Mormons have been taught to receive as much education as possible in their lifetime.  This is why you see so many successful people in the Church with many of them speaking at least two languages.  The Church prides itself on intelligence and has assured its members this is just one of the ways to salvation.  In the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, pg. 692 it says; “According to latter-day scripture, “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth” (D&C 93:36). Mankind, too, may be glorified by gaining intelligence (D&C 93:28-30). As Christ did not receive a fulness of intelligence at first but continued from “grace to grace” until he received a fulness (D&C 93:11-13, 27-28), so it is with all persons. Whatever principles of intelligence they gain in mortality will rise with them in the Resurrection (D&C 130:18-19).

     In many ways the LDS Church resembles another church that existed in the early days of Christianity; it was known as Gnosticism.  There was always a higher truth to be learned in order to gain salvation and so it is with the Mormons today.  Satan has just wrapped the same old lie into a pretty new package with a bright shiny bow.  Smart people in this day and age are looked up to and revered in many vocations; doctors and lawyers are just two examples of this phenomenon.  Let us remember what Paul told the Corinthians in his first epistle.  1 Cor. 8:1-2; “… Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.  And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.”

     The LDS Church also expects all members to pay a full ten percent tithe to the Church.  For each member there is a yearly tithing settlement meeting with the bishop; it is at this time you either pay up what you owe for the year or you go without your temple recommend.  These little pieces of wallet sized papers are coveted by members of the Church.  They serve as proof of a member’s worthiness to get to the Celestial Kingdom and make it possible for them to buy and wear their temple garments.  D&C 119:4 says; “And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord.”

     Collection plates are not passed around during the Sacrament meetings so the members just turn their tithes in directly to the bishop each time they tithe.  In addition to their ten percent tithe that is expected there is also the “fast offering” they give one Sunday a month at their “fast and testimony meetings”.  These meetings are held in lieu of a Sacrament meeting where the member is expected to “fast from food” before the meeting.  They then donate the money they would have spent on food for the Church to help the poor in the community or for someone in their own ward.  It is during these meetings where various members will stand to “bear their testimony” about the “one true Church”.  If you’re old enough to talk, you are deemed old enough to participate in bearing your testimony.  It seems hard to believe that a three year old would have a testimony about the Church, but this is what you will see at these gatherings.  It serves as proof these are memorized things to say instead of it coming from the inner part of a person’s heart.

     A young person growing up in Mormonism is taught at an early age to begin saving for the day they can go on a mission.  The mission program in the Mormon Church is for young adults around the age of 19 and for the “older” crowd.   Generally a married couple will volunteer to go out and serve as mission director for a few years after they’ve established themselves financially and have no major commitments such as small children in the home.  The children are taught the Primary song “I hope they call me on a mission” and this is sung routinely throughout their childhood.

     Young men serve their missions for two years while the young women serve an eighteen month mission.  I remember sitting in the pews as a young girl begging God not to let me go on my mission.  If I was old enough to go on a mission it meant I still wasn’t married and I still didn’t have any children.  Nowadays young girls tend to wait for those things a little while longer.  Up until the last ten years young women didn’t go on missions until they were in their early twenties, but now they have the option to go when they’re nineteen as well.  It’s a mixed bag of emotions for the girls in this department even today.  If you’re nineteen and not even engaged, you’re definitely planning a mission and quite possibly a full four years of college and for the female this may as well be a death sentence.

     The pressure to marry and have children in Mormonism is like nothing you’ll ever experience with any career.  The girls are primed and tutored from toddlers on how to quilt, sew, cook, clean and take care of children.  They begin making plans for which temple they’ll be married in someday as well as how many children they will have for their husbands.  The quest for a “forever family” isn’t much different for the guys with the exception they know they’re going on a mission; no questions asked.  They cannot become a god or be exalted without partaking of the everlasting covenant of marriage – this is true salvation for every member of the LDS Church.  The Mormon female cannot enter heaven without her husband’s consent and will end up as a servant in heaven if she doesn’t get married for all time and eternity here on earth.  Erastus Snow’s words are recorded in Journal of Discourses 5:291; “No woman will get into the celestial kingdom, except her husband receives her, if she is worthy to have a husband; and if not, somebody will receive her as a servant.”

     This teaching was so ingrained in me personally that even when I became an inactive Mormon which lasted for thirteen years, the drive to have babies to be found worthy overwhelmed my thoughts for years.   I had to be married, I had to have children; no matter the cost and no matter to whom.  God at this point had absolutely nothing to do with it because I was earning my salvation by performing these perfunctory duties.  It is emotionally and mentally exhausting.

          The Mormon people do celebrate birthdays and holidays with a few exceptions.  They celebrate things like Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas, however they do not observe days like Good Friday, Lent, Palm Sunday or Pentecost.  On Easter Sunday they will not hear about the resurrection of Jesus, but instead will hear thanks being given for the Prophet Joseph Smith.  All significance of who Jesus is, what He did and what God did for us through Christ is virtually non-existent in Mormonism in regards to truth about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.  You can see the response given by the Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith to a question about Good Friday in Answers to Gospel Questions 5:155; “Now as you well know that the resurrection did not vary and it is foolish to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord at the end of March or the first of April, or middle of April or near the first of May, and put Good Friday the Friday before the Easter Sunday. I think you are wise enough to see the foolishness of it. The resurrection of the Savior does not vary year by year but it is a constant thing. Why should we follow the silly custom rather than to have one day for the resurrection?

     Now if all these things weren’t enough there is more.  I have never met a Mormon who didn’t have the following two things in common:  they cannot say with 100% certainty that they are going to heaven, and they truly believe they have to be perfect.  The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, pg. 1074 says; “The man or woman who seeks the perfection of the Redeemer participates in the Father’s work of saving and exalting mankind: “He proceeds to help his frail fellow men in their attempts to progress; thus becoming a partner with God in working out the Plan of Salvation” (Widtsoe, p. 180). Latter-day Saints believe that they must become perfected and one in spirit, as individuals and as a body (Eph. 4:12), in order to inherit the kingdom of God.”

     Each time I meet a Mormon I ask them the same question: “if you died today would you go to heaven”.  I’ve never had a Mormon tell me they are certain they are going to heaven, not one time.  Their response my friend is why Life After Ministries is in existence today.  To me there is nothing sadder than to look in their eyes and not see any hope.

     In Deuteronomy 28:66 the Lord warned the nation of Israel they would have no hope for their lives if they continued in worshipping false gods and participating in hatred towards their brothers and sisters.  The Lord said this in verse 66; “And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life.”  Now for the Mormon who says this curse was meant for the Israelites in the Old Testament, I have a question for you.  You insist that you must obey the Law of Moses, yet you claim to live under grace through Jesus.  The Church leaders are continually telling its members they must “obey the gospel ordinances”.  God tells us in the Bible that if you live by the Law you will be judged by the Law.  You simply can’t have it both ways.  The scripture I’ve pointed out in Deuteronomy is exactly what has happened to the Mormon people.  Remember, the LDS Church believes that the body of Christ is the whore of the earth (1 Nephi 14:10); those aren’t exactly loving words for their brothers and sisters.

     The expectations a member of the Church carries on their shoulders is ever-so heavy and will never be attainable the way they are going about it!  Each day of the week is pre-planned for them; they must be perfect; they are to answer to man for how much they give monetarily after they’ve given all they can physically, mentally, emotionally and most important, spiritually.  They are to serve in areas they are ill-equipped to serve on many occasions and they must always look to themselves to be saved.  It is a dismal situation at best.  They have no choice of how they will dress for church or even when or where they will go to church; every single move is dictated by pre-set “ordinances”.

     We receive many e-mails asking us why we “pick on the Mormons” and not all the other religions.  Our answer is twofold.  First, we haven’t been called to witness to other religions who are speaking of some other savior with another name.  We’ve been called by the Jesus of the Bible to witness to those who call their savior by the name of Jesus.  Secondly, I am totally convinced the people of Mormonism truly believe they are doing all this for the real Jesus.  I know because I was one of them for thirty years and just as I deserved to know the truth, so do they.

     If you’re a Mormon you must be told that God doesn’t need you.  God doesn’t need any of us at all.  Think about it…if God needs man, then what kind of god is he anyway?  And is that the type of god you’d want to worship?  The God of the Bible is big enough, smart enough to handle the things that come His way. 

     Know that we pray for you daily and hope to hear from you!

 With Love in Christ;

Michelle

1 Cor. 1:18  …

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