There is a lot of “buzz” going on about the Mormons as of late. Some people learn about Mormons from sources that aren’t reliable—aka not the source itself. I am here to give you some statistics and facts; and I am a Mormon, so you can consider what you learn here “from the source.” To begin, we are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—we are commonly called Mormons because of our belief in the Book of Mormon. Now for some interesting facts:
Facts on How Mormons Worship
Mormons are Christians. Mormons believe the Bible and the Book of Mormon to be the word of God—both testifiers of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon actually mentions Jesus Christ 3,925 times, which is an average of every 1.7 verses. Other interesting facts about Mormons:
- 100% of sacramental services focus on Jesus Christ.
- 9 of 10 members pray weekly and over 80% pray daily.
- According to an independent study, Mormons are among the most knowledgeable of the Bible.
- The LDS Church is the 4th largest religious body in the U.S.
- A recent PEW study showed that 77% of Mormons attend church weekly, as opposed to the 39% U.S. average. (Mormon Newsroom)
What does the LDS Church offer its Mormon members?
With a membership of 14,441,346 (end 2011) and total of 28,660 congregations, you can formally worship as a Mormon most anywhere in the world—in fact the Church is found in 185 different countries, nations and territories. You can also find more members outside of the United States than within. Some congregations are small, sometimes only a family or two; these congregations are called branches. Most congregations, however, range from three hundred to eight hundred members; these are called wards.
Mormon leaders make it a priority to offer lots of opportunities to worship Jesus Christ in addition to the three-hour block of LDS church meetings on Sundays. That is why there are 138 temples around the world (all dedicated to the worship of Jesus Christ). The LDS Church also provides youth and young adults with instruction in the scriptures and in gospel principles through seminary and institute programs. There are a total of 375,388 seminary students and 352,441 institute students. The Church also organizes itself in a way that allows all members to participate in these similar groups:
Primary: Children ages 18 months to 11 years
Young Women: Ages 12 to 17
Young Men: Ages 12 to 17
Sunday School: All members 12 and older
Relief Society: All women ages 18 and older
Priesthood Quorums: Adult men and older boys who hold the priesthood
This way of organizing allows for individuals to worship Jesus Christ in a group with similar life circumstances. These groups get together during some of the Sunday worship service and also other times (weekly, monthly, or quarterly—as deemed appropriate by the local leaders). The most important meeting of the Sunday worship is the sacrament meeting (communion) where Mormons sit together as families and worship Jesus Christ. Sunday meetings are open for anyone; visitors are welcome and encouraged to join in Mormon worship.
LDS General Conference is also a great offering from the Church to its members. Twice a year (first weekend in the months of April and October) there are five, two-hour meetings throughout the course of two days, where the general leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ speak to its Mormon members about how to live as Christ would have us live. Anyone can watch, listen, or read the messages given from this conference via television, radio, Internet or magazine. Interesting facts of how people watch or listen live:
- Over 100,000 attendees at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, UT.
- Viewed from 175 countries or territories.
- Translated into 94 different languages.
- Over 192,000 live Internet streams.
- 97,234 mobile connections.
- Satellite broadcasts to 7,000 buildings in 96 countries.
- 595,000 televisions in America tune in on the Sunday morning session (Mormon Newsroom)
What does the LDS Church and its Members Offer the World?
Aside from the 55,410 volunteer missionaries who are serving in 340 different missions all over the world, who go sharing the “good news” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Mormons also offer family history help, lots and lots of service, humanitarian efforts, and even provide relief to struggling individuals and families (temporally, emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually).
Mormons staunchly believe in the scripture from Malachi 4:6 that says we must “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers”. Hence they offer a total of 4,676 family history centers all over the world where Latter-day Saint Mormons give assistance to any person who wishes to do personal family history. There is no charge for this help. Anyone can access the millions of pieces of family history data mounted by the Church of Jesus Christ at FamilySearch.org, too.
An active Mormon spends a lot of time volunteering—in fact much more than the average American. The average American spends 48 hours volunteering and the average Mormon spends 427.9 hours in volunteer efforts each year.
88 percent of church-going Mormons fill the biblical commandment of the tithe, where they voluntarily give 10% of their income to the Church. On top of that 10% tithe, members also donate on average $1,821 towards social and community efforts, $650 of which goes to welfare donations.
The Church as a whole sponsors LDS Humanitarian Services, which is all about humanitarian efforts. This arm of the Church responds to natural disasters, provides resources for ongoing projects such as cleaning water in communities, neonatal resuscitation training, vision treatment training, measles immunization and wheelchair distribution (Mormon Newsroom). The Church has given relief for over 150 disasters since 1986 (Mormon Wiki).
Once a month Mormons fast, going without food for two meals. Members then donate at least the cost of the meals to charity. In addition to that “the Church owns 400 welfare farms and 220 canneries/welfare storehouses to care for the poor. Members volunteer their time to staff these facilities” (Mormon Wiki).
The LDS Church even has a counseling service, LDS Family Services, which provides help for, “people experiencing unplanned pregnancies; adoption services; professional counseling for families, couples, and individuals; and sponsors an addiction recovery program”. Again, everyone is welcome to benefit from these services.
These are the facts. And if you are asking yourself “why” to any of these facts, I invite you to find out for yourself—ask a Mormon neighbor/co-worker/friend, attend a Mormon meeting, read the Book of Mormon, and of course humbly ask God—after all “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7).
I have a testimony that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true and living Gospel of Jesus Christ because I asked God. My family and I will be forever blessed because of our decision to be baptized as Mormons. I echo the words of the Mormon prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, “How grateful we are that the heavens are indeed open, that the restored Church of Jesus Christ is upon the earth today, and that the Church is founded upon the rock of revelation. We are a blessed people, with apostles and prophets upon the earth today. We will never be led astray” (“General Conference is For You,” Ensign, Nov. 2009).
By Ashley Bell
Keith L. Brown
Keith L. Brown is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been born and raised Baptist. He was studying to be a Baptist minister at the time of his conversion to the LDS faith. He was baptized on 10 March 1998 in Reykjavik, Iceland while serving on active duty in the United States Navy in Keflavic, Iceland. He currently serves as the First Assistant to the High Priest Group for the Annapolis, Maryland Ward. He is a 30-year honorably retired United States Navy Veteran.