Some people may consider members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be a rather “peculiar” or strange people, not only because of some of their beliefs and practices, but because of their devotion to their faith. Devout Mormons, as they are often called, believe that their religion is more than just a Sunday religion. It is something that they uphold and practice every day of their life – at home, at school, in the market place, in the work place, or even in the public square. Wherever they may be, the doctrines and principles that they are taught are a guiding force in their personal life, as well as in their dealings with others.
Living the Life of a Latter-day Saint
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ live normal, busy lives like most other people. They go to work each day, go to school, attend college classes, do grocery shopping, and take care of their homes and families, as well as any other tasks that may be required. As such, each member of the Church gives of their time differently. Depending on life situations, some may be able to sacrifice more time than others. Nevertheless, by comparison there are few Christians who give of their time like Latter-day Saints.
Joseph Smith, the first Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the “Mormon” Church by the media and others) in Lectures on Faith taught that “a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.” Although members of the Church do not sacrifice everything that they have, most willingly give of their time each week to attend Church meetings, perform their Church callings, and participate in activities and service projects.
An Approximate Breakdown of Time Sacrificed
Exactly how much time an average Latter-day Saint sacrifices in performing church, family, and community service can only be approximated.
On a daily basis, the average Mormon may spend only a few minutes reading and studying the scriptures. A full-time missionary, however, spends up to 2 hours per day studying the scriptures.
During the week, some LDS youth attend early morning Seminary classes for one hour prior to the start of the regular school day. Other LDS youth, depending on their location, may have Seminary included as part of their school curriculum.
Sundays are divided into three one hour blocks of instruction to include Sacrament meeting, Sunday school, Relief Society for women, Priesthood for men, and Primary for the younger children. There are also other church meetings to attend depending on a person’s calling. It is not uncommon for Stake Presidents, Bishops, and auxiliary presidents to spend up to 20 hours or more in their church callings, whereas someone else in a different calling may spend less than an hour. The time that is spent in a particular calling includes, but is not limited to: leadership meetings and training, presidency meetings, interviews, lesson preparations, planning and attending activities.
A breakdown of time during the week may look something similar to the following:
• Young Women/Young Men activities: 1-2 hours at activities; more spent individually on Personal Progress and Duty to God requirements.
• Scouts: 1 hour per week at activities; more spent individually fulfilling requirements.
• Primary Activity Days: 1 hour
• Family Home Evening: 1-2 hours
• Date Night: 1-4 hours; many local church leaders have encouraged a weekly date night for married couples.
A report by Utah Valley 360 also outlines how Latter-day Saints may spend their time on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis:
• Home Teaching/Visiting Teaching: 1-2 hours (depending on the number of families a person has been assigned)
• Weekday Relief Society Meetings: 1 hour
• Child of Record Baptisms: 2 hours
• Scout camp outs: 2 days
• Parent/Children interviews: 5 minutes to 2 hours
• General Conference: 10 hours (four 2-hour General Sessions, one 2-hour Priesthood Session and one 2-hour Women’s Session) held in April and October of each year.
• Youth Conference: 1-2 days
• Girls Camp: 3-5 days
• Scout Camp: 3-6 days
• Pioneer Trek: 3-5 days
• Stake Conference: 2-6 hours (2-hour general session, 1-2 hour adult session, and other leadership training sessions.
Latter-day Saints also give of their time to attend the temple which could constitute two to three hours per endowment session. The amount of time spent in the temple during each subsequent visit will depend on such factors as travel times, wait times, and what ordinances a person is planning to perform during their visit. Temple ordinance workers serve approximately 6 hours per week for several months or maybe even years.
Latter-day Saints are also service minded people, and could spend anywhere from an hour to 20 hours or more in providing meals for those in need, helping families to move, cleaning church buildings, and assisting in humanitarian efforts.
They also spend a considerable amount of time doing genealogy work. Some may spend only a few minutes each week doing family history research, and others may spend several hours per week depending on their schedules.
As there are no paid ministers in the Church, members are called on from time to time to give a talk/message to the congregation during Sacrament meeting, or other church meetings such as ward and stake conferences. Some members are also called upon to teach various classes. And so, preparation time must also be calculated into the equation.
Missionary service is another major part of the Church with males starting at the age of 18 serving full-time for two years, and females starting at age 19 serving for 18 months. A retired couple may serve a mission for a period as short as 6 months or as long as 2 years. Missionary Presidents and their wives serve for 3 years, and Church-service missionaries usually serve approximately 8 hours per week for 6 months to 2 years.
Latter-day Saints are Willing Servants
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ sacrifice their time in many ways, not out of obligation, but because they believe that when they are in the service of their fellowman, they are in the service of God. Elder Dallin H. Oaks has said, “Our lives of service and sacrifice are the most appropriate expressions of our commitment to serve the Master and our fellowmen.”
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.