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I've gone past a mormon church near my house quite a few times now and I'm keen to give it a visit. However I am prevented by the fact that I can't find any website which lists their service times or any other related information. This got me wondering, what do mormons actually get up to? I'm not even sure that they actually have a Sunday (or other day) service which is comparable to mainstream evangelical churches.

After a bit of research, I've discovered that mormons have a variety of liturgies and sacramental rituals which they perform in special circumstances, and it all seems rather secretive. What I'm wondering about, is if they have some sort of "anyone is welcome" regular meeting similar to mainstream protestants. If so, what happens during this meeting? For example does it follow the usual evangelical format of

  • song
  • bible reading
  • sermon
  • (optional) Communal confession
  • (optional) apostles/nicene creed
  • (optional) lords supper
  • song
  • announcements
  • conclusion
  • song
  • informal mingling, doughnuts and coffee/tea and biscuits"?
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    Serious comment: If you really want to know, why not just go to service? Check out the church's website for the time and go; its the best way to find out. – kingledion Dec 2 '17 at 14:55
  • As I mentioned, I was unable to locate any website for this church despite some heavy googling. As such I was unable to establish service times (I don't want to wait around all day!). However comments from Mason Wheeler were very helpful, and I have been able to establish that my local church is actually a mandarin congregation. The closest english one is a little way across the harbour and much more of a hassle to get to – user35774 Dec 2 '17 at 14:58
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    I've instead requested a visit from some missionaries. Should be fun to chat with them! – user35774 Dec 2 '17 at 14:59
  • -1 for "a futile attempt to justify their blatant schism and heresy". We tend to be polite here, even regarding denominations we disagree with. Are such strong accusations and harsh language really necessary for your question to be understood and answered? – vsz Dec 2 '17 at 16:40
  • you mention I was unable to locate any website for this church despite some heavy googling. What were you googling that you didn't find anything? – depperm Dec 4 '17 at 13:36
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First, a point of terminology. Do you live near a Mormon temple (a large and spectacular building, recognizable by a distinctive golden statue of an angel with a trumpet on top) or a Mormon church (an ordinary church building, usually with a spire)?

Temples are very special and sacred places that are only available to members of the church in good standing. The worship ceremonies that are performed inside are not often discussed outside of the temple, not because they're secret, but because they're sacred. But churches are open to the public, and usually have a sign either on the side of the building or on the grounds near the entrance to the parking lot that explicitly says "Visitors Welcome."

Church services are a 3-hour block on Sundays; exactly which 3 hours can be found by putting your address into the church's online meetinghouse locator tool. They consist of three meetings, which each last approximately one hour.

Sacrament Meeting is the common congregation meeting in which everyone meets together to pray, sing, take the Sacrament [also known as Communion or Lord's Supper in other faiths], and listen to talks by members of the congregation. (Latter-Day Saints have a lay clergy, so the leaders have professional responsibilities outside the church and don't prepare a sermon every week, instead sharing that responsibility with the rest of the congregation.)

The other two hours are Sunday School classes, where people split up to meet with others based on various criteria. If you were to drop by, you would certainly find someone willing to show you around.

  • Yeah I guess it's just a church. It's pretty big but it's not exactly spectacular. Thanks for drawing attention to that – user35774 Dec 2 '17 at 13:57
  • @JohnnySubterfuge Well, if you want to have a look, the meetinghouse locator should tell you what time tomorrow the services start. :-) – Mason Wheeler Dec 2 '17 at 14:43
  • One thing to note is that there are actually there different meetings during the 3-hour block. – PyRulez Mar 27 '18 at 23:42
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Sacrament meetings are usually held at the same time every week. Two or three congregations (termed wards for larger congregations or branches for smaller ones) may share a building.

The usual order of a Sacrament Meeting (the main worship service) is:

1) Welcome and announcements. The Bishop usually presides over the meeting. It his responsibility to see that the service is conducted properly, and he will occasionally correct doctrinal or behavioral errors. The person conducting the meeting is usually the Bishop or one of his two counselors. They typically rotate this duty on a month-by-month basis. He will welcome the congregation and often give announcements. He will usually announce the opening hymn and who is giving the opening prayer.

2) Opening Hymn. Usually by the congregation, occasionally a choir. There is typically a conductor who leads the singing, and there is usually at least one member who regularly plays the organ or piano. Hymnals are provided.

3) Opening prayer (Invocation). This is offered by a member of the congregation who has been invited to do so by the person conducting the meeting.

4) Ward Business. Conducted by a Bishopric member. Most of the activities in the church are performed by members who are called to positions with specific responsibilities. These are announced and presented to the congregation for a "sustaining vote", in which the members are asked if they are willing to sustain and approve this person in this calling, or oppose. (D&C 20:65) This vote is in practice nearly always unanimously affirmative but on occasion, opposition is expressed. When a person is released from a calling, the congregation is typically asked for a vote of thanks. Sometimes babies are blessed, (D&C 20:70) sometimes newly baptized members are confirmed (D&C 20:41), and the names of new members who have moved in and whose church membership records have been received are read and presented to the congregation for acceptance. At the close of ward business, if there is any, the Sacrament Hymn is announced.

5) Sacrament Hymn. Almost always by the congregation.

6) Administration of the Sacrament. This is the Lord's Supper. Bread and water are blessed by Priests, using the prayers given in D&C 20:77 and D&C 20:79, substituting "water" for "wine", and passed to the congregation, usually by the Deacons. If there are not sufficient numbers of Deacons or Priests, Elders may be asked for assistance.

7) Following the Sacrament, the conductor of the meeting will announce and sometime introduce the speakers. These are members of the congregation who have been asked to speak by the Bishop. These are the sermons. Occasionally, one of the Bishopric will give a sermon, but this is more often delegated.

7a) Intermediate Hymn. Typically by the congregation, between speakers, but if there is a ward choir, they may perform this. Sometimes another special musical number will be presented.

8) Conclusion. Announcement of the closing hymn and prayer.

9) Closing Hymn. As the opening Hymn. Usually by the congregation, occasionally a choir.

10) Closing prayer (Benediction). As the opening prayer.

There is not usually a communal bible or scripture reading, but the sermons in Sacrament meeting and the classes afterward use quotes from them liberally. There is no formal creed.

No collection is taken up. Tithes and offerings are usually placed in an envelope along with a donation slip and given to the Bishop or one of his counselors. Envelopes and donation slips are typically found outside the Bishop's office. There is also (recently) an online option for donations.

There is not usually a public confession of sins; most of this is done in private with the Bishop.

There is informal mingling before and after the Sacrament meeting, but usually not food or refreshments. These are typically reserved for social activities on weekdays or Saturdays.

On Fast Sunday, usually the first meeting of each month, there is a Fast and Testimony meeting, in which instead of appointed speakers or sermons, members are invited to share their own spiritual experiences and testimonies.

  • Both Confutus' and Mason's answers are required to fully answer the OP's question. – JBH Mar 27 '18 at 22:48

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