Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mormonism Essay

Essay on Mormonism

For this particular assignment, I chose to visit the Church of the Latter Day Saints. The worshippers that belong to this church are referred to as Mormons. I visited this church on April 27, 2003. The service was from about 9:00 a.m. until around 12:00 p.m. The particular church that I visited was located on 981 Bunker Hill Road in Cookeville Tennessee. I also interviewed a member of the church by the name of Gwen Haney. She has taught seminaries, some early morning scripture studies, has been head of the women's organization known as the Relief Society, and she currently oversees the teachings to the youth in the Ward and how they are taught.

As I first walked into the church, there were many people there. The people were very friendly to welcome me and speak to me. The outside of the church didn't seem to be much different than any other churches, just a nice place. The lawn seemed to be well taken care of and the sidewalk was clean to walk on. There was a shed, which I questioned someone about and the person told me that was where the lawn utensils were kept. The name of the church is on the front of the church. As you walk in the double doors, there is a hall way and pictures of Jesus Christ and the apostles. There are several classrooms and the chapel area. In the chapel area or sanctuary, they have the sacrament meetings. The people seemed very reserved, but nice. The people seemed to be in the middle class of people. There were several men, women, and children. No group really dominated the other. There was more than a hundred or more present. There were several people there.


I attended a Sunday morning service. It began at 9:00 a.m. Everyone met together. The Bishop, Tony Huddleston, directed the meeting, but he did not do all of the talking. The members give the talks to the congregation. These members are given specific topics to study, pray, and speak about. At the beginning of the service, there was an opening song, followed by a prayer. Then some announcements were made about some of the upcoming events and things the church had planned to take part in. Then the sacrament was eaten and a song was sang. The sacrament was bread and water. A woman told me that it symbolized Christ dying on the cross and shedding his blood for us. She said it was done every week to show the devotion to the Heavenly father. Then there was another song and a prayer. The service itself was very reverent, and spiritual. Some people shed tears. There was no shouting or amen. The woman I spoke with said they try to keep it reverent to show respect. After this, the children went to Sunday school and the youth have their own service. From about 11:00a.m. until the end of the service the Relief Society, for women, and the priesthood meet. The children remain in their classrooms. The whole service was very organized and planned. It was more ritualistic than spontaneous.

In my experience, and with my observations, the members that were in attendance were very emotional, but joyous at the same time.

Everyone attending the service was invited to partake in the sacrament. Everyone sang a hymn and a prayer was said. While eating the bread and water, I thought of the symbolic meaning the Mormons think of behind this bread and water. Some were emotional during this time. This ritual is repeated every Sunday morning. It is intended to remind what Christ done for us and a devotion of our lives to the Heavenly father.

The Mormon church seems to have a lot in common with other churches beliefs of things they should do and things that shouldn't be done. Some things are left to individual opinion, but others are strictly forbidden. The Mormons believe that men and women are created equal, but believe that they have different roles. Only men can hold the priesthood. Women feel they are blessed because the Heavenly father let them rear children, and only God can create life. These are the different roles they see for the women and men. There are testimony meetings once a month and men, women, children, and visitors are all permitted to participate.

There are several different issues the Mormons feel strongly about. War is one of the issues. The Mormons do not necessarily claim to support war, but believe that it is sometimes necessary to overcome the evil in the world. Many of the people in the priesthood or the prophets served in the military. Abortion is another issue. The Mormons believe that life is a sacred thing and that only in the most special situations would abortion be ok. In instances or rape or incest, the subject of abortion might be discussed. This is talked over with the family and the church leaders before action is taken.

The Mormons believe that homosexuality is wrong, but believe that the homosexuals are welcome to come to their church. Chastity is another important subject. The Mormons strongly believe that sex before marriage is wrong. The also believe in a heaven and a hell. At the end of time, everyone will be resurrected and judged. The Mormons have a Word of Wisdom that most go by. They do not drink coffee, tea, or alcohol. They do not take illegal drugs or use tobacco products. Another subject is gambling. The Mormons believe that gambling is wrong, but there are probably several members of the church that have bought raffle tickets before or played a game of bingo. The Mormons do believe that faith healing of an illness is possible. It rarely happens, but it definitely could happen if it is done by the proper authorities. Most of the Mormons believe there are such as thing as modern day miracles, but most are on a small scale instead of a large scale. Most of these we do not even notice. They would be more along the lines of getting over an illness, or not taking a certain pathway to work and an accident happens on your usual route. These are just things a person normally would not consider.

Some issues are left solely to the person or individual and the family. Issues such as birth control, divorce and remarriage, dancing, and some others are left up to the individual. The church does not condone birth control or divorce and remarriage, but they do not condemn it either. They believe that the person has the right to decide whether they want children and how many children they want. Also, the church doesn't agree with divorce and remarriage, but in some instances they believe it may be necessary. The Mormons do not believe there is anything wrong with good, clean fun like dancing as long as it is done in the correct manner. The youth have dances and the young and old participate. Finally, the Mormons believe that everyone can understand the scriptures and interpret them for himself.

The Articles of Faith state the basic beliefs of the Church of Latter Day Saints. The Word of Wisdom is something they use to help decide what to and what not to consume. The main resource the Mormons use to study by is the King James Bible, the one that is closest to the original Hebrew version. These people on the most part seem to be well-educated on things involving the Bible and the other books they study. They seem much more dedicated than most religious people I have encountered in my lifetime. That may be judging, but it is based on my knowledge and the people that I know.

The Mormons seem to have very moral standards and good values. They have a lot of good points and good ideas. The Mormons do have a baptism ceremony and so do many other religions, but the Mormons do it for a separate reason than I am accustomed to. The Mormons do it to show they are joining the church. In some of the other religions I know a little about, the baptism symbolizes the new birth after the person gets saved. This baptism is good forever. If a person has been baptized and decides to join the Mormon church, he or she must be baptized again by the proper authorities. I always assumed that Mormonism is an odd religion, but that was before I understood a lot of their teachings and beliefs.

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