What is it like to go to a Latter-Day Saint Church Service?
One thing you can count on is the LDS Church is the same all over the world. The Church of Jesus Christ is unified in its teachings, practices and worship. Leadership, direction, instruction, and teaching materials come from church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah to leaders of local Wards (congregations) and Stake organizations. A stake comprises about eight to ten wards and is lead by a Stake President, who is called from one of the local congregations. The people who serve in these positions come from various professions in their local community and are not paid for their services.
The church buildings are similar in design. Typically there is a steeple, but no cross outside or inside the buildings. The cross is a symbol Christ’s death and latter-day saints want to remember his triumph over death -- His resurrection. That is why the church has a large statue of the resurrected Christ in its visitor center in Salt Lake City. It is true Jesus suffered for our sins and died on the cross, but much of His suffering was done in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Inside the church building is a chapel for the main worship service called Sacrament Meeting. There are also other rooms that server various functions. There are several class rooms for teaching in Sunday school and rooms for various organizations such as the Relief Society (adult women’s organization), Young women, Primary (Children’s organization which includes a nursery), not to mention the Bishop’s office and the Clerk’s office.
Typical Sacrament Meeting (Typically the 1st hour)
Sacrament meeting is the main worship service. The Bishop or one of his two councilors conducts the meeting and lasts on hour and ten minutes. This is a typical outline for the meeting.
Someone from the congregation is asked ahead of time to offer the prayer
Topically business includes special announcements and to allow ward members give a sustaining vote for a member who has received a new calling (job) in the Ward.
Sacrament is passed to members of the congregation
Young men priests of the Aaronic Priesthood break bread into pieces and offer a prayer over it. Then it is passed by deacons to the congregation. The same is done for the water that has been placed in small cups. This is done in remembrance of the atonement of Jesus Christ.
A Youth may give a 5-minute talk
Talks on a Gospel topic are assigned ahead of time by a member of the Bishopric
Musical number or Ward choir number
2nd hour: Sunday school Classes and Primary for Children under 12
3rd hour: Priesthood Meeting (for men, Relief Society Meeting for the Women and Young Women meeting (age 12-18), Primary (age 3-11) continue from 2nd hour.
Typically these organizations meet as a group then separate to classes for lessons and discussions.