Worship is an essential part of religious life. It is a time to slow down and remember the Savior Jesus Christ, not just on Sunday, but every day.
Mormons—a nickname sometimes used to describe members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—believe that faith and worship should not be something you do for an hour on Sunday morning and forgotten until the next service. Mormons strive to make worship a part of their lives all week long and to live their faith all day, each day.
Formal worship begins in church on Sunday. For three hours, Mormons attend a worship service followed by two classes. While this might seem to be a long time to attend church, Mormons believe that the teaching of the Ten Commandments to honor the Sabbath Day to keep it holy applies today, and that it means the entire Sabbath Day is to be kept holy. Spending three hours of it in church, therefore, is not difficult. In fact, it is treasured as time set aside to learn about God and Jesus Christ and to worship Them. Joseph Smith taught, in Lectures on Faith, “A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.”
Mormons are not merely spectators in their worship services. Because they have a lay ministry, everyone participates in the work of the gospel. The bishop—lay pastor—does not give the prayers and sermons himself each week. Instead, members take turns doing so and anyone twelve or older may be asked to give a prayer or a sermon in the worship service, which is known as Sacrament Meeting, and younger children can do so in the children’s program.
The entire family attends Sacrament Meeting together, even the babies. This allows them to worship as a family. There is an opening and closing hymn and prayer. The prayers are given by members of the congregation and the music is led by a volunteer chorister. The pianist is also a volunteer. New babies are blessed and newly baptized people are confirmed members of the church and given the Holy Ghost. New church assignments are announced and announcements are made.
Then it is time for the Sacrament, which most churches call communion. Mormons take bread and water in remembrance of Jesus Christ’s atonement. As it is being blessed and passed to the members by teenage boys (or older men when there are not enough boys), members take the moments of silence to renew their baptism covenants and to contemplate the atonement of Jesus Christ.
The talks, as mentioned, are given by members of the congregation. Most speak about once a year. Teenagers speak for five minutes and adults for fifteen to twenty minutes. There are normally two to three speakers in each meeting, so no member is required to fill the entire service. Topics are assigned but each speaker chooses his or her own material and focus within that topic.
After the worship service, Mormons head to classes. Toddlers go to a nursery class, which has a brief spiritual lesson, singing, crafts, and playtime. Children three to twelve go to Primary, where they sing and learn about the scriptures in classes divided by age.
Teenagers go to Sunday School, which has both boys and girls. If there are enough teens, they are divided by age. Following this boys attend Priesthood and girls attend Young Women’s. In both classes, they discuss and research a gospel topic using scriptures, books and magazines. The instructors serve as mentors, rather than as formal teachers. They guide the teens, who find their own answers to the questions raised by the topic. You can read more about this here:
Adults attend Sunday School and then the men attend Priesthood and the women attend Relief Society. In these classes they study the scriptures and how to apply them in real life.
At home, families will continue their Sunday worship in ways best suited to their own families and also worship throughout the week.
Mormons encourage family prayer and scripture study each day. In addition, each person is encouraged to study the scriptures privately if they are old enough. They both read the scriptures—the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price—and study specific topics. For instance, someone might decide to study the atonement of Jesus Christ and use reference materials to find all the references to the atonement in the scriptures and in teachings of church leaders.
Mormons work to keep the Savior in their hearts at all times and to try to live as He lived and as He’s asked them to live. This, they believe, is a highly meaningful way to worship the Savior—putting action and sacrifice behind the study and prayers.