#1 How Do Mormons Dress?

Mormons are discouraged from wearing provocative or immodest clothing. Taught that modesty, discretion, and non-distortion of the human figure, Mormons lean towards a generally simple style of fashion. In the Mormon religion, they value prayer and action more than that of physical appearance. Outward vanity and materialism are not only seen as unimportant, but potentially sinful to some extremist devotees.

Figure 1- Flickr/More Good Foundation

Clothing

Mormon women may wear conservative tops and blouses with long-trimmed skirt and dresses while avoiding cleavage, short skirts, or suggestive statement pieces.

Similarly, men opt for typical shirts and pants, formalizing slightly with a button-up, tie, or even suit while attending Church. Both men and women will dress up in formal garments for Church, solidifying the concept of ‘wearing your Sunday best,’ as a sign of honor and respect to their God.

In the LDS General Handbook for Mormons (sometimes called Latter-Day Saints), it states:

“Ties and white shirts are recommended because they add to the dignity of the ordinance. However, they should not be required as a mandatory prerequisite for a priesthood holder to participate.”

Tips on clothing for attending a Mormon church service:

  • Remain modest with not too much skin showing on chest, arms, or legs.
  • Do not dress too casually or ‘undermine’ the sacredness of the ‘lord’s house.’
  • Don’t attract attention, which is taking away focus from worship.  

Related Scripture:

“Modesty is an attitude of propriety and decency in dress, grooming, language, and behavior. If we are modest, we do not draw undue attention to ourselves. Instead, we seek to “glorify God in [our] body, and in [our] spirit.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19

#2 How Do Mormons Pray?

Prayer is a moment to communicate with their God, not making performative gestures while in a state of worship. Resting in reverence, Mormons display the physical attitude of humbleness, respect, and divine connection.

To communicate spiritually for prayer, Mormons will typically do the following actions:

  • Stand or kneel on your knees
  • Bow their head
  • Close their eyes
  • Remain still and quiet
  • Listen to the prayer leader with no distractions
  • Some cross their arms to eliminate twitching, fidgeting, or interruptions
  • Some hold their hands together, pressed firmly, fingers pointed upwards. This is the typical symbol for prayer, used even in emojis to display gratitude or reverence.

What not to do during Mormon prayer – Repeat meaningless words or phrases Matthew 6:7-8:  

“(7) But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. (8) Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”

When and Why Do Mormons Pray?

Mormons are taught to pray multiple times per day if possible, with scriptures relating to:

  • Morning, afternoon, and evening prayers Alma 34:21: “Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening.”
  • Family or group prayers, offering gratitude for each meal 3 Nephi 5:18: “And when the multitude had eaten and were filled, he said unto the disciples: Behold there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break bread and bless it and give it unto the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name.”
  • Opening and closing all church meetings with a group prayer, any time in silence, as well as general group-settings when the inclination arises. Commonly in the states of: Desperation, seeking guidance, needing solace, asking for assistance, praying for a human or animal’s wellbeing, praying for a miracle.

They will often be seen with:

  • Eyes closed
  • Arms crossed or in a prayer gesture with palms together
  • In a state of reverence

Related Scriptures:

(19) Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him. (20) Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks,” – Alma 34: 19-20.

Related YouTube Video:

How to Pray Like a Mormon – Linda Otani McKinney, LDS Church Leader of Washington D.C. Stake. Video by: The Washington Post on May 7th, 2015.

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#3 How Do Mormons Live?

Mormons tend to live as kind, god-fearing individuals with a great respect for others, animals, and life itself. Seeking to live a devoted life centered around their God, Mormons mostly tend to flock together, with 2-million Mormons concentrated in Utah alone. 

Figure 2 – Sourced from MormonBeliefs.Org

With pillars and moral fundamentals rooted in a healthy lifestyle, Mormons generally support and uphold the values of the main three – Family, Community, and God:

  1. Family Life Taught that children are the most sacred aspect to God’s plan, with Mormons having more children than any other religious group. The average Mormon mother has 1.1 children compared to the average American mother that has 0.6 children, as sourced from Pew Research.   
  2. Community and Local Outreach – Since Mormons feel that a church is only as strong as it is community, local neighborhoods and outreach are incredibly important values of the Mormon religion. You are meant to, bear your burdens,’ besides those in their journey of faith (Galatians 6:2), you will bear these burdens alongside them, regardless of their different stages in life.

Additionally, Romans 12: 4-5 states:

(4) For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office. (5) So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and everyone members one of another.”

  • God/The Church – Collecting an average of $7-billion per year of tax-exempt donations, a requirement of the Mormon church is to donate 10% of your annual earnings back to the Church. This is called ‘tithing.’ Tithing became obligatory in the 6th century, enforced by law by the turn of the 8th century. 

Since Mormonhood is built on the notion that your life is lived for others, it is no surprise that the bulk of their time goes towards work, community, and the Church.

A recent Pew study also found that 77% of Mormon Americans visit Church on a weekly basis; Compared to the national average of 39% of Christian Americans that visit Church on a weekly basis.

Mormon’s Views on Social Issues – What is Morally Wrong?

According to another Pew Research piece from the Religion & Public Life 2011 National Survey of Mormons (Oct. through Nov. 2011) hosting more than 1,015 Mormon respondents, the following concepts were studied and measured regarding what Mormons find to be, ‘morally wrong:’

  • 86% of Mormons felt that polygamy was morally wrong
  • 79% of Mormons felt that sex between unmarried adults was morally wrong
  • 74% of Mormons felt that having an abortion was morally wrong
  • 54% of Mormons felt that drinking alcohol was morally wrong
  • 25% of Mormons felt that divorce was morally wrong

What Do Mormons Avoid or Sanction?

Generally, Mormons will avoid the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Caffeine
  • Stimulants/Depressants
  • Drugs
  • Immodest clothing
  • Curse words or foul language
  • Negative gossip

Another less-discussed concept that Mormons tend to avoid is a negative outlook. Seen as a very happy-go-lucky group of people, Mormons have a reputation for being generally compassionate in disposition and very even-keeled.

Related Scriptures:

  • “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it,” – Malachi 3 Old Testament
  • “There was no contention because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people,” – 4 Nephi 1.
  • “If thou lovest me, serve me and keep my commandments,” – John 14:15.

Related YouTube Video:

#4 How Do Mormon Weddings Work?

Believing that civil marriages are only dissolved by death or infidelity, Mormon weddings tend to be a very spiritually-present occasion. Marriage to a devoted Latter- Day Saint will mean a promise of being connected even after their physical bodies perish, uniting their souls into the afterlife of resurrection.

By binding their bodies on earth and in heaven, marriage is seen as a promise that surpasses that of mortality. Marriage and weddings are sacred and highly-transient ceremonies for Mormons.

Figure 3 – LDS Temple Weddings from WeddingsLDS.com

Differences Between Civil and Sealing Ceremonies

Mormons refer to any wedding that occurs in their temple as a sealing ceremony (also known as a temple ceremony). A sealing ceremony in temple is a highly-revered LDS ritual intended to seal the families of both the groom and the bride, uniting their bloodlines beyond that of their physical bodies.

A sealing ceremony may be separate from the civil marriage, and no one may attend the sealing that is not an active LDS member. Therefore, any friends and family members that do not pay tithings to the Church of Jesus Christ, can still attend your civil ceremony, but not the sealing ceremony.

As stated by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

“Where possible, leaders should encourage couples to be both married and sealed in the temple. Where a licensed marriage is not permitted in the temple, or when a temple marriage would cause parents or immediate family members to feel excluded, a civil ceremony followed by a temple sealing is authorized.”

Weddings must be performed by an authoritative priesthood and the main differences you will notice at an LDS wedding compared to a traditional Christian wedding, include:

  • They will not say ‘until death do us part.’ They will say ‘for time and all eternity.’
  • A bride may wear her white temple dress or a wedding gown, but regardless, it must be modest without any exposed collarbone, upper-arms, or legs.
  • In countries where the sealing ceremony is legally valid (U.S., Canada, and South Africa), many Mormon couples opt for the sealing/temple ceremony alone, discarding the civil ceremony altogether.

However, if a couple wishes to have a civil ceremony, then they must wait for a year between that of the sealing ceremony. This is often not an issue for Mormon couples, as they prefer to:

  1. Have a civil ceremony that everyone can attend
  2. Wait a year to develop their Mormon principles and build a foundation for their marriage
  3. Then a year later, seal the marriage with LDS in-laws for an eternal bond.

Summary of Mormon Weddings

Since Mormons don’t like showy gestures that feel performative, the weddings tend to be quite:

  • Classic
  • Modest
  • Sacred
  • Traditional

Besides the addition of a separate temple ceremony that is all-their-own – LDS weddings are relatively similar to other weddings. Mormon couples are free to:

  • Decorate in a way that echoes their style
  • Have flowers
  • Wear a white dress
  • Dance to music
  • And create a celebratory atmosphere that feels reflective of that relationship

Related Scripture:

“Heavenly Father has given us the law of eternal marriage so we can become like Him. The Lord has said:

(1) In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; (2) And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; (3) And if he does not, he cannot obtain it,’ – D&C 131:1–3

  • “If a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; … and if [they] abide in my covenant, … it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world,” – D&C 132: 19.

Related YouTube Video:

  • The Unexpected Beauty of a Mormon Wedding By: Refinery29, February 3rd, 2018. “We follow a devout Mormon couple on their journey towards marriage. They take strict religious steps to prepare themselves for this sacred ceremony.”

#4 How Do Mormon Missions Work?

A concept instilled by the founder, Joseph Smith, is that the word of his message should be shared with the entire world.

As stated in PBSs exploration of The Mormon Mission:

“Each year, approximately 53,000 Mormon missionaries go out into the world to win as many as 250,000 converts to their faith.”

Figure 4 – From Newsroom.ChurchofJesusChrist.Org

 With a charitable foundation at its core, mission trips are intended to:

  • Help those in third world countries, those in need, and those who are impoverished
  • Offer support in the name of God
  • Convert those who are supported to the Church of Jesus Christ of The Latter-day Saints

As a Mormon, church leaders will strongly encourage a missionary trip for all men, a mission trip is referred to as the male’s, ‘sacred service.’ More than 75% of Mormon missionaries are men as the LDS religion preserves the patriarchal notion that men should lead.

Where Do Mormons Travel to for Missions?

The main locations of missionary travel include: 

Continent/Area:Predominantly-Visited Countries Within That Continent/Area:
AfricaSouth Africa, Ghana, Madagascar
AsiaKorea, Japan, Philippines
Australia | South PacificFiji, Tonga, New Zealand
Europe | Europe EastRussia, Spain, United Kingdom
North America | Central America | CaribbeanCanada, Dominican Republic, Mexico
South AmericaArgentina, Brazil, Peru

Rules of a Missionary

Rules of participating in a Mormon mission include:

  • Men between the ages of 19 and 26 are eligible for this opportunity to join the mission force.
  • Men must commit two years or more of their life between this age gap.
  • Women are also free to support efforts as missionaries, but their durations will be capped at 18 months.
  • Missionaries of the opposite sex may not stand within arms’ length of one another.
  • Missionaries may not indulge in television or cinema. 
  • Missionaries are expected to pay their way, covering all expenses.
  • Missionaries will work for at least 5-6 days per week.
  • Must attend training at their local Missionary Training Center. This entails:
    • 3 months of lessons for up to 16-hours per day
    • Learning how to pitch/sell the Mormon religion with a smile
    • Learning how to engage those in less-privileged situations with a kind and listening ear

Related Scripture:

  • “Go forth preaching my gospel, two by two,” – D&C 42:6
  • “Every man who has been warned should warn his neighbor,” – D&C 88:81 (D&C 38:40–41)
  • “The Lord will provide for the families of those who preach the gospel,” – D&C 118:3

Related YouTube Video:

#5 How Do Mormons Get to Heaven?

Firstly, it is important to mention that a core belief of Mormonism is that all souls were initially Gods, sent for a human experience and ‘test on earth.’ The Mormon thoughts regarding the afterlife commonly thought to be a re-emergence to the soul’s original god-like state.

Figure 5 – Sourced From ‘Are Mormons Christian?’ TILM.Org

Mormons and Latter-Day Saints do not believe that the soul goes directly to heaven. The Mormon belief in the afterlife includes the following principles:

  • After death, one’s spirit faces a ‘judgement day’ for resurrection. This final judgments will assign your soul to the varying levels of ‘paradise’ or ‘prison.’
  • To return to one’s original godly form that encompasses the ‘glory of the sun,’ (mentioned in the 1 Corinthians 15:40-41), a soul must reach the highest level of glory, the Celestial Kingdom.
  • Mormons believe in three levels of heaven which a spirit can be sent to –
    • Celestial Kingdom– The highest level of glory, essentially the soul becomes a god again.

This is the only level that will exist in God’s presence.

  • Terrestrial Kingdom – The middle-level of glory, reserved for those that lived honorably but “(75) who were blinded by the craftiness of men. (76) These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fulness,”– D&C 76:75. Human bodies are considered terrestrial, as a middle-stop between a prior god-life and an existence of punishment.
    • Telestial Kingdom – The lowest level of glory, this is inhabited by those “(82) who received not the gospel of Christ, nor the testimony of Jesus,” – D&C 76:82.

This is also occupied by “(103) liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie,” as well as “murderers, and idolaters,” – D&C 76:103. It is essentially a distinctive version of the Christianized model of hell.

To achieve this gift of Celestial admission and attain ‘all the power, glory, dominion, and knowledge,’ a Mormon must be:

  • Righteous and accepting of all teachings by the LDS church and Book of Mormon/Jesus Christ
  • A thought-leader and respectful upholder of the ordinances and covenants of the LDS bible
  • A life-long receiver of ‘ the testimony of Jesus,’ – D&C 76:51.
  • Pure of heart, as God will judge men ‘according to their words, according to the desire of their hearts,’ D&C 137:7-9.

Note: All children that die before reaching the age of eight are automatically accepted into the celestial kingdom.

Related Scripture:

  • “(40) There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. (41) There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars, for one star differeth from another star in glory,” –  1 Corinthians 15:40-41).
  • (58) Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord,” 1 Corinthians 15:58
  • (22) He who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory,” D&C 88:15–22.

Related YouTube Video and Resources:

#6 How Do Mormons Missionaries Make Money?

Since missionaries are volunteer workers, they do not get paid to serve under-privileged communities.

The ways in which Mormons support themselves during the 1.5-2-years of missionary work include:

  • Family support
  • Assistance from other church members
  • Fundraisers
  • Self-sustaining their travels (saving in their teenage years for this upcoming expectancy and tradition)
  • Selling things they own or starting a hobby/side business to support mission work
  • Meeting with donors one-on-one to ask for their support

In fact, missionaries are not only volunteering their time for free, typically they actually must pay to work within an official missionary group. For example, in The Standard Examiners: Top 10 Most/Least Expensive LDS Church Missions, their price breakdown is as follows:

The Most Expensive LDS Church MissionsThe Least Expensive LDS Church Missions
England, London South, $4020 per monthPeru, Cusco, $1340 per month
England, London, $3970 per monthPhilippines, Naga, $1360 per month
Bermuda, $3770 per monthPeru, Trujillo, $1420 per month
New Zealand, $3770 per monthPhilippines, Iloilo, $1370 per month
England, Manchester, $3680 per monthMexico, Tijuana, $1490 per month
Alaska, $3670 per monthChile, Santiago North, $1510 per month
England, Leeds, $3640 per monthMexico, Mexico City North, $1590 per month
New York, South, $3480 per monthBrazil Fortaleza East, $1620 per month
New York South, $3480 per monthMexico, Monterrey West, $1620 per month
Alpine (Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein), $3470 per month eachPeru, Lina North $1640 per month
Hawaii, Canada, and Brisbane Australia, $3420 per month eachPhilippines, Laoag, $1640 per month.

This can add up quite a bit if traveling for two years.

At $2,000 per month (as a median ground of these two extremes ranging between $1.5-4K)

Times 24 months

= $48,0000 for two years of mission work.

Essentially, you could PAY (not earn) around $48,0000 to support yourself through your mission.

You could also spend far more or less than this amount, but it will greatly depend on the conditions of the location you want to work within an LDS missionary group. There are around 400 missions currently and 67,000 full-time missionaries

Figure 6- Deseret News – A Day in The Life of a Mormon Missionary – Observed by NY Times

Related Scriptures:

  • “I will both search my sheep and seek them out,” Ezek. 34:11.
  • “The Lord grants unto all nations to teach his word,” – Alma 29:8.

Related YouTube Video and Resources:

#7 How Do Mormon Beliefs Differ from Christianity?

There are many differences between each Christian religion, all linked by a similar core and deity.

Figure 7 – Replica of Christus at Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah

The main differences between Mormons and traditional Christians are:

MormonsTraditional Christians
The Holy TrinityBelieves that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are separate but equal entities.  Some believe the same as Mormons.   Others believe that: They are all oneThey are all separate but unequal in powerOr that God is the highest of these powers   God being the highest power is most common, with most Christians seeing Jesus as the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit as a separate force.     Christians see themselves, Jesus, and the Holy spirit as subordinate to God.  
Holy AuthorityThe BibleThe Book of MormonThe Doctrine & CovenantsThe Pearl of Great Price  The Bible
Alcohol and SubstanceNot permitted  Generally fine in moderation, with Catholics even drinking wine in Church as a symbol of the blood of Christ.  
The AfterlifeBelieves in the three leveled kingdoms, and in a longer judgment process than an immediate rising to heaven.   Also believe that humans can be returned to a God-like state.   All souls are gifted immortality and the final destination will be decided upon the checkmark of a millennium of soul travel.  Believe in two levels, Heaven and Hell.   Believe that your spirit is sent their immediately, a less drawn-out judgement than that of a Mormon perception.   Do not believe that we are returned to a God-like state, only that our souls can cohabitate with God and Jesus in heaven (idols which are superior to human souls, not equal in stature).  
      Sin  There is no original sin to Mormons. They believe that “men will be punished for their own sins, and Not for Adam’s Transgression,” (A of F 1:2)  Believe in original sin. Christians believe in a story of forbidden fruit that Adam and Eve consumed, an apple gifted from the Devil. This rebellion resulted in the fall of man and introduction of man’s ‘sinful nature,’ that must be punished.  
Church AttendanceVery strictVery conservativeTemple ceremony weddingsNon-LDS members may not enter the templeLess strict, more casual, especially in agnostic Christian churchesConservative and most wear Sunday best. Some churches allow jeans and a more casual attire for youthEveryone is welcome  
Tithings (10% of income to the Church)Required  Not required Donation-basis only  
God’s Body  God has a physical form (sees man as very comparable to God) –  D&C 130:22 says, “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s.”   Mormons believe that God was once a mortal man that became a God.  God is not imagined as a physical form, often described as a powerful light that could not be looked at with the human eye. Man is made in the image of God (Moses 6:9) but John 4:24 states: “God is spirit.”   Christians believe that God has been immortal for eternity.   
Place of OriginNew YorkRoman Province – Judea
Population2.3-billion worldwide16.5-million worldwide

Related YouTube Video and Resources:

#8 How Do Mormon Missionaries Get Assigned?

As Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles describes:

“Each mission call and assignment, or a later reassignment, is the result of revelation through the Lord’s servants. A call to the work comes from God through the President of the Church.

An assignment to one of the more than 400 missions presently operating around the world comes from God through a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, acting with the authorization of the Lord’s living prophet. The spiritual gifts of prophecy and revelation attend all mission calls and assignments.”

Figure 8 – Sourced from Newsroom.ChurchofJesusChrist.org

The process behind this will go as follows:

  • A personal interview between a prospective missionary and a General Authority/Apostle to determine a candidate’s readiness for the work.
  • Ballard and President Dallin H. Oaks reference the process and display pictures on their social media to advertise outwardly, as well as on the LDS official website. They describe of the sacred process:
    • There are twelve high-ranking apostles that have the honor of selecting the missionaries’ assigned location. They tend to start the selection process by praying and asking for God to ‘guide their hand’ as they select the location that feels divinely pre-destined for each future missionary.
    • A photograph of the candidate appears on the computer screen.
    • The Authority/Apostle will connect with a divine power to classify the locations for each applicant’s mission work. These leaders will sometimes fast, according to President Dallin H. Oaks who writes, “I recently assigned missionaries, a sacred responsibility for which we fast.”
    • The applicant is made aware of their assigned missionary location by email or letter. Often there is a large celebration of LDS members, family, and friends to receive the news together in congratulatory celebration.

Related Scripture:

  • “But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power… What will ye? Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?” 1 Corinthians 4:19-20.

Related YouTube Video and Resources:

#9 How Do Mormon Missionaries Learn Languages?

Latter-day Saints train for their future mission trips from an early age. Similarly to a Jewish child anticipating a bar mitzvah on their 13th birthday, a Mormon pupil would anticipate the age of maturity in which they can travel to another country to spread the word of God.

Figure 9 – Sourced from MormonBeliefs.org

As part of this life-long build-up, languages are another inevitability. A missionary could be assigned to any location, but before they depart, they will have to attend schooling at the Missionary Training Center.  At the local Missionary Training Center, education and prep for missionary work will expand 2-10 weeks prior to their 18-24 months abroad.

The ways in which they accomplish so much linguistic preparation in a short amount of time include:

  • In these 2-10 weeks, they will begin to practice the language in which they will soon be fully-immersed within.  Mormons will study around 6-8 hours per day which can have a huge impact on their readiness upon arrival.
  • Total immersion – Some students will commit fully and begin the transition early, only speaking this new language even while they are still at home.
  • Self-training at home or with friends
  • Hiring a tutor
  • Utilizing software programs such as:
    • Rosetta Stone
    • Duolingo
    • Babbel
    • HelloTalk
  • Reading, writing, speaking, and trying to orchestrate all thoughts in this language to expedite the process. One must be able to engage others, pitch the religion, connect over God, and complete the task to successful baptism of the conversions. 

Although this query is a bit subjective, Mormons are taught from an early age that hey have ‘the gift of tongues,’ and should be persistent in all imposing reception. Due to this, they will have them training in bilingual studies from an early age, encouraging studies of language for 1-2 hours per day throughout adolescents. 

Related Scripture:

  • “For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church,” – 1 Corinthians 4:17.

Related YouTube Video and Resources:

Learn More

If you are interested in learning about other Religions in the world, then check out this book on World’s Religions on Amazon.