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Shiva Sanavi

Shannon Atkinson
July 7, 2015
Faith and Culture; Exploring Where I Live
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the fastest-growing and most
successful religion ever created on American soil. Nevertheless, as a minority religion, it has
struggled to assimilate into the political and social culture of the United States of America. In
this paper I will talk about my experience with the service I attended in Jul 5, 2015 at the
Taylorville 33rd Ward.
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 hallway 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, Ed White, 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. They 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.
At the age of 8, Mormon children decide whether or not they wish to continue in the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That decision is made for life. If the child decides
not to become a Mormon then that is respected by his or her parents. However, no decision not to
commit is likely as family pressure is great for the Word of God to continue.
The Mormons as do all Christians believe in God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ and
The Holy Ghost. By the time a follower reaches university age they can then start missionary
work. The Church has 85,147 full-time missionaries serving throughout the world. They are
typically young men dressed in a white shirt, black tie and black pants. The missionaries
contribute to their own support for up to 18 months and can be anywhere in the world spreading
the word of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Today, the Mormons continue to grow strong throughout the world. The Doctrine and
Covenants continues to be updated by each President of the church. Many temples have been
built, and most Mormons continue the same practices, except polygamy. The Mormons are,
today, embraced as a religion, but some still believe they are nothing more than a cult. Modern
day Mormonism still embraces Joseph Smith Jr., as a martyr and a leader of the chosen saints of

Works Cited
"Faith, Family, Facts, and Fruits - M. Russell Ballard." Faith, Family, Facts, and Fruits - M.
Russell Ballard. Web. 8 July 2015
"LDS Statistics and Church Facts | Total Church Membership." Web.
8 July 2015.
" | What Is the Mormon Church and Religion?" | What Is the Mormon
Church and Religion? Web. 8 July 2015.