When do Mormons go to church? That is a simple question, and the simple answer would be; Mormons go the church every Sunday for a three hour block. However, that only answers part of the question. Full participation in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints involves much more. To give you a small glimpse into the expectations of a member of the church, let me quote from a recent talk given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency in General Conference October 2013. Said he:
“Once there was a man who dreamed that he was in a great hall where all the religions of the world were gathered. He realized that each religion had much that seemed desirable and worthy.
He met a nice couple who represented The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and asked, “What do you require of your members?”
“We do not require anything,” they replied. “But the Lord asks that we consecrate all.”
The couple went on to explain about Church callings, home and visiting teaching, full-time missions, weekly family home evenings, temple work, welfare and humanitarian service, and assignments to teach.
“Do you pay your people for all the work they do?” the man asked.
“Oh, no,” the couple explained. “They offer their time freely.”
“Also,” the couple continued, “every six months our Church members spend a weekend attending or watching 10 hours of general conference.”
“Ten hours of people giving talks?” the man wondered.
“What about your weekly church services? How long are they?”
“Three hours, every Sunday!”
“Oh, my,” the man said. “Do members of your church actually do what you have said?”
“That and more. We haven’t even mentioned family history, youth camps, devotionals, scripture study, leadership training, youth activities, early-morning seminary, maintaining Church buildings, and of course there is the Lord’s law of health, the monthly fast to help the poor, and tithing.”
All of this is affirmed in a nationwide study which concluded that active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “volunteer and donate significantly more than the average American and are even more generous in time and money than the upper [20 percent] of religious people in America.” (Ram Cnaan and others, “Called to Serve: The Prosocial Behavior of Active Latter-day Saints” (page16) It is my belief that sacrifice of our time is a small price to pay for the blessings that are promised to those who serve others, obey the commandments and endure to the end.