Organization of the Mormon Church
The Church of Jesus Christ (Mormon Church) was restored on the earth by the Prophet Joseph Smith. Many of the words used to describe what Mormons believe or the Church organization are sometimes difficult to understand for those who are not members of the LDS Church. This article will provide some basic information about the Church organization.
The leadership of the Mormon Church is patterned after the church that Christ set up during His earthly ministry. A Prophet along with two counselors and a Quorum of Twelve Apostles lead The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are official representatives of Christ and receive revelation for and in behalf of the Mormon Church. These Church leaders, along with others, make up what are called the “General Authorities”, who are responsible for the worldwide administration of the Church.
A local congregation of members is called a "ward" and is led by a bishop. The bishop is an unpaid lay minister who works a full time job besides leading the ward. If a congregation is small it is called a "branch" and led by a branch president. Each adult within a ward or branch is given a calling to serve in different organizations of the Mormon Church. These organizations include: Relief Society, Young Men, Young Women, Primary, Sunday School, and Priesthood Groups.
A group of congregations(wards) belong to what is called a "stake", which is led by a "stake president." He has a group of counselors and other people that assist him. All provide their service without compensation. The "stake center" is a larger Mormon Church building that houses the offices of the stake president.
On Sunday families attend three hours of meetings, which are divided into three blocks of time.
For this hour
everyone, adults and children, meet together in a large room called the chapel.
There they pray, sing hymns, partake of the sacrament, and are instructed by
individuals from the congregation or local leaders who are asked to present a
"talk" on a certain subject. The first Sunday of the month is
designated as Fast Sunday where members are asked to fast for at least two
meals. During the meeting members share their testimonies of the Mormon Church.
During the next hour teenagers and adults attend their respective Sunday School classes and are taught doctrines of the Mormon Church from the scriptures. Each year the lessons rotate between the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants.
For the third hour men are divided into High Priest or Elders Quorums depending on their priesthood authority and are taught a lesson. Women attend the Relief Society, the largest women's organization in the world. It is the responsibility of both priesthood holders and Relief Society women to serve within the ward and assist the Bishop in the welfare of the members.
Teenagers belong to the Young Men or Young Women Organizations and receive separate lessons, also during the third hour. Teenagers also meet one designated evening during the week for an activity that promotes gospel principles, friendship, and fun.
The children's organization is called the Primary. It is a two-hour block during the regular Sunday services in which children have an individual class lesson then meet together as a group for singing time and a group lesson. It is in Primary that children learn the basic Mormon beliefs.
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