What makes Mormons tick? Visit an LDS ward to see

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  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 13, 2012 5:01 p.m.

    It's not useful to paint any group of people with a broad brush, including Mormons. Every group of people have their share of good and bad. I know Mormons who are the salt of the Earth, some the finest people I know. And I know Mormons who rub me the wrong way. Being a Mormon doesn't make you better than anyone else or worse than anyone else. That's determined by what's in your heart, what kind of person you try to be.

    I don't regard Mormons as a peculiar people as some like to say. Nor do I see them as a chosen people unto the Lord as Joseph Smith said. But there's probably no group that doesn't have its own hubris like those ancient Jews to whom John the Baptist said, "I could make of these stones children of Abraham."

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 13, 2012 3:16 p.m.

    Re: xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    "I have a better idea: Follow Mormons around, especially the teenagers, and view them in everyday life, and then you will see that they are the same as everyone else!"

    I did follow a 19-year old LDS young man around yesterday. He is leaving his family and friends behind for the next 2 years to serve a mission for his church. He's an Eagle Scout who obeys the scout oath to keep himself morally straight. He is well liked by his peers as well as adults, and is a leader, not a follower. No, he is not the same as many others his age.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 13, 2012 12:52 p.m.

    Going to church to keep up appearances happens in other churches too. So does going to church for spiritual renewal. Some people really do look forward to Sunday morning.

    As a kid, I went because Mom and Dad took us. There was no choice in the matter for me or my brother and sister. During church, I was counting the minutes until the benediction. When the torture was over, I rushed out loosening my necktie and ready to change into jeans and T-shirt. Sometimes, we stopped for ice cream on the way home. Funny how it’s the little things I remember.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 13, 2012 12:37 p.m.

    Re: no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    "Everyday experiences with LDS people speak volumes for your Church, unfortunately."

    People generally find what they are seeking. If someone wants to find fault they will surely find it. Some people look at roses and see the flower while other can only concentrate on the thorns. It is an attitude thing.

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    Aug. 13, 2012 9:32 a.m.

    I have a better idea: Follow Mormons around, especially the teenagers, and view them in everyday life, and then you will see that they are the same as everyone else!

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Aug. 13, 2012 5:52 a.m.

    Sundays people act how the want to be perceived. Seldom as they actually are. 50 years of attending Sacrament meetings didn't give me any clue about individuals lives, who they were, what they thought, what they cared about. Sundays provide the opportunity to show how well you can fit in the LDS structure..

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 10, 2012 6:21 p.m.


    Great comment!

    Also, the actions of individuals do not represent the beliefs of their religion. Our actions don't even always represent our own beliefs, otherwise no one would feel guilty when they realized that they had sinned. We're all prone to wander from the truth and that's a simple fact of life.

    It is hard to let go of when others have wronged us. I know of people who are LDS who have wronged me and horribly to an extent that it would be easy to blame the church. Do I? No! If my belief in a religion depended on how other people acted, I wouldn't understand the nature of God, religion, or myself very well.

    Another great point- A Catholic who gets an abortion then kills 4 people does NOT (not even in the slightest way imaginable) qualify what it means to be catholic. It would be illogical to judge the truthfulness of the LDS Church by looking at imperfect members who don't always perfectly subscribe to what that church teaches. To judge in such a way, in my opinion, is to favor pride over humility by not acknowledging our own faults.

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    Aug. 8, 2012 9:42 p.m.

    Yeah, like LetsDebate said.....

    Aug. 8, 2012 5:59 p.m.

    @Vanka and No Fit - or, a more optimistic person living within a ward for awhile may overlook the inevitable human frailties of its people, and see the tremendous amount of service, love, understanding, forgiveness, support, and encouragement that occurs in every ward in which I've been a member.

    I challenge you to find any significant group of people that doesn't include some with the more negative elements of human nature. Thank goodness they continue to come, too, for aren't we all imperfect in some say, and in need of the improving and enabling power of the atonement? And, in need of the growth that comes from experiencing opportunities to forgive others, as well as serve them. Didn't Christ say to love your enemies? How does that opportunity occur without someone acting badly?

  • LDS Revelations Sandy, UT
    Aug. 8, 2012 4:58 p.m.

    I dunno. As a missionary I know that taking investigators to Church was always a gamble of sorts— sometimes good, sometimes bad. Testimony meetings can seem a bit odd to non-LDS and can even be pretty comical for life-long members. In any event I do think that the rank and file of the Church are it's best asset and generally only make it look better.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 8, 2012 3:29 p.m.

    You don't choose the ward you belong to. You're assigned to a ward based on where your home is situated on the map. If you don't like the ward you're in, you're expected to have the humility to cheerfully accept it. I know of no other religious denomination, Christian or otherwise, where geography determines what congregation you belong to. I imagine that must seem quite strange to non-Mormons.

    How does all that affect the Mormon sense of social organization within such a close knit religious organization? I'd be interested to know what the Harvard business professor's thoughts are on that.

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    Aug. 8, 2012 2:14 p.m.

    Thank you, Vanka.
    You certainly could have been even more specific. it's a tragically sad and hurtful reality to many of us. Everyday experiences with LDS people speak volumes for your Church, unfortunately.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Aug. 8, 2012 10:55 a.m.

    Visiting a Ward while travelling is not the same as living as a member of a Ward, being Home and Visit Taught (and gossiped about), serving in callings and leadership positions, and all that entails.

    I guarantee you most honest journalists would cringe at what they learn by actually being in a Ward and not just visiting.

  • Wally Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 8, 2012 8:51 a.m.

    This is excellent advice, but the journalists really don't want to know so I doubt that we will see a big uptick in attendance by journalists at ward meetings.
    In the past two years we have attended church meetings in Birmingham UK, (25% black), Trowbridge UK, Nairobi Kenya,(5% white), rural Utah, Palm Desert CA, Provo UT, Kathmandu Nepal. Sure they all have their differences due to demographics, but the overriding similarities provide a good understanding of what makes the LDS church such a power for good in the world. In each case the Sunday School lessons have been excellent, friendliness is the rule, mutual friends are discovered, common experiences are discussed, and the pervasive concern for the welfare of others, both for members and for the great humanitarian needs in the world.
    Without understanding these characteristics, the journalists of the world will never understand Mitt Romney or Harry Reid. (Maybe no one will ever understand Harry)

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 8, 2012 3:47 a.m.

    Allen, yeah me too. When we travel, we visit like 10 wards for our church buffet. We then all gather Sunday evening and vote on our favorite ward, so that the next time we are in the area, we can have a grand experience. Hopefully we can obtain a part time calling as well.

    Sorry, that just struck a funny chord with me. If you are taking in that much of a travel church experience, then travel takes on a whole new meaning. You know; castles, beaches, local cuisine, and ward hopping.

    Good for you and your family Allen #2.

    Actually, when I was in East Germany 20 years ago (for real this time), we went to a ward there and really enjoyed the service and social afterwards.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 7, 2012 9:44 p.m.

    Wards do differ, but only as much as two twins have different personalities. They still come from the same stock and each ward shares beliefs. The point behind this message is that all the talk "about" Mormons is a highly ineffective form of communicated what the Church is and believes. If you want to know what Mormons believe, attend an LDS Church. Listening to a blogger or a preacher from another faith say "no no, THIS is what Mormons believe" is not only less genuine, it usually is a recipe for misinformation.


    "Otterson quotes Harvard business professor Clayton Christensen, who recently told a group of prominent journalists: "If you want to understand Mormonism, you have to understand the ward.""

    Great quote!

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    Aug. 7, 2012 7:14 p.m.

    Excellent idea. I hope some reporters take him up on it.

    Aug. 7, 2012 5:09 p.m.

    Great idea...however, be advised that each ward is quite different from another ward even if they meet in the same building.
    When we travel, we normally attend the ward that meets at 9:00 AM on Sunday but when we like one ward better than another, we will wait to attend the ward that meets at 11:00 AM the third time we are in that area.