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Latter-day Saints are known for their devotion to their families, integrity, clean and moral lifestyles, as well as their willingness to help others. All of these things are a part of their lives because of the doctrines of the Church.
To be considered a worthy member of the Church, a person must abide by the Word of Wisdom, a health code given to Joseph Smith through revelation, which teaches that members should not partake of alcohol, illegal or addictive drugs, tobacco, or tea and coffee. The Word of Wisdom encourages Latter-day Saints to eat healthy foods, as well.
Members are also expected to abide by a strict code of morality. The moral code follows the Ten Commandments, and preaches against sexual relations outside of marriage.
In an official declaration made by the Church it says,
- The family is ordained of God.... Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.... Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. (The Family: A Proclamation to the World, 1995)
The Church encourages Latter-day Saints to create strong families. They ask all families in the Church to set aside one evening a week specifically for spiritual teaching and bonding in the family. This is called Family Home Evening and is usually held on Monday nights.
From an early age, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are encouraged to show their love for others through service. It is not uncommon to hear of church members providing service at a local nursing home, helping a family in need, sewing quilts or dresses for humanitarian aid projects, or providing volunteer work in their community. The idea of serving is further taught through the service that members are asked to provide within the Church. Teachers, bishops, presidencies, those who provide music, and those who assist the ward in any way all do so out of charity; none are paid for their services. Since the Church has a lay clergy, many members spend a great deal of time engaged in Church service.
Members are also asked to give of their own substance to help those in need. Members pay ten percent of their income as tithing to support the Church. In addition, the first Sunday of each month is set apart as fast Sunday. On this day members are asked to go without eating two meals. They then donate the money they would have spent on those meals (or more) to the Church. This money is used to help provide for in the area those who have less. Sometimes, the funds are used for a specific group of people or for a specific need. For example, this story was shared by President Gordon B. Hinckley,
- My mind goes back to one Sunday, a few years ago, when the Presidency of the Church asked that our people fast for two meals and consecrate the equivalent value, and more, to help the homeless and hungry in areas of Africa where we had no members, but where there was much of famine and suffering. On Monday morning the money began to come in. There were hundreds of dollars, and then thousands of dollars, then hundreds of thousands of dollars, and then millions of dollars. These consecrated funds became the means of saving many who otherwise might have starved (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Mormon Should Mean ‘More Good,’” Ensign, Nov. 1990, 51).
Latter-day Saints are always encouraged to continue improving and make themselves better. Again from President Hinckley,
- May God help us to be a little kinder, showing forth greater forbearance, to be more forgiving, more willing to walk the second mile, to reach down and lift up those who may have sinned but have brought forth the fruits of repentance, to lay aside old grudges and nurture them no more (Gordon B. Hinckley, "Forgiveness," Ensign, Nov. 2005, p. 81).
The thirteenth article of faith says
- We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul--We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
To be a Latter-day Saint means a lot of things. It is a commitment that requires one's heart, might, mind, and strength every day of the week. Being a Latter-day Saint entails service, love, sacrifice, following high standards, and above all, following Christ. Latter-day Saints come from all ages and walks of life, speak more than a hundred different languages, and live on six continents.
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