How Religious Are Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

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Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

A Gallup poll conducted in 2012 in the United States found that Americans tend to be a religious people. The study found that seven in ten Americans consider themselves moderately or very religious. The trend in America, however, is toward an "unaffiliated" type of religion, with Christians attending non-denominational congregations more and more. Unaffiliated religion, by necessity, focuses on spirituality and communion with others who believe in God, rather than upon commandments, ordinances, and covenants. Unaffiliated believers may have no parameters other than personal conscience for their moral behavior.

The Gallup poll also showed that among religious groups in America, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes casually called Mormons or Latter-day Saints, are the most religious and Jews are the least religious. [1] Other studies have shown that the most engaged Latter-day Saints are also the best educated members of the Church, opposite from most religious persuasions. The restored gospel of Jesus Christ, sometimes referred to as Mormonism, is unique in many ways and in many ways a miracle to behold.

First, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is probably the best and most organized religion on earth. While some people in the world eschew "organized religion," seeing the faults of the many thousands of churches on earth, God's true church might obviously be the best organized church, with an organization that denotes that God is indeed in charge. Sometimes looking at the fruits of a religion is the best way to see its success. Latter-day Saints are successful across the board. They are happy, healthy, good, industrious, and charitable. They have the best marriages (temple-married Latter-day Saints have a 6.5% divorce rate), and most cooperative communities. (After a storm in Davis County, Utah, federal funds for cleanup went mostly unused — the residents did all the work.) The welfare system of the Church of Jesus Christ is a light on the hill for the nations of the world. [2]

Latter-day Saints Are Devoted Followers of Jesus Christ

Latter-day Saints do more than profess to be Christians. They strive to be devoted followers. There is a parable in the New Testament about a rich young man, who had lived a righteous life. However, when the Savior invited him to sell all he had, give the proceeds to the poor and follow Him, the young man could not comply. (See Mark 10:17-23.) Our Lord was asking the young man to take the next step. As the young man had lived according to Mosaic Law, based on sacrifice, the Lord asked him to graduate to the higher law — the Law of Consecration, which entails giving up all worldly things in order to follow the Savior.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ know they are on the path to living this law. Making leaps of faith by following the spirit in order to do God's will is part of their practice. With all the organization and solid commandment-keeping inherent in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, following the spirit and surrendering to Christ is at the center of religious practice. They aspire to the day when they will rejoice in holding nothing back.

The first step is when investigators of the Church of Jesus Christ meet with missionaries. There are many who hear the gospel and love it, and have the requisite confirmation from God Himself that it is true. But then the missionaries begin to list the requirements for baptism. First, one must repent. Couples who are living together separate and marry; people with pornography or drug addictions set them aside forever. These things are hard. Then the missionaries present the Law of Tithing. Latter-day Saints donate ten percent of their income to the Church. That's hard. Then the missionaries present the Word of Wisdom—the Latter-day Saint law of health. No smoking, drinking alcohol, or consuming coffee or tea, no recreational drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. Many investigators never make it beyond this point.

After baptism, members of the Church of Jesus Christ seek to progress in knowledge and wisdom and spiritual closeness to God. They perform many hours of service within the Church, since there is no professional clergy. As they trust in God to perform in "callings" for which they are unprepared, they grow in their talents and knowledge of the scriptures. They receive personal revelation and increase in humility. They experience miracles in their service. Latter-day Saints seek to be worthy to enter a temple and make higher covenants there. These covenants are as serious as those made by any dedicated religious leader and even more so. That's why temples are set apart and open only to the worthy who have cleansed and dedicated themselves to God's service.

Latter-day Saints attend church for two hours every Sunday, fulfill callings for hours every week, pray and read scriptures in their homes and educate their children to become followers of Christ, attend the temple as often as possible and maintain their worthiness to do so, serve in their communities, clean up after disasters, support the welfare program of the Church with their time and money.

The prophet Joseph Smith said the following:

“A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary [to lead] unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. . . .
“It is vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtain faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they, in like manner, offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him.” (In Lectures on Faith, comp. N. B. Lundwall, Salt Lake City: N. B. Lundwall, n.d., p. 58.)

This is not to diminish the role of God's grace in our exaltation. But in order to fully regain God's presence, which is not felt fully in every one of the many mansions in heaven, we must give our lives to Him. Latter-day Saints do this while they live in the world, in neighborhoods and communities, not cloistered away from the world. This makes it harder in some ways, but also enables them to become the salt of the earth the Lord wants them to be.

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