What to Expect at Church Services

What to Expect at Church Services

Latter-day Saints welcome all visitors to their worship services, and for individuals visiting for the first time, the following information might be helpful.

Along with activities and programs during the week, Latter-day Saints gather on Sundays for an approximately hour-long “sacrament” meeting, where men, women and younger members offer prayers and give sermons, sing hymns and partake of the sacrament (similar to receiving communion). In addition, there are doctrinal and scriptural classes for youth and adults as part of the three-hour span.

Mormons are generally a friendly people, so a visitor should not be surprised when someone, seeing a new face, comes over to talk and offers to shake hands and help the visitor find the right meeting or class.

Where do these meetings take place?

In most areas, the meetinghouse itself is an easily recognizable and uniform building with the name of the Church on the outside. Inside, you’ll find the chapel or “sacrament room,” with pews for the congregation and a podium for speakers. There are typically classrooms and a gym as well. Characterized by simplicity and functionality (with simple paintings of Christ’s ministry adorning the hallways and classrooms), meetinghouses serve many purposes and are used for everything from Sunday services to emergency shelters and from housing basketball tournaments in the gym to hosting morning youth scripture studies. In other areas, worship services may take place in smaller, rented spaces that best fit the needs of the local congregants.

Who attends the services?

These local congregations are geographically designated so as to bring neighbors and communities closer together and give them greater opportunities to serve each other. Consequently, the number of attendees can vary depending on the location, ranging from an intimate gathering of a dozen or so in a Mongolian branch to hundreds in a Washington D.C. ward. Typically, the geographic boundaries are maintained in a way that keeps the congregations at a capacity that allows for familiarity and community. Families generally sit together, but large numbers of single members also attend. In major metropolises, there are even congregations especially designated for single adults.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.