To some people who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the fact that Mormons attend church for 3 hours each Sunday is overwhelming. At the risk of making things even more overwhelming, I’m going to answer the following question: Do Mormons really spend 3 hours per week in church? For many church members that is the case. However, others, especially those called into leadership positions, spend much more time. This is because the LDS Church is largely a lay church – it is run by normal people, those of the congregations, who are called to fill and serve in different capacities. Some of these jobs range from ward librarian to building facility manager to choir director to bishop to stake president and so forth. As members of the LDS Church we receive callings and then serve where we are called. Some callings take little time, others take considerable amounts time. So what do these time requirements look like?
Here’s a fairly typical schedule for someone like myself who serves as the Young Men’s President (which means that I help the bishop of our ward in working with the boys between the ages of 12 and 18):
- Pre-church meeting for 45 minutes.
- Short break (spent coordinating activities or getting things ready for church meetings) until Sacrament Meeting.
- Sacrament Meeting – 1 hour 10 minutes.
- Time to get to class.
- Sunday School – 45 minutes.
- Time to get to class.
- Priesthood and Relief Society Meetings – 50 minutes.
- Brief clean up of rooms and building after church.
- Home from church after spending about 5 hours there.
- Wednesday night youth activities – 1 to 2 hours.
- Preparation of lesson for Sunday – minutes to hours, depending on the lesson.
Then there are other church responsibilities – home teaching, presidency meetings, temple trips, monthly youth meetings, and so forth. We’ll have youth dances and other youth activities. There might be camping involved too. My church responsibilities require more time than some other people’s and much less than others’. Twice a year we have General Conference instead of our normal church meetings. That is up to 10 hours of meetings over two days. We also have Stake Conference, which can be 6 hours of meetings over two days.
Being a fully invested member of the LDS Church requires dedication and consecration. Most of us are more than happy to dedicate so much time to what we believe in so strongly. We have faith in the Savior Jesus Christ and His church; we love Him and want to serve Him by serving others. Further, we make covenants with the Lord at baptism, when males receive the Priesthood, when we partake of the Sacrament, and when we receive our temple endowment. We covenant with God that we will consecrate all we have unto Him. That includes our time.
Church responsibilities are never a burden (although I know some do feel that they are). That does not mean that spending the time requires no sacrifice, but our burdens are made light through the Savior.
So do Mormons attend a lot of church? Yes, we do but we are building the Lord’s kingdom here upon the earth and it requires a lot of work. His work will not do itself, we need to be actively engaged in it. We as church members can be as involved as we want to be but we should recognize that God and family come first. While we should not neglect our families in the name of service to God, neither should we neglect our service to God because we might feel inconvenienced. The work of God will go forth boldly as we are bold in our efforts. Three hours of church a week often is not enough. We do not get paid for our efforts but we serve because we love – the Lord and those around us. Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints isn’t a Sunday thing, it’s a Sunday through Saturday thing. It’s who we are. It’s part of our lives. Again, we feel this way – at least I do – because of my love for the Savior and my faith in Him and His gospel, which include His church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.