All males who are living the standards of the church are generally considered for the priesthood and are ordained to the priesthood as early as age Ordination occurs by a ceremony where hands are laid on the head of the one ordained. The priesthood is divided into an Aaronic priesthood for young men 12 and up, and a Melchizedek priesthood for men 18 and up. Under the leadership of the priesthood hierarchy are five organizations that fill various roles in the church: Relief Society a women's organization ,  the Young Men and Young Women organizations for adolescents ages 12 to 18 , Primary an organization for children up to age 12 , and Sunday School which provides a variety of Sunday classes for adolescents and adults.
Women serve as presidents and counselors in the presidencies of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary, while men serve as presidents and counselors of the Young Men and Sunday School.
Many of these organizations and programs are coordinated by the Priesthood Correlation Program , which is designed to provide a systematic approach to maintain worldwide consistency, orthodoxy, and control of the church's ordinances, doctrines, organizations, meetings, materials, and other programs and activities.
The church also operates Institutes of Religion near the campuses of many colleges and universities. For high-school aged youth, the church operates a four-year Seminary program , which provides religious classes for students to supplement their secular education.
The church also sponsors a low-interest educational loan program known as the Perpetual Education Fund , which provides educational opportunities to students from developing nations. The church's welfare system, initiated during the Great Depression , provides aid to the poor. It is financed by fast offerings : monthly donations beyond the normal 10 percent tithe, which represents the cost of forgoing two meals on monthly Fast Sundays.
Money from the program is used to operate Bishop's storehouses , which package and store food at low cost. Distribution of funds and food is administered by local bishops. The church also distributes money through its LDS Philanthropies division to disaster victims worldwide.
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Other church programs and departments include LDS Family Services , which provides assistance with adoption , marital and family counseling , psychotherapy , and addiction counseling ; the LDS Church History Department, which collects church history and records; and the Family History Department, which administers the church's large family history efforts, including the world's largest family history library and organization FamilySearch.
Although the church has not released church-wide financial statements since , in , Time magazine called it one of the world's wealthiest churches per capita. The church receives significant funds from tithes and fast offerings. According to the church, tithing and fast offering money collected are devoted to ecclesiastical purposes and not used in for-profit ventures.
The church has also invested in for-profit business and real estate ventures such as Bonneville International , Deseret Book Company , City Creek Center , and cattle ranches in Utah, Florida, Nebraska, Canada and other locations. Due to the differences in lifestyle promoted by church doctrine and history, members of the church have developed a distinct culture.
It is primarily concentrated in the Intermountain West. Many of the church's more distinctive practices include adhering to the Word of Wisdom, a health law or code which outlines guidelines for maintaining good health.
Among these guidelines are instructions prohibiting the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea, and improper drug use. They sometimes come into conflict with local retail businesses that serve non-members. Meetings and outreach programs are held regularly and have become part of Latter-day Saint culture. The culture has created substantial business opportunities for independent LDS media. Such communities include cinema , fiction , websites, and graphical art such as photography and paintings. The church owns a chain of bookstores called Deseret Book , which provide a channel through which publications are sold.
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The church also produces six pageants annually depicting various events of the primitive and modern-day church. Its Easter pageant Jesus the Christ has been identified as the "largest annual outdoor Easter pageant in the world. The Twilight vampire novels of Mormon Stephenie Meyer sell tens of millions of copies, Mormon convert Glenn Beck inspires daily devotion and outrage with his radio show, and HBO generated lots of attention with the Big Love finale. The proclamation states that " marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
The adult women members of the church's Relief Society in a congregation meet at least quarterly for additional instruction and service. The meetings may consist of a service project, conferences, or of various classes being offered. After interviewing and polling thousands of youth across America, evangelical statistician Christian Smith writes, "in general comparisons among major U. Additional meetings are also frequently held at the meetinghouse.
Auxiliary officers may conduct leadership meetings or host training sessions and classes. The ward or branch community may schedule social activities at the meetinghouse, including dances, dinners, holiday parties and musical presentations. The church's Young Men and Young Women organizations meet at the meetinghouse once a week, where the youth participate in activities and work on Duty to God , Scouting , or Personal Progress.
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Other popular activities are basketball, family history conferences, youth and singles conferences, dances, and various personal improvement classes. Church members may also reserve meetinghouses at no cost for weddings, receptions, and funerals. This program is held Monday through Saturday during the summer months for youth ages 14— During this week, youths often spend the night in college campus dorms and the day in various classes taught by adult religious educators, as well as participating in other various activities such as scripture study and dances. The LDS Church takes no partisan role in politics, stating that it will not "endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms; allow its church buildings, membership lists or other resources to be used for partisan political purposes; attempt to direct its members as to which candidate or party they should give their votes to While the church takes an apolitical approach to candidates, it encourages its members to play an active role as responsible citizens in their communities, including becoming informed about issues and voting in elections.
It actively works to counter anti-Mormonism that may come up during political campaigns. S Republican Presidential Primary, Michael Otterson , the LDS Church's managing director for public affairs stated, "We now have two Latter-day Saints running, and the potential for misunderstanding or missteps is therefore twice what it was before. The official church stance on staying out of politics does not include if there are instances of what church leaders deem to be moral issues. It has previously opposed same-sex marriage in California Prop 8 , supported a gay rights bill in Salt Lake City which bans discrimination against homosexual persons in housing and employment,   opposed gambling, opposed storage of nuclear waste in Utah,   and supported the Utah Compact.
It also opposed a ballot initiative legalizing medicinal marijuana in Utah,  but supports a possible alternative to it. Jack N. Gerard , a general authority who serves as executive director of the church's Public Affairs Department stated, "The Church does not object to the medicinal use of marijuana, if doctor-prescribed, in dosage form, through a licensed pharmacy.
Jon Huntsman, Jr. The LDS Church stresses the importance of worldwide humanitarian service. Welfare efforts, originally initiated during the Great Depression , provide aid for the poor, financed by donations from church members. These local storehouses distribute commodities to the needy as requested by local bishops on a specified form. Bishop's storehouses also provide service opportunities for those receiving assistance and for those desiring to serve missions or to volunteer in the church's welfare program.
The day-to-day operations of the storehouses are typically run by senior-aged missionaries as store managers. The church also distributes money through its Humanitarian Services division to natural disaster victims worldwide. The emergency relief supplies that the church donates typically include clothing, personal care kits, and medical supplies.
According to the LDS Humanitarian Center website, it ships about 12 million pounds of shoes and clothing, one million hygiene kits, and one million pounds of medical supplies per year, to relieve suffering in more than countries. Missionaries are then sent to help alleviate other long-term damages by assisting injured persons and reconstructing damaged buildings.
The church carries out these efforts without regard to the nationality or religion of the recipients, and percent of the financial contributions donated to the church by members and non-members are used for humanitarian purposes. In , the church joined Measles Initiative and has committed one million dollars per year to the campaign.
In the s, the greatest criticism was for Smith's handling of a banking failure in Kirtland, Ohio. In the s, criticism of the church centered on its theocratic aspirations in Nauvoo, Illinois. Criticism of the practice of plural marriage and other doctrines taught by Smith were published in the Nauvoo Expositor. Opposition led to a series of events culminating in murder of Smith and his brother while jailed in As the church began openly practicing plural marriage under Brigham Young during the second half of the 19th century, the church became the target of nationwide criticism for that practice, as well as for the church's theocratic aspirations in the Utah Territory.
Beginning in , the church also came under significant media criticism after the Mountain Meadows massacre in southern Utah. Academic critics have questioned the legitimacy of Smith as a prophet as well as the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham. Criticism has expanded to include claims of historical revisionism, homophobia, racism, and sexist policies. Evangelical Christians continue to argue that Smith was either fraudulent or delusional. Most of the apologetic work focuses on providing and discussing evidence supporting the claims of Smith and the Book of Mormon.
Scholars and authors such as Hugh Nibley , Daniel C. Talmage are well-known apologists within the church. During the civil rights era of the s and s, the LDS Church was criticized for its policy of excluding black men of African descent from the priesthood, a policy that the church changed in The church's support in of California's Proposition 8 sparked heated debate and protest by gay-rights organizations and others. In addition, it said that these children should reject the practice of homosexual marriage or cohabitation.
The church said that this baptism policy is designed to protect children. Church leaders described these changes not as a change in doctrine but as one on policy.
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Jewish groups, including the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, criticized the LDS Church in after discovering that vicarious baptisms for the dead for victims of the Holocaust had been performed by members of the church. Due to doctrinal differences, the LDS Church is generally considered to be distinct and separate from mainstream Christianity by Catholic , Orthodox , and Protestant churches, which express differences with one another but consider each other's churches to be Christian.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 7 October For its overarching religious tradition, see Mormonism. Nontrinitarian Mormonism. Jesus Christ. Jesus in Christianity Virgin birth Crucifixion Resurrection. Bible Foundations. History Tradition. Denominations Groups. Related topics. See also: Mormonism and Christianity. See also: List of sects in the Latter Day Saint movement. Countries and territories with at least one LDS temple. Countries and territories with no official LDS presence.
Christianity portal Latter Day Saints portal. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J.