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Sunday in the Bible Belt - The eternal nature of family
Mormon youth
Photo provided From left, Molly Hale and Sarah Barrett sit outside the LDS Nauvoo Illinois Temple. Around 60 teens went on a trip from McMinnville and surrounding areas to visit the historic church site.

Have you ever driven by the church-like building on Highway 55?

Perhaps, you’ve noticed a church located next to McMinnville Funeral Home. Both the convention center and meetinghouse are structures utilized by members of The Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints, also known as Mormons.

“Our acronym LDS, sometimes confused with LSD, but you could say we are a different kind of feel-good drug,” joked State President Cordell Crawford, who oversees eight other LDS congregations or “wards.” “The Warren County area has more than 500 members of the LDS Church while Tennessee has more than 50,000.”

According to Crawford, God has said His purpose is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. In His plan of happiness, the great work of every man is to believe the gospel, to keep the commandments and to create and perfect an eternal family unit.

“This church is very family-oriented,” explained LDS member Amy-Jo Stanford. “We believe families can be together forever, which I don’t think a lot of churches talk about that. That’s why we get married in the temple so we can be with our spouse and children sealed and joined forever.”
For members of the LDS Church, family is of central importance.

In 1995, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, which is the leadership of the LDS Church, issued “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” It is believed to contain principles vital to the happiness and well-being of every family.

“To move a family toward eternal life (heaven) we first bear testimony of Jesus Christ as our Savior,” explained Crawford. “We learn of Him and His teachings and we follow Him. We focus our love upon Him, our family and those around us for we are all His children.”

A typical LDS Sunday service lasts approximately three hours and includes an 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.

Mormon worship in the temple is where members of the church go to commune with the Heavenly Father, feel His presence and make covenants with Him that have eternal significance. Besides marriage ceremonies, members also use the temple to perform proxy baptisms for their ancestors who died without enjoying the blessings of this saving ordinance.

“I’m not a lifetime Mormon,” explained Stanford. “My family joined when I was 12 so I had some time to look at it and I thought I’ll give it a shot. I’ll read the Book of Mormon, I’ll pray about it and if it’s true, I’ll live it and if it’s not, I won’t and that’s how I made my own commitment.”
For more information on service times or Mormonism, visit www.mormonnewsroom.org or contact Bishop Hale at 931-607-2719.