If you know a Mormon or have a Mormon friend or relative, you probably are wondering why they go to church for 3 hours every Sunday. Here is what goes on at a Mormon church service.
Sacrament meeting is the most sacred part of the 3-hour Sunday service as this is the time that members partake of the sacrament—bread that symbolizes the body of Jesus Christ and water that symbolizes His blood (Matthew 26:26~28) They do this in remembrance of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice when He died for the sins of the world. Partaking of the sacrament also represents the renewal of covenants made during baptism. The sacrament is administered by men who are authorized by someone who holds the keys of the Priesthood, usually the bishop/branch president of the congregation.
Aside from partaking of the sacrament, members also join in singing songs of worship at the beginning of the meeting, before the administration of the sacrament and before the close of the meeting. Different members are assigned to speak each week in front of their local congregation about a specific subject or topic. The subjects mostly correlate with each other. Prayers are also offered at the beginning of the meeting, during the administration of the sacrament and at the close of the meeting.
Aside from the sacrament service, there are several classes that are available according to age group. Children who are 3 to 11 years old attend Primary—a program designed to teach children the gospel in a way that suits their knowledge and understanding. There are also classes designed for youth ages 12-18, and adults over 18 years old. Lessons during these meetings are based on the scriptures. Yearly, a specific scripture is discussed in all of the classes.
Another hour-long meeting is available for everyone to attend. Boys ages 12-18 attend Young Men’s class, designed to help young men learn and understand their roles as holders of the priesthood. Young Women class helps each young woman ages 12-18 prepare to make and keep sacred covenants and receive ordinances in the temple. Women over the age of 18 attend Relief Society, a program focused on “look[ing] after the spiritual welfare and salvation … of all the female members of the Church” (Joseph F. Smith, in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith , 185). Men who hold the Melchizedek priesthood attend Elders Quorum—an organization whose aim is to serve others and instruct people regarding church doctrines and principles.
If you want to know more, you can visit any Mormon chapel near you. Everyone is welcome to attend.