Mormon Funeral Funeral Service Rituals

Mormon Funeral Customs

A Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in San Diego, California

Commonly known as the Mormon faith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the largest religious group founded in America. As the name suggests, it is a restoration for modern (i.e., latter) times of the original Church of Jesus Christ which was lost in the Dark Ages.

It is believed that God restored the church through his prophet Joseph Smith. In the early 19th century Joseph Smith translated the writings of prophets dating from approximately 600 BC to 400 AD that were etched on gold tablets by the prophet Mormon and buried in New York State by his son and last prophet Moroni.

Through a series of visions, the angel Moroni revealed the location of the buried tablets to Smith provided that Smith obey a set of commandments. Smith’s divinely assisted translation of the gold tablets is known as “The Book of Mormon.” He formed the Church of Christ in New York in 1830 and developed a following that viewed him as their prophet.

Smith led his group to various locations in the Midwest but was killed by a mob in 1844. Most of the Latter-day Saints turned to the leadership of Brigham Young who led them to the territory that is now Utah where they are still headquartered. At the age of 19, young men serve as voluntary missionaries around the world making the Mormon’s one of the fastest growing Christian faiths with congregations worldwide.

Latter-day Saints have many beliefs in common with Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant faiths but do not accept the traditional definition of the Trinity. Latter-day Saints believe all beings are the spiritual children of God and all will be resurrected through the resurrection of Jesus, atonement, and obedience to his gospel.

A Mormon funeral is typically held within one week of death. The funeral service (60 to 90 minutes in length) may take place in a church, funeral home or at the graveside and is typically conducted by the bishop of the deceased’s congregation. Use of a cross or crucifix is not permitted because Latter-day Saints believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ. There may be an open casket at the choice of the family. The content of the service typically includes traditional hymns and other sacred music along with prayers and scripture readings.

It is appropriate to visit or contact the family to offer condolences before and after the funeral. Guests that are not Mormons can fully participate in a Mormon funeral service. Modest attire (suit and tie for men; dress or suit for women) are appropriate. No head covering is required. Guests typically attend the burial following the funeral service.

Mormon Funeral Quick Reference Guide
Length of Service60 – 90 minutes
Flowers?Yes
Food?Women’s group usually supplies
Dress Code? (Men/Women)Dark & Somber / Men: Jacket & Tie
Recording Devices?Voice Recorder – only if done discreetly
Source of Readings?Scriptures & Hymnals
Open Casket?Depends
Return to Work? (Days)Depends
No. of Days to Mourn?Depends
Embalming?Depends
Cremation?Burial is preferred but cremation permitted if appropriate to local customs.

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