Mormon Funerals

Mormons (Latter-day Saints)

Mormons (or ‘Latter-day Saints’) are a religious and cultural group related to the Latter Day Saint movement of Restoration Christianity, initiated by Joseph Smith in New York during the 1920s. Mormons self-identify as Christian and use the Holy Bible as well as the Book of Mormon in their teachings and for personal study. Mormons believe that all people are spirit-children of God and that in order to return to God they must follow the example of Jesus Christ and that, through His atonement, everyone will be resurrected and live forever. In death, Mormons believe that we take with us what is in our hearts and minds.  Our familial relationships, by marriage (if they take place in a temple), birth or adoption, are forever too.

So, whilst Mormons see a funeral as a time of sadness, they also believe that death is not a permanent absence or end to life and love. In death, they are reunited with those who have died before them and, in turn, those who are left behind will join their loved-one when their time comes. Death marks the graduation to the second part of a three-stage life and is, therefore, a cause for respectful celebration as well as mourning.

Preparing the Body

If possible, the family members and church members (Relief society sister dress women and priesthood brethren dress men) dress the deceased. If the deceased has received the temple endowment and the ceremony is taking place in a Latter Day Saint temple, they should be dressed in temple clothing. If the family wishes, there can be a viewing, after which the family gathers for a prayer and the casket is close.

The Funeral Service

Mormon funerals take place at the Latter Day Saint chapel, usually under the direction of the Bishop of the Ward (who is a lay leader, so may not always be available). Once guests are seated, the casket is brought to the front of the chapel, followed by the family who sit in the first rows of seats. The funeral is arranged by the family. The service begins and ends with sacred funeral music and prayers. Hymns may also be sung, then speakers, often including the bishop, talk about the plan of salvation and about the person who has died, usually focusing on happy and inspirational stories and memories.

Family and close friends then move to the cemetery, where the grave is dedicated.

After the Funeral

From the time of death, Church members will have brought meals for the family and in the months and years to come they will provide support, both emotional, practical and financial.

What to Wear

White temple clothing should be worn by Mormon men and women. For others, modest, conservative attire is suitable.

Acceptable Practices

Cremation is discouraged but not prohibited.

Organ donation is acceptable.

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