QUICK FACTS about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “The Mormons”
· Named "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"; informal nicknames are "LDS" or "Mormon" -named after the prophet-historian who is believed to have compiled their book of scripture, “The Book of Mormon, Another Testimony of Christ.” Media relations at the church discourage the use of the nickname, “Mormon,” because of the church’s insistence that it is a Christian denomination.
· Believes it is the Lord's restoration of original Christianity as foretold to occur before Christ's Second Coming.
· Core focus is that Christ and His teachings bring happiness in this life, and through Christ’s atonement, exaltation in the next.
· In 1820 14-yr-old Joseph Smith told of a vision of God and Christ foretelling a church restoration.
· Organized in New York in 1830, the church moved to near Cleveland, then near Kansas City, then Illinois .
· Fleeing continued mob attacks 158 years ago, the first Mormon pioneers started their Westward trek from Illinois in the dead of winter. Of the 70,000 who began this 1300-mile journey, 6,000 were buried along the way, including many children. Mormon pioneers founded Salt Lake City in Utah and over 600 other Western communities.
· Polygamy has been against their religion since 1890.
SALT LAKE CITY
· Temple Square in Salt Lake has over 5 million annual visitors, more than the Grand Canyon.
· The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is a world famous choir and has the world's oldest radio program.
· The Salt Lake Temple is the most famous, but there are 136 other temples built in Detroit and around the world while others are under construction.
· The Church is home to the world's largest genealogy database; visit it online or through 3,700 free branch libraries.
· Sunday services entail a three-hour block of three meetings; about 27,000 congregations exist worldwide.
· Highly vibrant programs exist for youth, children, singles, men, and women; very strong family focus.
· Everyone has a calling; some surveys show LDS have the highest U.S. attendance and service rates.
· Families receive personal fellowship visits at home from other members on a monthly basis.
· Members tithe 10 percent, and also donate generously to the needy the first Sunday of each month.
· The Church has a lay-ministry with unpaid area leadership including clergy and all other congregational positions. (However, much of the janitorial is paid).
· The church has no debt; all buildings are paid for in cash (an average of two new congregations a day).
· The paid positions in Salt Lake are low-salaried; funds are frugally used and tightly audited.
· Members are also encouraged to become debt free and live provident, productive lives.
· With a health code from 1833, LDS avoid alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, coffee, and tea .
· This 1833 code specifically encourages eating grains (especially wheat), fresh fruits and vegetables, and sparing use of meat.
· A UCLA study showed that active LDS live longer than most Americans, men by eleven years, women by eight.
· The State of Utah, (where the church membership is most prevalent,) ranks 50th in smoking, alcohol consumption, drunk driving rates, heart disease, cancer, and sick days.
· With four colleges, Utah's BYU with 32,000 students is the largest single-campus private college.
· BYU Independent Study has 130,000 students in North America (340 web courses, 530 via mail).
· Daily seminary is a class usually held around 6:00 a.m. that serves 376,000 high school students.
· There are Institutes of Religion at 1,950 colleges worldwide that serve 367,000 college students.
· The church operates public education schools in parts of the Pacific Ocean and Latin America educating 10,000 students.
· Utah is 50th in spending per pupil, but first in adults that graduate from high school and attend college.
· In 1842 the "Relief Society" was organized; it's the largest women's organization in the world. It is structured with a president, counselors, and directors called a general board—which oversees the needs of families. Leadership of this organization is now, and has always been women.
· The children’s organization of the church—serving children ranging in age from 18 months to 12 years--also has a leadership organization identical to the Relief Society, i.e., a president, counselors and general board. This leadership is also comprised solely of women.
· Wyoming was the first state to allow women to vote; Utah was second, two months later, in 1870—decades prior to the United States’ passage of the 19th amendment in 1920.
· Women preach and pray from the pulpit and serve in other leadership and auxiliary positions as presidents, teachers, committee chairs, etc.
PROSTELITING: SHARING THE GOOD NEWS OF CHRIST
· 61,000 missionaries serve in 165 countries; 93 percent are college-age; 22 percent are female. They serve whereever they are “called”.
· Unpaid and paying their own way, most work 65 hours a week for two years, many of them learning a new language to do so.
· The population of Utah are 70% LDS members, 30 percent of Idaho. After Catholics, LDS are the largest group in 10 states.
· The church has 5.5 million members in the U.S., making it the fourth largest individual U.S. denomination.
· Other countries: New Zealand 95k, Japan 115k, UK 175k, Philippines 500k, Brazil 900k, Mexico 925k.
· Worldwide 51 percent are female; about 55 percent are not Caucasian; about 70 percent are converts.
· For the last 15 years, a daily average of 800 people worldwide joined the LDS church.
· Half of the growth is in Latin America, but the rate of growth is highest in Africa and the former Soviet bloc.
· Worldwide membership just passed 14 million, a tenfold increase in 50 years.
· In 1984 a non-LDS sociology professor of sociology estimated 265 million members by 2080; thus far, growth has exceeded that estimation and may become the first major world religion since Islam.
· Members that are in need obtain assistance from within the LDS Church. The welfare program takes the form of education and employment with a goal to improve and self provide.
· Members volunteer time at 220 welfare storehouses or canneries and about 400 farms.
· There are 210 employment centers placing over 175,000 people annually, and 64 family service centers.
· The church operates 46 thrift stores, in part to provide employment for the disadvantaged.
· The 61,000 missionaries spend half a day each week doing service.
· Over 200 million pounds of food, clothing, and medicine were donated in the last 20 years in 147 countries. Almost all of this help is slated for non-LDS people; LDS charities also work with and donate to many non-LDS charities.
· Very rapid disaster relief has been given in 144 major disasters since 1986.
· Almost 3,000 welfare "missionaries" work without pay in 55 countries (farm instructors, doctors, teachers, etc.).
· LDS charities fund a wide variety of projects like drilling water wells or funding small business startup loans.
· Beginning in 2001, members in poor areas can get low-rate college loans; 10,000 loans have been made to date.
· Utah is first in: charitable giving, producing scientists, household computers, children with two parents, and in birth rate.
· Noted LDS included five senators, and other famous dignitaries. The Osmonds, Gladys Knight, Steve Young, and the inventor of TV -Philo T. Farnsworth. Also, three former Lions quarterbacks are members, as well as hundreds of Ford employees.
· LDS members played a key role in the 2002 Winter Olympics; the chair was Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts .
· Hawaii 's #1 tourist site is the LDS Polynesian Cultural Center ( Tonga and the Samoas are one-third LDS).
· Latter-Day-Saints have sponsored Boy Scout troops since 1913; 23 percent of all Scout troops are LDS.
· The BYU Women's Cross Country have been national champions or in second place each of the last seven years.
· The Detroit metro area has 30 congregations; the Dearborn chapel is on Rotunda by Ford's Building #5. Detroit has a temple, storehouse, cannery, employment and family service office, and family history libraries.
Ford's Interfaith Network, sends out monthly interfaith notes to thousands of Ford employees who have asked to receive them.