The following is an interesting article written by Ford Motor Company for its employees. It was presented by the “Ford Interfaith” group as a message about the LDS Church.

Quick Facts & Interesting Tidbits about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Ford Interfaith group promotes unity by sharing information about all faiths and features these types of articles about various religions and faiths.

Quick Facts & Interesting Tidbits about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

OVERVIEW

  • Named “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”; informal nicknames are “LDS” or “Mormon” -named after the prophet-historian
  • 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 exaltation in the next.

HISTORY

  • 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 desperately 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 after fleeing Illinois.

SALT LAKE CITY

  • Temple Square in Salt Lake has over 5 million annual visitors, more than the Grand Canyon.
  • The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is the world’s most famous choir and has the world’s oldest radio program.
  • The Salt Lake Temple is the most famous, but there are 128 other temples built here and around the world while others are under construction.
  • Home of the world’s largest genealogy database; visit it online or through 3,700 free branch libraries.

ACTIVE CONGREGATIONS

  • 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.

FINANCES

  • Members tithe 10 percent, plus donate generously to the needy the first Sunday of each month.
  • Clergy and all other congregational positions are unpaid (however, much of the janitorial is paid).
  • The church has no debt; all buildings are paid for in cash (average of two new congregations a day).
  • The paid positions in Salt Lake are famously low-salaried; funds are frugally used and tightly audited.

HEALTH CODE

  • With a health code from 1833, LDS avoid alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, coffee, and tea (herbal tea is ok).
  • This 1833 code also teaches 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 11 years, women by 8.
  • Utah is 50th in smoking, alcohol consumption, drunk driving, heart disease, cancer, and sick days.

EDUCATION

  • With four colleges, Utah ‘s BYU with 30,000 students is the largest single-campus private college.
  • BYU Independent Study with 130,000 students is North America (340 web courses, 530 via mail).
  • Seminary, a daily class usually held around 6:00 A.M., 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 schools in parts of the Pacific Ocean and Mexico for 10,000 students.
  • Utah is 50th in spending per pupil, but first in adults that graduated from high school and attended college.

WOMEN

  • In 1842 the “Relief Society” was organized; it’s the largest women’s organization in the world.
  • Wyoming was first to allow women to vote; Utah was second, two months later, in 1870.
  • Women preach from the pulpit and serve as organization presidents, teachers, committee chairs, etc.

SHARING CHRIST’S GOOD NEWS

  • 61,000 missionaries serve in 165 countries; 93 percent are college-age; 22 percent are female.
  • Unpaid and paying their own way, most work 65 hours a week for two years, often in a new language.

MEMBERSHIP DISTRIBUTION

  • LDS are 70 percent of Utah, 30 percent of Idaho; after Catholics, LDS are the largest sect in 10 states.
  • The church has 5.5 million members in the U.S., making it the fourth largest individual U.S. denomination.
  • Some memberships: 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.

MEMBERSHIP GROWTH

  • For the last 15 years, every day an 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 12 million, a tenfold increase in 50 years.
  • In 1984 a non-LDS professor estimated 265 million members by 2080; so far growth has been faster.
  • As this growth has been steady, it will be the next major world religion since Islam.

CHARITY/SERVICE

  • Members in need obtain welfare from the LDS Church (thus Utah government welfare spending is very low).
  • LDS donate 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

HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

  • 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 to non-LDS; 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.
  • New in 2001, members in poor areas can get low-rate college loans; 10,000 loans have been made to date.

GRAB BAG

  • Utah is first in: charitable giving, producing scientists, household computers, children with two parents, and birth rate.
  • Noted LDS included five senators, and other famous dignitaries (click on link), the Osmonds, Gladys Knight, Steve Young, and the inventor of TV – Philo T. Farnsworth.
  • LDS played a key role in the 2002 Winter Olympics; the chair was the former governor of Massachusetts.
  • Hawaii ‘s #1 tourist site is the LDS Polynesian Cultural Center ( Tonga and the Samoas are one-third LDS).
  • LDS have sponsored Boy Scout troops since 1913; 23 percent of all Scout troops are LDS.
  • The BYU Women’s Cross Country were national champions or in second place each of the last seven years.

DETROIT AREA

  • 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.
  • LDS include former Governor Romney, three former Lions quarterbacks, and hundreds of Ford employees.

A member of Ford’s Interfaith Network, the author of this note sends out monthly interfaith notes to thousands of Ford employees who have asked to receive them.

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