Facts and Tidbits on LDS
Just a little FYI, since many are not really sure what the church does or how it works. Facts only:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. - A few facts:
Fleeing continued mob attacks, 158 years ago today 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. The following are quick facts and interesting tidbits about this now flourishing church.
Named "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"; informal nicknames are "LDS" or "Mormon." * Believes it's 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.
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 Illinois, Mormon pioneers founded Salt Lake City in Utah and over 600 other Western communities.
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 and has the world's oldest radio program. * The Salt Lake Temple is the most famous, but there are 128 other temples built or underway. * Home of 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, 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.
* 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 white Americans, men by 11 years, women by eight. * Utah is 50th in smoking, alcohol consumption, drunk driving, heart disease, cancer, and sick days.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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, he said it will be the "first 'new' major world religion since Islam."
* 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 (a FL ranch is 312k acres). * 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 non-proselytizing community 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 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...). * 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.
* Utah is first in: charitable giving, scientists, household computers, children with two parents, and birth rate. * Noted LDS included five senators, the Osmonds, Gladys Knight, Steve Young, and the inventor of TV. * LDS played a key role in the 2002 Winter Olympics; the chair is now the 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.
* 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.
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