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The Worship of the Saints
The ERA this month is devoted entirely to one related topic.the worship of the Latter-day Saints. The object of so using the space is to answer questions that frequently come to hand regarding the subject under consideration. Questions as to whom, how, when and where the Latter-day Saints worship, as well as the nature and method of their worship, and the reasons for their temple building, are here sought to be answered. We think every reader, whether a member of the Church or a non-member, will find inspiration in these pages and will be benefited by a careful reading of them.
The reader may also obtain a fair idea of the style and architecture of stake tabernacles and ward houses of worship, built by the Latter-day Saints, from the cuts presented in this number and for which and their descriptions we are indebted to the presidents of stakes. Most of the buildings are stake houses. When it is remembered that there are sixty-five stakes of Zion, a stake being a division of the Church containing several wards, and that there are seven hundred and twenty-four wards in the Church, the magnitude of the work may be in a measure surmised. As stated in our May number six hundred and seven wards own meeting houses most of which are of modern construction whose cost ranges from five to thirty-five thousand dollars and more, each. Some of the stakes, also, have not yet built tabernacles; in these a ward house is generally selected, or a number of ward houses are chosen alternately, for holding stake quarterly conferences of the Church, and the annual conventions of the auxiliary organizations.
The articles of our faith are given on the first page; although these are generally known they will bear study and consideration for, like the worship and the religion of the Latter-day Saints, they are vital in the daily lives of the people.
The nature of the services in the various wards of the Church is set forth. The worship of the Saints paratakes of the spiritual, practical and social. Many people are set to doing something and so become vitally interested. No one class of people are preferred above another. All take some part in some way in the services.
Considerable attention has been paid to the art of music among the people, as well as to some extent their poetic literature, hymns that have impressed themselves upon the lives of
the people. One of the remarkable things pointed to is the organization and maintenance of choirs. Many thousands of young people throughout the Church are engaged in singing in the churches, a delightful way of worshiping the Lord. They do it without pay, even as the teacher who occupies the pulpit does his part of the work free.
It is clearly manifest that the social as well as the religious idea enters into our services, and particularly in the use of our church buildings. They are open all the week,-every night of the week practically, for one noble purpose or another which meets the spiritual, religious and social demands of the people. They are built and maintained for use. Much is printed in the press of our country on the uselessness and inactivity of the churches; how they are closed except only one or two hours a week, and how they do not meet the practical, social and religious necessities of the people, particularly the ordinary people, but are built and equipped for the formal, spiritless worship of the wealthy. Ordinary persons are not welcomed; nor do they find an answer to their desires, nor comfort to their feelings, nor a response to the practical, social and worship-wants of their lives. There is a stiffness and impracticability about them that do not appeal to the masses. In all these things, as well as in the appealing spiritual doctrines taught, and the testimonies offered, the churches of the Latterday Saints are entirely different. They are thrown open every day in the week to the ordinary people,-young and old, rich and poor, learned and unlearned. Our churches are the social as well as the spiritual centers of the communities. Their democracy and their ability to meet the wants of every-day life, and the spiritual longings of the soul, have a tendency to bind the people together. Everybody contributes towards the maintenance and erection of the buildings, and everybody receives and rejoices in the religious and social benefits that accrue in these centers of community life. The typical ward service among the Latter-day Saints is set forth in plainness and simplicity, and attention is also called to some of the work of the auxiliary organizations and the part they take in the worship and activities of the Saints about the house of worship. The architecture of church buildings has received attention also.
As well as informing the world of our methods and houses of worship, it is to be hoped that this number of the ERA will awaken a new interest among the Latter-day Saints themselves, in social activity and religious worship, that we may make improvements wherever these should be made, create new interest among the youth of Zion in the saving worship of their fathers, making them cleaner, purer and indeed followers in the footsteps of the rightcous, and believers in and worshipers of the God of our fathers.
The Latter-day Saints should bear in mind that it is the Lord
who has so abundantly blessed them with means that they are now enabled to build palatial houses of worship. As we grow in wealth and strength, and adopt added artistic beauty in our buildings and churches, it is to be hoped, I pray earnestly, that the purity of our youth, the social feelings, the general unity and equality, and the simple faith of the people shall not be disturbed by these prosperous financial conditions. In these palaces of worship which we have built, are now building, and will continue to build, let us still remember the Lord, even as the pioneers in their poverty remembered him, in their worship in the open air, under their boweries, or in their simple pioneer buildings erected to his name and dedicated to his service. JOSEPH F. SMITH.
The names of the wards in which all the families of the Saints were visited by the ward teachers, each month, for the three months ending March 31, 1914, are given below:
Leavitt Ward, Alberta stake: Deweyville, Elwood, Penrose and Riverside, Bear Lake stake; Mantua, Box Elder stake; Welington, Carbon stake; First, Tenth, Thirty-third, Liberty, Emigration and LeGrande, Liberty stake; Papago, Maricopa stake; Richville, Morgan stake; Knightsville, and Silver, Nebo stake; Eden, Hunstville, North Ogden, Ogden 4th, Pleasant View, Ogden stake; Clifton, Fairview, Winder, Oneida stake; Kingston, Panguitch stake; Perry, Rigby stake; Lakeview, Utah stake; Torrey, Wayne stake: Uintah, Weber stake; Ora, Twin Groves, Yellowstone stake: Kline and Redmesa, Young stake.
A bulletin issued May 1, by the Presiding Bishop's office refers to the following average percentages of families visited in each stake of Zion for the three months ending March 31: