Understanding Latter-Day Saints Funerals

March 14, 2024

Attending a funeral can be an emotionally challenging experience, no matter the religion or culture. It’s a time when friends and family come together to remember and honor the life of a loved one who has passed away. For those who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Latter-Day Saints), sometimes known as Mormons, attending a Latter-day Saints funeral can be a unique and sometimes unfamiliar experience. This guide aims to provide a better understanding of their funeral rites, the etiquette involved, and what to expect, so that non-Latter-day Saints attendees can pay their respects in a respectful and considerate manner.

 

The Basics of Latter-Day Saints Funerals

Latter-day Saints funerals, like many other religious funeral services, are deeply rooted in the faith and beliefs of the Latter-day Saint community. Here are some key aspects to understand:

 

Location: Most funerals for Latter-day Saints take place in a meeting house or chapel belonging to the family’s Church. They may also have them at a funeral home. However, they can also occur in other appropriate venues, depending on the family’s preferences and circumstances. Coastal Funeral Center has been honored to have many Latter-day Saint families choose to have their loved ones’ service in our chapel.

 

Timing: Latter-day Saints funerals are typically held within a week of the individual’s passing, allowing family and friends to gather quickly to commemorate the deceased’s life.

 

Religious Leaders: A Latter-day Saint bishop or a member of the local clergy usually presides over the funeral service, and the family is given an opportunity to share their memories and feelings about the deceased.

 

The Latter-day Saints Funeral Program: The program for the funeral typically includes hymns, prayers, scripture readings, and eulogies. Attendees can expect a blend of religious elements and personal reflections on the deceased’s life.

 

Attire and Etiquette

Dress Code: Non-Latter-day Saint attendees should dress conservatively and modestly for the funeral. Dark or somber-colored clothing is appropriate. Men often wearing suits and women opt for dresses or skirts paying special attention that knees and shoulders are covered. Avoid wearing overly casual or colorful attire.

 

Arrival Time: Arrive at the venue a little early to allow time for greeting the family and finding a seat. It’s a good opportunity to express your condolences and offer support.

 

Silence and Respect: Once inside, maintain a quiet and respectful demeanor. Latter-day Saint funerals are solemn occasions. You should show reverence by not talking during the services and turning off or silencing your mobile devices.

 

Seating and Participation

Seating: Ushers or greeters may help you find a seat. In the chapels, there is usually no assigned seating, so you can choose a spot that is comfortable for you. The family usually sits in the front rows which are typically reserved for them.

 

Participation: While non-member attendees are not required to participate in the religious aspects of the service, you are welcome to stand when others stand and sit when they sit. Feel free to join in singing hymns if you are comfortable doing so.

 

Religious Elements

Prayer: During the funeral service, you will likely witness various prayers offered by religious leaders or family members. It’s respectful to bow your head and remain silent during these moments, even if you do not share the same faith.

 

Hymns: Latter-day Saint hymns may be sung during the service, and the lyrics are typically printed in the program. You are welcome to follow along quietly. Know that participation is optional.

 

Personal Reflections and Eulogies

Latter-day Saint funerals often include personal reflections and eulogies where family and friends share stories and memories of the deceased. As a non-member attendee, you are welcome to listen and even share your own thoughts if invited to do so. However, it’s essential to be respectful and considerate of the beliefs and customs of the community. Avoid making comments or remarks that might be seen as contradictory to their faith.

Graveside Service

Latter-day Saints prefer to bury their members rather than cremate them. Following the service at the church or chapel, the bishop or a close friend or family member who holds Melchizedek Priesthood will dedicate the grave with family and close family friends at the cemetery.

 

Post-Funeral Gathering

After the funeral service, it is customary to attend a gathering or reception. This is an opportunity to offer condolences to the family and share your memories of the deceased. You can express your sympathy and offer support during this time. Coastal Funeral Center has a reception area where you may be able to greet the family and offer condolences. This is also a space available to share in refreshments if any are provided.

 

Conclusion

 

Attending a Latter-day Saint funeral as a non-member attendee can be a meaningful and respectful experience if you approach it with an open heart and a willingness to understand and respect their traditions and customs. Remember that the primary focus is on honoring and celebrating the life of the departed loved one.

 

By following the etiquette outlined in this guide and being considerate of the LDS beliefs and practices, you can show your support to the grieving family and participate in a way that demonstrates compassion and empathy during this difficult time.

 

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About Coastal Funeral Center

At Coastal Funeral Center, we are committed to being dedicated guardians of family and community, while holding on to the legacy we established as a family-owned funeral home. Originally A.M Gamby Funeral Home, Coastal Funeral Center joined Green Hills Memorial Park in 2018 to better serve the community of the South Bay. During this transition, we expanded our services as an all-inclusive facility and built on the successes of Green Hills Memorial Park. We’re proud of our legacy of personal service and our deep roots in the community. We’ve been part of this community for more than 80 years. We provide customized funeral service options that meet your financial needs and honor your loved one like the beautiful individual they were. To learn more, visit https://coastalfuneralcenter.com.

 

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