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Latter day saint funerals


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#1 Last_Daze

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 04:41 PM

So, I googled the above phrase (as well as "Mormon funerals") and all I could find were a bunch of anti-sites with stories about how ex-mormon children were 'excluded' from their parents' funerals (just another sign of how cultish them Mormons are, obviously). I couldn't find any description, though, of what is actually involved in a funeral conducted under the auspices of the LDS church.

Is it significantly different than a standard Protestant-style funeral? What is involved, and who conducts it? Finally, in what way are non-LDS folk not permitted to participate?

#2 Just_A_Guy

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 04:48 PM

It isn't that different, really. In theory, I think the same regulations that apply to conventional church meetings are supposed to apply to funerals done in a Mormon chapel--e.g., an excommunicated Mormon oughtn't to be offering a public prayer in that setting. The bishop is supposed to preside at the meeting, and music is supposed to be in accordance with Church norms. But I've never seen a Mormon bishop stand on a point of policy in the face of a bereaved family that was insistent on doing the funeral their way. (Your mileage will vary, obviously.)

One aspect of Mormon funeral culture you may find intriguing--Mormons are typically buried in the ceremonial clothing that they wear in the temple, and very often the family of the deceased will handle dressing the corpse in that clothing. There's a great blog post on that, here (some of the comments to that post are very good as well).
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#3 Last_Daze

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 04:56 PM

Thanks JAG.


One aspect of Mormon funeral culture you may find intriguing--Mormons are typically buried in the ceremonial clothing that they wear in the temple, and very often the family of the deceased will handle dressing the corpse in that clothing.



Some people might find that really strange, but I don't. Certainly, it offends modern Western sensibilities about such things, but it is a very common part of the burial rites of many religions, including Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Islam.

#4 Elphaba

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 05:09 PM

There's a great blog post on that, here. . . .

That was a great read. I always enjoy Ardis' posts.

Given I am no longer a member, I have often worried that I would not be allowed to help dress my mother in her temple clothes. I've been told by some that yes, I would, and by others that no, I wouldn't. According to this post I would. I hope so. I'll be very upset if I'm not.

I think I need to discuss it with my mom, and my sister now, just in case. If my mom is opposed to it, I'll honor that. If my sister is opposed to . . . oh dear, here we go again!

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#5 Just_A_Guy

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 08:12 PM

Believe it or not, Elphaba, the Church has an entire manual (relatively short--3 or 4 pages, IIRC) on dressing the dead. Maybe you should swing by tomorrow and ask your local bishop for a look at his copy. ;)

By the way, it's good practice to have Mom write a letter of instruction to her executors that handles things like this (and also more general instructions about burial, specific things she wants/doesn't want at the funeral, etc). PM me and I can send you a form I have in Word format.
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#6 Elphaba

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 08:38 PM

Believe it or not, Elphaba, the Church has an entire manual (relatively short--3 or 4 pages, IIRC) on dressing the dead. Maybe you should swing by tomorrow and ask your local bishop for a look at his copy. ;)

Maybe I should! :P

Actually, I really would like to see it in case it's an issue with my sister. If I am, indeed, allowed to be there, my sister would be fine with it if she knew it was officially allowed.

(I'm probably not being fair to my sister. For all I know she'd not think twice about me being there.)

By the way, it's good practice to have Mom write a letter of instruction to her executors that handles things like this (and also more general instructions about burial, specific things she wants/doesn't want at the funeral, etc). PM me and I can send you a form I have in Word format.

It's very kind of you to offer, and I've sent you a PM. I will feel much better knowing her wishes about this, regardless of her choice.

Thanks,
Elph

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#7 applepansy

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 09:43 AM

While traditionally bishop's preside at LDS funerals, it doesn't have to be that way. Whatever is right for the family is what should be done. Most often that is how Bishop's handle funerals anyway.

It is recommended that the funeral services be similar to a Sacrament meeting, except of course no Sacrament is passed. So: Opening prayer, hymn, Eulogy, hymn, talks, hymn, closing prayer. And then anything else the family would like to include. It is highly recommended that ne of the talks be on the Plan of Salvation.

Last Daze, are you planning a funeral?

#8 Last_Daze

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 10:09 AM

Happily, no. Not an LDS one at any rate. :)

It started out as pretty idle curiosity; I guess I didn't really think it was any different than a standard Protestant-Christian funeral, but I didn't know. So I went online, and found all those horror stories about the cult-y Mormons and how they don't let non-members join in their reindeer games, and I started wondering what exactly is so scandalous about an LDS funeral. So I came on here and asked.

Apparently the answer is: nothing.

#9 applepansy

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 10:43 AM

:) As with most things LDS an google search doesn't bring you to the reality of things.

#10 Bini

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 10:49 AM

I didn't realise there was a difference at all between an LDS funeral and a non-LDS funeral. Then again, I haven't been to an LDS funeral and can only count ever attending two funerals in my lifetime. I know the LDS church strongly discourages (perhaps even forbids?) cremation. Which I understand the reasons for this, although, hubby and I have personally contemplated in us both being cremated when that time comes.


I agree with you Applepansy.

No more dancing candy cane - hurrah!


#11 beefche

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 11:13 AM

While traditionally bishop's preside at LDS funerals, it doesn't have to be that way. Whatever is right for the family is what should be done. Most often that is how Bishop's handle funerals anyway.



Just so people know, if the funeral is held in an LDS building, then the bishop does preside. He will work with the family to have the funeral the family wishes (as much as possible--I don't think they would want a big brass band playing while parading pink elephants).
I say that we need to teach our people to find their answers in the scriptures...But the unfortunate thing is that so many of us are not reading the scriptures. We do not know what is in them, and therefore we speculate about things that we ought to have found in the scriptures themselves. I think that therein is one of our biggest dangers of today."
--President Harold B. Lee, December, 1972

#12 Traveler

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 11:58 AM

All meetings held in an LDS facility are under the direction and control of the LDS church. If non-LDS want control over a funeral then they should schedule to hold that funeral somewhere else.

This may sound harsh but LDS facilities are dedicted to the L-rd for his work. Holding a funeral or viewing at a LDS facility will exclude (with rare exception) former excommunicated members from offering public talks or prayers. It will not exclude them from attending.

I was a member of the bishopric that oversaw the funeral of Barney Clark (first to recieve an artificial heart). Because the funeral was broadcase nationally on TV many anti-LDS attended and we suspected that there would be protests for the cameras. We has our own security plus the local authoities were there for arrest if necessary. The funeral went off without any problems.

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#13 Elphaba

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 12:10 PM

I didn't realise there was a difference at all between an LDS funeral and a non-LDS funeral. Then again, I haven't been to an LDS funeral and can only count ever attending two funerals in my lifetime. I know the LDS church strongly discourages (perhaps even forbids?) cremation. Which I understand the reasons for this, although, hubby and I have personally contemplated in us both being cremated when that time comes.

Bini,

I was a little surprised you thought the Church discourages/forbids cremation, because it was my understanding there were no restrictions. So, I went to lds.org to find something definitive, and apparently cremation is not encouraged, but it is not forbidden, especially since the Church has moved into areas where cremation is routinely practiced.

This I Have a Question provided an overview of the practice of cremation, and the Church's position regarding it. While it might not be the Church's first choice, I don't think it would oppose your wish to be cremated.

Elph

Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged.

Missing me one place, search another.

I stop somewhere waiting for you.

~~Walt Whitman


#14 Bini

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 12:19 PM

Thanks, Elphaba, for looking that one up.


And yes, it would make sense that cremation is not forbidden, especially in countries or locations where it's customary to cremate the dead. Isn't Japan one of these places? So I guess my question now is does the Church strongly discourage cremation if you are residing in a country/location that land available and or law does not play a factor? I don't mean to hijack this thread, Mods! Just some thoughts that have popped up in relation to the topic of LDS funerals :]


ETA: Oh! Forgot to click that link provided.. Clicking it. My question may be already answered here.

Edited by Bini, 12 December 2010 - 12:20 PM.
Missed link.

No more dancing candy cane - hurrah!


#15 beefche

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 12:21 PM

Honestly, Bini, I can't see a bishop or stake president "counseling" a grieving family member to not cremate the body. I don't have any experience at all with this, but I would think the bishop/stake president wouldn't even bring it up unless the family member approached them to ask. Then I can see that them simply stating it isn't encouraged and then letting the family make their decision.
I say that we need to teach our people to find their answers in the scriptures...But the unfortunate thing is that so many of us are not reading the scriptures. We do not know what is in them, and therefore we speculate about things that we ought to have found in the scriptures themselves. I think that therein is one of our biggest dangers of today."
--President Harold B. Lee, December, 1972

#16 applepansy

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 01:59 PM

Just so people know, if the funeral is held in an LDS building, then the bishop does preside. He will work with the family to have the funeral the family wishes (as much as possible--I don't think they would want a big brass band playing while parading pink elephants).


I've been to an LDS funeral in an LDS meeting house where the Bishop didn't conduct. I should have used the word conduct instead or preside.

#17 Last_Daze

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 03:24 PM

:) As with most things LDS an google search doesn't bring you to the reality of things.


Well, you're right about that, in any case.

I generally feel like I can tell the difference between an anti-site and a pro-or-neutral site. It was just that I didn't find what I was looking for (a description of what actually goes on) when I did the search.

#18 Maureen

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 03:56 PM

So, I googled the above phrase (as well as "Mormon funerals") and all I could find were a bunch of anti-sites with stories about how ex-mormon children were 'excluded' from their parents' funerals (just another sign of how cultish them Mormons are, obviously). I couldn't find any description, though, of what is actually involved in a funeral conducted under the auspices of the LDS church.

Is it significantly different than a standard Protestant-style funeral? What is involved, and who conducts it? Finally, in what way are non-LDS folk not permitted to participate?


I have attended a few LDS funerals and I would say that the main difference compared to other funerals I've been to is that LDS family members help dress the body in temple clothes at the funeral home. I never knew about this ritual until my MIL passed away and learned that her daughters and DaughtersIL helped prepare her body for burial. This is one ritual that I am fine with being excluded from. If I was invited to participate I would have declined.

I have never known any ex-mormon family members ever being excluded from attending a funeral. My husband and one BIL are not necessarily ex-members, they are still members in name only, but are more or less "not" members due to disbelief and inactivity and they have always been invited to attend a funeral.

M.
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#19 Wingnut

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 04:02 PM

So I went online, and found all those horror stories about the cult-y Mormons and how they don't let non-members join in their reindeer games,...


:lol:
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#20 pam

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 04:15 PM

Having had to help plan a funeral last year for my dad...we did it in an LDS chapel.

The Bishop presided and conducted. His counsel to us was to keep it as spiritual as possible. We chose the music and the speakers.

We wanted to do a slide show but wasn't allowed to do it in the chapel. We set it up outside the Relief Society room for those to view it.




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