Military Relations Program in the LDS (Mormon) Church

Serving Your Country is Honorable for Mormons and Sometimes Necessary

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A man takes notes during the October 2013 general conference. Photo courtesy of © 2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

LDS members (Mormons) feel strongly about serving in the military, especially in times of war. The Church provides special resources and programs for its military service members.

The Church operates a military relations program. It is set up for those about to enter the armed forces, those already in the armed forces or those in a veteran's facility.

The Purpose of the Military Relations Program

The purpose of the program is to provide religious resources, as well as spiritual support, to prospective military members, currently serving military members and veterans in medical facilities.

The intent is so they can regularly worship as church members and perform their religious duties.

Prior to serving in the military, members should receive an orientation provided by the stake. They are also encouraged to seek a patriarchal blessing. Members are further counseled to obtain their own subscription to church magazines and the Church News.

Leaders should provide members with certain items before they leave, such as Military Scripture Sets and LDS identification tags. Only leaders can order these items from the Online Store.

Local leaders should make certain members know what LDS resources are available to them as military members.

Resources for LDS Military Members and Those Assisting Them

Some materials have been developed to specifically assist military members. They include the following:

Where and When Military Relations Meets

Religious services for members serving in the military around the world are structured the same as regular services for all members. However, if service members cannot go off the base to attend regular services, services will be held for these members on the base. They will be conducted under authorized priesthood leaders, who may or may not be members of the military themselves. This includes members in veteran's medical facilities.

Worship services may be further adapted to LDS military members numbers and needs. Sometimes only Sacrament meeting is held. Also, services are sometimes held on Friday, the traditional day of worship in predominantly Muslim countries.

Instructions and Training for the Military Relations Program

Several resources exist. They include the following:

  1. Resources for Military Members
  2. Service Member Group Leaders
  3. Handbook 2: Chapter 19: Chart of Callings

Administrators of Military Relations

Church headquarters provides the following contact information: Military Relations at 1-800-453-3860, extension 2-2286, or e-mail PST-Military@LDSChurch.org.

Stake Presidencies and Mission Presidencies have jurisdiction over the Military Relations program at the local level. They call, instruct, train and advise the Service Member Group Leader(s).

Overview of Military Relations

All leaders everywhere need to know how to advise temple recommend holding members on how they can wear temple garments with their uniforms and the special accommodations the Church makes for them.

Proselyting is not allowed on military facilities; but military members can, and are encouraged to, share the gospel and their faith.

The Stake Presidency or Mission Presidency calls a Melchizedek priesthood leader amongst the military members to serve as Service Member Group Leader. He serves with two assistants.

In many ways, he functions as a Bishop or Branch President would with a few exceptions.

He organizes services, assigns and monitors home teaching and looks after church members.

If authorized by Stake or Mission leadership, he may be able to conduct baptismal interviews or some other limited priesthood responsibilities.

He does not conduct temple recommend interviews or collect tithing. Military members send their tithing to their home unit where their membership records are or else directly to church headquarters.

The Service Member Group Leader reports monthly to Stake or Mission leadership. He also interacts with military chaplains, especially LDS chaplains, and the commander of the military facility.

When necessary, he also interacts with Military Relations at church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.