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Service, or caring for others, is an important part of life for Latter-day Saints. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon Church, believe that in serving others they serve God and become more like Him. Mosiah 2:17 states, "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." A similar verse can be found in Matthew 25:40, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Those who are baptized covenant to take the name of Jesus Christ upon themselves. The prophet Alma explained this covenant to a group of new converts who wanted to be baptized. He observed that their desire to "come into the fold of God" included a willingness to give meaningful service—to "bear one another's burdens, that they may be light," to "mourn with those that mourn," and to "comfort those that stand in need of comfort" (Mosiah 18:8–9).

The Savior is the best example of service. Even though He came to earth as the Son of God, He humbly served all those around Him. He declared, "I am among you as he that serveth" (Luke 22:27). Those who chose to follow Jesus called Him "Master." Nevertheless, although He was their leader, Jesus taught them that He was also their servant. He insisted upon washing the feet of His disciples at the Last Supper. The Savior then told them that if He was willing to serve them by washing their feet, they ought to be willing to serve each other (see John 13:5-17).

Latter-day Saints believe that service should be manifested in all areas of their lives, but especially in the home. They feel they have been given families as a gift, and family life provides ample opportunity for service. Parents are obligated to be good examples to their children and to teach them the value of service. Many unselfish and charitable acts are performed by Latter-day Saints every day, but an extra blessing comes when children are included. There is the good neighbor who shovels the snow from his neighbor's walks as well as his own; and there is the good neighbor who takes his sons along with him.

President Spencer W. Kimball had this to say about the importance of service:

God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other in the kingdom. The people of the Church need each other’s strength, support, and leadership in a community of believers as an enclave of disciples. In the Doctrine and Covenants we read about how important it is to “… succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.” (Doctrine and Covenants 81:5.) So often, our acts of service consist of simple encouragement or of giving mundane help with mundane tasks, but what glorious consequences can flow from mundane acts and from small but deliberate deeds!... One of the most vital things we can do is to express our testimonies through service, which will, in turn, produce spiritual growth, greater commitment, and a greater capacity to keep the commandments. [1]

The Benefits of a Lay Clergy

The LDS Church has no paid clergy. Every leadership position from the greatest to the least is filled by someone willing to answer the Lord's call.

President J. Reuben Clark Jr. said: “In the service of the Lord, it is not where you serve but how. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one takes the place to which one is duly called, which place one neither seeks nor declines” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1951, 154). The Church has no professional clergy. The call to leadership positions worldwide is drawn from the congregation. We have no seminaries for the training of professional leaders.
Everything that is done in the Church—the leading, the teaching, the calling, the ordaining, the praying, the singing, the preparation of the sacrament, the counseling, and everything else—is done by ordinary members, the “weak things of the world.”
We see in the Christian churches their struggle to fill the need for clergy. We do not have that problem. Once the gospel is preached and the Church is organized, there is an inexhaustible supply of faithful brothers and sisters who have that testimony and are willing to answer the call to serve. They commit themselves to the work of the Lord and live the standards required of them.[2]

Through service, members of the Church gain knowledge of gospel principles, hone their sometimes latent talents, learn to be excellent leaders, learn to be supportive followers, gain confidence in public speaking, learn to fellowship others, and receive revelation necessary to aid them in their callings. Thus, it is through service that they grow spiritually.

See also Humanitarian Efforts


  1. “Small Acts of Service,” Ensign, Dec. 1974, 2.
  2. Boyd K. Packer, “The Weak and the Simple of the Church,” Ensign, Nov 2007, 6–9.

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