The story begins.

The story of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints begins in the spring of 1820 in Palmyra, a farming area of western New York, in the United States.  The spirit of revivalism was in the air, and Joseph Smith Jr - a 14-year-old farm boy - was concerned at the apparent diversity of beliefs, and confused about which Church he should join.  Reading the Bible, one day, he came across a passage which stated that:
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God...."  (James 1:5).

Deeply impressed he went alone into a grove of trees a little way from his home and knelt down to ask God which Church was right, and which he should join.  In answer to that prayer, he was visited by two heavenly beings, "whose brightness and glory defy all description", he later recorded.  One of these personages pointing to the other, said:

"This is my Beloved Son.  Hear Him."

This visitation from the Heavenly Father and from Jesus Christ is known in the Church as the "First Vision" and marks the starting point of Joseph Smith's ministry.  Joseph was told that he should join none of the churches then in existence, and that in due course he would be instrumental in the restoration of the Church. In fulfilment of this, he was visited by another heavenly messenger - an angel names Moroni - just a few years later.  He was told that concealed in a hillside not far from his home, were gold plates containing the religious record of a group of early inhabitants of the American continent.

Four years later, in 1827, Joseph eventually received those plates, and began their translation.  This record was published as The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ - a companion volume of scripture to the Bible.  The Church was formally organised on 6 April 1830 in Fayette, New York.  Joseph was its first President and prophet - a position he held until his death, at the hands of a mob, in 1844 - his mission completed.


The beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints differ from those of other Christian churches in a number of ways:

1 Latter-day Saints are Christians.  They are, however, neither Catholic nor Protestant, but claim to belong to the Restored Church - a Church given back to the world, by God, after the early Christian church had fallen away from simple gospel truths.

2 They do not accept the general view of the Trinity, but believe that God, Christ and the Holy Ghost are separate personages - though united in purpose.  This was the view of the early New Testament Christians too.

3 Latter-day Saints believe the Bible to be the Word of God.  They believe though, in continuing revelation; that The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, the Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price are also scripture.

4 The Latter-day Saints believe they have a living prophet - a man who receives revelation from God and who directs the Church here on earth.

5 Latter-day Saints believe in personal revelation; that each of us is entitled to receive personal revelation and revelation for the area of his or her responsibility - e.g. a father for his family.

6 They believe that we are living in a time just before the Second Coming of Christ, and that the Gospel should be taken -through missionary work - to the whole world.

7 They believe in self-sufficiency coupled with Christian caring for others.

8 They believe in honouring, upholding and sustaining the law; they believe in being of service to the community.

9 Latter-day Saints believe in the same gifts of the Spirit which existed in the early New Testament Church.  Administratively, the Church is patterned after that church, and based upon apostles and prophets.

10 They follow a health code, known as the Word of Wisdom.  This counsels against the use of tea, coffee, alcohol and tobacco, and advocates healthy living.  In essence, Latter-day Saints believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's Church, restored once more to the earth, and with the authority to act in His name.

The Church in Britain today.

With the Church firmly established in the US Mid-West, there was a renewed interest in overseas missionary activity.  This was interrupted by World War I.  During the inter-war years British membership levelled out at approximately 6000.  Missionary work resumed in earnest after World War II.  Members throughout the world were urged to remain and help build the Church in their homeland.  This is still the practice today.

A milestone in the story of the Church in the British Isles came in September 1958 when a temple was dedicated near Lingfield, Surrey.  As in Old Testament times, a temple is a building of special religious significance.  Whereas a synagogue or chapel acts as a place for day-to-day public worship, the temple is only open to members of good standing.  It is reserved for marriages and other personal and family-centred work.  Before its dedication, members had to travel overseas in order to enjoy the blessings of temple attendance.  In 1998 a second British temple was dedicated and opened in Chorley, Lancashire.

Though still under the general direction of the First Presidency of the Church- the Church's supreme governing body - the Church has decentralised as it has grown.  An Area Presidency made up of three General Authorities (world leaders of the Church) is based in Frankfurt and looks after all day-to-day matters in Europe.  British members - men and women - play a full and active part in the running of the Church, since there is no paid ministry.  There are many Britons in the Church's worldwide missionary force.

Missionaries serve for two years, without pay, supported by their savings, and by family and friends.  Quite a few of these are serving in the United States and Canada - a reversal of the historical pattern.  The pace of Church growth in Britain continues to quicken.  At the time of the dedication of the London Temple (1958) there were 12,480 British members of the Church.  In 2011, British membership stands at over 186,000 spread across 333 congregations.

The family.

The Church teaches that the basic unit of society is the family, and that parents have the prime responsibility for teaching moral and spiritual principles to their children, in the home.  A former president of the Church has said that: "No other success in life can compensate for failure in the home".  (David O McKay).  To assist in the development of family relationships, the Church introduced a ‘Family Home Evening’ programme, many years ago.  Family Home Evening Resource Book has been produced, providing parents with some ideas on how to make the activity enjoyable and rewarding.

Families are encouraged to set aside one night each week in which they will spend time together, talk, discuss matters of importance, learn more about the gospel, and share fun and recreational activities.  At a time when hooliganism and vandalism seem to be on the increase, the Family Home Evening programme sets out to be preventative, not just remedial.  It seeks to build a strong society by building strong families - since families are the building blocks of any society.

The father (or family head) presides at these family home evenings.  Family members each play a part - perhaps giving the lesson, or preparing refreshments or games.  Sometimes the family will go out for the evening - to the cinema, the theatre, or perhaps a picnic.

Whatever the activity, the aim is to help build strong family relationships, and to encourage each individual to feel secure in their home life.  In order to make sure that all members have time to carry out their family responsibilities, the Church - worldwide - has set aside Monday night for Family Home Evening.  No other meetings or activities are held on that evening, so that all may be at home.  As with all programmes, though, there is flexibility, and Family Home Evening may be held at a time best suited to the needs of family members.

Church meetings and worship services.

The main church meetings are held each Sunday in the local chapel(or other meeting place).  They last for three hours, in total. The meeting is divided into three parts.  Since there is no paid clergy, each activity (conducting a meeting, teaching a class, playing the organ, etc) is undertaken by a member of the Church on an assigned basis (a calling, as it is known).

1 Sacrament Meeting: all members attend this meeting, to partake of the sacrament of bread and water, and to listen to assigned speakers from the congregation - men, women and children.

2 Sunday School: all members (12 and over) attend a Sunday School class where they study the scriptures.  Special courses such as family history and family relations are run from time to time.

3 For the final period, the youth, women, and men attend separate classes.  The men attend Priesthood, while the women’s organisation - Relief Society - teaches a variety of subjects, both cultural and spiritual.  The Young Men and Young Women have similar classes, appropriate to their age and interests.

Throughout the final two sessions a Nursery is held for those aged eighteen months to three years, while Primary run classes, music and other activities for 3-12 year-olds.Other meetings, often held on weekdays, include the administrative meetings for the local leadership, plus recreational activities - dances, shows, concerts, etc.  There are regular youth Activity Nights, along with regular meetings for the women.

On the first Sunday of each month a special Fast Sunday is held.  Each member is encouraged to abstain from food and drink for two consecutive meals, and to give at least the cash equivalent to the local Church leader, for the relief of the needy, both inside and outside the Church.  On this day the normal Sacrament Meeting is replaced by a Fast and Testimony Meeting, at which any member who feels so prompted, may stand and bear witness of the Saviour and the gospel.

Non-members are welcome to attend all Sunday and general weekday meetings.

In Ipswich

Services are as follows:

Sunday Meetings

10am - 1pm.

Additional Relief Society Meetings (18+ women):

Quarterly (dates vary)

Youth Night (12-18):

Tuesday 7:30-9:00 pm.

Other activities include regular Bible study classes, folk nights, art classes, sports nights, dances and socials; for details call 07791 715466.  For Family History Centre (Genealogical Research) please ring 01473 723182 to make an appointment or for advice.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Sidegate Lane West, Ipswich IP4 3DB




The Mayor and Mayoress of Ipswich with Bishop Pereira and the congregation.

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