This post was most recently updated on July 23rd, 2020
What is it like when Mormons travel? You know…Mormons. More appropriately known as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Silly question, right?! Don’t they travel just like everyone else?
Of course! End of subject. But not the end of this post.
You really wanted to know, didn’t you? …if there were some differences, or something peculiar about the way members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints travel…?
Well, okay. There are some differences, because of their beliefs, which I will explain.
First of all, you should know that I am a “Mormon”, but that is actually just a nickname. It’s the name of the prophet who compiled records and prophecies to create the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ. More accurately, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Chances are, you probably know someone else that is, too.
When I’m traveling, being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is an important part of who I am, and so my travel is influenced by it.
We go to church
It’s really easy to find a church almost everywhere you go in the world. All you have to do is go to this webpage, type in the address where you’ll be staying, and it will show you a map to the closest church meetinghouse plus the meeting schedule. I’ve attended church in Athens, Greece, Bordeaux & Nice, France, Madrid, Spain, Ravenna & La Spezia, Italy, Tralee of Ireland, Inverness of Scotland, and Oldenburg, Germany. My husband has attended church in Singapore while on business trips, too. There’s always someone who is willing to translate into English for you, if you need it. This is important to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, because we want to keep the Sabbath Day holy. Part of that is regular Sunday worship and rest from more worldly concerns.
Lightening the load
Another part of keeping the Sabbath day holy is trying not to make other people work. You know… “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I try not to shop, eat out, or make plans that require others to work on my behalf. I’ll shop at a market on Saturday and prepare my own meals on Sunday. I might visit a waterfall or go for a walk on Sunday but I wouldn’t visit Disneyland. If I have to travel on Sunday, I still try to minimize my requirements from others, so they can enjoy a Sabbath day of rest also.
Larger cars and rooms
Hotel rooms or rental cars? Mormon families are often large enough to need more than one hotel room, so it’s generally cheaper to rent an apartment. I use Airbnb and Homeaway for a lot of my travel needs. And a typical family in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints needs a vehicle with more than five seats. We might opt for a road trip over a flight because it’s less expensive. Why is traveling with family so important? We aren’t so different. Like you, we just believe that families are the greatest blessing we have!!
Why no coffee, tea, or alcohol?
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we avoid tea, coffee, alcoholic drinks, and drugs. We have a tenet called the “Word of Wisdom” — a health code that carefully defines substances that are harmful to the body and mind, that we should abstain from. Keeping our bodies healthy and strong allows us to enjoy life, serve others, and work hard. And have more fun traveling! Plus, we save a lot of money…
You wouldn’t see us at a tattoo parlor, or a topless beach. We are taught that our bodies are the temples of our spirits, and as such, we should not defile them or expose them. We dress modestly and abstain from getting tattoos or multiple body piercings for that reason.
Lots of “Mormons” know more than one language. Thousands of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have served missions for the Church all over the world, and they develop fluency in the language of the country in which they serve. So, for many members, travel is easier because there is less of a language barrier. My husband, son and daughter all speak Spanish fluently and another son speaks French — because of their mission service. It really comes in handy when we travel!
Brothers and Sisters
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints feel a kinship with all people of varying faiths and cultures. That’s because we believe we are all literal children of God — making us brothers and sisters. As Mormons travel, we enjoy meeting all of our brothers and sisters around the world.
Why Mormons travel
Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints might actually influence you to travel more for these reasons… 1) It’s a great way to stay in touch with distant family members, and we work hard to keep strong family ties 2) We have a great appreciation for the incredible world God created for all of His children, and 3) The world is less fearsome when you know there are fellow church members nearby if you need them, even if you haven’t met them yet!
Mormons travel but certainly don’t have a monopoly on enjoying travel, and we pretty much travel just like everyone else. But I hope you’ve learned a few things about us that maybe you didn’t know before. I hope we cross paths as we explore this big beautiful world!
(All photos compliments of lds.org)
Great post! This clearly explains some of my major beliefs as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and shows how even when Mormons travel, we still like to abide by our standards. Along with your point that our body is a temple and should be respected, I also like to go visit the LDS Temple when I’m traveling. For those who are members, the work they complete in the temple is very important and sacred. And for those who are not members or have not yet entered the temple, there is usually a Visitor’s Center or beautiful temple grounds that can be explored, as well. I have loved seeing temples from all over the country (Oahu, Nauvoo, Oakland, New York, etc), as well as several international temples too; what spectacular and beautiful edifices they are!
Such a wonderfully interesting post Tami. I enjoy exploring others’ beliefs, and questions of faith generally, and you have explained your faith and how it influences your choices beautifully.
Thank you, Jo…I really appreciate your comments. It’s nice to have something that means so much to me, received by others with mutual respect.
To be quite honest, I have never really thought about what it would be like to travel as a Mormon. But this post was extremely interesting and I really appreciate you letting us know. I think it’s always interesting to learn about other ways of life. 🙂
Thanks, Cory. Guess it’s always good to learn about others, and it works both ways. I love learning about my fellow travelers, too!
Such an interesting post to read. I did not know the part about foreign languages. Im sure being able to speak the language always comes in handy when you travel.
Definitely! And I guess knowing a language like Spanish helps in Italy, too. So versatile!
At first I was thinking of course Mormons travel the same as everyone else, but you’re right that there are unique aspects to the way your family travels and it’s great that you were open enough to share that. It’s great that you follow your principles no matter where you are. I enjoyed reading your post.
Thank you, Laura! I’ve sure appreciated learning about others’ beliefs as well.
An interesting post Tami. You mention that you don’t believe in tattoos and piercings. What are your views on visiting cultures that embrace tattoos, such as the Pacific Islands?
That’s a good question, Christina. I have absolutely no problem visiting cultures that embrace tattoos. They are a rich part of their heritage and history, and I find it fascinating.
Interesting and informative post. I’m not Mormon, but I have some good friends that are. I’ll be sharing this article with them. they’ll love it!
Thanks, Joe! That was my goal…to be informative. Glad you’ll be sharing it!
My family and I are not Mormons but we’re Christians. My husband is Roman Catholic and our daughter and I are Anglicans. We also try to find churches to worship in while we travel. I find your post very interesting and educational. it’s fantastic that you are all fluent in a language due to mission work, that is a wonderful way to learn. Also like the fact that you not only try not to “work” during the Sabbath but also don’t want to impose work on others, it would be great if everybody did this.
Brenda, thank you for your comments. It’s awesome that you also attend church wherever you travel. Don’t you think that adds a special element to your cultural experience? (As well as spiritual)
Thanks for sharing your beliefs and how they impact how you travel. Have actually not thought much about religious beliefs when traveling other than respecting other’s and applying the golden rule “do unto others as you want others to do unto you.” Very informative and I’m pleased to say that I learned more about the Mormon faith than I knew before. Thanks for sharing!
Rosemary, I appreciate your comments. So glad I could share a little about Mormons and receive such a respectful response!
An interesting read. Thanks for sharing. I hadn’t thought about how treating Sunday as a day of rest would effect how you travel. Loved learning something new.
Thanks, Megan! I’m glad you were able to learn something new. That was my goal!
I am really glad that you shared this. I have never thought of how Mormons travel, but nice little insight. I don’t do tattoo parlours either ;p
This was a great way to explain how our Mormon beliefs affect our daily behavior, even travel 🙂
Why do Mormons ride bikes thru the community?
Missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints used to ride bikes almost exclusively during their missions. That may be less common these days, as many missions are able to provide autos for the missionaries to use. I’m sure the bicycles are less expensive and allow missionaries to stop and go as needed, to visit with passers-by. I would not say, however, that the general members of the Church ride bicycles any more than any other population. On a vacation, however, cycling might be a great option for exploring a city.