This post was most recently updated on August 27th, 2016
What is it like when Mormons travel?
Silly question, right?! Don’t Mormons 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 Mormons travel…
Well, okay. There are some differences, because of Mormon beliefs, which I will explain.
First of all, you should know that I am a Mormon. And that’s 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 Mormon 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 an LDS (Latter-Day Saint) 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 LDS meetinghouse plus the meeting schedule. I’ve attended church in Athens, Greece, Bordeaux & Nice, France, Madrid, Spain, Ravenna & La Spezia, Italy 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 Mormons, 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 Mormon family 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? Mormons aren’t so different. Like you, we just believe that families are the greatest blessing we have!!
Why no coffee, tea, or alcohol?
Mormons 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 for 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 Mormons 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 Mormons, 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
Mormons 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.
Why Mormons travel
Being Mormon 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 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 Mormons 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)