The lives of men and boys who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are likely to be different in many ways than the lives of men and boys in the FLDS Church.
There are over 13 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church, or LDS) worldwide. There are only about 10,000 members of the FLDS polygamist sect, living mostly in closed enclaves. The Mormon Church is led by a President, Twelve Apostles, and several quorums of seventies, all led by revelation. These leaders direct the Church, and because they are led by the Spirit of God, are able to reach an accord on policies and practices. The FLDS sect is led by one strong leader who exercises absolute control. He can choose counselors, but they are subject to him.
The LDS Church holds the priesthood of God and the authority of Christ to perform ordinances and to seal covenants on earth and in heaven. The priesthood of the Church is highly organized for the benefit of the members of the Church. All the spiritual gifts listed in the New Testament are present in the Church.
From the time a boy is twelve years old, he can hold the priesthood. This is an important responsibility that brings with it the need to live righteously and serve others. It helps young men grow into responsible adults. Although only men can hold the priesthood, everyone benefits from it and no man can use his priesthood on himself. As do women, he must call on other men to provide him with priesthood services. Women have a great deal of authority in the Church, which has a lay clergy. They teach, speak, run auxiliaries and help to manage the affairs of the Church.
LDS men marry only one wife. Polygamy is forbidden within the Church. The Church does not have any reason to try to manipulate numbers of males and females. In the FLDS sect, there must be more females in order to perpetuate polygamy in a closed society. From time to time, then, male members must leave the sect.
LDS teenage boys often participate in the Boy Scouts of America, attend school, participate in sports and clubs, and live the life of a typical boy in his society, but with a special responsibility to live a moral, upright life of service to others, in order to honor his priesthood.
LDS men attend school, hold employment, participate in their family life, and serve in the church. They live in ordinary communities of their own choosing, surrounded by people of varying faiths and lifestyles. LDS men are found all over the world.
Many people have seen LDS young men serving as missionaries, their suits, name tags and bicycles identifying them to the world as servants of God. Young men can begin missionary service at age 19, and serve for two years anywhere God sends them. For some, this means serving in a foreign culture. Others serve in their own countries, but away from home. During this time they teach the gospel and serve those around them. Missionary service provides a time of great self-discipline, sacrifice, and spiritual growth which helps prepare them for adult life.
In this section, you’ll learn how LDS men and boys live their lives and what it means to be male in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
To learn more, visit official church websites and read these articles:
The Restoration of the Priesthood
Aaronic Priesthood (generally held by teenagers)
Melchizedek Priesthood (usually held by adult males)