This past week we started attending a new congregation because we moved across town. Our congregations are set up a little differently than other Christian sects. Congregations are based purely on geographical area. You attend the congregation whose boarders you live within. This is significant for a few reasons.
First, a congregation is not a source of income for anyone, including the head clergyman, the bishop. There is really no monetary incentive or need for a clergyman to try and get as many congregation members as possible. No one is trying to sell you on a certain congregation.
Second, the same thing is taught in each congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide. Members don’t visit different congregations and then decide which clergyman or congregation best fits their ideas because the Church is organized in such a way that all the same doctrines and principles are taught across the board. Each congregation does have its own flavor, customs, traditions, etc though as is natural for different cultures and areas. I’ve attended congregations in Jordan, Mexico, Guatemala, Virginia, Utah, Massachusetts, New York, California, South Carolina, North Carolina, Hawaii, Florida, and Arizona. Each congregation has definitely had its own style and culture but what has been taught is always the same, the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
To be honest, I was sad to leave my old congregation because of the friends I had made there and the people I had worked with. It can be a hard transition. But, everywhere we go we are needed. Each congregation has needs and roles that need to be filled and those needs and roles are dependent on the congregation members. I’m excited to get involved and contribute and I’m excited to make new friends and to get to work with new people.