In the Catholic faith, canonization is the official recognition that someone is a saint and was so even prior to the official recognition. A process is followed to allow the church to determine who is a saint.
Mormons (the nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) do not follow this process. The term saint is used in the official name of the church and denotes, as used in the Bible, a community of people who followed God. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism states that Paul used the term to refer to baptized members of Christ’s church, utilizing the Greek word hagios, which can also mean set apart or holy. Paul uses this term in Philippians 1:1
Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
The term saints, as used by Mormons, mean that we are members of Jesus Christ’s own church. We are baptized in His name and have taken His name on ourselves. As Saints, we have a
special responsibility to live according to His teachings and to represent Him well.
Quentin L. Cook, a high-ranking church official said:
What does it mean to be a Saint? In the Lord’s Church, the members are Latter-day Saints, and they attempt to emulate the Savior, follow His teachings, and receive saving ordinances in order to live in the celestial kingdom with God the Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. The Savior said, “This is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do.
It is not easy to be a Latter-day Saint. It was not meant to be easy. The ultimate goal of living in the presence of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, is a privilege almost beyond comprehension.
Quentin L. Cook, “Are You a Saint?,” Liahona, Nov 2003, 95-96
For Mormons, being a Saint is not something reserved for a few, but something every church member can and should do. Everyone has the same opportunity to serve God and to return to Him someday through the gift of the atonement of Christ. What does this mean in terms of everyday life?
Church leaders have counseled members to be in the world, but not of it. Mormons no longer need to live in separate communities in order to protect their lives, and so they live out in the world. Although they live in the world, working, going to school, and playing, they need not emulate the world. They know the standards God holds them to and they work hard to live them even when it means sacrifice. For a teenager, it means dressing fashionably, but modestly, holding herself or himself to a high moral standard while dating, and foregoing parties that might involve inappropriate behavior. For a child, it might be having the courage to tell a teacher she can’t participate in the tea party at school during Japanese Culture Day, because she doesn’t drink tea. For an adult, it might mean telling the boss he is sorry, but he can’t do what he was assigned to do because it is illegal-even though it might mean the loss of a job or promotion, and even if everyone else is doing it.
Church leaders have also counseled members to avoid worshipping any other God. Today, that generally means to avoid making anything more important than God and Jesus Christ, including fame, money, or popularity. For many in today’s world, the focus is on gaining material things. People spend tremendous hours not just earning what they need to have a reasonably nice life, but to have an expensive home, the latest fashions, and the most prestigious car. To do this, many of them must sacrifice other things, such as church attendance or integrity. To do this is to put the god of wealth before the only true God and Jesus Christ, their Savior. Wealth is often the “golden calf” of today’s world.
Another way members of God’s church honor Him and live up to their title of Saints is to respect and care for their families. Today, family life is often treated as a secondary activity in life. Mormons consider families to be God’s gift to them and to be a critical part of eternity, since Mormons also believe family life continues into the eternities. When your family will continue into death, it is well worth the sacrifices necessary to build a wonderful family. Mormons are taught to spend time with their spouses and children in meaningful ways. Some of this family time is outlined by the church-family scripture study and prayer, Family Home Evening, and Family Councils. Others are created by parents who work hard to find ways to strengthen their families and influence their children. These include setting aside time each day to talk, memorable outings, and shared volunteer work.
Mormons stay focused on God and Jesus Christ by attending church every Sunday. They attend as a family and even babies and small children attend the basic worship service, known as Sacrament Meeting, with their families. After that, they separate into groups for classes. This church attendance takes three hours. However, Mormons, unlike people in many other religions, consider the commandment to keep the Sabbath Day holy to be a literal one. The entire day is required to be devoted to spiritual pursuits. Once church ends, members return home and do only those tasks which are essential, including simple meal preparations and care of young children. On Saturday, they make preparations by cleaning the house, shopping, and preparing whatever needs to be done to keep the Sabbath Day focused on God. They read scriptures, work on church assignments, write in their journals, and find other ways to draw close to God. This time of spiritual focus each week allows them to face another week in the world with strength to withstand the worldly temptations and challenges and builds their relationship with the Savior.
Mormons don’t designate certain people as having attained Sainthood. Instead, each person works hard to be a true Saint-a follower of the Savior.