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Cremation Among Mormons: Church of Latter-day Saints Beliefs & Practices

Do Mormons allow cremation, or is burial the only acceptable form of body disposition? Learn more about cremation practices for the Church of Latter-day Saints.
Mormon Temple
The San Diego California Mormon Temple in La Jolla, California.

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Funeral rites and religion are closely tied together, but every religion has its own practices that are considered acceptable. Most religions now allow burial and cremation, but what about Mormons? Does the Church of Latter-day Saints allow members to be cremated? 

For many years about 2% of American adults have identified as Mormon. However, in Texas the Mormon population is twice as high, and 35% of the Church of Latter-day Saints’ members are in Utah. For these people, religion is important in life. A Pew Research Study found that 84% of Mormons believe religion is very important, and for another 12% it’s somewhat important. That means funeral rites are heavily influenced by the Church. 

The good news for Mormons is the Church of Latter-day Saints is open to the idea of cremation. 

Mormon Stance on Cremation: Preferred But Not Required

In 1991, Roger R. Keller, an associate professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University, wrote a defining paper on the Mormon religion and cremation. In it he stated, “where there is no overriding reason to cremate, burial is still the preferred method of handling our dead.” 

That’s pretty broad reasoning. An overriding reason could be the cost. Or the deceased may have had environmentally concerns about burial. For some families, cremation is the most reasonable option if relatives live out of town.  

People have many reasons for choosing cremation over burial, and the Church of Latter-day Saints is sensitive to that fact. The General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints instructs members and leaders on the practices of the Church. The handbook includes information on cremation that clearly defines the Church’s beliefs:

“The family of the deceased person decides whether his or her body should be buried or cremated. They respect the desires of the individual. In some countries, the law requires cremation. In other cases, burial is not practical or affordable for the family. In all cases, the body should be treated with respect and reverence. Members should be reassured that the power of the Resurrection always applies (see Alma 11:42–45).”

The most important tenant for Mormons that are interested in cremation is that the practice doesn’t affect resurrection. Mormons believe the soul is a combination of the body and spirit, however, cremation doesn’t destroy the soul. 

Key Things to Remember About Cremation Within the Mormon Religion

  • Burial is preferred, but members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can choose cremation.
  • Families get to decide if a loved one is buried or cremated.
  • Mormons believe that resurrection is not affected by cremation.
  • The primary concern is that the body is treated with respect no matter what type of body disposition is chosen. 
  • Latter-day Saints can have full funeral rites if they choose cremation. 

At Green Cremation Texas we work with people of all religions to provide an exemplary experience that’s sensitive to your beliefs. If you’re a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who is concerned with the environmental impact of burial, our green cremation services are the ideal option. Call, text or email us whenever is most convenient to learn more about the minimal impact of green flame cremation and water cremation.

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Marlaena Gonzales

Funeral Director
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