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Do Mormons Celebrate Thanksgiving?

By Mormon.org

Thanksgiving may be the most popular and most widely celebrated nondenominational holiday observed in the United States. Celebrating Thanksgiving takes on many different forms. Some families or groups of friends host their own football-game “turkey bowls” before the big meal. Others spend the day volunteering at homeless shelters to help the less fortunate get a hot meal.

Do Mormons celebrate Thanksgiving? Yes.

Do Mormons do anything different from the majority of people observing the holiday? Not really. Mormons, like many people, use Thanksgiving as a time to focus on expressing gratitude to God, acknowledging all the blessings in their lives, and spending quality time with family and friends. 

Gratitude to God

A common theme in the Bible and Book of Mormon is giving thanks to God and acknowledging His hand in blessing your life.

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations” (Psalm 100:4–5).

“…Worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you” (Alma 34:38).

Jesus Himself showed gratitude to God. He prayed, giving thanks to His Father when 5,000 people were fed from just a few loaves of bread (see John 6:11). He set the example again at the last supper with the sacramental bread and wine: “and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them” (Mark 14:23). And Jesus revealed His feeling about ingratitude when only one of the ten lepers He had healed turned back and gave thanks. “Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger” (Luke 17:17-18).

As the perfect exemplar, Jesus demonstrated that even He (who has divine power) gives thanks and glory to God. We too should consistently show gratitude to our Heavenly Father.

Count Your Blessings

It’s good for us to take time every day, not just at Thanksgiving, to show our gratitude to God for everything He’s given us. An obvious time of year to do this is Thanksgiving, but this time of year is also a good time to resolve to be mindfully thankful throughout the rest of the year.

Part of being humble is realizing that God has blessed your life in more ways than you can count. A prideful person will look at what they’ve accomplished and believe they did those things alone; a humble person instead sees God’s hand in their lives. 

Quality Family Time

A big point of emphasis in the Mormon faith is the importance of families. It’s so important that the Church issued a proclamation on the family in 1995. It was signed by then-President of the Church, Gordon B. Hinckley, and who were then members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and First Presidency.

“We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children,” reads the opening paragraph of The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

God’s plan for you—and all of His children—provides you with a way to return to live with God forever. In His role as your Heavenly Father, God has sent you here to learn, work, and become more like Him.

Those fundamental truths are part of the core beliefs of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that’s why they focus so much on family. Thanksgiving is a great time to spend uninterrupted time with family, and in moments like these, you’ll likely find yourself recognizing more blessings that your family provides than you recognize on a regular basis.