Jonah Lomu became a Mormon, joining the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints in 2012. He was baptised in Wellington and wife Nadene is also a member.

It is understood Lomu's funeral will be held at a branch of the church.

According to the LDS Church handbook, church leaders and members must seek to make services associated with a person's death "a dignified, solemn and spiritual experience for all who participate".

Services are generally held under the direction of a bishop and may vary between countries but the underlying principles remain universal. According to the handbook "teaching and testifying about the plan of salvation is essential".

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"In connection with mourning and services for people who die, members are counselled to avoid practices or traditions that are so expensive or prolonged that they impose a hardship on the living or impair them from proceeding with their lives.

''Such practices include expecting excessive travel, wearing special clothing for mourning, making elaborate public announcements, paying money to the family, holding elaborate and prolonged feasts at the funeral, and holding excessive commemorative or anniversary celebrations after the funeral," the handbook states.

When an LDS Church member dies, their bishop visits the family to comfort them and offers help in notifying relatives and others. The bishop may also offer to help plan the funeral service.

Other church members are called on assist, if needed, in dressing the body of the deceased, helping with flowers, looking after children and preparing meals.

"A funeral conducted by the bishop, whether in a church building or another location, is a church meeting and a religious service. It should be a spiritual occasion in addition to a family gathering," the handbook states.

"The bishop urges members to maintain a spirit of reverence, dignity, and solemnity during a funeral service and at gatherings connected with the service.

"When a bishop conducts a funeral, he or one of his counsellors oversees the planning of the service. He considers the wishes of the family, but he ensures that the funeral is simple and dignified, with music and brief addresses and sermons centred on the gospel."

Church of the Latter Day Saints. Photo / Michael Craig
Church of the Latter Day Saints. Photo / Michael Craig

The handbook also states that members of the family "should not feel that they are required to speak or otherwise participate in the service".

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Video recordings and "computer or other electronic presentations" should not be used as part of a funeral service. The church dictates that services should not be broadcast on the internet or "in any other way".

The church handbook also gives direction on burials. "Where possible, deceased members who were endowed should be buried in temple clothing. Where cultural traditions or burial practices make this inappropriate or difficult, the clothing may be folded and placed next to the body in the casket," it said.

"The church does not normally encourage cremation. However, if the body of an endowed member is being cremated, it should be dressed in temple clothing if possible.''