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Who are the Latter-day Saints

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BARBARA DORIUS

GUEST COLUMNIST

As the presidential campaign winds down and with the nomination of Mitt Romney as the Republican nominees for president, the spotlight has come to rest on him and on his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormon.

Who are these Latter-day Saints:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been in existence since 1830, but was first introduced to the Tell City area in the later part of 1950. The meetings were first held at the 4-H Fairgrounds building. Leadership and missionaries from the congregation in English traveled to Tell City to conduct meetings for the few members in the area.

Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, the congregation met in various places including the upstairs of the Gerber office building and the Old Cotton Mills office, both in Cannelton. By 1973, the membership had substantially increased, forming a dependent branch within the church. By the late 1970s approximately 10 to 12 families had joined the church, and were meeting in the Fraternal Order of Police building in Tell City.

In the spring of 1982, the congregation moved from the rented FOP building to their newly constructed meeting house located at Highway 37 and 23rd Street in Tell City, now Dr. Rogan’s office. Due to increased growth, a new building in 1997 on adjacent property on Dauby Lane where weekly meeting are held there at this time.

A few distinguished features of the Mormon faith include the use of the King James version of the Bible, the Book Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ, and additional testaments of Jesus Christ by both ancient and Latter-day prophets. The church also holds its president, Thomas S. Monson, as a prophet, seer and revelator for our time as the children of Israel looked to Moses for guidance and counsel. The church classifies itself as the restored Church of Jesus Christ with a foundation of apostles, and prophets and teaches the same doctrines as the original church.

They firmly believe that families can be sealed together for time and all eternity in sacred temples. The closet temple is Louisville, Ky. There are now 136 temples throughout the world, where sacred ordinances are performed.

There are presently more than 290,000 congregations and approximately 15,000,000 members worldwide. They meet weekly to partake of the sacrament in remembrance of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Visitors are always welcome at these Sunday services.

The church is a lay church with no paid ministry. The members are encouraged to search the scriptures, attend church meetings, and have a continuing relationship with our Father in Heaven through fasting, prayer, and following the commandments and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Members are called from the body of the church to serve in positions of leadership. Women of the church from the largest women’s organization in the world where they learn to have a positive effect on society and play an active role in the community. The church holds firm to the concept that motherhood is a divine calling and that no other success in life can compensate for failure in the home. They believe that marriage is ordained by God and that wives are equal partners with their husbands to stand side by side in the decisions of family and the rearing of children.

Men and women of the church are called to serve as officers and teachers in the various organizations of the church. The congregations are presided over by branch presidents or bishops in the larger congregations. The following men have served as Branch Presidents in Tell City: Al Bovcutt, Harrison A. Benner, Tom Northernor, Raymond W. Stirk, Joe Frankham, Greg Zellers and currently Larry Hardman.

Full-time missionaries are called to serve in all areas of the world, preaching the gospel and providing local support. Although most missionaries are young men between the ages 19 and 21, young women can serve and many retired adults serve. These missions are up to 24 months in length, the cost is borne by the individual missionary. At present, there are approximately 56,000 missionaries serving.

The missionaries presently serving in this area are Elder Stan Dorius, a retired dentist, his wife, Sister Barbara Dorius, from Utah, Elder Joshua Nielson from Utah, and Elder Joshua Sidwell from Idaho. Elders Nielson and Sidwell will return to their university studies after completing their missions.

The church is noted for its quick response time in spending manpower and supplies to areas struck by disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, etc. They are also heavily involved in long-term humanitarian projects to raise the standard of health and hygiene in many third world countries.

The focus of the church is the family, with organizations and activities designed to help them strengthen their faith in Chris and find lasting peace and happiness in this life and the life to come. The church has a Web site at Mormon.org. For local inquiries call (812) 661-9052 or (812) 619-0852.