Guyanese in Queens (N.Y.) diversify Mormon church

Published: Thursday, Jan. 7 2010 4:02 p.m. MST

On a recent Sunday, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day

Saints in Jamaica gathered in a second-floor conference room for their

weekly meeting. During the sacrament prayer, members ate pieces of

bread and drank thimble-sized plastic cups filled with water instead of

wine because Mormonism requires abstinence from alcohol, as well as

tobacco, gambling and even caffeine. Then congregants rose to sing "I Stand All Amazed." The first

chords rang out and the room was filled with accents from Africa, the

Dominican Republic and Guyana.For many

Americans, the term Mormon may conjure a popular and incomplete

stereotype: a largely white, Utah-based religion of missionaries. But

the gathering in Queens offers a different glimpse. Of the 50 church

members attending that day, more than half were immigrants, most of

them from the West Indies.

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