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Mormonism grows; devotion begins in youth

By Colette M. Jenkins

Akron Beacon Journal

Published: Sunday, May 13 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

In addition to the Relief Society, missionary service is one of the more distinctive practices in the LDS Church. The church teaches that the full-time missionary work, known as a "proselyting" mission, is the responsibility of all followers of Jesus Christ.

Couples tend to serve in missionary work after their children have left home.

Women typically serve for 18 months, beginning at age 21. Young men generally serve two-year missions from ages 19 to 21.

The Pew survey shows that 92 percent of Mormons who have served a mission said the experience was very helpful in helping them grow in their faith.

>'Come and see for yourself'

Douglas Talley, who has served as Akron stake president for 10 years, did mission work in Rome, after converting to Mormonism. He said the primary reason for his conversion was his belief that the religion was true.

"I found the Book of Mormon to be one of the most hopeful doctrines, in saying that, by and large, there is a place for everyone in heaven," said Talley, of Copley Township. "As I read it, for the first time in my life, I was hearing the voice of God. I came to believe he was real."

Services at local Mormon services typically begin at 9 a.m. and run about three hours. The first hour is devoted to the sacrament and includes announcements, hymns, prayers, a series of sermons and sacrament (or communion with water and bread). Sunday School is scheduled in the second hour, and the third hour is for specialized instruction.

"Our doors are always open to visitors. We believe the best way to learn about us is to come and see for yourself," Talley said. "All of our programs are designed to help children, youth and adults learn the word of God and how to apply it to their lives. We believe in building strong families, having strong work ethics and being good neighbors. All those fruits have their core in our belief in Jesus Christ."

(c)2012 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio); Visit the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) at www.ohio.com ; Distributed by MCT Information Services

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