$885,000 church building paid for with zero debt
After breaking ground just last Oct. 30, the Storm Lake Branch of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held an open house for its new chapel at 712 Highway 110 on the southwest edge of Storm Lake.
The chapel, which includes a sanctuary area, recreation hall, and meeting rooms, was built for $885,000 and paid for in cash, as is the policy of the Mormon Church. On hand Saturday were local and regional church officials.
Mauricia Ann Proper, public affairs contact for the Storm Lake Branch, said members began having meetings at the new chapel at the end of July. Proper estimated there are 200 members. Michelle Grant of the Storm Lake Branch Relief Society said the Society had about 75 members.
Proper said lay pastors conduct services. Locally, church leaders are President Kent Radford, 1st Counselor Roy Grant, and 2nd Counselor Larry Proper.
Also attending Saturday were Elders from Utah who are in Iowa for two years proselytizing for the Latter-day Saints faith. The elders go by their last names only and are under strict rules that they must spend most of their time witnessing for the church. Mormon elders can be recognized by their characteristic white shirts and black ties with black name tags.
Elder Stewart, along with Elder Gomez, is currently based in Storm Lake. Elder Stewart said he has had people tell him to go away when he approaches. However, most of the people that he has met have been very nice to him. "We get to meet a lot of people by doing this," Elder Stewart said.
Elder Baxter, who with Elder Rudd covers the Spencer area, said every six weeks elders have the opportunity to move on to a different area. Elder Baxter said those witnessing pay their own transportation. Elder Stewart added that the church will help with transportation costs if necessary.
Elder Baxter noted there are strict limits on the contact that elders can have with their families. He said elders can go on a witnessing mission between ages 19-26, and women can travel as witnesses as well as men. While he was homesick at first, Elder Baxter said after a while he was used to the long hours of witnessing from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. each day. Among the things that are discouraged are television and movies since they can detract from one's mission, Elder Baxter said.
There are about 56,000 full-time missionaries serving worldwide. While most are university-age men and women, some are retired couples.
In addition to the Bible, the Latter-day Saints include the Book of Mormon in their faith. The Book of Mormon contains religious writings of civilizations in ancient American between about 2200 B.C. and A.D. 421. It includes an eyewitness account of the ministry of Jesus Christ on the American continent following his resurrection in Jerusalem. According to church doctrine, The Book of Mormon was written from engraved metal plants given to Joseph Smith in Palmyra, N.Y., in 18923.
Fleeing religious persecution in Nauvoo, Ill., the Mormon church has a long history in Iowa, first settling in 1846 in Kanesville, which was later to become Council Bluffs. The Latter-day Saints created a number of other small communities along the east side of the Missouri River in Iowa. That winter of 1846-47, hundreds died of exposure and hunger.
The next year, led by Brigham Young, 17,000 church members traveled across the Great Plains and over the Rocky Mountains to the Great Salt Lake Basin in 1847.
At the time that Utah was admitted to the Union Jan. 4, 1896, there were a total of 250,000 members of the church, most of whom lived in Utah, with a few other members throughout the western United States, southern Alberta, and northern Mexico.
Half of the church membership still lived in Utah by 1930, with the remainder still living in North America.
At the end of 2002, there were almost 12 million church members, with a seventh living in Utah and less than held overall living in the United States. There are more than 1 million members in Mexico and nearly 3 million in South America with other members worldwide.
The Latter-day Saints have strict rules against alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and anything else that harms the body. Marriages performed in the church are believed to last forever.
The church Sacrament starts at 10 a.m. Sunday with Sunday School at 11 a.m. and Priesthood/Relief Society meetings starting at noon. The church phone is 732-4527.