Mormon students start on-campus association
Published: Sunday, October 20, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 20, 2013 23:10
The Mormon community at the University of Connecticut is coming together through the newly formed Latter-day Saint Student Association (LDSSA) aimed to provide a place to worship and connect on campus.
UConn’s Mormon population faces difficulties when it comes to finding churches close to campus. The closest church is a 15-minute drive, making it especially challenging for students without cars to attend worship services.
Latter-day Student Association Director Scott Huff said the driving force behind the organization was to make it easier for Mormon students to practice their religion.
“There was a desire for LDS students to connect and not feel alone on campus,” Huff said. “Students may be going to different LDS congregations around the state, but we wanted to make sure they had some resources while they’re here on campus, too.”
The Latter-day Student Association will invite all members of UConn and the surrounding community to attend their events, although they will be geared towards the college generation. Huff said he hopes to expand the Mormon community on campus as its current population is small. Unofficially, there are just 10 students and eight professors who have reached out to him and identified themselves as Mormons, he said.
“The LDSSA is designed to provide fellowship to LDS students on campus, invite others to learn about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and to provide service to the community at large,” Huff said.
Future LDSSA programs will follow traditional Mormon practices in church attendance, personal prayer, scripture study and missionary work outlined by the online center for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (lds.org). They will coordinate with local congregations to provide access to worship services and will also broadcast services from other LDS churches. The first broadcast will be on November 3rd and will focus on the needs of young adults, Huff said. Service projects and routine bible study called “Institute” will also be essential components of LDSSA.
Although LDSSA is in its beginning stages, Huff has already contacted congregations around the state in attempt to attract additional support.
The fact that the Mormons must adhere to a strict lifestyle void of alcohol, drugs and premarital sex provides further motivation to create a LDS network on a college campus where engaging in non-approved activities is a frequent occurrence.
Instead of following such behaviors, The Church states that Mormons must practice respect for their own bodies through modest dress and appropriate verbal and nonverbal language use. A modest and positive body image coupled with a commitment to service, missionary work, family life and contribution to society is the Mormon way to live a life that is both devout and happy.
By bringing the LDS church to UConn, Mormon students will have an opportunity to incorporate their religion into their college experience which should make for a more fulfilling lifestyle.
“I hope it becomes a meaningful part of LDS students’ lives,” Huff said. “My hope would be that it can be seen as a group of people that are supportive and a resource during their college experience.”