Walking to class, your mind is immersed in daydreams when suddenly a person decked out in a suit and a smile approaches you wanting to talk about… religion.
These people are often missionary Mormons from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their goal is to spread their religion’s message and inform others of the peace, love and fulfillment they have found through involvement in their church. The Mormon religion values family, marriage, honesty and morality and believes the Bible and the Book of Mormon are the word of God.
Michael Lowe, chemical physics junior, feels his religion has blessed him greatly, leading him to do things that have given him greater joy than anything else. “There’s a difference between eating a candy bar and a full-course meal,” Lowe said. “The meal leaves you more fully satisfied with a feeling of peace.”
Lowe is a spiritual person who is strong in his convictions like many other students on college campuses across the nations. So why the suits and sidewalk evangelism? It’s not as if every religion has people doing that. What makes Mormons so inclined to public proselytizing?
Lowe said their goal is not necessarily to convert people to Mormonism, but rather to teach them and inform them of their spiritual options in the hope that someone may benefit from the church. From his experiences in promoting his beliefs, Lowe has adapted and become accustomed to typical reactions. His forte is a smile and an easygoing attitude. Some people are interested in chatting and some aren’t, but he feels the opportunity to share something is always there and sees it as his calling to try.
Not every Mormon is expected to take on this intense form of expressing faith. Lowe referred to it simply as a way to reach out and share with others. He spent one year as a missionary in Colorado Springs. “Some people weren’t willing to give it a chance, but I just wanted to share and be able to explain who we are and let people make their own decisions about Mormonism,” Lowe said. “It helped change my own relationships with others. It made me understand myself better.”
Emily Swensen, a cognitive psychology master’s student, has not undergone work as a missionary, but has not erased it from her list of priorities and aspirations either. She has eight siblings, six of whom have done missionary work and found it gratifying. Her reasons for possibly pursuing this task are synonymous with Lowe’s: to reach out and share her love of Mormonism with others.
“My dad passed away when I was 18. My religion allows me to see and believe that death doesn’t mean that I won’t ever see him again,” Swensen said.

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