Mormon missionaries hope to build the faith of LU students

The Gazette, Langston University/April 5, 2006
By Divona Phillips

Two Mormon missionaries are hoping to gain Langston University students as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elders Merrell and Neeley say they have been witnessing on campus to help build faith in Jesus and lead people to a church that provides direction as to why humans are here on Earth.

While the Mormons do not consider themselves to be Christians, both elders say they share similar beliefs with those of the Christian faith.

According to, the church's national website, "When Jesus Christ lived on the earth, He organized His Church so that all people could receive His gospel and return one day to live with God, our Heavenly Father. After Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, His Apostles continued to receive revelation from Him on how to direct the work of His Church. However, after they were killed, members changed the teachings of the Church that He had established. While many good people and some truth remained, this general falling away from the truth brought about the withdrawal of the Church from the Earth. The Apostle Peter prophesied that Jesus would restore His Church before His Second Coming."

The Mormons believe that a man named Joseph Smith was chosen by Jesus to restore His church in 1820. They called this The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Today the church has more than 12 million members worldwide.

The church encourages members like Elders Merrell and Neeley to spread their message and beliefs.

The two men said that their experiences at LU have been very positive and they feel they have reached many students.

"Anybody who will listen to us, we'll talk to and teach," Merrell said. "We've talked to a lot of older people here on campus and it seems to be that the more receptive people are younger and less set in their ways."

Neeley and Merrell can be seen around Langston University's campus at least twice a week witnessing to students and others.

"Many people have questions and are unclear on things. God has called more prophets in the last days to prepare the world for the second coming of Jesus Christ," Merrell said.

The two men said that their church, located at 5326 Ellie Mae Drive in Guthrie on the corner of Lake Road and Sooner Road, is very diverse and has African-American members.

Merrell and Neeley said that other than witnessing throughout the Oklahoma City metro area, missionaries of the church also help in the community of Guthrie.

The two men credit their religion to making them who they are today.

"It has given me more direction and knowledge of things," Neeley said. "How God created the Earth, what's to come in the next life, and what I need to do here on Earth to prepare me for the next life?"

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