No one at Central Middle School wanted to be my friend. Once, a kid with breath so bad I swear he had a gum disease told the teacher he didn't want to sit by me because I was gross, and she honored his request. I was in the Plymouth 2nd Ward, and in the Plymouth 2nd Ward, people were nice to me. Tyler Petersen, the hottest guy from another middle school, whose voice had gone deeper faster than anyone at Central Middle School, and who wore soccer jerseys and always smelled like boy, knew my name and sat by me and passed notes with me during movies about eternal families. Ashley Seeley, who wore winged eyeliner and had won a statewide dance competition and knew how to do French braids so tiny you could barely see them, had pictures of me in frames in her room! In the pictures, we looked so happy that you might think we were the photo that came with the frame. Church was a dream happening in real life, and it happened for three hours every Sunday and for two hours on Wednesday nights. I was hooked. I prayed and prayed.
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Not long ago, an upside-down coffee cup and a sleeveless blouse signaled to those in the know where a Latter-day Saint stood with Mormonism. These days, though, many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — especially the young — do not see those outward signs as either essential, on the one hand, or suggestive of disbelief, on the other. Indeed, recent surveys show that an increasing percentage of churchgoing Mormons report having downed alcohol or coffee in the previous six months, or not wearing their garments as mandated. These choices are just more visible than some that earlier generations may have struggled with. Apparently, growing numbers of members are finding out. For the past couple of years, writer Jana Riess has been studying the lives and practices of young Latter-day Saints — those currently participating as well as those who have left — as compared to earlier generations. So how does it feel to be one of these members? Carolyn Homer of Washington, D.
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Skip navigation! A little over a year ago, Kili Franks, 21, left college. George, Utah. She loved it there and was close with her basketball teammates, with whom she would participate in study parties and go on road trips. Though she was raised in a Mormon family, Franks is the only one of five children to serve a mission and knows less than a handful of women who made the same choice. Franks said her family was initially taken aback when she told them about her plans to go on a mission. When most people think of Mormon missionaries, images of a clean cut young men in ties and white buttons downs likely to come to mind — but things are changing. In , the Mormon Church lowered the age at which women are able to serve as missionaries , from 21 to 19, and from 19 to 18 for men. The change led to an explosion in young women going on missions from 8, to 17, over the last six years, according to Church spokesman Daniel Woodruff.