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franklin county times

Members of Latter-day Saint church visit area

By Staff
John Hicks FCT Staff Writer
Given its location in the heart of the Bible Belt, Franklin County might not spring to mind as a likely spot for missionary work.
But for missionaries David Fleming and Jared Aguillon of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the area provides many opportunities for sharing their beliefs with others.
Elders Fleming and Aguillon have been introducing themselves to local residents as part of their two-year mission on behalf of the church. "Elder" is formal title given to general church authorities and missionaries.
"I arrived in Russellville right after Christmas, and Jared's been here for three weeks," said Fleming. "We want to visit with as many people as possible."
While the term "Mormon Church" has long been publicly applied to the church as a nickname, it is not an authorized title, and the church discourages its use.
When referring to church members, the term "Latter-day Saints" is preferred, though "Mormons" is acceptable, according to the Church's website, www.lds.org.
"Mormon" comes from the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. The introduction to this religious text describes it as "a record of God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fullness of the everlasting gospel."
Church members believe the Book of Mormon was translated from ancient records by Joseph Smith, who is recognized as the founding prophet of the church.
Correcting misconceptions about the church is part of the challenge the two missionaries said they faced.
"I'm not here to try to change people's beliefs," said Fleming.
"I just want to share something that's changed my life, and invite our friends to come unto Christ."
Fleming pointed out that Latter-day Saints are one of many denominations that sprang from the Christian tradition.
"There's a reason you see so many different kinds of churches," said Fleming. "They all came into being as a result of different interpretations of scripture."
Fleming said LDS mission trips are divided up into six-week blocks, and missionaries usually stay in one area for three to six months.
Smith founded the church in 1820.

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