Pioneer saints

LDS Lakeside Ward

Photo By D. Brian Burghart

The LDS Lakeside Ward, 1095 Golconda Drive, meets at 9 a.m. Sundays. For more information, call 825-2228, or check out their web site.

I’ve got to figure out a better way to cover the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I’ve visited several of their services, and they’ve all been welcoming and cool, but big parts of their service are the Sunday school and the priesthood and relief society meetings—but it’s never easy to find a Sunday where I can do the whole service. This particular Sunday, I had to pick up Hunter from a sleepover. I wonder if anyone would mind if I attended an adult Sunday school class or a priesthood session, if I haven’t attended the sacrament service. Anyone?

At any rate, back to the task at hand. The sacrament service begins at 9 a.m. The Lakeside Ward is a beautiful and simple medium-sized meetinghouse in a cute little central neighborhood off Plumb Lane. I’d estimate the sanctuary would hold around 220 comfortably on the blue padded pews, which are divided into three sections aligned toward the chancel. The chancel has an organ and a piano on it, with a lectern in the center and the sacrament table to the right. There were probably 50 chairs available for choir members, elders and other service participants.

The congregation has two distinguishing characteristics: Members are uniformly friendly and well-dressed. (Note to self: Wear a tie the next time I attend a Mormon service.) This, like other LDS services I’ve attended, was simple: announcements, invocation, sacrament (sharing of bread and water), speakers and benediction, with some traditional songs mixed in. This, also like other LDS services I’ve attended, began with a large percentage of the congregation introducing themselves to me, curious about my purpose of writing a review, working to ensure my comfort and establish my welcome.

Immediately before the service began, I was approached by two 20-year-old missionaries, Elder Dallas Ausmus and Elder Jordan Dunkley. They took some time to talk about how they were called to Nevada from Canada and Utah. I hope to talk to them one day at greater length, but suffice it to say, they were among the most hospitable representatives of the congregation, even inviting me to join them at their seats.

That particular Sunday, there were three speakers, a husband and wife, Melissa and Travis Cummins, and Bruce Brinkerhoff, a speaker from the high council.

I’d like to focus on the talks given by the Cumminses, who are moving out of the ward. The theme of their presentations was that Mormons throughout their history have been called to move, both for reasons of faith and family. Both spoke of family history within the faith. Melissa actually included readings from a family member’s journal from the 1840s that told the story of the Mormon migration from New York to Ohio to Missouri to the Salt Lake Valley in Utah. There was much persecution, privation and death. In fact, Melissa’s female forbear, Lydia, lost her husband during the trip. Those people made it across the country through faith in God, and it was apparent in the readings.

Husband Travis spoke of his forbearers’ journey from New York, all the way around the southern tip of South America, Cape Horn, on the ship Brooklyn. These men, women and children also suffered poor foods, sickness and death, but again, quotes from back in the day suggested that faith—not necessarily well informed preparation—got them to their destination.

“We are all pioneers,” said Travis. “We are moving, but as Bishop says, we are moving on to bigger and better things.”