If you have strolled around campus within the previous months, chances are that you've stumbled across - or at least seen - Elder Batt and Elder Simons. This might have been a result of them sticking out from the crowd like a sore thumb: no matter the weather, Batt and Simons can always be found wearing black slacks, button-up white shirts and ties. But truth be told, you are seeing only the tip of the iceberg. Their presence in Aggieland is a story of commitment to a message they reverently believe.
Batt and Simons are both members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The LDS Church was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith and has its headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.
"The [LDS] church is much more centralized than most religions," said Tom McMullin, director of the LDS Institute of Religion in College Station and campus minister.
Branching out from headquarters in Utah, the LDS church is organized geographically. The church records a worldwide membership of 13 million, with 6.7 million members currently residing in the U.S. The congregations are led by bishops who, with no paid ministry structure, support themselves.
"As a campus minister, it is my goal to support the students on campus and do the best to benefit the students of all faiths," McMullin said. "It is not my motive to proselytize."
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