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For week ended February 27, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 02Mar00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

A Special Place for Young Mormons
Los Angeles Times 26Feb00 D1
By Nancy Kinsey Needham: Special to The Times

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- Some wards throughout the LDS Church eventually ask all ward members to leave. In Los Angeles, these are the three Young Adult wards in Newbury Park, Camarillo and Thousand Oaks, which are limited to single LDS Church members between the ages of 19 and 30. Get married or turn 30 and you are expected to go back to the ward you live in. However, attending the Young Adult wards is voluntary -- members can stay with their geographic ward if they wish.

The Los Angeles Times describes these wards and gives information about the LDS Church in this article. And the members quoted in the article like the wards,  "The young adult ward gives me a chance to be among people that I can relate to who are experiencing the same things I'm going through, like work and school," said Brent Mackay, 23, an Agoura Hills resident and a member in the Newbury Park Stake Young Adult Ward. His relatively new ward (organized just six weeks ago, along with another Young Adults ward in Thousand Oaks) includes the towns of Agoura Hills, Westlake Village, Newbury Park and other parts of Thousand Oaks.

Like most Single Adult wards, these wards hold firesides most Sunday evenings and have Family Home Evening groups that meet on Monday nights, and have been known to have activities like flashlight tag, Pictionary or water balloon fights. The Wards also host dances every Friday night.

And the wards also find time for service projects and volunteer activities, according to McKay. "They have a very full calendar," Newbury Park Stake President Kevin Hamilton said. "The main purpose of having this special focus unit is to provide a common denominator so they can form friendships, provide service and have an opportunity to serve as leaders in ways they might not get in a more traditional ward." Bishop Grant Brimhall of the Thousand Oaks Ward agrees,  "The young adult ward helps young people focus on things eternally significant and helps them face the ordinary challenges of life by providing opportunities to serve each other and their community."

Of course, the wards also create an environment that encourages marriage. And it seems to work, according to Camarillo Stake President Gary Miller,  "Most don't turn 30 without getting married. We had 15 marriages last year."

Ward members see these advantages and love to be ward members, "Having our own ward has been so exciting. It gives those of us who didn't go away to college and stayed home to work and go to school a way to socialize and meet people we normally wouldn't get to see," said Newbury Park resident Hollie Henderson, 21.


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