Summarized by Kent Larsen
Bikers Take Book of Mormon on Road
Los Angeles Times pg53 (AP) 26Dec99 P4
By Hannah Wolfson: Associated Press
They've startled more than one reception desk worker at LDS Temples,
pulling into the parking lot on big motor bikes dressed in black
leather, looking every bit the part of a motorcycle gang. One Temple
worker even called the police when they showed up. But the Temple Riders
don't drink, don't smoke and carry the Book of Mormon in their saddle
bags -- and they go to the Temple like any other worthy LDS Church
"We're just a part of the motorcycling community," says group member Ted
Gregory of Plain City, Utah. But the group is a little different from
most motorcycle gangs. They don't ride on Sunday; they don't curse; and
their 'duds' and bikes are immaculate. "This group is very clean, very
well groomed," says Gregory, 62, a 10-year veteran of the group.
They take one or two cross-country trips a year, often stopping at LDS
temples. Their rides can include as many as 95 bikes, most ridden by
couples who are LDS Church members.
"The main thing is they're just a good bunch of LDS people," said
Temple Rider President Cliff Beattie, 55, who is one of the youngest in
the group. "We're way over on the other side from the Hell's Angels."
The group was founded in 1987 by Frank and Catherine Reese, who loved to
bike, but hated that so many biker groups rode on Sunday. The group now
has members stretching from Idaho to Texas to California. And, you don't
have to be LDS to join, "You don't have to be LDS to ride," said
President Beattie. "All we ask is that when people ride with us they
keep to the same standards we do."
And some of the group think that their activities even support the
Church, although the Church doesn't sanction the group. "We do mission
work on the trips," even though that's not the main goal of the group,
says Ted May, 64. He joined a decade ago, after retiring from banking.
He says group members even sometimes playfully compete to see how many
copies of the Book of Mormon they can give away at rallies, "You don't
try and push it, but if people come up and ask who we are, we tell them.
And they always do," he said.