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For week ended December 26, 1999 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
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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 member.

"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.


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