Chances are you may have met a member of the Latter-day Saint Student Association (LDSSA, also known as the Mormons) on campus. If you haven’t yet, just track down someone pushing a stroller with children and you will be right 50% of the time. If that doesn’t work, look for the guy drinking lemonade at the bar. Not all of us went to BYU, have many children, and hail from Utah. But you may know all of this about some of your Mormon friends. How about some things you may not know?
Who is the LDSSA? This year, our membership is about 80 strong, including partners, and those numbers start looking a lot better once you add in the 45 kids. Yep, we like kids. They’re fun. The majority of us are from the US, but many of us have spent time living abroad either serving our country or serving our Church as full-time missionaries. From Polish to Portuguese, Fijian to French, Cambodian to Haitian Creole, the languages our members speak attest to where we’ve been and who we are.
So what is the LDSSA all about? The purpose of LDSSA is to help LDS students stay close to Jesus Christ and grounded in His teachings in an otherwise hectic and demanding environment. At this critical stage of life, we seek to help members achieve balance in their life by fostering a community of belief, fellowship, and support. We also seek to represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints within the HBS community and to provide a medium for developing friendships and networking among our members and among members of the broader HBS community.
What are some of the things you will find the LDSSA doing this year? Our activities and events tend to fall into three main buckets: Spiritual Growth, Social Activities, and Outreach.
Spiritual growth: We believe in Jesus Christ and we want to follow Him. As such, we provide an environment of spiritual growth and nourishment. We hold a weekly Bible study class where we learn from the Scriptures and discuss our beliefs. In addition, we hold special devotional firesides with guest speakers throughout the year.
Social Activities: We help LDSSA members support and build friendships with each other. Many female students and partners meet each Wednesday night to play games, listen to speakers, and socialize at LDSSA Girl’s Night (think Berenstain Bears: No Boys Allowed). We hold a Fall and a Winter retreat, along with more informal potluck meals, game nights, paintballing excursions, etc., throughout the year. EC members also put on case prep, career search, and class selection panels for RC students.
Outreach: In an effort to increase understanding and deepen friendships, we engage in several outreach activities each year. From organizing Mormonism 101 presentations, to hosting interfaith discussions (i.e. our upcoming Mormon/Muslim mixer), and leading campus service projects (watch for this around Christmas!) we do our best to reach out to the broader HBS community to learn about others and help others learn about us (for example, when you want to find Boston’s best spot for lemonade).