The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a worldwide religious organization that stresses the importance of “living a Christ-oriented life,” Bishop Jess Kohlert of Wilkes-Barre said.
“There are nine congregations in Northeastern Pennsylvania, spanning from down in Moscow all the way to the Susquehanna Branch at the New York border.” Dr. Kenneth Lord, director of public affairs for the Church of Latter-day Saints in Northeastern Pennsylvania, said. “These congregations constitute what we call a stake.”
The local “ward” of the Church of Latter-day Saints located in Trucksville, to which Devin and Trevor Alder belong, has been actively involved in communities spanning Luzerne County and has drawn approximately 625 members, Kohlert said.
Members volunteer for Toys for Tots and local charity kitchens. Members are involved with Boy Scouts of America and regularly join with other Latter-day Saints groups of the Northeast to help clean parks.
The church has also been involved in cleanup efforts following the flooding of the Susquehanna River in 2011, and more recently with the Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort.
“Weekend after weekend after weekend we had people going off to Staten Island and other affected areas, mucking out basements, tearing out walls and floors, and stripping out damaged homes to the frame, helping people remove debris and so on,” Lord said.
Members are always expected to help each other, as well as others outside of their congregation. Every month, members partake in a Sunday fasting to use money otherwise spent on food to help the poor, Kohlert said.
Members also pay an annual “tithing” — one-tenth of their annual income — to the church, and refrain from drinking, smoking and premarital relations.