Russell Pratt, 1998 Andrew Jacobs May, knocked on the door of the 18A apartment and sent out a firm, fearless rap that echoed in the dim graffiti --
The scarred corridor of the Taft family in East Harlem.
When the door finally cracked, he found himself facing a roaring dog and a sly, unwelcome glare.
"Good morning, sir . "
When the man zoomed in his white shirt sleeves, charcoal pants and dark tie, Pratt said, it made him look like an insurance salesman or an IRS investigator.
Pointing to the plastic name tag that says "old Pratt" on his chest pocket, 22-year-
The old missionary from Tueller, Utah, smiled eagerly.
"I am the Christian Church of Jesus from the latter --
He told the man, "I wonder if there is one. . . .
The door slammed. Mr.
Pratt backed down and said "bless you" happily, then moved to the next apartment.
Advertising so on a recent Wednesday
Pratt and his partner, Shon Denning, work in housing projects and apartments in El Barrio.
To attract people who convert to Mormon, Mormon is one of the fastest religions in the country
With the development of religion, they have become accustomed to curious eyes, indifferent attitudes and occasionally unfriendly words.
This is New York City ".
Pratt said that in his 12-hour-a-
A routine ceremony of the day.
"You want people here to be a little skeptical.
"Despite a series of rejections in the morning, the two men found half the way --
There were more than a dozen apartments that day and got some follow-up services
That night, they canceled their appointment and returned to their apartment on East 110 Street, missing eight books of Mormon books, which they gave to anyone who showed a glimmer of interest.
Those who were allowed into their homes included a transit guard, a nurse assistant and an unemployed handyman.
"It's amazing how many people will listen to us," he said . "
Danning, 21, had his cheeks red for a long day in the sun.
"New Yorkers are eager for what we offer.
The Mormon church in Salt Lake City has found New York's fertile land for new converts, doubling its membership to 20,000 since 1988.
To accommodate the city's growing rallies, last year, the church built a shiny $8 million conference room next to the big square at the Bronx Bridge.
Another branch is under construction in Inwood, and a recent meeting at Silvia restaurant in Harlem is looking for more space in the neighborhood.
Last month, the chairman of the Mormon Church and the prophet Gordon B.
Hinkley is full of 24,000 seats in Madison Square Garden.
"What happened in this city is amazing," says Ronald . ".
Rasbande manages 240 unpaid missionaries in New York, most of them men aged 19 to 23.
"We are a rising Church.
"Worldwide, the number of members of the church has increased from 10 million in 1978 to 4 million.
Much of this growth has taken place outside Utah, where Mormon has long had a strong presence.
"We are growing so fast that in order to keep up with the progress, we have to build a meeting room every day," Mr. Rasband said.
Church officials and non-
Mormons studying the church agreed that a strong focus on conversion would help drive this alarming growth.
Gary Sheppard said: "The missionary system is the engine that makes this church so powerful . " A former missionary who is no longer active in the church, is now a sociology professor at the University of Oakland, Rochester, Michigan.
Church spokesman Michael Leonard says 60,000 Mormon missionaries work in 160 countries.
By contrast, according to the American Catholic Church Association, the Roman Catholic Church has 6,000 missionaries around the world.
People studying the Church say that advertising distinguishes Mormon missionaries from other evangelists who believe in evangelism is their generous attention to potential converts, known as investigators.
The missionaries made numerous home visits to investigators and even encouraged them to attend church gatherings before being baptized.
This is a church there.
Call in the face of boys and girls, sit down and answer your questions with your eyes, "said Richard Bachmann, a history professor at Columbia University and a lifelong Mormon.
"Even before you become a member, they will spend a lot of time on you and provide you with a wonderful sense of community.
I don't know if this is consistent with other religions.
"Mormon has done a particularly good job in New York, where it is filled with alienated, unstable and broken families," said heipps, a religious professor at Indiana University, in January --
Purdue University in Indiana
"Those who are living in chaos, new immigrants, and those who are looking for communities and a sense of stability, are especially attracted to the church," she said. Shipps said.
City converts, especially black people, are not always so eager to pursue: until 20 years ago, the church priest closed down to black people, with the Mark of Cain on black people, according to the teachings of Mormon.
In 1978, the policy was reversed after the president said he had been inspired.
Two of the Mormons
The mission of the year is to pass a ceremony that a third person will accept when they reach the age of 19.
Women have to wait until the age of 21 to serve, and they are not as strongly encouraged as men, accounting for only 17% of the missionary team.
"This is really just a reflection of the church's attitude towards gender roles," he said . "
Sheppard and his brother Gordon wrote the Book of Mormon: A missionary note (
University of Illinois Press, 1998).
"Women should focus on marriage and family.
It is also important that they are not able to serve as clergy, which makes it impossible for them to perform key church functions such as baptism and confirmation.
"While Church officials say there is no pressure to win converts, many missionaries say that those with a staggering number of people can expect the hero's welcome and be promoted in the church hierarchy when they return home. Mr.
The average missionary converts five to seven people a year, Sheppard said.
The church did not announce the number of missionaries who failed to complete the task. Mr.
Rasbond said that none of his charges left early except those who were ill. Mr.
According to Sheppard, he estimates that the drop-out rate is 5% worldwide.
"Going home early will make you seriously insulted," he said . ".
"This may lead you to leave the church.
"Long hours of work, unpaid, little drawer space missionaries around the world, Shon Denning and Russell Pratt start their day at 6: 30. M.
They had an hour to take a shower, dress, have breakfast, and then two hours to learn the teachings of the church. At 9:30 A. M.
They started their core mission: preaching in the Upper East and East Harlem.
Advertising them 12 hours after the end of the day, when they return to-
They shared a bedroom apartment with another team of missionaries.
Four people slept in bunk beds.
Their only private space consists of two vanity drawers.
There is not much on the fifth wall --floor walk-
Up: portraits of Jesus Christ, maps of buses and subways, dilapidated taxi licenses, and photos of President Hinkley.
There is a shabby sofa in the living room, and the handrails are worn on the wooden frame.
A copy of the Mormon and video tape hanging on one wall, titled "Family First" and "Always Together", is for Mormon's belief that family relations persist after death
The missionaries did not have a salary and they expected to pay all the fees except for the cost of the flight back home.
They are allowed to spend $200 a month, of which $80 is used for shipping.
"We had a lot of ramen, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and we went a lot," he said . "
Dunning has worn out four pairs of shoes since he came.
To save money, he and his roommate cut each other's hair and packed lunch most of the time.
At home, they eat in plastic bowls.
Like other missionaries in New York, they rarely eat out.
It is a pleasure to go to the pizza shop.
The missionaries operate in pairs and are inseparable units known as "partners. Even Mr.
Mr. Dunning walked down the five-storey stairs and let a tourist enter the East Harlem building where he lived.
Pratt is always by his side.
Mormon officials said that the purpose of the companion is to ensure safety, reduce the possibility of falling into temptation, and act as a firewall to prevent "false plaintiffs" who may claim improper conduct by missionaries ".
During these two processes, the partners were shuffledyear mission;
Newcomers are often paired with veterans, and those who have difficulties are sometimes placed around people whose faith and dedication are considered unshakable.
Missionary life is defined strictly according to the rules of the church and can be difficult.
Like all well-placed Mormons, the missionaries do not smoke, do not drink, do not drink coffee, do not drink tea, and do not drink caffeine.
Dating, masturbation and pre-marital sex are prohibited.
Television, pop music, magazines and unapproved books are not restricted.
On Christmas and Mother's Day, communication with family is limited to one letter and two calls per year.
Church officials say too much contact with family members will distract missionary work.
"We have high religious requirements," he said . "
The missionary chairman, rasbande, regularly interviewed the missionaries to ensure that they were not led astray.
"I have been warning them not to be tempted, and I will look away after half an hour --
Naked women pass by them on the street to avoid being pulled in by a kiosk showing pornographic material.
In places like New York, distractions are endless.
Shon Denning and Russell Pratt have so far resisted the generosity of New York.
"It's easy for me . "
Daning is one of eight children who grew up in a Mormon-based community in rural Idaho.
"My love for God is so strong that nothing can stop me from getting on track.
Like many Mormons in Rocky Mountain.
Danin's ancestors moved west during the Great Escape in 1847, when thousands fled persecution in Illinois, traveling through the plain in a carriage and settling in the Salt Lake Valley. As a child, Mr.
Dunning said he never intended to be a missionary, but one day, in a religious class at Ricks College, a Mormon school near his home, he got a revelation,
He dropped out of school, sold his car and went through a month roundthe-
Clock teaching at the Church Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.
His high school lover, a Mormon, was very excited.
"She said she would wait for me to come back," he said . ".
But unfortunately, she married someone last year.
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The missionaries did not choose where they were sent;
Church leaders say their mission is mainly based on inspiration. Mr.
At first, Dunning's parents were worried about his position in New York.
"We have heard all the bad stories, but we are pleased to know that God will take care of him," his father Michael said . " Michael owns a company that installs pumps.
"Frankly, we were annoyed that he decided to bring something good to people's lives.
"When he returned to Idaho Falls on Wednesday,
Daning is likely to be praised.
During his two years in New York, he baptized 15 people, including a Bolivian couple in Harlem, a family of Jehovah's Witnesses in the Bronx, and 27. year-
The Upper East Side old man who worked as a production assistant on the feature film.
His blonde face,
Danin stands out from the streets of East Harlem.
Like most missionaries, he said, local residents always respect him.
"As a missionary, I feel that there are places that are safe and I may not be returning as a tourist," he said . ".
He almost always had a happy smile on his face, and when preaching, he often offered heartfelt proof of his faith.
"I know the Book of Mormon is true," he said . " His sharp blue eyes kept an eye on his prospects.
"I know this is the real church.
Many Mormons spent their adolescence in order to complete a task.
Russell Pratt trained young people to become a professional baseball player.
As soon as the sun rose, his mother, Anne, began feeding the batting machine in the backyard for her six sons.
"The first thing the neighbor heard in the morning was the ping of the bat's batting," she said . ".
But when Russell was a junior at the University of Utah, his baseball plan was rejected by a coach who told Russell he would never be in the big league.
The ad "when I realized that my dream would not come true, the foundation of my life had disappeared from under me," Mr. Pratt recalled.
He turned to the church in confusion and frustration.
Other family members are very religious.
Pratt said, but before that, he had never read the Book of Mormon.
The church made me realize that there are more important things in life than baseball. ''Although Mr.
Pratt said that the evangelism gave him the meaning of life, and he admitted that occasionally he felt a little doubt.
"When this happens, I pray and my testimony is updated," he said . ". Mr.
Pratt seems to be far more attractive to the city than he is.
Dunning said he might stay in Idaho to support his family. Mr.
Pratt hopes to return to New York after completing his mission in September and return to Utah to complete his university studies.
When he passed through Midtown last week, he said: "This place is too electricity," he said, expressing his opinion on modern architecture (
"Some of these buildings are so real ")
Latin cuisine (
"They fry everything! '')
Pet owners (
How can they keep dogs in such a small apartment? '').
"I just like the diversity here . "Pratt said.
"You will never get bored.
He was like his fellow missionary.
Daning has little chance to appreciate the local culture.
Mormons are frustrated that their strict schedule and budget leave little time and money for leisure activities.
Their only luxury is to eat at the home of local church members who are encouraged to provide cash
Tie missionaries whenever possible
"To the point where you don't even think about what you missed," Mr. Pratt said.
"But I will skip the city when I come back.
"Last Monday, there was little time to think about the future, as the couple preached and promoted from the abandoned project on the First Avenue to the brick fortress on the ancient board of the Park Avenue.
Because the doormen and walkie-talkie keep them away from many buildings, their most productive contacts are those who charge the Church --
Free number requires free video tape via TV advertising.
These ads are often played late at night and are inspiring with the theme of family values.
When Charlotte V.
Vogt called the number on last January and she thought the video would appear in the mail. Instead, Mr. Denning and Mr.
Pratt left a few messages on her answering machine and she ignored them.
They showed up in her white a few days later
Brick house on East 57 Street.
She told them she was too busy to speak but they came back.
"I'm glad they did . "Vogt said.
"I believe they saved my life.
She said she was confused by her recent separation from her husband.
She sat on a luxurious flower sofa and said, "I have suffered a lot of trauma, so there is no hope . " The Bach concerto was filled with her living room. But the half-
More than a dozen visits by missionaries and daily calls helped ease her depression, she said.
"I called other churches, but they just sent their literature," she said . ".
The missionaries advertised when they came over on Monday afternoon.
Vogt smiled while describing her baptism the week before.
She said: "I am very wet and dizzy. I am very happy . " She served orange juice to a man wearing high-ball glasses with her husband's initials.
Now she's confirmed.
Vogt receives weekly visits from church members who will teach her Mormon teachings and history.
Every Sunday, she attends the church ceremony at Lincoln Center Church.
In the end, she hopes to receive a call to become a tutor.
"I think this is the beginning of a new life," she said . "
"I finally found a community that really cares about me.
"There was no gray zone, no one forced Aubyn Gwinn to be a missionary, but as a young Mormon who grew up in Salt Lake City, Mr.
Another option is grim, says Gwinn.
He said that in devout Mormons, there is a lot of pressure to serve the mission, and those who do not have the ability will find themselves on the verge of Mormon life.
"It will jeopardize your career in church, create a gap between you and your friends and make getting married difficult," he said . ".
"When you meet Mormon girls, they ask first, 'Where did you accomplish your mission? '
They won't even date you if you don't.
"He said it himself, Sir.
Gwinn is a firm believer and a devoted missionary.
During his two years in Finland, he supervised other missionaries and helped carry out 10 conversions, which was obtained in a country that Mormons considered particularly insensitive to their preaching
When I got home, sir.
Gwinn registered in church
Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
He got married, had two daughters, and became a member of the church's unpaid priest.
He donated 10% of his income to the church.
But at the age of 25, he began to doubt the church.
After he and his family moved to New York City to work for an advertising company, they became more nervous and found themselves a non-Mormons.
His faith began to collapse and eventually disappeared from the classroom.
He and his wife finally divorced.
She also left the church since then.
The advertisement of Mormon.
Gwinn said: "You either believe everything, or you don't believe anything, there is no gray area.
"His twin brother, Todd Gwinn, may lack the enthusiasm of Aubyn when he was young, but he feels he has to follow in his footsteps.
He was assigned to Ontario, Canada, but said he lost the fire halfway through the mission.
"I am very eager for a sense of belonging, so I convince myself," he said . "
"I know that if I question the church, I will eventually become an apostate.
He said that he became particularly disappointed when he found out that some missionaries attracted potential converts by providing church generous welfare programs.
A few years later, he rejected Mormon.
He also divorced the Mormon woman he married.
She also left the church since then, he said.
Like other fallen Mormons, it is difficult for church officials to leave the church, Gwinns said.
They said that the bishop asked relatives to put pressure on those who were trying to leave, and that the missionaries were trying to find such people
"They feel that anyone who wants to go out is particularly threatening them," Todd said . ".
Brothers, now 38, say that they are separated from the church, leaving behind a mixture of pain and longing.
Aubyn, the creative director of a cosmetics company, wants to know how to make better use of his time as a missionary.
Nevertheless, he is troubled by the spiritual emptiness that has plagued him from time to time.
"This is a desire for something bigger than you, a desire for magical spiritual life, a belief in immortality," he said . ".
Todd, a librarian in the Bronx, said he also had some regrets, though he was relieved to get rid of the church restrictions.
"What I miss most is the loss of community," he said . ".
"This is something I haven't changed yet.
The root cause of Andrew Jacobs pirymmo Mormon was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith of Palmyra. Y.
He claimed that when he was 14, God and Jesus Christ visited him and he told him to form a new church, the Jesuit Church of the latter --day Saints.
The core of religion is the Mormon book, which is the religious and secular history of the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere, about 2200 B. C. to 421 A. D.
Smith translated the book from the ancient golden monument, and it is said that he found it on the hillside of Palmyra.
The book declares that Christ appeared in North America after being crucified, serving its inhabitants, believed to be descendants of immigrants from Jerusalem and Babel.
Mormons believe that they are the only true Christian faith.
They baptized the deceased through the agent, who did not believe that the deceased had a chance to join the church.
The Mormon book says that God lives on a planet with many of his wives and countless spiritual children, Kolob, who sends them to Earth for testing as humans.
Marriage and family relationships will last forever, they believe.
Polygamous, once recognized by Mormon, was overthrown in 1890.
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A version of this article was printed on page 14014001 of the National edition on May 31, 1998 with the title: the person performing the task.