Assistant Features Editor
The preacher that came on campus berating students over their lifestyles immediately put himself in the spotlight, while missionaries with a softer message have been under the radar for months.
Stationed in Troy by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sister Satterthwaite and Sister Campbell are trying to get students involved and to allow their mission to be known.
They feel that they have been successful on campus by relating to students because they were recently students themselves.
“I went for two semesters to Brigham Young University. I loved it. It was hard work, but it was fun,” said 20-year-old Campbell, from Spanish Fork, Utah.
“I haven’t attended college. I graduated high school last May. I’m just taking a break,” said Satterthwaite, who is 19-years-old and from Roy, Utah.
Until this mission, both lived normal lives similar to the ones led by students at Troy.
“I mostly just loved to do anything with my friends and family. I also really liked photography, and I play a little bit of guitar,” Campbell said of her life back in Utah.
Of her high school years, Satterthwaite said, “Before my mission, I long boarded a lot. I was in a lot of engineering clubs—I liked building robots.” Referring to the dress code missionaries adhere to, she said, “Before the skirts and tights, I dressed in Converse and skinny jeans—that was my favorite.”
The youth in the Mormon church are given the opportunity to go on this missionary trip, lasting a total of 18 months.
After receiving their mission, he or she attends a local church, while reaching out to the community.
“I have a friend serving in Denmark, another in Africa, another in Spain. You just never know,” Satterthwaite said. “Our boundaries are the panhandle of Florida and bottom third of Alabama.”
Both have been in Troy since the beginning of their mission—Satterthwaite for four months and Campbell for seven.
Every six weeks, through prayer and review, it is decided whether they will remain in Troy or move to another location within their mission boundaries.
Neither is upset to have been placed in the rural South rather than Europe or another continent, though.
“I just love the South. I love that everyone’s so nice. I love the culture, especially being in a college town. I love being surrounded by people my age and people that are equally excited,” Satterthwaite said.
“Yeah, it’s fun to be working on a college campus and not be in school,” Campbell said.
When asked how he felt about missionaries and campus outreach, freshman political science major Brigham Schellinger from Mobile said, “I respect missionaries because it shows legitimate devotion to the cause—especially extended journeys like this one.”
Having uprooted their lives and educations, each is able to email her family for only a couple of hours every week. The rest of the time is spent learning and serving.
“I honestly hope that me being here makes a difference in someone else’s life. Hopefully in some small way I will be able to bring people closer to Christ and help them see the happiness that I get from the Gospel and feel that happiness as well,” Campbell said of her reasoning behind embarking on the trip.
The missionaries moved out of a predominantly Mormon area. According to Gallup, about 67 percent of Utah is Mormon while only 0.5 percent of Alabama’s population is affiliated with the Mormon church.
It is very possible that differences have already been made, if only in educating others about this branch of Christianity and dispelling some myths about the church.
“It’s not really called the Mormon church. It’s just a nickname that society has given us,” Satterthwaite said when asked about common misconceptions. The proper name of the church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, though ‘Mormon’ is commonly used.
“We don’t worship Joseph Smith,” she said, mentioning the founder of the church, whom most in this area are probably not familiar with.
“I really don’t know that much about it,” freshman nursing major Kristin Lange from Gardendale said when questioned about her knowledge of Mormon beliefs.
Among the crazier myths, the missionaries said they have heard of people that believed Mormons grew horns.
When questioned about the idea of campus outreach, students returned with mixed reviews. “I personally would not involve myself. Not because of anything wrong with them, but I have no interest in becoming a Mormon,” Schellinger said.
If you would like to learn more about Mormon theology or just want to hang out, the missionaries are on campus frequently and have several weekly events.
Ultimate Frisbee is held every Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on the practice fields near the Trojan Arena. They also host a Bible study every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in Patterson 201. Anyone is welcome to attend either event.
“We believe in a God of love, and we believe that He didn’t create all of us to come down and be damned because of all the bad things we do,” Campbell said.