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New LDS website allows Logan residents to find, post community service

By Jessica Dryden
Nov. 3, 2016

A Mormon-created online platform that links local volunteers to nearby service projects is being tested in Cache Valley — and organizers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are pledging that the program won’t be used for proselytizing.     

“One of the one main objectives of the Just Serve program is to strengthen communities,” said Riley Crosbie, a bishopric first counselor in the Second Logan Married Student Stake. “No doubt there will be opportunities along the way to answer questions and discuss the Restoration of the Gospel and the Book of Mormon, but it has been stated that this is not the purpose of Just Serve.”

Marion Hyde, a bishop in Logan, is optimistic Just Serve will break down religious barriers in the community.

“There are many fears and misconceptions about the Mormons,” Hyde wrote in an email. “There are fears that all we want to do is convert everyone that is not a member, which is a substantiated fear, but is often why people are afraid to interact with members of the LDS faith.”

The program is an opportunity “to work side by side with everyone in the community regardless of faith,” Hyde said. “As we work together we build relationships and understanding of what each of us are about and start to realize that we are all children of our Heavenly Father.”

The Just Serve initiative was launched in a region spanning from Ogden to Malad, Idaho, in the late summer. By visiting JustServe.org, community members can provide their zip code to find and post service projects. There are now 11 service projects available in Logan.

Alison Berg, a journalism student at Utah State University, participated in a Just Serve project in Brentwood, California.

Berg helped to plant trees around her hometown, and felt Just Serve could create similar positive effects in Cache Valley.

“I definitely think Just Serve can be helpful in any state,” she said. “Even though Utah is a primarily LDS state and Just Serve is an LDS-run organization, it can be beneficial no matter where you are because people and places are always in need of service.”