BY MELINDA WILLIAMS
Clipper Staff Writer
BOUNTIFUL– Going door-to-door in Bountiful sharing their message of God’s love, Thomas Andy Walters and Sandy Walters found members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints open, friendly and willing to discuss their faith.
The couple came from Minnesota as part of the Truth in Love Ministry team, which “lovingly reaches out to the LDS,” said the ministry’s founder the Rev. Mark Cares.
“We’re concerned that the difference in faith has eternal consequences,” Cares said. “We don’t come to debate Mormons, but offer the wonderful message of Jesus Christ.”
A team of about 30 ministry members from across the United States spent a week in West Valley City and Taylorsville before moving to Bountiful last week.
Team members spent several hours daily, knocking on doors in Bountiful. Where there was no answer, they left a brochure. Where there was an answer, the Walters found themselves frequently being asked in.
“We have had many good, heartfelt conversations with members of the LDS Church,” Thomas Walters said. “Almost every time we got into a good conversation.”
The couple said they enjoy visiting with people in the area.
“The (LDS) returned missionaries are very sympathetic (with the hot temperatures last week) when they answer the door,” Sandy said. “They invite us in and offer us water ... Some are ready to talk.”
Prior to the Truth in Love missionaries going out into the community, Cares paved the way, running ads in the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News and on several cable television stations. In addition, a flyer was mailed to homes in Bountiful.
That preparation, “allows us to begin a conversation and it’s more natural for them to talk about their faith,” Cares said, “We’re not here to be confrontational, but relational.”
The Walters found in their discussions that differences in faith perspectives come out pretty quickly in conversations, Sandy Walters said. They are often asked to share their views.
The visits are not one-sided. The Walters share their beliefs and often members of the LDS faith “proclaim for the Book of Mormon,” Thomas Walters said.
“We have two goals, to put a kind and loving face on Christianity and to plant the seeds of God’s word,” Cares said.
The ministry, based in Meridian, Idaho, got its start three or four years ago, Cares said, but took off about two years ago when Cares went full-time with it.
Now, people from 15 to 18 states spend a week of their time traveling to Utah annually, where they are trained.
This is the second year the Walters have participated. Last year, they spent a week in Provo, witnessing near the campus of Brigham Young University.
“It’s been a life-changing experience for us,” Thomas Walters said.
Cares added, “I can’t think of a person who hasn’t said it’s changed their whole perception.”
The Walters are retired and plan to return next year to whatever part of Utah Cares chooses.