Mormon church claims 13 million members
SALT LAKE CITY — Worldwide membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has reached 13 million, the church says.
The church, based in Salt Lake City, continues to have more members outside of the United States than within it, officials said.
The church also announced another milestone — more than 1 million members have served as missionaries since 1830. About 53,000 currently serve as missionaries.
Much of the church’s growth comes from aggressive outreach by young missionaries, who typically serve two-year terms that they fund mostly by themselves.
“They face rejection and sometimes verbal abuse. But they soldier on,” said M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a church governing group. “They serve, they help others and they go the extra mile to lift and bless people in all walks of life and in all human conditions.”
Chastity ring issue taken to court
LONDON — A teenage girl banned from wearing a chastity ring in class has taken her case to Britain's High Court, arguing that her school had violated her religious freedom.
Lydia Playfoot, 16, a pupil at the Millais School in Horsham, about 40 miles south of London, wears a ring as a sign of her commitment to abstinence from sex until marriage. The school said the ring fell outside its uniform policy, which makes exceptions for Muslims wearing head scarves and Sikhs wearing steel bracelets.
“Secular authorities and institutions cannot be arbiters of religious faith,” he said.
In a written submission to the hearing, Lydia said her school did not afford equal rights to Christians, as it did to other faiths.
“At my school, Muslims are allowed to wear head scarves and other faiths can wear bangles and other types of jewelry and it feels like Christians are being discriminated against,” she said.
Mr. Nettley denied the charge. The ring “is not a Christian symbol, and is not required to be worn by any branch within Christianity,” he said in his own written statement.
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