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Ex-Mormons Use Billboard to Reach Others



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LOGAN, Utah (AP) -- A billboard aimed at uniting former Mormons has gone up on Main Street in a city that once had the image of a local temple on its public seal.

Jeff Ricks, a member of Post-Mormon Community, said similar signs in other cities could follow as the group tries to reach former members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"It's a milestone for the group. ... We're helping people validate their choice to leave. We're not trying to drag people out of the church," Ricks said.

The sign cost about $1,500 and will stay up for a month, he said. It simply says "Post Mormon.org" with a smiley face and two oversized Post-it notes.

Ricks, who left the church in 1993, said Post-Mormon Community serves as a social network. The goal is to erase the stigma that sometimes comes with leaving the faith.

Salt Lake City is the world headquarters of the Mormon church, and Logan, 80 miles north, has more than 30 LDS churches. The local temple was on the city seal until about a decade ago.

Local Mormon leaders don't seem concerned about the billboard or the group.

"I have no information or any knowledge or any thoughts about them," said Dean Quayle, a Mormon who is part of Cache Community Connections, a civic group of people from different faiths.

"Like everybody else, we've all got our positives and negatives," he said.

Ricks and others are working to raise money for billboards in Provo, St. George and Rexburg, Idaho.

The group has chapters at Utah State University and in Provo, St. George, Seattle, Phoenix and Portland, Ore., Ricks said.

He said 100 people or more attend weekly meetings in Logan.

"We want to build bridges if we can. As what we're doing gets more and more visible, the Mormon community will get acclimated to it and not think we're terrible, evil people," Ricks said.

------ On the Net: http://www.postmormon.org

------ Information from: The Herald Journal, http://www.hjnews.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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