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Conference Attracts Dozens of Street Preachers

Conference Attracts Dozens of Street Preachers

Posted - Apr. 3, 2004 at 5:21 p.m.



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Sam Penrod reportingToday's General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attracted dozens of street preachers who spent most of this week fighting the city's protest zones in court.

Even though the street preacher's lawsuit failed, there was no real showdown with the police, who had extra officers near the Conference Center just in case.

But the street preachers weren't the only ones out here today, trying to exercise their first amendment freedoms.

Ruben Israel, Street Preacher: "Something is wrong with you Mormons. You've been bewitched."

As street preachers belted out their message, some trying to maximize attention by holding up items considered sacred by Latter-day Saints, few of the thousands of conference goers seemed to give them more than a passing glance.

Lonnie Pursifull, Street Preacher: "The Bible says you are under a curse. The Mormon cult is under a curse."

Even the street preachers admit their message is loud and rambunctious, but an important way to spread what they say is the word of God.

Reporter: "There are those out there who would say your message is less about salvation and more about being anti-Mormon."

Ruben Israel: "That's right. And Jesus is a great physician. And in order for someone to accept the physician, he first needs to realize his problem."

A few feet away, a group of Christians stood quietly, to support the Church.

The Standing Together Ministry opposes the street preachers methods.

Gregory Johnson/ Pres., Standing Together Ministries: "We are trying to occupy some space to prevent those elements that are so negative from being there and offer some contrast of the love and kindness of Jesus to our Mormon friends and neighbors."

Two men, who say they are Mormons, dressed up as clowns, creating a circus atmosphere, in an effort to draw attention away from the street preachers.

And as the afternoon session ended, one street preacher gave in when police moved him back to the protest zones.

The street preachers say they will take up their complaints about being forced to stay in the buffer zones in court.

The street preachers say they will be back here tomorrow.

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