When Christie Richmond, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), was in eighth grade, she found herself constantly explaining why her beliefs were different from everyone else’s.
“Starting a club would help people learn about the Church and have fun at the same time,” she said. “I couldn’t start it then but I always believe that hope doesn’t grow old.”
When Richmond – who will attend UCSD this year – began attending La Jolla High School, she found the need for her club, but she had to be patient.
“I was only a freshman, and freshmen can’t start clubs,” she said. By the time her sophomore year began, waiting had only fueled her desire to start her club so she went to work to make it happen. “When you apply for a club, you have to write an essay,” she said. “In it I said this wasn’t a club that would try and convert people. Instead what I wanted to do was inform people about the church.”
Part of the process for starting a club was to gather 100 signatures. On Club Day at her school, she made a presentation about the Mormon Club, and a lot of people heard it.
“I got 100 signatures the first day,” she said.
To top that off, more than 260 people signed a sheet saying they were interested.
Her application was approved, and the Mormon Club was born. During the school year, the club meets weekly at lunchtime, and on its first day, 60 people came.
“We have a positive environment for people to come and hang out and talk,” she said, adding that while they socialize, they are treated to pizza.
When the club was first getting started, her mother or some of the other ladies from church would pay for the pizza, but now the club has fundraisers to earn money for expenses.
During each meeting, Richmond gave a lesson.
“I try and teach things about the church, like the First Vision or topics out of “For the Strength of Youth’ (a pamphlet of standards to guide Mormon youths, leaders and parents). One time, I had the missionaries come and tell what they do.”
In addition to the meetings, she plans activities for club members so they can have a good time while upholding church standards. “Sometimes, we go over to my house and watch movies,” she said. “Other times we’ll go ice skating. We like to go to the church dances, too. We have a lot of fun!”