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Students Favor Religion Over Studies

Blocking Group of Eight Mormons Will Spend Time as Missionaries

For a handful of rising sophomores, religion will outrank randomization as the main housing issue for the next two years.

Eight Mormon first-years, who comprise a blocking group recently assigned to Adams House, will all put off their Harvard education for two years to go on proselytizing missions for the Church of Latter Day Saints.

While the rest of their classmates focus on passing sophomore tutorials and writing junior papers, this blocking group will be "spreading the word of the religion" and "trying to bring the Gospel into areas it hasn't been before," according to Michael E. Rich '99.

The eight students who will proselytize in locations across the globe are Jonathan G. Brinton, Olen J. Redhair, Russell G. Ross, James H. Gallafent, Kent M. Walther, Israel I. De Anda, Wells I. Mangrum and Rich.

Brinton will go to the Ukraine, Ross heads off to London, Gallafent to Geneva and Rich to Warsaw. The other four have yet to be informed of their destinations.

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The blocking group came about as the result of convenience and camaraderie.

"It just seemed a lot easier to room with these guys, knowing that I'd have the same roommates for three years....Plus, they're great guys," Rich said.

"We considered the fact the we'd be missing out on two years with any other group," said Redhair.

Jai L. Nair '99 opted not to join the Mormon blocking group and instead will take his chances with falling two years behind his blockmates.

"It's going to be a little bit different because they'll all be seniors, but it will all turn out fine," he said.

"During a year of living in Mather, I'm sure I'll meet enough people that I'll want to stay there. I'm not concerned."

When the Mormon students return to Harvard in two years, they will enter a housing system which has been fully randomized.

While the culture of Adams House might seem to conflict with the strict moral code followed by Mormons, Rich said that randomization has made that a "non-factor."

But Rich, who comes from Salt Lake City, said he would have been ready for anything.

"That's why I came to Harvard to get a different taste. I would have wel- different lifestyles of people."

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