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LDS sorority forms landmark chapter

The 100th chapter of Lambda Delta Sigma, the Church sorority for college women, was organized Oct. 18 at Southwest Missouri State University.

Two cakes decorated with 50 candles each brought a festive air to the organizational meeting, attended by 16 students at the institute of religion building adjacent to the university. Lorana Whiting, Lambda Delta Sigma adviser for Missouri, participated in the activities.Elder Douglas H. Smith of the Seventy and assistant executive director of the Church's Priesthood Department, which oversees Lambda Delta Sigma and Sigma Gamma Chi, the fraternity for LDS college men, spoke with the Church News about the sorority's role on college and university campuses.

He noted that Lambda Delta Sigma helps LDS college women stay more closely affiliated with the Church, succeed in their studies and achieve a more balanced life while on campus.

"The sorority encourages its members to become a powerful influence for good on the college campus and provides meaningful activities consistent with Church standards," Elder Smith said. "The sorority is priesthood directed and supervised. Sorority leaders are LDS women who have been called and set apart to lead and direct the sorority experience so it will build lasting bonds of spiritual sisterhood and a unity of purpose."

The sorority has doubled its membership in five years, from 53 chapters in 1986 to 105 chapters currently. (Five chapters have been formed since the landmark chapter was organized at Southwest Missouri State University.) Patricia Romney is the sorority's national president. She is a member of the Latter-day Saint Student Association (LDSSA) general board.

"The sorority provides a bonding experience, and its members are in touch with other women who have like standards and values," she said. "We see these women making a difference on their campuses by the service they render and the standards they proclaim, all the time becoming stronger in their love for each other and for the Savior."

Michiel Anderson, director of the institute of religion adjacent to Southwest Missouri State University, spearheaded efforts to establish the chapter.

While living Church standards is required for sorority members, being LDS is not. Sorority members must be single, enrolled in higher education classes and attend an institute class.

Lambda Delta Sigma has chapters on 63 campuses in 11 states and one chapter in Nova Scotia in Canada. Statistics indicate 91 percent of sorority members marry in the temple, 14 percent serve missions, and 84 percent of non-LDS sorority members join the Church.

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