Modern conveniences like cellphones and the Internet increasingly make living in rural Alaska less rural and decidedly more intriguing. With small villages scattered across the largest state connected by frozen roads and air travel, Alaskans are innovative in many ways.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are no exception, with the formation in recent years of the Alaska Bush Branch of the LDS Church.
With approximately 200 members from 36 families, the Bush Branch of the LDS Church meets Sunday mornings as many churches do, except this congregation meets over the phone.
Brother Chip Sharpe is the principal at Mountain Village School in Mountain Village. A member of the LDS Church, Sharpe appreciates the conference call technology. “Attending services over the phone is pretty unique,” Sharpe said.
Mountain Village in Western Alaska is a village of some 1,250 people. The village has one school — kindergarten through 12th grade — with 264 students.
“It’s what you make of it,” Sharpe said, a lifelong member. “My wife and I dress up in our Sunday clothes and we have a picture of Christ in the room we call from. We try to make it more than just our house. It is about feeling the Spirit and feeling good. We sing songs and hymns.”
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Brandon is a husband, father to the cutest 5-year old twins you have ever seen. Brandon has served in various church capacities including full-time missionary in Madrid, Spain, Young Men’s Presidency, Executive Secretary, temple worker, and Elders Quorum Presidency. Brandon is the owner of LDSBookstore.com which has been featured as one of the fastest-growing companies in Utah. He enjoys playing basketball, ping-pong, and discovering life with his twins.