Portland — The Mormon Church has had a presence in Maine since the 1800s, but it wasn’t until the 1950s when the first official church was dedicated in Portland.
In 2018, some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the official name of the Mormon church, have splintered off to form their own, Maine-centric version of Christianity’s youngest sect.
The Church of Jeezum Crow of Latter Day Saints includes only a handful of members, all of which were former members of the LDS church.
However, the members say while they loved their church and community, they never felt like it truly represented them as Mainers.
“I figured, why not start a new church and make it more appealing to Mainers?” said Elder Hiram Desjardins of Lewiston.
The first order of business was to change the name to something uniquely Maine.
“I never heard anyone say ‘Jeezum’ when I was doing my missionary work downta Atlanta,” Desjardins said.
“Come to find out, hardly no one outside Maine said it. So I figured, why not?”
Another major difference between LDS and the new Jeezum Crow church include church-sanctioned mud-runs.
“You need to get dirty if you want to get clean, and that’s a good metaphor for our sins,” Desjardins said.
Perhaps the most radical departure is the emphasis on casual swearing, something most LDS members prefer to avoid.
“We’re a Maine church now, gotta let some swear words slip,” Desjardins said.
A member of his congregation agreed. “Friggin right, bub!”
The church doesn’t have an official building as of yet, but is renting out space at the local Grange hall in the meantime.