Missionaries warned off the buses

STAGECOACH is to ask Mormon missionaries to stop trying to convert passengers on Lancaster buses.

The bus operator is taking action following complaints from passengers and drivers.

Rick Seymour was travelling on the 2A bus service from Lancaster to Morecambe last Tuesday afternoon, and heard a conversation between three young men.

Two of the men, he said, were Mormons using the bus as a way to engage members of the public to tell them about their love for Jesus. Mr Seymour said that he himself had been “engaged” by Mormons on two previous occasions while travelling on the bus, and in a letter to Stagecoach Bus Company said: “I firmly believe that the Mormon Church is using your service as a place where the public cannot escape the attempt to indoctrinate them.”

Mr Seymour, 31, of Greenshank Close, Heysham, added: “Whilst I respect that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs or none, telling others that their beliefs are misguided or plain wrong is wrong in itself. Practice your own personal beliefs in your own home and do not ram it down others’ throats. I hope that Stagecoach will write to the Mormon Church in Chorley and tell them their behaviour is unacceptable.”

Stephie Barber, operations manager for Stagecoach in Lancaster said that bus drivers had recently reported similar occurences.

“We do not permit any commercial or other organisation to promote their products, services or views through direct engagement with passengers on our services,” he said.

“In cases where we are made aware of any activity of this nature, we follow it up with the organisation involved.

“We are also doing so in this particular case to make our position clear.”

Robert Preston, England Manchester Mission President for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, said he considered the 140 young people in the North West of England actively engaged in trying to convert people as “persistent and couragous”.

He added: “They will sit next to someone, and they will introduce themselves and try and have a good conversation to explain a point of view that someone might never have heard before.

“We do encourage this, but we would not want people to feel intimidated.

“If it becomes clear that someone does not want to hear that message they should move away.”

Read the full story in this week’s Lancaster Guardian.