[soundslides width=”620″ height =”503″ id=”188138″]Motorcycles and their riders often have a negative connotation tied to them; however, the Temple Riders Association is changing that perception.
The Temple Riders Association began in 1987 with two LDS couples who decided to take their two passions, the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and motorcycles, and combine them. The Temple Riders Association is the result.
Linda Jones and her husband were early members of the group that planned and participated in several trips for nearly nine years. Before her husband’s death, Jones accompanied him on many of the temple excursions.
“I loved pulling into the parking lots of the temples and watching the looks on members’ faces when we arrived,” Laws said. “It was priceless. You could almost feel the prejudgment. However, everyone instantly softened when they realized that we were there to do the same work they were.”
Since the simple beginnings of the Temple Riders Association, the group has expanded to an international level.
Kim Passey and his wife, Carol, joined the group in 1999 and are the leaders of the association’s Salt Lake City chapter.
Out of the 700 members worldwide, around 500 are from Utah, Passey said. Because of the large number of temples available to visit in Utah, the Temple Riders are able to do a wide range of trips. Some are Saturday trips to the Manti Temple, and some are weekend trips to Monticello or St. George.
Sometimes a large group of men and women adorned in leather, pulling onto temple grounds on motorcycles can cause alarm among temple workers and security personnel.
“In the beginning, when the group was still new, we got several strange looks from everyone on the temple grounds,” Passey said. “We have even had the police called on us a few times as a precaution.”
The association’s demographics vary based on each chapter. Participants range in age from their 30s to their 60s.The group consists of working parents with kids still at home, former stake presidents, bishops, high councilmen and their wives, retired individuals and even some nonmembers.
Cindy Caldwell and her husband, Bob, joined the association in the spring of 2007 and are the chapter leaders of the Provo chapter.
“It is so much fun to see a different aspect of peoples’ lives,” Caldwell said. “We always see these individuals in serious callings, but seeing them in suits and ties — in addition to their leather on huge bikes — adds so much more of a personal dimension to them.”