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Motorcyclists promote Christian values
The Temple Riders eschew rough-riding stereotypes, skipping profanity, drinking and other such behavior
By Kathryn Jones
Close-Up Correspondent
Published October 26, 2006 4:41 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2006, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
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Bikers are supposedly foulmouthed, freewheeling, hard-drinking highway desperadoes.

So go the stereotypes.

Then there are the Temple Riders. Not to be confused with Hells Angels, this bunch is more mild than wild. They don't smoke, drink or chew. Heck, even swear words are off-limits. But not the LDS temples and other church hangouts they haunt.

"The only qualifications that you [need] to be a member is to own your own motorcycle and to abide by the group rules," says Terry Flack, a member of the Temple Riders Association that has been biking streets in cities along the Wasatch Front and elsewhere for 18 years.

Most, but not all, members are married Mormons. Flack and his wife, Marlane, who hail from West Valley City, have been chapter members for four years and are eager to spread the word. And they have found the field ripe and ready to harvest for converts.

One couple Terry Flack met at a grocery store was first spotted driving into a parking lot on their Honda Gold Wing motorcycle.

"What's interesting about this couple is she is Catholic and he is a Mormon," Flack says. "When we went to the temple, he took her to a Catholic church and then came to our [LDS] fast-and-testimony meeting later."

Another member, he adds, a cartoonist for a national magazine "had quite a following of hard-core bikers." But the hard-hearted biker changed course - and his life - after meeting a woman in Manti who was a Temple Rider. Flack says the man has since passed on, but his widow stills attends association meetings, religiously.

Six charter couples united together in Utah in 1988 to start Temple Riders. The association has since blossomed into a 600-member organization with chapters throughout the U.S. mainland, Hawaii and as far away as Sydney, Australia.

During the year, the association hosts activities to promote Christian values, scenic adventure and temple attendance.

"What an inspiration it is to be with these people," Marlane Flack says. "It doesn't matter what situation you are [in] in your life. We have good people who ride with us."

She fondly recalls the trip she and her husband took to Idaho Falls, where they met another young couple and went to Yellowstone.

"They were only going to do part of the trip with us, but it was so cool they made a phone call to extend their time," Marlane Flack says. " 'We just had no idea there was anything like this available,' they [later] told us."

Married for 27 years, the Flacks say they merely tolerated each other before joining Temple Riders. Terry was an inactive Latter-day Saint and Marlane attended church services solo.

"I kind of did my things; she kind of did her things," Terry Flack says.

Motorcycles helped them find common ground and brought them together - at church as well as on the road.

"We had a rally up in Idaho Falls and 188 members came from all over the nation," Terry Flack says. On Sunday, "we had about 90 bikes in that church parking lot. Without the Temple Riders, I don't think I would have had enough [fortitude] to keep going. The fact that I've gotten in with this group that we both enjoy so much, that's what drives me to keep going to church."



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