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22 March 2012

Harvard Hosts Mormon Apostle as Speaker

March 21, 2012


An apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) addressed students at Harvard Law School on Tuesday during the annual Mormonism 101 series sponsored by the school’s Latter-day Saint Student Association.

In Harvard’s historic Langdell Hall, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke to a religiously diverse audience about Mormonism’s teachings. He explained, among other things, that Latter-day Saints believe Christ’s ancient church has been restored in modern times.

“What brings me to you today is not a message of reformation but of restoration,” he said, “the restoration of that church Christ established by His hand in the meridian of time and which He has reestablished by His hand in this present time.”

Through this restoration, Elder Holland explained, doctrines about the nature of God, Christ’s ministry and God’s plan for His children were reemphasized and clarified.


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Mormon Inner City Project Blesses Lives of Thousands

March 21, 2012


Glenn and Kathy Sorte serve as volunteer missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) in the Inner City Project of Salt Lake City. After a lifetime of Church service, they are still keeping busy by responding to the needs of central city families.

Their list of responsibilities may include coordinating appointments and providing transportation to visit the doctor, the dentist, the job interview or the computer repair shop. They could teach English as a second language, basic piano lessons or budgeting, or tutor students in their school assignments. They help plan and execute activities and socials and arrange donations of clothing, household supplies, car seats, diapers and baby formula, holiday gift cards and even tuition.

“Though is it always challenging, this experience expands our view, opens our eyes and changes our hearts — it’s a life-changing event for us too,” the Sortes admit.

“The Inner City Project, which began in 1997, is an effort to share the principles of self-reliance,” explained R. Gene Moffitt, president of the project. “We work with families under the guidance of the neighborhood bishop (lay Church leader) to help them help themselves. The project becomes an everyday implementation of the Church’s welfare principles where we see that, with support and encouragement, individuals can find a new direction in their lives.” (See the Church’s welfare homepage.)


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‘Book of Mormon’ announces free-ticket lottery for one-year anniversary performance

March 21, 2012

Entertainment Weekly

The Book of Mormon will celebrate its one-year anniversary on Saturday, and the nine-time Tony winner is still selling more than 100 percent of its seats. To celebrate the anniversary and thank the fans that have made it one of Broadway’s most successful productions in years, producers announced a special lottery in which winners will win tickets to attend a free matinee showing at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre on June 6.

“The show’s success has been awesome, but we know how hard it’s been for some people to get tickets,” said Mormon creator Trey Parker in a statement. “We can’t think of a better way to celebrate our one-year-anniversary.”


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Mormon church unveils MTC plan; is new building too tall?

March 21, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

Two years from now, if Mormon missionaries are sweating during a training lesson, it’ll be because they’re nervous, not because the room is sweltering.

The LDS Church is preparing to replace its aging classroom buildings at the Missionary Training Center with a single, nine-story high-rise equipped with modern computer systems and an up-to-date heating and cooling system.

Richard Heaton, director of the MTC next to Brigham Young University, unveiled plans Wednesday for the new Melvin J. Ballard Building. The church is conducting a meeting Thursday night to talk with residents about the project.


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Rapidly growing Mormon community in Harlem looks to reach out

March 22, 2012

Columbia Spectator (New York)

Last month, a comment in the Washington Post by a Brigham Young University professor prompted an official Mormon Church statement clarifying its position on the historical priesthood ban on African-Americans, which was lifted in 1978. “We condemn racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the Church,” the statement read.

Despite such assertions, the Harlem Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints still struggles with its image. Passersby have been verbally abusive to delegation members and graffitied the word “racist” on the building exterior.

While the Harlem First Ward, on 128th Street and Lenox Avenue, is distinctive for its diversity, members say it has a certain unity and family feel. Mormonism emphasizes service and support to fellow congregation members, and the ward has absorbed aspects of Harlem personality, such as talking and responding during services and always saying “good morning.”


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Are Mitt Romney’s Mormon beliefs something we should worry about?

March 21, 2012


Mormons are not Christians in the traditional sense. They hold queer beliefs that would shock many people. Some of these beliefs are downright racist and have some black leaders in Charlotte, N.C. very worried what could happen if Romney manages to get elected as President of the United States. Mormon literature says “dark skinned people” are from “the seed of Cain.” “According to this doctrine, it is forbidden to have “interracial marriages” with black people and those that do, will be “cursed” …

Their doctrine said the Negro race is cursed as we come from “the seed of Cain.”

Yet Romney has said he is proud of his Mormon faith. “I am very proud of my faith and the faith of my fathers,” Romney said. “Well, it’s true and I love my faith. And I will… distance myself in any way from my faith.”


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Romney and the church

March 22, 2012

Reno News Review (Nevada)

Two Nevadans are being heard from on the subject of Mitt Romney and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Salon carried an article by Boulder City native Sally Denton, author of bestsellers like The Blue Grass Conspiracy and The Money and the Power. The article is titled “Romney and the White Horse Prophecy.”

Denton’s article recalls the presidential campaign of Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith in 1844: “Challenging Democrat James Polk and Whig Henry Clay, Smith prophesied that if the U.S. Congress did not accede to his demands that ‘they shall be broken up as a government and God shall damn them.’ Smith viewed capturing the presidency as part of the mission of the church. He had predicted the emergence of ‘the one Mighty and Strong’–a leader who would ‘set in order the house of God’–and became the first of many prominent Mormon men to claim the mantle. … Romney is the product of this culture. At BYU, he was idolized by fellow students and referred to, only half jokingly, as the ‘One Mighty and Strong.’ He was the ‘alpha male’ in the rarefied Cougar pack, according to Michael D. Moody, a BYU classmate and fellow member of the group.”


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A quick look at what Mormonism is all about

March 22, 2012

India Times

Mormonism was founded by Joseph Smith (1805-1844), an American religious leader, in the 1820s. Smith founded the Latter Day Saints Movement which believes in Christ but advocates significantly different practices and beliefs to Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Christian Churches

Today, there are over 14 million Mormons worldwide. The sect has spread through the American continents, Europe and Asia. The Philippines, for example, is home to over 6 lakh Mormons. In 2009, India had over 7,500 Mormons.

At the heart of the religion’s faith is the Mormon Bible, also known as golden plates, which Smith is said to have received from an angel in New York. In his lifetime, Smith was jailed several times and even tarred and feathered. He even announced his intention to run for presidency of the United States. However, before that could happen, he was murdered by a mob.


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Mormon church hopes mall helps Salt Lake downtown

March 21, 2012

Idaho State Journal

The Mormon church is attempting to remake downtown Salt Lake City by opening the shopping mall portion of a $2 billion mixed-use space that spans two city blocks and features a meandering creek and retractable glass roofs.

Church partner and retail operator Taubman Centers Inc. expects 50,000 visitors on Thursday, when City Creek Center’s nearly 90 stores open.

City Creek Center has outdoor walkways, plazas, fireplaces and metal sculpture. Waterfalls, fountains and a trout pond are part of the village-like development, which includes condominiums and is joined by a pedestrian bridge over Main Street.


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50,000 expected for opening of City Creek Center

March 21, 2012

Standard Examiner (Utah)

The LDS Church is attempting to remake downtown Salt Lake City by opening the shopping mall portion of a $2 billion mixed-use space that spans two city blocks.

Church partner and retail operator Taubman Centers Inc. expect 50,000 visitors on Thursday, when City Creek Center’s nearly 90 stores open.

City Creek Center has outdoor walkways, retractable glass roofs and a winding creek. Waterfalls, fountains and a trout pond are part of the village-like development, which includes condominiums and is joined by a pedestrian bridge over Main Street.

The residential towers were built by City Creek Reserve Inc., a for-profit firm owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church is a multibillion-dollar organization with tentacles in business and real estate.


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Who makes LDS doctrine?

March 22, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

The cat is out of the bag, thanks to comments by a Brigham Young University religion professor, Randy Bott, in the Feb. 28 Washington Post. Bott rehashed a position once taken by early LDS Church leaders that blacks were barred from holding the priesthood because they were cursed with the seed of Cain.

Seizing the moment, Matthew L. Harris, professor of history at Colorado State University at Pueblo, pounced on the church with an op-ed in The Salt Lake Tribune on March 7, claiming that the church was now attempting to “sweep its racial history under a rug” (“Why is LDS Church denying past doctrine?” Opinion, March 10).

Harris contends that the divine-curse theory meets Mormon purity tests for doctrinal qualification as recorded by early church leaders and that Bott’s view was merely reflecting a once-commonplace doctrine. This predicament, Harris argues, places the LDS Church in a PR pickle. He presumes to know the answer to the faith’s quandary by offering this advice: “LDS leaders would be well-served to acknowledge this doctrine, apologize for it and move on.”


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Romney’s challenge to sway evangelical voters

March 21, 2012

Washington Post

While the exit polls did not question voters directly about their attitudes toward the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there is indirect evidence that Romney’s faith may be holding down his vote among non-Mormons for whom a candidate’s religion matters.

But it’s also true that Romney’s Mormonism has had a positive electoral side. Solidarity among Mormon voters, eager to break a historical barrier, helped Romney win Arizona, Nevada and Idaho. Romney won 96 percent among self-identified Mormons in Arizona and 88 percent in Nevada. In Idaho, Romney carried counties in the southern part of this state where the bulk of its Mormon population resides, even as he lost most of the state’s northern counties to Santorum or Ron Paul.

But outside of Mormon strongholds, voters most concerned about a candidate’s religious views are rejecting Romney. In 10 states that had voted before Illinois, exit pollsters asked voters how important it was for a candidate to share their religious beliefs.


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New MormonVoices website is positive LDS voice

March 22, 2012

Deseret News

In the past, Latter-day Saints have usually been obliged simply to endure dismissive and inaccurate treatment in the news. They were rarely in a position to respond effectively.

That may finally be changing, and a promising reason for the change is a new website called MormonVoices (mormonvoices.org).

MormonVoices has been created to respond to false or misleading information put forward in the media. The goal is to assist journalists, authors, bloggers, producers and others in getting their stories right and to correct misinformation and distortions — not only about Mormons and Mormonism but, sometimes, even about other faith communities.

MormonVoices isn’t affiliated with the church — it’s sponsored, instead, by the private Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR), for which I am a board member — but it’s consistent with recent requests from church leaders that Latter-day Saints become involved in online discussions in order to correct public misperceptions about the church and its members.


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Sex Assault Suspect Volunteers with Women, Kids: Attorney

March 21, 2012

NBC San Diego (California)

New information tonight about a man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman on Fiesta Island.

Michael Kobulnicky, 51, is a Mormon Church leader who once volunteered for a recovery program for sexually-exploited women.
He belongs to the Latter Day Saints ward in La Mesa where he was a leader, teaching young children the Book of Mormon according to his attorney Heather Melone.

Now, he’s facing charges that he kidnapping a 56-year-old woman from Linda Vista and assaulted her on Fiesta Island on on Saturday, Feb 25.


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Parents travel to Brazil to be with LDS missionary seriously injured after being struck by bus

March 21, 2012

The Republic (Indiana)

The parents of a Utah Mormon missionary who was seriously injured when he was struck by a bus in Brazil say they’ve traveled to South America to be with him.

LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter tells The Herald Journal (http://bit.ly/GG3c8D) that Britten Schenk was hit Friday while waiting on a sidewalk to cross the street. He suffered severe head trauma.

Schenk is a 2009 graduate of Mountain Crest High School in Hyrum and is serving his mission in Sao Paulo.


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Salt Lake City’s Lure

March 21, 2012

Bloomberg Businessweek

Amid reports that Goldman Sachs (GS) may be cutting more jobs on Wall Street, it’s worth noting one spot where the investment bank plans to hire hundreds of people: Salt Lake City. With Goldman slated to expand its office there by 300 people to a total of 1,600 this year, the city is on track to become the bank’s fourth-largest office in the world.

That may surprise people who don’t associate the Mormon center with, say, arranging Greek loan swaps or shorting the mortgage market–although it does add a new dimension to Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein’s now-famous quote about doing “God’s work.” But Goldman sees a lucrative future in a state that ranks not only as the country’s youngest (median age 29.2 years) and most fertile (2.6 children per woman), but also boasted an average annual pay of $39,811 last year–well below the national average of $50,606.


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LDS Group Helps Reston Interfaith, Others

March 21, 2012

Oakton Patch (Virginia)

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Oakton spent St. Patrick’s Day sharing their good fortune with others by donating blankets and hygiene kits to area charities.

About 1,400 blankets and 1,000 hygiene kits were hauled from the Church’s regional Bishop’s Storehouse in Upper Marlboro, Md., to the Embry Rucker Community Shelter in Reston and Shelter House in Fairfax. Bishop’s storehouses distribute commodities to the poor and needy as requested by local Church leaders.

“Donations like these keep our shelter stocked and more importantly help us further our mission to provide healthy, safe, emergency housing for families and single men and women, helping them overcome barriers and then transition to stable housing,” said Susan Alger, volunteer manager of Reston Interfaith’s Embry Rucker Community Shelter.


***********News About Other Religions********************

Breakaway Mormon sect ex-leader begins Texas bigamy trial

March 22, 2012

Chicago Tribune (Illinois)

The former leader of a breakaway Mormon sect charged with being married to more than one woman at the same time went on trial in Texas on Wednesday, putting a spotlight on the rarely prosecuted crime of bigamy.

A jury of five women and seven men was chosen to hear testimony in the trial of Wendell Loy Nielsen, 71, a former president of the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who is charged with three counts of bigamy.

The sect, which teaches that for a man to be among the select in heaven he must have at least three wives, is estimated to have 10,000 followers in North America.

Nielsen, wearing a blue sweater vest and shirt, looked on from the front of the courtroom during jury selection.


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Former FLDS leader’s trial starts in West Texas

March 22, 2012

Houston Chronicle (Texas)

The bigamy trial of a former lieutenant to polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs is set to begin in West Texas.

Wendell Loy Nielsen is charged with three counts of bigamy. Opening arguments are scheduled for Thursday morning in Midland. Nielsen was one of 12 members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who were indicted after a 2008 raid on their West Texas compound.

Nielsen faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Nielsen was once FLDS president and counselor to Jeffs, who is now serving a life sentence after being convicted last year of sexual assault.


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Jury chosen in trial of former Mormon sect leader Wendell Loy Nielsen

March 22, 2012

Global Post

A jury has been chosen in the trial of Texas bigamist and former Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints president Wendell Loy Nielsen, 71.

Nielsen was one of 12 men indicted for crimes including child sexual assault, bigamy and performing an illegal marriage, the Associated Press reported.

They were arrested after an April 2008 raid on the sect’s Yearning for Zion Ranch in Texas.

Ten have been convicted, including Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) “prophet” Warren Jeffs, found guilty last year of sexually assaulting two underage girls he wed as spiritual brides, the younger of them just 12.


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