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24 March 2012

Mormon scholar presents golden plates research at USU

March 23, 2012

Herald Journal (Utah)

A renowned scholar of Mormon history visited Utah State University on Thursday, giving students and community members an exclusive presentation on his latest historical research.

Richard Bushman is most well-known for his historical biography, “Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling,” on Mormonism’s founder. A Latter-day Saint himself, Bushman has been nationally recognized for his scholarly work on the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Thursday was the first time Bushman presented research done for his next book, which is about “the many lives of Joseph Smith’s golden plates,” which was also the title of the lecture. The plates play an important role in the history of the LDS Church, because, according to Smith, they were the origin of the Book of Mormon.


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Golden Plates considered in differing viewpoints

March 23, 2012

Utah Statesman

Richard Bushman, a former Harvard University professor and a leading authority on Mormon studies, delivered a speech on the Golden Plates said to have been translated by Joseph Smith, founder of the LDS church.

“My contention is that the plates shift their meaning every time they pass from one kind of narrative to another,” Bushman said.

Bushman, who was invited to USU by Phillip Barlow, director of USU’s religious studies department, spoke in the Eccles Science Learning Center on Thursday.


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Mormonism in American politics

March 23, 2012

Standard Examiner (Utah)

As Mitt Romney fights for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, his Mormon faith has emerged an important political criterion for a segment of voters in early primary states. But this is not the first time a Mormon candidate has been politically hamstrung by his faith, a Mormon apostle named Reed Smoot faced similar challenges between the years 1903-07 after elected to the U.S. Senate by the Utah State Legislature in 1903.

National polls since 2008 consistently show a bipartisan minority of the American electorate who will not vote for a Mormon candidate. This is problematic for Mitt Romney, since a recent Pew poll that asked Americans to describe each GOP candidate in one-word indicated that 60 percent of respondents used the word “Mormon” to identify Romney, the highest one-word identification for any Republican candidate.


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Romney and Smoot

March 24, 2012

Salt lake Tribune (Utah)

As Mitt Romney vies for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, his faith has become a stumbling block for some voters in early primary states.

But this is not the first time a Mormon candidate has been hamstrung by Mormonism. LDS apostle Reed Smoot faced similar challenges between the years 1903 and 1907 after his election to the U.S. Senate.

For years, national polls have shown a bipartisan minority who won’t vote for a Mormon. Furthermore, exit polls from early primaries reveal that ardent Evangelical Christians are voting against Romney in large pluralities, instead voting for two Catholics: Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.


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Proxy Baptisms and the Jews: Let’s Leave Romney Alone

March 23, 2012

Huffington Post

The stakes have been raised even higher in this case because the claim is now being made that Mr. Romney has an obligation to speak out publicly and use his influence to change Church policy. This is a very, very dangerous path to go down. I think of those Jews who use their religious beliefs as a club to oppress women; I do not assume that Joe Lieberman is responsible for using his position as a prominent American political leader in order to bring about change. Indeed, I do not want him to do so; this is a task that belongs to others. Similarly, Mitt Romney is first and foremost a politician running for president, and there is no reason why he should now be responsible to resolve controversial matters related to Mormon practice.

I appreciate the sentiments and passions of many Jews on this matter. Still, it seems to me that this is a time for the Jewish community to show restraint. As for Mitt Romney, let him deal with the tough political issues that we Americans face, but when it comes to Mormon religious practices, it is right to let him be.


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Special Faith Claims and Special Interest Groups

March 23, 2012

Christian Post

I have divided the noteworthy points into three categories: theology, discipleship, and politics. A major point of contention between Mormonism and conservative Protestantism, Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy is which doctrinal tradition concerning the identity of Jesus Christ lines up best with New Testament Christianity. I appreciate that the Mormon respondent makes clear the lines of demarcation. This debate precedes Mormonism’s emergence. In fact, this debate raged throughout the first several centuries of Christianity’s development. The debate also took on new form in the modern period with Protestant Liberalism’s rise. Early Christian claims about Jesus being of one substance with the Father line up with the New Testament. Paul writes, Jesus “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation…” (Phil. 2:6-7a KJV). This text reflects the universal New Testament witness of Jesus being fully God from all eternity. For the fourth century church father Athanasius, Jesus as fully God from all eternity had to become what we are so that we could become what he is (theosis). Jesus secures us eternal life because he is secure in who he is from all eternity in relation to the Father as God. This is a major point of difference between the traditions noted above and the Mormon faith. I discuss these matters at length in my essay on Mormonism in Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths. For a noted discussion of the formation of Christian theology, see John Behr, The Way to Nicaea.


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Gay Mormon Man’s Suicide Points Up Tensions

March 23, 2012


As friends mourn the death of Chris Wayne Beers, a gay man and former Mormon missionary and church employee who took his own life Sunday, some are noting tensions between LGBT people and the church, which opposes gay relationships.

Utah native Beers, 38, had worked in the missionary and travel departments for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to a Web posting by Affirmation, a group working for LGBT equality within the LDS church. At the time of his death he was employed by the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City.


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Gay Mormon from Utah kills himself

March 23, 2012

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News

According to stories posted on several Mormon blogs, Chris Wayne Beers, a returned missionary and former church employee, took his life on March 18. He was 38 years old.

Beers was a returned missionary and had worked for years at the Church Office Building in the missionary and travel department, and at the time of his passing he was working at the University of Utah Hospital.

A native from Bountiful, Utah, Beers graduated from Woods Cross High, where he played football and other sports. After serving an honorable mission for the LDS Church, he touched the lives of countless youth as an EFY counselor.


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Utah theater chain turns ‘The Hunger Games’ into an event

March 24, 2012

Los Angeles Times (California)

Miller, a member of the Mormon Church, invested in a 2001 Mormon-themed production called “Brigham City” that didn’t crack the $1-million mark at the box office. Three years later, he put more than $7 million into another Mormon-themed production, “The Work and the Glory,” which grossed $3.3 million. Though the film did well enough to spawn two sequels, Miller told the Salt Lake City Tribune in 2006 that the overall lack of success “extinguished” his interest in film production.

Also key to the success of a film at Megaplex is avoiding an R rating. In 1986, then-Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Ezra Taft Benson delivered a speech to the “youth of the noble birthright” in which he explicitly cautioned: “Don’t see R-rated movies or vulgar videos or participate in any entertainment that is immoral, suggestive or pornographic.”

“That hasn’t been enforced since, but many Mormons still have the 1986 speech in their mind,” said Dean Duncan, a professor in the department of theater and media arts at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

It also does not hurt when themes of the films fall in line with Mormon teachings. The “Twilight” series, for example, argues for chastity before marriage, and the author of the books, Stephenie Meyer, is Mormon. The “Harry Potter” novels that inspired the movies have been commented on favorably by religious scholar Jeffrey Roy Holland, a Mormon senior apostle and former BYU president. The church declined to comment for this article.


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Brambleton Mormon Youth Group Raises $13,000 for Loudoun Habitat

March 23, 2012

Ashburn Patch (Missouri)

The youth group from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Brambleton Congregation raised $13,000 for Loudoun Habitat for Humanity during an auction earlier this month to help with the construction of a home in western Loudoun.

The home is the third of five planned in the Erin Petersen subdivision in the village of St. Louis west of Middleburg.


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Barbour Says Romney Can Overcome Primary Attacks

March 23, 2012

Bloomberg Businessweek

HUNT: Does Romney have a Mormon problem going ahead?

BARBOUR: Not in November. There are 25,000 Southern Baptist preachers that’ll vote for a Mormon before they vote for Obama.

HUNT: That’s because in Mississippi half the voters said they thought that Obama was a Muslim. They’ll take the Mormon over the Muslim?


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Lawyer, ‘assaulted’ mistress bonded over shared interest in natural foods

March 24, 2012

New York Post

The high-powered Manhattan lawyer accused of assaulting his mistress bonded with her over a shared interest in raw foods and healthy living, the mistress said yesterday.
“We both figured out a way of eating, how to eat well, how to exercise well, how to have a healthy lifestyle,” said Jeannette Schaefer — who allegedly carried on a two-year affair with corporate-finance-law guru Steven Guynn. “That was a common purpose we had.”

Schaefer said the dietary ideas she developed with her married Mormon paramour are inspiring a book she’s writing to encourage people to eat and live better.


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E.J. Dionne: The GOP’s religious head count

March 23, 2012

Indianapolis Star (Indiana)

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.

But outside of Mormon strongholds, voters most concerned about a candidate’s religious views are rejecting Romney.


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Sex Assault Suspect Claims It Was Consensual

March 23, 2012

NBC San Diego (California)

Attorneys for a La Mesa man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman on Fiesta Island, said Friday that their client claims the two adults had a consensual sexual encounter.

Michael Kobulnicky, 51, faces charges that he kidnapped a 56-year-old woman from Linda Vista and assaulted her on Fiesta Island on on Saturday, Feb 25.

Attorneys for the former Tea Party spokesperson and Mormon Church leader revealed Friday what their client said really happened on the day in question.


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Press Clips: Mammoths, Mittens and Morain

March 23, 2012

Calbuzz (California)

Besides money and his family, the most important thing in Romney’s life is the Mormon Church, but he’s in the closet about it. In his failed 2008 bid, Romney gave one speech about his religion, a pile of platitudes that used the word “Mormon” once and shed exactly no light on the implications of what he believes and why.

Mormonism has been at the center of his life, from his grandfather’s historic role in the church to his own multimillion dollar tithings. Putting aside the fact that his wife’s family was not allowed to attend the couple’s wedding ceremony in the church, along with all the secret and secretive practices of LDS, the crucial fact is that voters have no information about how being Mormon informs and shapes his views on contemporary public policy issues, from Prop. 8 to race relations. From Frank Rich’s terrific piece on this:

In Romneyland, Mormonism is the religion that dare not speak its name. Which leaves him unable to talk about the very subject he seems to care about most, a lifelong source of spiritual, familial, and intellectual sustenance. We’re used to politicians who camouflage their real views about issues, or who practice fraud in their backroom financial and political deal-making, but this is something else. Romney’s very public persona feels like a hoax because it has been so elaborately contrived to keep his core identity under wraps.


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Gingrich: It’s Obama’s fault people think he’s Muslim

March 23, 2012

CBS News

On Thursday, Gingrich returned to the subject when conservative columnist and radio show host Sandy Rio asked an unrelated question about whether the media would be “all over the details” of Mitt Romney’s Mormon religion. “Do you think they’re going to hold their powder on Mitt Romney in terms of his Mormonism and some of the passages in the book of Mormon?” Rios asked Gingrich.

Gingrich replied, “Look, you have to understand the elite media’s in the tank for Obama. They’re going to do anything that helps reelect Obama … You think you’re going to see two pages on Obama’s Muslim friends? Or two pages on the degree to which Obama’s consistently apologizing to Islam while attacking the Catholic Church? Do you see anybody in the elite media prepared to say, ‘Gee isn’t this kind of odd that we really worry a lot about the Koran and not about the Bible?'”


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Rep. Ralph Hall to Mitt Romney: I’ve ‘never met a Mormon I didn’t like’

March 23, 2012

Dallas Morning News (Texas)

The 88-year-old Hall told Romney, a prominent member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that he’s “never met a Mormon I didn’t like.” The Texan went on to explain that the teetotalers in the religion “give me those airplane bottles of booze when we’re on a flight.”


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Going public: census of the Great Depression

March 24, 2012

Seattle Times (Washington)

“It may very well frustrate the newcomers,” said Thomas Macentee, an industry analyst helping recruit volunteers for a name-indexing effort sponsored in part by the Mormon-run FamilySearch.com. “It’s like showing up on Black Friday. If you really want that TV set, if you really want that census record, you are going to be ready to go and you are going to keep at it no matter what.”


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NOTE: This is posted for those who are interested in keeping abreast what is being said around the world about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members. MormonVoices cannot and does not guarantee the validity or truthfulness of any information reported. The responsibility for the interpretation and use of this information lies with the reader. As all information comes from other news sources and has not been independently verified, MormonVoices cannot guarantee or be responsible for the security of links in the clipping service. MormonVoices will attempt as much as possible to exclude news articles containing strongly offensive language or which lead to offensive images, but cannot guarantee that some will not slip through.

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