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26 March 2012

How Utah’s Capitol marches to a Mormon beat

March 26, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

In Utah, the question isn’t whether the LDS Church wields hefty political clout, but how it does so. And the answer, according to state legislators, may surprise some.

That Mormon influence, lawmakers say, does not generally come from edicts over the pulpit or through lobbying in the halls of the Capitol. Instead, it comes indirectly — mainly through legislators’ own religious views.

After all, most elected officials here are Latter-day Saints who vote based on values instilled in them as Mormons — and even non-LDS officials try to reflect the will of constituents who are overwhelmingly Mormon.

But lawmakers concede that the state’s predominant faith is directly involved on a few select issues, such as immigration, alcohol, gambling and gay rights — and a nod of approval from the LDS hierarchy is usually needed for bills affecting those areas to proceed, according to a questionnaire sent to legislators by The Salt Lake Tribune.


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Judge to hear arguments over suit on Utah liquor laws

March 26, 2012

Standard Examiner (Utah)

A federal judge is set to hear oral arguments Monday on a lawsuit challenging changes to Utah liquor laws that ban daily drink specials and impose new limits on coveted liquor licenses.

A trade group for bars and restaurants is asking U.S. District Judge Bruce Jenkins to halt the laws and to block Utah lawmakers from taking influence from the Mormon church when writing liquor laws.

The Utah attorney general’s office is asking Jenkins to throw out the suit, defending the Mormon church’s right to express its views on Utah’s liquor laws.


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Judge to hear arguments over suit on liquor laws

March 25, 2012

Wisconsin Rapids Tribune

A federal judge is set to hear oral arguments Monday on a lawsuit challenging changes to Utah liquor laws that ban daily drink specials and impose new limits on coveted liquor licenses.

A trade group for bars and restaurants is asking U.S. District Judge Bruce Jenkins to halt the laws and to block Utah lawmakers from taking influence from the Mormon church when writing liquor laws.

The Utah attorney general’s office is asking Jenkins to throw out the suit, defending the Mormon church’s right to express its views on Utah’s liquor laws.


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Park Romney: Why he turned against the Mormon church

March 25, 2012

BBC (United Kingdom)

Mitt Romney, the front runner in the race for the Republican Presidential nomination for the White House, is a devout Mormon, but his cousin, Park Romney, also in the past a committed member of the church, now denounces it as a cult.

“I became convinced that it’s a fraud,” Park Romney told the BBC, explaining his reason for leaving the Mormon fold.

The two visions of Mormonism the Romney cousins present could not be more starkly opposed.

Park Romney, 56, is a former Mormon high priest, who turned against the church.


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Park Romney: Mormonism Is a Fraud

March 26, 2012


Not all Romneys are as enamored of Mormonism as Mitt. Take Park Romney, Mitt’s cousin. He used to be a Mormon high priest, but finally left the religion. “I became convinced that it’s a fraud,” he tells the BBC. He doubts many aspects of the religion, such as founder Joseph Smith’s prophecies, including those based on Smith’s translation of an Egyptian scroll he said he purchased from a traveling mummy exhibit. The translation, which became part of the Mormon book of Abraham, has been discredited by Egyptologists. “There’s compelling evidence that the Mormon Church leaders knowingly and willfully misrepresent the historical truth of their origins and of the church for the purpose of deceiving their members into a state of mind that renders them exploitable,” says Park Romney, 56.


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Do Mormons Practice Polygamy?

March 24, 2012

History News Network

A frequent charge raised against Mormonism is that Mormons practice polygamy, which many people oppose for various reasons ranging from religious or moral convictions to concerns about the treatment or degradation of women. There is no denying that polygamy was accepted and practiced by the mainstream Mormon church for part of the nineteenth century, though it was not practiced by the majority of Mormons. (The great-grandfather of GOP candidate Mitt Romney, Miles Park Romney, was a polygamist in Utah, and ultimately left to Mexico with his family to escape prosecution for the practice.) It is also true that the practice continues today among some fringe Mormon sects, but it’s far outside the mainstream of the official church. The stereotype that all Mormons practice polygamy sticks because of history and popular abuse, but not only is polygamy not an accepted practice within the Church of Latter-day Saints, it was proscribed by the
Church over a century ago.


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What will conservative Christians do with a Romney nomination?

March 25, 2012

The Times News (North Carolina)

Now that Mitt Romney nears what appears to be the Republican who will run against President Obama, one wonders where the conservative Christians (CCs) will stand.

On Sundays CCs preach that Mormons are a cult. So, why did they initially endorse Romney? Denounce Mormons on Sunday, vote for one on Tuesday.

CCs quickly changed sides when Rick Perry, a devout and vocal CC himself, emerged as the new front runner. Perry declared Mormons a cult the CCs cheered.


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The evangelical allergy to Mitt

March 26, 2012


The most popular theory is that Romney’s Mormon faith is the culprit. Mormons tend to think of their religion as compatible with Christianity, but this view is strongly rejected by most evangelical Christians. A survey of Protestant pastors last year found that 75 percent of them don’t believe that Mormons are Christians, and a recent Pew poll found that only 35 percent of white evangelical Republicans voters think that Mormons are Christians.

Suspicion of Mormonism seems particularly pronounced among Southern Baptists and Pentecostals, and occasionally evangelical leaders with give voice to this, as Robert Jeffress, a Baptist pastor from Texas, did last fall when he called Mormonism a “theological cult.” Jeffress, who stressed that he would still back Romney over Barack Obama in the fall, expressed his refusal to support Romney in the primaries this way:

But to those of us who are evangelicals, when all other things are equal, we prefer competent Christians to competent non-Christians who may be good, moral people like Mitt Romney.


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Prom With a Twist

March 26, 2012

Mission Vejo Patch (California)

They rocked and rolled but didn’t trash the place. Southern California youth who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attended the annual Mormon Prom on March 17th at Soka University in Aliso Viejo.

Young people ages 16-18 from Rancho Santa Margarita, Mission Viejo, San Clemente, and Laguna Niguel congregations were invited to join the seventh annual event.

“It is all about having wholesome fun and a positive dating experience while being with a group of youth that share the same high standards,” said Marci Paul, the Young Women President for Foothill Ranch.


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Clock Ticking for Protestors of Historic Water Ruling

March 26, 2012

Public News Service

Groups that could decide to challenge last week’s big water decision are weighing their options. The Great Basin Water Network is one potential litigant against State Engineer Jason King’s decision to permit pumping more than 80,000 acre-feet of water from rural Nevada and Utah to Las Vegas.

Rose Strickland, public lands chair for the Toiyabe Chapter of the Sierra Club, says pipeline opponents have less than a month to decide if they want to challenge it in court. In the state process, a number of groups opposed the pipeline, including the Mormon church, conservation groups, county governments of rural Nevada and Utah, and Native American communities in the region.

“From the tribes to the Mormon church, I’m sure all of the protestants will be reading these extremely long rulings on the four valleys, before making that decision.”


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Burwell: A moment in time for Jayhawks

March 26, 2012

St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri)

A couple of years from now, when White returns from his Mormon mission and once again finds himself in that same position, maybe this time he scoots through the gap, gets his shot off quicker, higher and faster, and feels the breeze of that figurative door barely sweeping behind him as the shot floats past a hang-gliding shot blocker by the sliver of a finger nail.


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How We’ve Been Hijacked

March 25, 2012


By January, Gingrich’s “open marriage” scandal was out in the open. That he’d left two wives for new wives was widely known. These are things that evangelicals, at least the ones I grew up around, typically frown on. This is the stuff of movies I wasn’t allowed to watch as a kid. And this was the man that evangelical Christians supported.

Why God, why?

Because he appears more politically conservative than, say, Mitt Romney, who, by the way, has one wife and a brood of sons. Sure, Romney is a Mormon, which seems weird to evangelicals mostly because they don’t know anything about Mormonism; but in the end it wasn’t his different faith that cost him South Carolina, it was the perceived threat that since he was moderate once, he could be again. So, Newt Gingrich won in South Carolina.


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