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31 March 2012

Mormonism in the News: Getting It Right

March 27, 2012

mormonnewsroom.org

Religion writer and blogger Jana Riess provides insights about the proper journalistic approach to covering The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members.

“Everyone who has ever been involved in Mormonism … has some kind of Mormon story,” she writes. “In that sense they — we — can and should speak for Mormonism. We do not speak for the LDS Church, however, and we can’t claim expert status merely on the basis of limited involvement and cursory knowledge of Mormonism. Reporters should try to achieve balance … and Mormon pundits should adopt measures of accountability.”

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormonism-getting-it-right

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Jesus Christ’s Life Leading Up to His Resurrection Portrayed in New Bible Videos

March 30, 2012

mormonnewsroom.org

The last week of the Savior’s life, His crucifixion and resurrection, as described in the King James Version of the Bible are portrayed in a series of film vignettes by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) entitled The Life of Jesus Christ.

The free videos were released during the month of March, including the newest ones today, “The Laying of the Lord’s Body in the Tomb” and “The Savior’s Resurrection.” “He Is Risen” will be available Wednesday, 4 April 2012, just before Easter Sunday, 8 April on BibleVideos.lds.org. Other videos now available include: “Triumphal Entry,” “The Last Supper” “The Intercessory Prayer,” “Christ in Gethsemane,” “Peter’s Denial,” “The Savior’s Trial before Pilate,” “The Scourging and Crucifixion” and others on Christ’s ministry.

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/jesus-easter-bible-videos-resurrection

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City Creek Mall

March 30, 2012

FAIR Blog

The Church has responded in two ways. First, through its Inner City Project, the Church has assigned service missionaries to provide job training, transportation, and other help to inner-city Salt Lake City residents. The hope is that the city environment will benefit from residents who are less plagued by joblessness, health troubles, and feeling hopeless to rise economically. Second, the Church has invested in the City Creek Mall as an economic development project, in hopes that the construction and other jobs will provide opportunity for residents and that the new infrastructure will stave off urban decay.

Some criticize the church for its investment, judging that the funds could have been better spent elsewhere. (The total estimated cost of the project is $1.5 billion; it is not known how this was shared between the church and its development partner, The Taubman Company.) These criticisms ignore the merits of the Church’s strategy-the City Creek Center addresses the roots of urban decay, and the Inner City Project addresses its symptoms. There are many places in the world with greater need-and the Church’s humanitarian programs commit significant resources to them-but the Church shouldn’t be condemned for helping its own neighbors in the city to which it has special historical ties.

http://www.fairblog.org/2012/03/30/city-creek-mall/

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Mormons gather for church conference in Utah

March 31, 2012

San Jose Mercury News (California)

Even as the world changes around them, the traditional family must remain the foundation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members, Mormon leaders said during speeches at the semi-annual general conference on Saturday.

Throughout the first of five two-hour sessions at the 21,000 seat conference center in Salt Lake City, LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson and other leaders reminded listeners of the church’s opposition to abortion, emphasis on a household with a mother and a father and the encouragement to have large families.

More than 100,000 people are expected to visit the church’s Salt Lake City headquarters during the two-day conference, which began Saturday. Millions more participate through satellite, radio or Internet broadcast translated into more than 90 languages.

http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_20298189/mormons-gather-church-conference-utah

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Oppose evil, beware pain of abortion, LDS faithful told

March 31, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

Mormons came together Saturday “as one, speaking many languages, living in many lands,” LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson said Saturday morning, “but all of one faith and one doctrine and one purpose.”

It was the opening speech of the Utah-based faith’s 182nd Annual General Conference, where the 84-year-old Monson was addressing more than 20,000 people gathered in the giant Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City along with millions more watching via satellite in Mormon chapels across the globe, as well as on the Internet.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53830015-78/church-packer-parents-couple.html.csp

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Survey clarifies Mormons’ beliefs about race

March 30, 2012

Deseret News (Utah)

But what do rank-and-file Mormons actually believe? Does the folk doctrine on race hold any sway? Or do most Mormons agree with its repudiation?

A few weeks before this controversy flared up, we surveyed a nationally representative sample of American Mormons, and happened to ask about this very folk doctrine.

Adopting Mormon religious language, our question read: “In the past, some Mormons have said that blacks had to wait to hold the priesthood because they were less valiant in the war in heaven, or the pre-mortal existence. Have you ever heard this?” Those who had heard of the statement were then asked whether they agree or disagree.

Less than half of all Mormons, 45 percent, report having heard this teaching. When we combine awareness and agreement, just 9 percent of all Mormons have both heard of, and agree with, the folk doctrine (just 2 percent strongly agree).

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765564520/Survey-clarifies-Mormons-beliefs-about-race.html

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Hemings and Jefferson ‘Sealed’ by LDS Church?

March 30, 2012

The Root

Sally Hemings was Thomas Jefferson’s most famous slave, and believed to be the mother of several of the third American president’s children. In a piece for Slate, Max Perry Mueller reports that she was also posthumously baptized by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and may be “sealed” in an eternal marriage bond with Jefferson, in the church’s view.

http://www.theroot.com/buzz/hemmings-and-jefferson-sealed-mormons

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Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings baptized, married by Mormon church

March 30, 2012

Yahoo!

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has taken a lot of flack over the years regarding the practice of baptizing deceased individuals who were never Mormon. A fascinating new article from Max Perry Mueller in Slate breaks down some of the misconceptions about this practice, while also confirming some of its more controversial details.

But the most interesting bit of news to emerge here is that not only was American Founding Father and third president of the United States President Thomas Jefferson given a posthumous Mormon baptism, but he was also sealed to former house servant and lover Sally Hemmings. The Mormon ritual of sealing is meant to connect spouses and their families in the afterlife.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/thomas-jefferson-sally-hemmings-baptized-married-mormon-church-154735300.html

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LDS Proxy Marriage Rites Bind Slaves to Slavemasters for Eternity, including Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings

March 29, 2012

Religion Dispatches

Mormonism uniquely emphasizes eternal marriage as a rite necessary to enter the highest levels of heaven. Viewed through this theological prism (and with a generous dose of romantic idealism about the quality of most human marriages), the practice of posthumous sealings has special warmth for LDS people.

But sealing deceased slaves to their slavemasters? Thomas Jefferson to Sally Hemmings? A relationship that emblematizes slavery’s most complicated and intimate forms of exploitation?

http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/joannabrooks/5841/lds_proxy_marriage_rites_bind_slaves_to_slavemasters_for_eternity,_including_thomas_jefferson_and_sally_hemmings_/

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MormonVoices Corrects Misconceptions About Race in the Book of Mormon

March 31, 2012

MormonVoices

MormonVoices, a volunteer group dedicated to providing accurate information about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, has published an article responding to concerns that the Book of Mormon teaches racism. The article clarifies that the Book of Mormon is written from an ancient perspective, and its references to skin color do not equate to racial categories as they are understood today.

“It’s crucial to understand that the Book of Mormon is about a specific ancient time, place, and people,” said Scott Gordon, a managing director of MormonVoices. “It has absolutely nothing to do with people of African heritage.”

http://mormonvoices.org/1107/mormonvoices-corrects-misconceptions-about-race-in-the-book-of-mormon

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MormonVoices Corrects Misconceptions About Race in the Book of Mormon

March 31, 2012

Virtual Strategy

MormonVoices, a volunteer group dedicated to providing accurate information about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, has published an article responding to concerns that the Book of Mormon teaches racism. The article clarifies that the Book of Mormon is written from an ancient perspective, and its references to skin color do not equate to racial categories as they are understood today.

“It’s crucial to understand that the Book of Mormon is about a specific ancient time, place, and people,” said Scott Gordon, a managing director of MormonVoices. “It has absolutely nothing to do with people of African heritage.”

http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2012/03/31/mormonvoices-corrects-misconceptions-about-race-book-mormon

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Mormon Apologists Strive for Objectivity Says President of FAIR

March 31, 2012

Houston Chronicle (Texas)

“I will admit we have a bias,” Gordon said, explaining that FAIR members believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is really the ancient Church of Jesus Christ restored in the latter days through Joseph Smith. However, he further explained that in defending the Church, FAIR members strive for an objective approach to the evidence and answers based in the best scholarship available.

When asked by an audience member if apologists really understand the experiences of those who are struggling with their faith, or who have left the Church, Gordon noted that many members of FAIR have family members and friends who have left the church, and some FAIR members themselves have lost their faith and then returned to the Church.

http://www.chron.com/business/press-releases/article/Mormon-Apologists-Strive-for-Objectivity-Says-3449189.php

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Mormons gather for church conference in Utah

March 31, 2012

2 News (Nevada)

Tens of thousands of Mormon Church members are gathering in Salt Lake City for their semi-annual general conference.

President Thomas S. Monson says Saturday The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is maintaining its strong growth throughout the world.

http://www.ktvn.com/story/17301866/mormons-gather-for-church-conference-in-utah

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Christensen: Daily counsel vital part of LDS conference

March 31, 2012

Idaho Statesman

When I lived in the Midwest, the parents of my roommate were fascinated by my request to watch the conference on television while visiting them. They called it “going to church on TV.” Nowadays a friend refers to it as “church in sweats,” since families gather around television sets in their homes to watch and listen.

The availability of radio brought conferences to members for years, but television brought a whole new dimension to the experience. I remember the excitement of actually seeing the prophet of the church and the apostles whose names I had learned in Sunday School.

http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/03/31/2057527/daily-counsel-vital-part-of-lds.html

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New Mormon Temple to hold open house

March 30, 2012

Emporia Gazette (Kansas)

An open house for the new Kansas City, Missouri Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7001 Searcy Creek Parkway, will be held from April 7 to 21. Guided tours, which will last about an hour, will include a short film about the significance of temples to Latter-day Saints, an informational walk through the temple, and refreshments. Admission is free, but reservations are necessary. Tickets can be obtained online at www.kansascitymormontemple.org or by calling (866) 537-8457. Though tickets can be ordered online 24/7, the call center will be open Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

http://www.emporiagazette.com/news/2012/mar/30/new-mormon-temple-hold-open-house/

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Mormon Panic Hits U.K.

March 30, 2012

BuzzFeed

Mormonism, the British public learned from a documentary that aired on the BBC this week, is scary and mysterious, a possible “cult” on the verge of taking over the most powerful office in the world.

“The Mormon Candidate” was made by John Sweeney, the same British journalist who took on Scientologists in 2007′s “Scientology and Me.” While making that film, he got into shouting matches with the church’s officials, and said he was repeatedly stalked by the sect.

But despite the foreboding soundtrack, Sweeney evoked little of the same TV-ready drama from the Mormons he interviewed, a fact he warily admits toward the end of his Fleet Street treatment of Mitt Romney’s faith.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mckaycoppins/england-struck-by-mormon-panic

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Fired up, Repulican style

March 31, 2012

Ottawa Citizen (Canada)

“I don’t know about everyone,” Wood continues, “but I’ll tell you why my brother-in-law isn’t fired up about him. It’s because he’s a Mormon and that’s not even an issue as far as I’m concerned. Some people just don’t understand the Mormon religion.”

“Do YOU understand the Mormon religion?” I ask her.

“A little,” Joan Wood replies. “A lot of people think it’s a cult. I do not. A lot of that stuff is made up and exaggerated. Besides, I don’t care what he is. All I want to know is, how are you going to fix the deficit?”

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Fired+Repulican+style/6389342/story.html

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Online school makes church’s teaching easier

March 31, 2012

Kearney Hub (Nebraska)

Each weekday morning, about 30 high school students across Hub Territory meet with a volunteer instructor outside of school, as early as 6 a.m., for religious instruction known as “seminary.”

Outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the word “seminary” usually refers to a place where one trains for the ministry. For LDS high school-age students, seminary is a four-year course of Scripture study, usually taught daily, coinciding with the local school schedule.

http://www.kearneyhub.com/news/local/article_381f2c0c-7af9-11e1-95bb-0019bb2963f4.html#.T3dPgvCiGa8

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Mitt Romney Secretly Supported Anti-Gay-Marriage Group

March 30, 2012

Daily Beast

Karger first became aware of that role while examining the funding for California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage. Many of the donors, he found, had only contributed to one other political cause–the Romney campaign. Eventually, he says, he discovered that Mormons, who comprise 2 percent of California’s population, provided around three quarters of the money raised to support Proposition 8. (He figured heavily in the documentary 8: The Mormon Proposition.) Soon, he became convinced that if the LDS church’s anti-gay activity came to be seen as harmful to the Romney campaign, the church would back off.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/30/mitt-romney-secretly-supported-anti-gay-marriage-group.html

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Mitt Romney’s PAC secretly donated $10,000 to anti-gay NOM

March 30, 2012

LGBTQ Nation

The timing of Romney’s donation is curious in that it occurred prior to the Proposition 8 ballot initiative in California that ultimately stripped same-sex couples of their legal ability to get married.

The National Organization for Marriage, along with the Mormon and Catholic church, had been at the forefront of the campaign to repeal same-sex marriage in the state.

http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2012/03/mitt-romneys-pac-secretly-donated-10000-to-anti-gay-nom/

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Newt Gingrich: Mitt Romney ‘will probably’ win

March 30, 2012

Washington Post

A political action committee run by Romney donated $10,000 to the National Organization for Marriage, an anti-gay marriage group that has come under fire for its strategy to “drive a wedge” between gays and African-Americans. The donation was given in 2008, when both NOM and the Mormon church were heavily involved in passing an anti-gay marriage ballot amendment in California.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/newt-gingrich-mitt-romney-will-probably-win/2012/03/30/gIQA9kYwlS_blog.html

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Santorum Adds Booze to His Wisconsin Pitch

March 30, 2012

Wall Street Journal

Speaking to reporters after, Mr. Santorum said the drinking was not meant to draw a contrast with Mr. Romney or any other candidate. (The GOP front-runner, a practicing Mormon, does not drink.)

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/03/30/santorum-adds-booze-to-his-wisconsin-pitch/

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Alice in Southernland

March 31, 2012

Global Post

“Besides, I could never vote for Romney, not with all that Mormon business,” she said, shaking her head.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is a prominent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; it has not been a big issue in the campaign, at least openly, but Miss Helen was adamant.

“This is, after all, a Christian nation,” she said.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120331/alice-southernland

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Texas polygamist sect leader given 10-year bigamy sentence

March 30, 2012

Chicago Tribune (Illinois)

A jury handed a former leader of a breakaway Mormon polygamist sect a 10-year prison sentence on Friday for three counts of the rarely prosecuted crime of bigamy, though prosecutors said he had 34 wives in all.

Wendell Loy Nielsen, 71, of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints led by imprisoned leader Warren Jeffs, showed little reaction when Texas District Judge Robert Moore read the sentence.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-03-30/news/sns-rt-us-usa-bigamybre82t17c-20120330_1_sect-leader-polygamist-sect-warren-jeffs

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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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