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17 April 2012

Conference Center Fire: Church Statement

April 17, 2012


The fire at the Church Conference Center was limited to a backup power supply cabinet in an electrical control room above the main auditorium. Two sprinkler heads functioned as designed and extinguished the fire. Water overflow to the auditorium floor below was limited to a 50-foot area in front of the podium but did not cause significant damage. Water in the affected area has been extracted, and fans are being used to dry the carpet and chairs. The actual cause of the fire remains under investigation.


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Is it open season on Mormonism?

April 17, 2012

Washington Post

The BuzzFeed piece is misleadingly titled,”Why Ann stayed home.” In fact the reporter, McKay Coppins (who has identified himself as a Mormon), reveals nothing about her motivations. That, rather, appears to be the “hook” for a discourse asserting the Mormon faith is discriminatory and oppressive toward women. Ann wasn’t interviewed. The Romney campaign didn’t comment for his report. And the reporter doesn’t indicate he tried to reach either. The piece foreshadows, I fear, of what is to come — effort to portray Mormons as weirdly out of step and unmodern, and by implication, Romney as being unfit for the presidency.

The premise of the piece, that Mormonism was the motivation for Ann Romney’s decision to stay home, is defeated in the first graph: “Ann Romney was already fully immersed in stay-at-home motherhood — raising five sons, ages six to 16, in her Belmont home — when Mormon prophet Ezra Taft Benson took to a pulpit on February 22, 1987 and delivered a definitive sermon on gender roles in the church titled, “To the Mothers of Zion.” (Emphasis added.) The reporter also cites a Mormon speech lauding motherhood from the late 1970s, after the birth of several of the Romney boys.


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Why Ann Stayed Home

April 16, 2012

The religious dynamic of the Romneys’ Leave It To Beaver lifestyle has been largely lost on the partisans making hay out of the latest flare-up in the mommy wars, which was sparked by a Democratic strategist charging that Ann “has never actually worked a day in her life.” But while much of the debate has centered on class — with liberals casting full-time motherhood as a luxury for the rich, and conservatives hoping working-class women will identify with her — the fact is that even if Mitt were a middle-class schoolteacher, there’s a good chance Ann still would have foregone a career.

That’s because for many Latter-day Saint women, staying at home to raise children is less a lifestyle choice than religious one — a divinely-appreciated sacrifice that brings with it blessings, empowerment, and spiritual prestige.


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The Secret Mormon Mommy Wars

April 17, 2012


Romney’s religion is going to mused-about and impugned at other points during the campaign. It wasn’t discussed at all during the Mommy War’s Battle of Rosen Field. Is there some upside to reminding voters about which church the Romneys belong to? Probably not. You can win some skeptics over, but it takes an argument. Better to genericize the issue, and turn Ann into Every Mom Ever.

Coppins, a member of the LDS Church, has been plugging away with good stories about this stuff. Generally, though, the skeptical or factual investigations of how the church works have appeared in limited quantities without much pick-up elsewhere. Stephanie Mencimer, Mother Jones’s investigative political reporter, has been filing great stories about the many Mormon-run Amway-style organizations, whose founders give big to Romney. But this has largely remained undernews, not as prominent as stuff like the unknowable Romney “veepstakes.”


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Gay rights activists see Mormons softening attitudes toward their community

April 17, 2012


Kevin Kloosterman, a former Mormon bishop, said he “came out” last year – just not in the way that many people associate with coming out.

“I came out and basically made a personal apology to (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) folks for really not understanding their issues, not really taking the time to understand their lives and really not doing my homework,” Kloosterman said in an interview with CNN.

Though not speaking on behalf of the church, the then-bishop stood in front of a crowd of gay and straight Mormons at a November conference on gay and lesbian issues in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is headquartered.


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Tigers Mother vs Romney’s Mormon Moms and Rosen’s Two Mommies

April 17, 2012

Asian Week

If someone is trying to pick a fight between anti-Mormonism and homophobia, it seems most of the inappropriate insults flying on the internet and youtube are aimed at Rosen as nobody but Rosen has embraced attacking Ann’s chosen Mormon membership and full-time power-wife and child / home manager role (most of the anti-Mormons are hanging out with the Susan Cox Powell case crowd it seems…).

Rosen’s attack isn’t just an attack on stay at home moms, but I’m sure it’s an attack in particular on Mormonism especially when Rosen proclaimed that Mitt Romney does not believe that women are the equal of men. That’s a common stereotype promoted by anti-Mormon groups like exmormon.org that proclaim “Sexism within the Mormon institution is overt and institutionalized” One response to a Yahoo question “Why do Mormons deny sexism when it’s so deeply institutionalized” got this reply “I’ve dealt with my share of sexism in my life, but not once has it ever come from a Mormon man. Mormon men are taught to cherish their wives”. Whether you want to believe it or not, (fundamentalist Muslims also claim gender equality as a value, as do apolgists for Confucianism though I can’t think of any at the moment besides me..) an official Mormon church teaching page states “husband and wife are equals working together in all things to better the home
and family.”


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The Boston Mormon Stories Region announces conference to discuss creating community for Mormons of all levels of orthodoxy

April 17, 2012

Sacramento Bee (California)

Mormon Stories, a nonprofit podcast and support community that seeks to honor authentic expression of belief, announces its first Boston regional conference. All who are interested in using personal narratives to create communities that allow for genuine expression of belief are invited. The conference will be held Saturday, April 28th at First Parish Cambridge located at 3 Church Street in Harvard Square between 12:00 noon and 4:00 p.m. Registrations are now being accepted at MormonStories.org. Registration fees pay for venue rental and speaker airfare. Free and reduced-cost admissions available; please see website for details.

In 2005, John Dehlin, executive director of Mormon Stories, started a podcast seeking to explore, challenge and celebrate Mormon culture through personal life stories. What was once an individual pursuit has grown into a network of over 50 regional communities of listeners across the Untied States and world. Listeners develop friendships on Facebook, online forums and blogs then meet together in the real world to discuss the podcasts and share their own Mormon Stories.


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BYU-Hawaii gets first non-Mormon student prez

April 17, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

Brigham Young University-Hawaii has its first non-Mormon student body president — and he’s a Muslim.

Mustapha El Akkari, the Lebanese-born student who came to the Mormon-owned school three years ago on a full-ride basketball scholarship, takes office this week, according to an article in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

“In its 57-year-history, BYUH has never had a non-church member,” the article said, “and certainly not an Arabic-speaking Muslim leading its student body population, currently 2,673 students.”


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Fired for not Being Mormon, Managers Say

April 17, 2012

Courthouse News Service

Former members of Bain Capital fired six out of seven managers of a senior housing company because they are not Mormon, the fired managers claim in Federal Court.

David McCurdy and his co-plaintiffs sued Sorenson Capital Partners, Care Holding Co., Care Senior Living, and SCP Care Acquisition.

The plaintiffs claim that Care Senior Living, which manages assisted-living and other care facilities, hired them in March 2011, and that all six of them “had a proven track record of success in the senior housing industry.”

They say the private equity firm Sorenson Capital Partners, which controlled Care’s daily operations, fired them because they are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


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Supporters seek to define the real Mitt Romney

April 17, 2012

CBS News

Dave Checketts, former chief executive officer of Madison Square Garden, is a powerful leader in the Mormon Church. He’s known Romney since the 1980s when he was hired by him at the consulting firm, Bain & Company. He says Romney’s reluctance to tout his good works comes from the root teachings of the church.


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Romney is Mormon: How many reminders do we need?

April 16, 2012

Get Religion

Over the weekend, I mentioned in passing that I wrote a column on the Mormon moment, since Mitt Romney will probably be the Republican nominee and the LDS Church is building Indiana’s first temple. My well-educated friends asked, “Wait, Romney’s Mormon?”

Like my friends, you probably haven’t watched much TV or read much of the Internet if you don’t know Romney is Mormon. Matthew Philbin pointed out at Newsbusters that networks seem obsessed with pointing out Romney’s faith. There was no coverage shortage of reporters wondering whether evangelicals would vote for a Mormon once Rick Santorum dropped out.


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