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20 April 2012

Dem gov: Romney’s family came from “polygamy commune in Mexico”

April 20, 2012 1:10 PM

CBS News

Brian Schweitzer, Montana’s Democratic governor, invoked sensitive elements of Mitt Romney’s family history Wednesday, noting in an interview with the Daily Beast that the presumptive Republican presidential candidate’s “family came from a polygamy commune in Mexico.”

The governor, who clarified that “I am not alleging by any stretch that Romney is a polygamist and approves of polygamy,” and who did not explicitly criticize this element of Romney’s history, was discussing the fact that the former Massachusetts governor’s father was born in Mexico.

Schweitzer argued that it was not in Romney’s interest to claim ties to the Hispanic community even though his father was born in Mexico because “then he’d have to talk about his family coming from a polygamy commune in Mexico.” And women in America, he contended, are “not great fans of polygamy.”


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Your Cutesy Little Insight Into Mormonism Sucks

2:21 pm April 20, 2012


Oh man, so, you know that cutesy little insight you may have Mitt Romney and the Secrets of Mormonism that you think could pass off as clever or “ironic”? Well, it’s not really interesting at all, nor is it clever, and you don’t know what irony is. So please, please, cut the crap, Brian Schweitzer and Martin Bashir, because we don’t really need to spend the next seven months watching daily evil cable news debates about whether Romney’s Mormon church or Barack Obama’s Jeremiah Wright church is WEIRDER, as would inevitably — and not unfairly — be the case.


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Bashir: Romney risks going to hell

4/20/12 11:45 AM EDT


Quite a segment from Martin Bashir on Thursday: The MSNBC host, in so many words, implied that Romney will go to hell unless he stops lying.

“Mitt Romney prefers to tell lies,” said Bashir.

Bashir singled out ” a hat trick of falsehoods” that he claimed Romney had made in recent days and, then, said that the Mormon faith sends liars to hell, so…?

“Given what the Book of Mormon is clearly saying, Mr. Romney has but two choices. He can either keep lying and potentially win the White House, but bring eternal damnation upon himself. Or, he can start telling the truth. The question for him, I guess, is which is more important.”


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Mormon parents create ‘It Gets Better’ video

Posted on April 20, 2012 at 12:43 PM


Mormon parents are defending their gay children in a new video that confronts The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ disapproval of homosexuality.

The video to be released during a national gay conference for Mormons in Washington, D.C., on Saturday is part of the ongoing “It Gets Better” project, which seeks to give hope to bullied lesbian and gay teenagers.

In the video, the parents recall how they struggled with their faith when their children first came out as gay. The parents say God wants them to love their children despite their sexual orientation.

The video follows a similar project released by gay students at Brigham Young University in Utah last month. In that video, the Mormon students say they believe God loves them as they are.


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It Gets Better: Gay Mormons Hold Conference in DC

April 20, 2012

Religion Dispatches

Gay Mormons, their families, and allies will gather this weekend for a historic conference that breaks new ground for LGBT issues in LDS communities. The Circling the Wagons conference in Washington, D.C., will bring together long-time gay Mormon activists as well as high-profile gay Mormons like Mitch Mayne, who made headlines last year after having been called to a leadership position in a San Francisco LDS congregation.

They’ll gather as local Mormon conservative activists in Maryland also organize this weekend–acting individually and without involvement from LDS Church headquarters–gathering signatures in support of a ballot initiative to overturn a recently-passed marriage equality law.

But for this group of pioneering LGBT Mormons a key focus rather than marriage is on honoring the diversity of approaches to being a gay Mormon and on claiming LGBT affirming spaces within this deeply-held faith.


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Richard Dutcher: Leaving his faith, staying with film

Apr 19 2012

The Salt Lake Tribune

When Richard Dutcher wrote the screenplay for his dark drama “Falling” in 1999, he hadn’t started shooting his landmark LDS missionary film “God’s Army,” and he was a devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

When Dutcher finally filmed the movie in 2007 — around the same time he was filming “States of Grace,” the quasi-sequel to “God’s Army” — he wasn’t a Mormon anymore.

“In a very real sense, the writer was a very different person than the director was,” Dutcher, 47, said in an interview this week. “The director was no longer a believer, but the script writer had been.”


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BYU-Hawaii student prez: Mormons made me a better Muslim

Apr 19 2012 05:22 pm

The Salt Lake Tribune

Mustapha El Akkari knows what it’s like to be an outsider — and he doesn’t mind.

A Muslim, El Akkari has just become the first non-Mormon student-body president in the 57-year history of Brigham Young University-Hawaii.

The senior-to-be from Lebanon attended the LDS Church-owned school on a basketball scholarship and is studying business management. The Salt Lake Tribune interviewed him about his life and faith this week while he was in Utah doing an International Institute for Professional Protocol internship at Nu Skin in Provo.


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How Mormonism may have influenced Ann Romney to stay home

Friday, April 20 2012 11:36 a.m. MDT

Deseret News

Ann Romney’s choice to be a stay-at-home mom unexpectedly sparked fierce social debate and a pointed political controversy over the past week. But lost in the hullabaloo is an angle to the story that largely went unexamined: the extent to which religion influenced her decision to be a homemaker while raising five sons.

BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins detailed how and why Ann Romney’s religious values played a significant role in prompting her to be a stay-at-home mom.

“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,” Coppins wrote. “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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RGOD2: What LGBT people might expect from a Mormon president

April 20th, 2012

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News

Those of us who lived through Proposition 8 experienced the unholy alliance of Catholics, Fundamentalists and Mormons to discredit the LGBT and ally community. The Rev. Canon Albert Ogle, author of SDGLN’s weekly faith and religion column RGOD2, witnessed the same forces at work in the UN AIDS plan last summer where all references to LGBT and other “most at risk” populations globally were removed from the draft Declaration. The financial impact to programs and potential human suffering that could result from this religiously-inspired position is alarming. The prime actor at the UN was a Mormon, Sharon Slater from Family Watch International. Ogle says his concern is that under the guise of protecting a narrow definition of the “family,” this unholy alliance is now moving closer in an attempt to take the White House. We invited Rob Donaldson, a former Mormon who is a member of St. Paul’s in San Diego, to write a guest column of RGOD2 and
give us some insights into what might be in store for us if Mitt Romney becomes President of the United States of America.


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The rise of the Mormon feminist housewife

Friday, Apr 20, 2012 10:34 AM Mountain Daylight Time


When Democratic talking head Hilary Rosen remarked on CNN last week that Ann Romney hadn’t “worked a day in her life,” Aimee Hickman says her heart sank. “I thought, wow, Ann Romney is going to be on the Internet in 20 seconds – and in fact she was – because if there’s one thing that Mormon women are trained to do, they are trained to defend stay-at-home mothers.”

As McKay Coppins explained at Buzzfeed, “[F]or 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.” And yet Ann Romney’s position, for all the outrage it produced, doesn’t reflect all Mormon women’s realities. A growing group of young Mormon women, like Hickman — who calls herself a stay-at-home mom, but co-edits the feminist journal Exponent II, runs a stained-glass studio and is writing an academic paper about Mormon women opening Etsy stores — are increasingly challenging women’s traditional role within the Church. Though Mormon women are still more likely to be stay-at-home moms, several Mormon women active in feminist issues said that in their wards, roughly half of women work outside the home. Even more surprisingly, rather than shunning these women, as it did as
recently as the 1990s, the Church is showing some signs of a new tolerance toward them.

“In a congregation 15 years ago, anyone could have told you which women were employed outside their home and which ones weren’t,” says Kristine Haglund, editor of the liberal Mormon journal Dialogue. That’s no longer the case, she says, partly out of economic necessity, and because young women “didn’t grow up with the sense that there was something inherently wicked about women participating in public life.”


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Why the Christian Right Doesn’t Care That Mitt Romney is a Mormon

Friday, April 20,2012

The New Republic

When Dallas First Baptist Church pastor Robert Jeffress endorsed Mitt Romney this week, it raised some eyebrows. Jeffress, after all, was the evangelical leader who roiled last year’s Value Voters Summit by casually telling reporters that Mitt Romney was “not a Christian,” but instead a member of the Mormon “cult.” His endorsement should serve as a warning to any Democrats who expect that evangelical distaste for Mormonism will cost Mitt Romney a significant number of votes. Most conservative evangelical political activists, like Jeffress, have long since subordinated any theological concerns about political leaders to a cultural agenda where all are welcome allies.

There’s nothing mysterious about this phenomenon, and it doesn’t reflect dishonesty, either. Jeffress himself explained his endorsement of Romney in pretty clear terms:

Given the choice between a Christian like Barack Obama who embraces very unbiblical principles like abortion and a Mormon like Mitt Romney who supports biblical values like the sanctity of life and marriage, I think there’s a good biblical case for voting for Mitt Romney.

In other words, so long as a candidate is on the same page as the Christian Right on same-sex marriage and abortion– and, increasingly, contraception–his understanding of the metaphysical nature of the universe isn’t a deal-breaker. Mormons are as welcome in the fight against encroaching secularism as anyone else.


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Gay rights activists see Mormons softening attitudes toward their community

Apr 20 2012 08:55:42 AM EDT

Local 10

(CNN) – 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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LDS author’s international book covers

Friday, April 20 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Deseret News

Mormon Moment: Watch Laurie Maffly-Kipp, professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, explain “The Long Approach to the Mormon Moment: The Building of an American Church” in a lecture last week at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics in Missouri. She compares the politics of today with the early 20th century Mormon moment that involved Apostle James E. Talmage. It’s a fascinating comparison that helps place this moment more in context. She explains that Mitt Romney’s candidacy is highlighting the tensions of what it means to be a Mormon and American and “it raises an interesting question of all of us of ‘What would Mormons have to do, short of renouncing their religion, to be accepted in significant ways in the public square?'” Check it out!


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Equity firm accused of bias

April 20, 2012

The Register-Guard

Six former employees of the Eugene affiliate of a Utah-based private equity firm have filed a $5.35 million lawsuit accusing their former employers of firing them because they were not Mormon.

The suit, filed late last week in Eugene federal court, also alleges age discrimination by Sorenson Capital Partners of Lehi, Utah.

The complaint identifies Sorenson Capital’s principals — “including a number of its managing directors and officers” — as “former partners or executives at Bain Capital and Bain & Company.”

The lawsuit has attracted national attention on legal and political websites because presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney founded Bain Capital in 1984 after working for Bain & Co. He left the firm in 1999. The lawsuit doesn’t allege any violations of the law by Romney or Bain.


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Rwanda: Prisoners Get Free Eye Glasses

20 April 2012

All Africa

The Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS), on Wednesday, received a donation of 8,100 pairs of eyeglasses from Deseret International Charities (DIC) from the US.

DIC is an NGO attached to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church.

“We are really impressed by the progress made so far by the Rwandan government in as far as the prisons management in the country is concerned. The social welfare of the inmates is totally good and it’s in this regard that we also decided to contribute these eye spectacles to RCS to help those with eye defects,” said Brad Wilkers, head of DIC in Rwanda.


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