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18 June 2012

Mormonism isn’t like a string of Christmas lights

June 18, 2012

Washington Post

Here’s the problem with the Christmas-light view of religion: it’s too easily manufactured and too easily broken. As a young girl in Sunday School, just hearing tear-jerking stories about hardy Mormon pioneer women pushing handcarts across the Great Plains filled me with religious certitude. Surely, I thought, the pioneers would not have suffered for something that wasn’t true.

The other side of the the Christmas-light perspective also makes it easy to discredit an entire faith tradition. All you have to do is knock out a single light, and kaplooey-the whole tradition is dysfunctional, bogus, and unworthy of the loyalty of intelligent people.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/mormonism-isnt-like-a-string-of-christmas-lights/2012/06/18/gJQAK9SzlV_story.html

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What If Mitt Romney Were Jewish?

June 18, 2012

Bloomberg

So what does the Romney camp find so frightening? In talking to my Mormon friends (some of my best friends are Mormons), the answer is clear. The practices and origin stories of most religions, when viewed by outsiders, all seem fairly strange. But Mormonism seems just a bit stranger than the rest. The great fear is not that Americans will see a Mormon politician as too sinister to lead the country (the way that some Baptist leaders once saw the Catholic John F. Kennedy) but that Americans will see a Mormon as too bizarre to be president.

They point to the issue of “sacred underwear,” the derisive term for undergarments worn by some Mormons to remind themselves of their religious responsibilities. Many find the concept odd, but should they? Is Mormonism really that much stranger than other religions?

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-18/let-mad-lib-test-settle-mormon-campaign-debate.html

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Mormons Have Irrational Beliefs? Who Doesn’t?

June 19, 2012

Townhall

Concerning Mormon undergarments, it is worth noting that Jews have worn a “sacred undergarment” for thousands of years. Those who belittle Mormon undergarments might as well belittle the “fringes” (tzitzit) that observant Jewish men wear inside or outside their clothing. Yet, neither the Jewish nor the Mormon practice is in any way irrational. Wearing a garment to remind oneself to always act in a morally elevated manner hardly constitutes irrational behavior.

http://townhall.com/columnists/dennisprager/2012/06/19/mormons_have_irrational_beliefs_who_doesnt

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Guest commentary: Joseph Smith’s flaws don’t make Mormonism a fraud

June 18, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

If a person looks at faith like a string of Christmas lights, they demand that “light” leap from one point to another along a single string of connections. If one junction along the string is flawed, then the whole string is dysfunctional. Or, if the whole string is functional, then every single junction must be perfect.

Here’s the problem with the Christmas-light view of religion: It’s too easily manufactured and too easily broken. As a young girl in Sunday School, just hearing tear-jerking stories about hardy Mormon pioneer women pushing handcarts across the Great Plains filled me with religious certitude. Surely, I thought, the pioneers would not have suffered for something that wasn’t true.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/54327371-78/joseph-smith-church-faith.html.csp

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“I’m a Mormon, Not a Christian”

June 18, 2012

Commonweal

This stance of non-Christianity isn’t uniform among Mormons, to be sure. As Mason notes: “My Mormon fellows, most of whom will argue earnestly for their Christian legitimacy, will scream bloody murder that I don’t represent them. I don’t. They don’t represent me, either.”

Identity questions seem to be the ur-issue of the day. Do you have to affirm Nicea/Constantinople to be Christian? How about Chalcedon? Do you have to affirm seven sacraments to be Catholic, or is two enough, (since Lutherans, inter many alia, affirm the Nicene creed’s affirmation of the “one holy catholic and apostolic Church”)? More neuralgically at present, must one actively oppose contraception, same-sex marriage and women’s ordination to be Catholic? Must one embrace Vatican II, or is agreement on the hot-button issues enough, a la SSPX?

http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/?p=19474

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Romney family’s links to Preston

June 19, 2012

Lancashire Evening Post (United Kingdom)

The first Mormon baptisms outside North America took place at the River Ribble in Preston.

They were held on July 30, 1837, where nine individuals were baptised in the river, in the presence of a crowd of around 8,000 onlookers.

The site was chosen because no clergyman would allow the baptisms, into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), to be held in a church of another denomination.

http://www.lep.co.uk/news/local/romney-family-s-links-to-preston-1-4655315

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Thousands will celebrate at park

June 19, 2012

Lancashire Evening Post (United Kingdom)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is marking the 175th anniversary of their first baptism in Britain with a choral concert in Avenham Park in Preston next month.

Missionaries from the Church, otherwise known as Mormons, arrived from the USA in July 1837.

They preached a sermon in Preston, attracting an audience of 8,000 onlookers, before baptising nine new converts from the banks of the River Ribble.

http://www.lep.co.uk/community/thousands-will-celebrate-at-park-1-4655371

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Romney, guarded about his Mormonism, faces the Lieberman challenge

St. Louis Jewish Light (Missouri)

In an email complaint last year to the Washington Post about a story that detailed Romney’s leadership in the Boston-area Mormon community, his Jewish spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, balked. She substituted “Jew” and “Jewish” for Mormon in an attempt to underscore what she depicted as the complaint’s intrusiveness and offense. The New York Times has reported that the Romney campaign challenges reporters, “Would you have written this about a Jewish candidate?”

Some experts on Mormonism say the answer should be yes and add that Romney should welcome the scrutiny, especially because of his deep involvement in his church, as a young missionary in France and then as a bishop in Boston.
“His experience as a church leader provides some humanizing narrative of working with people who are unemployed, poor, immigrants,” Mason said. “People in America respect faith.”

http://www.stljewishlight.com/news/nation/article_8e9e6e33-2e80-518f-a924-f6e712071f18.html

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The Elephant in the Race

June 18, 2012

New America Foundation

Within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which Romney is an active, engaged member, there is a patriarchal structure in which men hold the important leadership positions, assisted by a women’s auxiliary called the “Relief Society.” Each ward–a congregation of several hundred people–has a bishop, or lay male leader, who selects the relief society president for his ward. “The president is the head woman in the ward,” explains Bowman, and when the bishop wants to know what women of the ward are thinking, he will go to the head woman and ask her. So when he heard Romney channel Ann on what America’s women are concerned about, Bowman could not help but think: “Ann is the Relief Society president for America.”

This interesting observation raises a familiar yet surprisingly unanswered question: the extent to which Romney’s views on women–and his policies affecting them–are influenced by his Mormon upbringing and beliefs, consciously or even just instinctively. So far, it’s hard to know because Romney doesn’t get into specifics about his religion or, frankly, about women.

http://www.newamerica.net/publications/articles/2012/the_elephant_in_the_race_68634

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Sen. Marco Rubio Talks About His Mormon Childhood

June 18, 2012

ABC News

In his new autobiography “An American Son,” which goes on sale Tuesday, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, writes about his Christian faith and a fact that is not widely known — as a child he and his cousins were baptized in the Mormon church.
“We were in the Mormon church I guess by the time I turned eight,” he told ABC News’ David Muir.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/06/sen-marco-rubio-talks-about-his-mormon-childhood/

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Rubio to Newsmax: My Faith Shapes Everything I Do

June 18, 2012

Newsmax

Sen. Marco Rubio recounts his boyhood experience as a member of the Mormon Church in his remarkable new autobiography “An American Son: A Memoir.”

Rubio attended The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with his family in Las Vegas from ages 8 to 11. And in an exclusive interview with Newsmax chief Washington correspondent Ronald Kessler, the Republican Party luminary was asked for his reaction when people say that Mormons, like GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, are not Christians.

“I’m always uncomfortable with sectarian or denominational division,” he responded.

“As I outlined in the book, I don’t think my mother fully grasped Mormon theology. I was eight years old at the time. We had moved to Las Vegas and she wanted to provide us with a wholesome environment to live in. And we had cousins and extended family that were in the church.

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/marco-rubio-book-faith/2012/06/18/id/442712

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Marco Rubio’s book explains why he left Mormonism

June 18, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio credits his short-lived time as a Mormon for providing a moral compass in his youth, though he also discloses for the first time his family’s struggles with the constraints of the faith and his eventual return to the Catholic fold.

In his new autobiography, An American Son, available Tuesday, the Florida Republican candidly discusses the three years he spent as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and lauds the Utah-based faith for helping his Cuban-immigrant mother and him when they moved from Miami to Las Vegas when he was a grade-schooler.

“All in all, the Mormon church provided the sound moral structure my mother had wanted for us, and a circle of friends from stable, God-fearing families,” Rubio writes in his book. “When we left the church a few years later, mostly at my instigation, we did so with gratitude for its considerable contribution to our happiness in those years.”

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/54325018-78/rubio-church-family-faith.html.csp

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Rubio: GOP has work to do to win over Hispanics

June 17, 2012

CBS News

Their faith is an important part of their life. Rubio was born Catholic, but when his parents briefly moved to Las Vegas in 1979, they joined the Mormon Church.

“You were Mormon for three years, then you came back and were Catholic again – and now you go to a Baptist Church,” said O’ Donnell.

“Well, yeah, our church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. . . . I never stopped being a Catholic,” he said, admitting they go to both Mass every Sunday and also regularly attend Christ Fellowship.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-3445_162-57454756/rubio-gop-has-work-to-do-to-win-over-hispanics/

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Sen. Marco Rubio discusses his religion on ‘CBS Sunday Morning’

June 17, 2012

Orlando Sentinel (Florida)

Rubio also explains his religious history: He grew up Catholic, then became affiliated with the Mormon Church for three years, but later returned to Catholicism. Now he attends a Catholic Mass and a church affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-06-17/entertainment/os-marco-rubio-talks-religion-20120617_1_marco-rubio-credit-card-religious-history

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Who is Marco Rubio? Life Story Revealed in Manuel Roig-Franzia’s Biography

June 18, 2012

Daily Beast

There are plenty of revelations in the book. Among the most interesting is Rubio’s circuitous personal religious path–described by allies as a “journey of faith”–ranging from attending Catholic Mass during his boyhood in Miami to his adolescent conversion to Mormonism when his family lived in Las Vegas to describing himself as a Baptist when his political career began and then back to his original Catholicism, all of them embraced with a God-and-country frame that resonates powerfully with the Republican Party base as well as, presumably, Rubio’s soul.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/06/18/who-is-marco-rubio-life-story-revealed-in-manuel-roig-franzia-s-biography.html

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Group offers help to Mormons whose spouses are gay

June 18, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

Nicholson, who still was clinging to her LDS faith, wanted a place to share stories, cry, laugh and encourage. She turned to a national website, straightspouse.org, an umbrella organization for some 55 similar groups. But she felt many of those posting there were bitter and just wanted to vent. So she launched straightspouses.org, which invites people to join a private Facebook support group.

Last fall, there were 14 members. Now there are 45, mostly Utah Mormons, but some in other states and other faiths.

Two weeks ago, the issue of Mormon “mixed-orientation marriages,” as it has become known, exploded on the Internet, when Josh Weed and his wife, Lolly, posted the story of their relationship on his blog, joshweed.com.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/54328791-78/gay-says-xgxgxg-xgxgxgxg.html.csp

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Mormon Ex-Gay Therapists Attack Family Acceptance Literature

June 18, 2012

Think Progress

Last week, the Family Acceptance Project released new literature encouraging Mormons to be more accepting of LGBT youth. The 25-page booklet, part of the “Supportive Families, Healthy Children” series, blends aspects of the Mormon faith with research about how best to support the mental and physical health of young people questioning their sexuality or gender identity. Unfortunately, the LDS-run Deseret News couldn’t resist inviting ex-gay therapists Ty Mansfield and Laurie Campbell to critique the guide:

MANSFIELD: The pamphlet’s assumption of a predetermined and rubber-stamped ‘LGBT’ identity is problematic… Those who take their religion seriously also understand the sacred responsibility of nurturing values and identities that are more in harmony with the deeply held spiritual beliefs from which they arise – and they’ll continue to look for guidance primarily from church leaders as opposed to ‘LGBT’ research institutes to help them in that regard.

http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/06/18/501632/mormon-ex-gay-therapists-attack-family-acceptance-literature/?mobile=nc

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Mormons look within to explain why members are leaving “in droves”

June 18, 2012

National Post (Canada)

This year, Elder Marlin Jensen, the Mormon Church’s outgoing official historian, acknowledged that members are defecting from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “in droves” and that the pace is increasing.

This poses a particular dilemma for a hierarchical church that was historically isolated like no other. Church leaders can crack down and continue to see members, especially young people, leave. Or they can allow church-wide dialogue and changes relating to the church’s historical and doctrinal claims, financial dealings, proselytizing and treatment of women, skeptics and outsiders.

http://life.nationalpost.com/2012/06/18/mormons-look-within-to-explain-religious-desertions/

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Development of Dougherty Doctrine

June 18, 2012

Patheos

Just how large is the problem? Sheffield writes, “This year, Elder Marlin Jensen, the Mormon Church’s outgoing official historian, acknowledged that members are defecting from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ‘in droves’ and that the pace is increasing.”

That sounds alarming, but without the relevant numbers, it’s not terribly helpful. Just how many Mormons are calling it quits and how does that stack up against Mormon births and conversions? She doesn’t grapple with that question. Instead we get a lot of anecdotes about some former Mormon protest groups, a YouTube video with half a million views, and “hundreds” of pro-gay Mormons that marched in something or other.

Nor does Sheffield consider what a sort of Vatican 2 for Mormonism would do to the faith and practice of the large mass of faithful Mormons. Maybe most Mormons would be fine with it, or maybe you’d see LDS participation plummet much like Mass attendance did in the 1970s. I’d guess the latter but it’s only a guess, because I’d like to avoid the temptations of the Dougherty Doctrine on this fine Monday.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jeremylott/2012/06/development-of-dougherty-doctrine/

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Column: Why Mormons flee their church

June 18, 2012

USA Today

This year, Elder Marlin Jensen, the Mormon Church’s outgoing official historian, acknowledged that members are defecting from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “in droves” and that the pace is increasing.

This poses a particular dilemma for a hierarchical church that was historically isolated like no other. Church leaders can crack down and continue to see members, especially young people, leave. Or they can allow churchwide dialogue and changes relating to the church’s historical and doctrinal claims, financial dealings, proselytizing and treatment of women, skeptics and outsiders.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/story/2012-06-17/mormon-lds-ex-mormon/55654242/1

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Residents Will Get Second Chance To Comment On Farmington Temple Plans Tuesday

June 18, 2012

Hartford Courant (Connecticut)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is proposing a temple that would face the intersection of Melrose Drive and Farmington Avenue. To the right of the temple there would be a 2,260-square-foot building that would serve as the temple president’s home. A 680-square-foot two-car garage is also included in the plan.

Behind the house and to the back right of the temple would be a 753-square-foot service building.

Concrete and stone pathways would snake through dozens of shrubs and trees on the grounds, according to the plan, which was unanimously approved last month by members of the town’s inland wetland commission, with several conditions.

http://www.courant.com/community/farmington/hc-farmington-pz-mormon-temple-20120618,0,6178821.story

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Little Ryan Gosling Performing In A Mormon Talent Show May Be The Cutest Thing He’s Ever Done

June 18, 2012

Crushable

We already knew that Ryan starred on The Mickey Mouse Club with the likes of Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, but it turns out he got his start as a cute-as-a-button kid in Canada. He and his older sister Mandi would do these little choreographed dance sequences at competitions, but also as the entertainment at weddings. I don’t want to subscribe to stereotypes, but are little Mormons-in-training really allowed to gyrate their hips like that to “Everybody Dance Now”?

http://crushable.com/entertainment/ryan-gosling-mormon-talent-show-video-dance-996/

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It’s Time You See This Footage of an Extremely Young Ryan Gosling Belting Out Some Tunes

June 18, 2012

Jezebel

Here is an exceedingly tiny Ryan Gosling performing with great enthusiasm at a Mormon talent show in 1991. He is also joined by his sister Mandi. Why were they performing for Mormons?

http://jezebel.com/5919416/its-time-you-see-this-footage-of-an-extremely-young-ryan-gosling-belting-out-some-tunes

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Willard Mormon Romney and the Clan of the Red Beanie

June 18, 2012

Esquire

God works in mysterious ways, but this one is a real doozy. Willard Romney, a prominent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has decided to go long with the Clan of the Red Beanie, which does not consider his baptism to be valid. But what’s a little doctrine, when there’s unprincipled pandering to be done?

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/romney-catholic-church-9834059

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DPWH boss defers flyover plan near temple

June 19, 2012

Inquirer News (Philippines)

Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson told his staff to “defer” plans to build a P201 million flyover in Gorordo Avenue in front of the new Mormon temple in Cebu City.

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/215205/dpwh-boss-defers-flyover-plan-near-temple

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Evangelicals and Romney: Politics Trumps Theology?

June 19, 2012

Patheos

Merritt also makes a great deal out of some evangelicals not wishing to call Mormonism a “cult.” The ecumenically-inclined Richard Mouw aside, I think this is simply a case where evangelical leaders do not wish to insult Mormons, whom they increasingly see as allies on social issues. It does not indicate a substantial change in theology. Whatever the academic meanings of the term “cult,” its popular use summons images of Jim Jones or the Branch Davidians. I, for one, think that Mormons hold beliefs that are incommensurate with traditional, biblical Christianity, but I would never call them a cult.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/anxiousbench/2012/06/evangelicals-and-romney-do-politics-trump-theology/

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