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17 August 2012

Mormon and Jewish Leaders Tour Brigham City Utah Temple Together

August 17, 2012


A delegation from the American Jewish Committee (AJC) met with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) recently.

The visit included discussions on religious freedom and secularism in addition to taking a tour of the newly completed Brigham City Utah Temple. The group also visited other Church sites including the Family History Library, Welfare Square, Humanitarian Center and Temple Square.

“AJC’s longstanding relationship with the LDS Church is based on mutual understanding as a foundation for cooperation and respect. In approaching faith communities, AJC makes every effort to understand them as they understand themselves,” said Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC’s director of interreligious and intergroup relations.


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Misquoting Science

August 17, 2012


The purpose of this blog post is to provide a written source of what I said at the beginning of my presentation pertaining to this quote. My goal is not to attack anyone in particular, but to promote greater awareness about poorly developed statements that may have the appearance of being professional and objective, but in reality are loaded with errors and biased misconceptions.

I am in the process of working on a full transcript of my presentation that will eventually be available elsewhere. Here, I will simply address this specific comment from Sunstone and provide my own insights from the field of population genetics and Native American origins and how they may (or may not) relate to the study of the Book of Mormon.


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Mitt Romney’s ‘Entitled Mormon Male Problem’ Discussed On HuffPost Live (VIDEO)

August 17, 2012

Huffington Post

HuffPost Live’s Abby Huntsman and Marc Lamont Hill led a discussion Friday morning on Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith.

“What a lot of people don’t understand is [that] what makes Romney tick is his Mormon faith,” Huntsman, who grew up as a practicing member of the church, said.

Sue Emmett, an ex-Mormon and a descendant of Brigham Young, explained that she believes Romney suffers from an “entitled Mormon male problem,” compounded by his family’s wealth and the faith’s inherent feeling of being “chosen.”


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Are the Mormons on to Something?

August 17, 2012

First Things

Over at the Gospel Coalition, David French offers some interesting statistics on why Mormons are beating evangelicals in church growth.

“As a Calvinist member of the Presbyterian Church in America,” he says, “I’ve got my theological differences with the LDS church. But if we evangelicals don’t believe we have anything to learn from our Mormon friends, then we’re foolish.”


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6 Reasons Why Mormons Are Beating Evangelicals in Church Growth

August 16, 2012

The Gospel Coalition

But one religious group shows consistent growth year by year and decade by decade. Mormons, living in the same country and culture as evangelicals, keep growing their church. Why? I propose six reasons.

1. Mormons have bigger families.

This is the easiest and simplest explanation. But it’s far from the entire story. In fact, if family size were determinative, then many churches in America would be growing at a rate that exceeded general population growth. After all, the birth rate of religious families generally exceeds that of nonreligious families. Instead, church after church shrinks or remains basically steady in spite of the higher birth rate. Mormons start with a bigger baseline family, but then they tend to hold on to their kids while evangelicals often do not.


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MSNBC Panel Guest: Donations To The Mormon Church Shouldn’t Count As Supporting Public Social Services

August 17, 2012


On MSNBC, a guest discussing the tax payments made by Mitt Romney dismissed the multi-million dollar charitable donations that the GOP presidential candidate gave to the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints. She said that she felt donating to the Mormon Church and giving to other social services charities should be considered distinct.

On Friday, MSNBC’s Now discussed Romney’s revelation from Thursday when he claimed that he paid no less than 13 percent in taxes every year for the last ten years. When including his charitable donations, the total comes closer to 20 percent.


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Is Mitt Romney Shortchanging the Mormon Church on Tithing?

August 17, 2012

The Nevada View

If Mitt Romney’s 2010 tax return is any indication of how Mitt Romney acts, he’s shortchanged the Mormon Church out of $6 million dollars. That’s a lot of money to shortchange your church.

Once asked whether his tithing payments were relevant to the election, Mitt nervously replied: “If people want to discriminate against someone based upon their commitment to tithe, I’d be very surprised.” He might be surprised, but I wouldn’t be. As a member of the Mormon Church, I can tell you it matters to Mormons.

Faithful members of the church willingly pay 10% of their income to tithing, whether they make $20 Million, or $30 thousand a year. The members paying 10% of $30K are making a huge sacrifice. When Mitt Romney shortchanged the Church by paying 7% in 2010, he still had over $18 million to play with. Gees!


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Reuters Goes After That ‘Wealthy’ Mormon Church

August 17, 2012

Chicago Now (Illinois)

Of course, a religion is not a “business” proposition. A religion does not operate like a company does. It has far different goals. But assessing a religion wasn’t Reuters’ goal, here. Making Mormons out to be “rich” elitists that act suspiciously and are pushing a snobbish presidential candidate on the nation was Reuters’ goal.

Reuters goes on to recount the money the church has as if no one understood that a church that spans the entire globe might have a little bit of cash in the bank. Reuters seemed shocked, shocked I tell you, that the Mormon Church owned much real estate, and was fortunate enough to have millions of believers world wide that donate heavily to their church through tithing.


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Mitt Whiffed on Mormon Leadership

August 16, 2012


It’s not an awful answer but it is incomplete. Mormon success derives from the practical application of Mormon theology. The family is a big part of that but I would argue so are the Mormon notions of creation and, to a lesser and controversial extent, theosis.
The Mormon God didn’t create everything ex nihilo (“from nothing”) like the God of normative Christianity. He organized the stuff that was already here into the universe/earth/etc. And he came up with a plan to put Humpty Dumpty back together again once man had wrecked the place — through Jesus, the Mormon Church and the family.
The Mormon insistence on planning, preparation, organization — management — are almost an act of worship to the organizing Mormon God and they are obsessions in Mormon wards. If you the generic Mormon grow up having it drummed into you that management is really, really important; if you see all these fellow Mormons around you, and perhaps in your own family, running businesses and running for office, it’s all going to have an effect.


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Preview: Mitt Romney: The Making of a Candidate

August 17, 2012


This one-hour special examines Romney’s coming of age; the role of the Mormon religion in his life; his rise as a successful businessman and politician as well as his relationships with his family and staff. “Mitt Romney: The Making of a Candidate,” hosted by Chuck Todd, premieres Friday, August 24 at 10 p.m. ET on msnbc.


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US Election 2012 guide: Mitt Romney profile

August 17, 2012

The Telegraph (United Kingdom)

Mitt Romney was born into a home filled with politics and religion, two themes that remain at the centre of his life. The youngest child of George Romney, a car industry executive, and wife Lenore, Mitt grew up among discussions of public policy and the Mormon faith.

He left Stanford after only a year and moved to France as Mormon missionary, one of the traditions of his faith. While Romney learned French and was recognised for his leadership he said he left dejected at how few converts he made.


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Mormonism’s Jell-O Mold

August 17, 2012


The foods I routinely ate growing up Mormon in Utah–pie, fudge, zucchini, potatoes, homemade bread–did not make the cut. Instead, a gelatin-based snack food commonly associated with lowbrow cooking became the shining example of Utah cuisine. Where did this oddly specific stereotype come from, and what does it mean to label a group of people–especially a religious minority–with any one food?

If you believe the contemporary Jell-O mythos found in books like The Essential Mormon Cookbook: Green Jell-O, Funeral Potatoes, and Other Secret Combinations, Green Jell-O & Red Punch: The Heinous Truth! About Utah!, and No Man Knows My Pastries (a humorous Mormon cookbook featuring a “Jell-O Matrix” aimed at helping readers connect flavors with potential add-ins), Mormons for decades have consumed Jell-O as fervently as they avoid coffee.


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Kidnapped Mormon Missionaries Reunite After 15 Years To Share Experience

August 17, 2012

Huffington Post

It has been almost 15 years since Andrew Propst and Travis Tuttle were kidnapped and held for ransom in the outskirts of a town in southwestern Russia, where they were serving their LDS missions.

It was March 18, 1998, and just as they had done hundreds of times during their service for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the elders knocked on the door of a man they’d met for the first time a few days before. The man had inquired about the church.

Seconds later, their lives were forever changed.


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Sunset Road site OK’d for Mormon church building

August 17, 2012

The Tennessean

A new Mormon church was approved for Sunset Road during Nolensville’s Planning Commission meeting Tuesday night, although several nearby neighbors voiced concerns over traffic, lighting and the change in character on the once rural road.

The future 20,000-square-foot Old Hickory Ward Stake building will be constructed on land held by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2008.


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COLUMN: Religious book seems to be fabrication

August 17, 2012

Weatherford Democrat (Texas)

The Book of Mormon can hardly be called a book in the Old or New Testament sense. It has 588 pages and would better be identified as a new, new testament. It was written by one man, Joseph Smith and first printed in 1830; its story begins in 600 BC.

It is redundant to make a statement and then restate the same thought again and again. For example it repeats the phrase “and it came to pass” over 2,000 times.

It details events in pre-Jesus Israel for which there is no Old or New Testament mention. It claims the American Indians are part of the lost tribes of Israel, which somehow crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 600 B.C., and divided into white-skinned and dark-skinned tribes. The two tribes battled and the dark skins finally killed all the white tribe along with their leader, named Mormon. Mormon’s son, Moroni, returns 1,400 years later and reveals God’s secrets to Joseph Smith as the Book of Mormon. The murder of the whites by the dark tribe is supposedly why Columbus only found dark skinned people in the New World.


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Charlotte billboards will rip religion, politics

August 17, 2012

Charlotte Observer (North Carolina)

American Atheists wanted to put an anti-Mormon billboard in Tampa, Fla., to coincide with the Republican National Convention. Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney is a Mormon. When no billboard company would lease the group space, Silverman said the organization decided to focus solely on the Democrats in Charlotte.


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What are Mormon Missionaries Doing in Kosovo?

August 15, 2012

Religion & Politics

Just over a year ago, the LDS Church established its presence in Pristina. There are, thus far, only six missionaries total in the country. They have a small office and worship space–a storefront church of sorts, with a picture of Jesus in the window–off an unpaved road near the city’s center. On Sundays, they host services for about a dozen people, including the missionaries. They move a ping-pong table out of the way in one corner of their facility to make way for a piano and chairs.

The story of the LDS Church in Kosovo, however, is not just that of an institution finding its footing in a post-war context. It is also one of a new entrant into Kosovo’s already complex religious landscape. There are many non-believers here, like the man Peterson and Racine met in the hallway, whose atheism likely reflects the lingering influence of Kosovo’s decades spent as part of socialist Yugoslavia. There is also a small Catholic community that is constructing a church in downtown Pristina named in honor of Mother Theresa, perhaps the world’s most famous Albanian. Yet Kosovo is predominantly a Muslim country. Most people are not diligent in their practice of Islam, thinking of their religion more as a piece of cultural and historical identity. Still, mosques are sprinkled throughout the country, calls to prayer echo in Pristina each day, and an increasing number of women wear headscarves.


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Your Mail: Tyranny or liberty?

August 16, 2012

The Town Talk (Louisiana)

His latest outrage is that Mitt Romney may someday become a god in the Mormon hierarchy. Really? Does he not read the news where people like Spike Lee, among others, are calling that wretch in the White House “the black Jesus”? Is that not trying to deify a common man, putting him on equal footing with Jesus Christ, the Son of God? I suppose we’re all supposed to suspend belief that the fools who propose such garbage have any concept of Christianity or reality.


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How Utah Avoids the National Economic Funk

August 17, 2012

Wall Street Journal

As the 2010 Census showed, Utah remains the country’s youngest state, with a median age of 29.2–eight years younger than the national median. “It’s because of the dominance of the Mormon culture [in the] region and the high value placed on having children,” BEBR economist Pamela Perlich told the Salt Lake Tribune last year. “We’re younger because we’re an in-migration state. . . . Those coming are young people, and young people have babies. And the people who are having babies are having them at higher rates than other states.”


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Religious Briefs: Aug. 17, 2012

August 17, 2012

St. Augustine Record (Florida)

Utah’s 14th Mormon temple is set to be dedicated in Brigham City.

But KSL reports that starting this Saturday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is allowing the public to tour the facility.

Tours will continue until Sept. 15. The temple will be closed on Sundays.

KSL reports that thousands of people have already made reservations to take tours. The 36,000 square-foot temple is the 139th worldwide and is intended to serve northern Utah and southern Idaho, covering about 40,000 LDS members.


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