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22 August 2012

Mormon FAIR-Cast 103: Does DNA Research Disprove the Book of Mormon?

August 22, 2012

FAIR Blog

Why do some people claim that DNA research proves that the Book of Mormon is not historical? Are they right? In this episode of Religion Today, which originally aired on KSL Radio on August 5, 2012, Martin Tanner interviews Dr. Ugo A. Perego about what we can conclude about the ancient inhabitants of American based on DNA research and what we cannot conclude.

Dr. Perego received a BS and a MS in Health Sciences from Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah) and a PhD in Genetics and Biomolecular Sciences from the University of Pavia (Pavia, Italy) under the mentorship of Professor Antonio Torroni. During the past decade, he has given nearly 200 lectures on DNA topics relating to population migrations, ancestry, forensics, and history (including LDS history). Ugo has also authored and co-authored a number of publications, including the recent: “Joseph Smith, the Question of Polygamous Offspring, and DNA Analysis” (in Craig Foster and Newell Bringhurst’s The Persistence of Polygamy, 2010); “The Initial Peopling of the Americas: A Growing Number of Founding Mitochondrial Genomes” (in Genome Research, 2010); “The Book of Mormon and the Origins of Native Americans from a Maternally Inherited DNA Standpoint” (in Robert Millett’s No Weapon Shall Prosper, 2011); “The Mountain Meadows Massacre and
“Poisoned Springs”: Scientific Testing of the More Recent, Anthrax Theory” (in International Journal of Legal Medicine, 2012); and “Rapid Coastal Spread of First Americans: Novel Insights from South America’s Southern Cone Mitochondrial Genomes” (in Genome Research, 2012).

http://www.fairblog.org/2012/08/22/mormon-fair-cast-103-does-dna-research-disprove-the-book-of-mormon/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+fairldsblog+%28FAIR+Blog%29

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NBC’s effort to get Mitt Romney interview for Mormon ‘Rock Center’ episode fails

August 22, 2012

Washington Post

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, will be the first Mormon presidential nominee of a major political party, and his campaign has generally resisted talking about his faith. But Romney last weekend invited reporters to Mormon chapel services with his family, and a new campaign ad touted him as a defender of religious freedom.

NBC requested a Romney interview weeks ago but was denied. With the new developments, the network made another request Monday but was turned down again.

The newsmagazine’s producers thought it worthwhile to examine the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the eve of one of its members becoming the Republican nominee for president. During the hour, correspondent Harry Smith does a piece on why Mormons are so successful in business and tours a Salt Lake City warehouse where a huge amount of supplies is kept for the needy.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/nbcs-effort-to-get-mitt-romney-interview-for-mormon-rock-center-episode-fails/2012/08/22/eb1bcb3e-ec9c-11e1-866f-60a00f604425_story.html

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Romney’s Uncovered Mormon Roots

August 22, 2012

Huffington Post

Romney’s great-grandfather, Miles Park Romney, established a polygamous enclave in Mexico in 1885 to escape federal prosecutors in Utah who were denying polygamists the rights to vote, sit on juries, or run for office. According to Andrea Mitchell, “The Romneys that came back from Mexico to the United States… crossed the border illegally.” (January 22, 2012)

Though polygamy in Mexico was illegal as well, according to a 1902 Mormon history by William Alexander Linn, the Romney enclave at Colonia LeBaron, in the Sierra Madre foothills, survived and prospered down to present times. Mitt’s father, former Michigan governor George Romney, was born in Chihuahua in 1907.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-hayden/mitt-romney-mormon_b_1823070.html?utm_hp_ref=elections-2012

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Media declares open season on Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith

August 22, 2012

Daily Caller

The same journalists who gushed over the “hope and change” promised by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign and endorsed his call for civility in 2011 have eagerly stoked anti-Mormon religious bigotry during the 2012 presidential campaign, hammering the Mormon faith of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

There have been many displays of media-instigated Mormon bigotry. MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell recently ranted on air that Mormonism was “created by a guy in upstate New York in 1830 when he got caught having sex with the maid and explained to his wife that God told him to do it.” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who wrote a book extolling the memory of John F. Kennedy, has called Romney a “cultist” and complained that the GOP was “willing to outsource it [the election] to a Mormon.” The Post even related the story of a 150-year-old massacre committed by Mormons.

http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/22/media-declares-open-season-on-mitt-romneys-mormon-faith/

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A look into Romney’s religion

August 21, 2012

CNN

For many voters, getting to know Mitt Romney as a candidate also means sorting out facts from fiction about Mormonism. CNN’s Gary Tuchman reports.

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/21/a-look-into-romneys-religion/

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NBC gets no Romney campaign help on Mormon special

August 22, 2012

Associated Press

The newsmagazine’s producers thought it worthwhile to examine the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the eve of one of its members becoming the Republican nominee for president. During the hour, correspondent Harry Smith does a piece on why Mormons are so successful in business and tours a Salt Lake City warehouse where a huge amount of supplies is kept for the needy.

Kate Snow profiles a gay person, a feminist and an interracial couple on their experiences within the church, and NBC finds a Mormon cast member of the Broadway show “The Book of Mormon.”

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gkHmecMF0OBbEaMh6PVYIri3lR1g?docId=5a35b0ec5cb84c2bb4406457ba58a59e

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Will anyone say “Mormon” at the Republican convention?

August 22, 2012

CBS News

Mitt Romney and his supporters have rarely mentioned Romney’s Mormon faith on the campaign trail, despite the central role it has played in the candidate’s life. That’s not likely to change when Romney delivers his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention on August 30.

“I don’t expect to hear the word Mormon,” said Max Perry Mueller, associate editor of Religion & Politics and a PhD candidate in Religion at Harvard University who specializes in Mormonism.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57497709/will-anyone-say-mormon-at-the-republican-convention/

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Mormons get double dose of growing religious intolerance

August 22, 2012

Examiner

A report published Monday by The Liberty Institute and Family Research Council “…catalogs the growing hostility towards religious expression right here in the U.S.” The report further states that religious groups are “…facing a relentless onslaught by well-funded and aggressive groups and individuals who are using the courts, congress and the vast federal bureaucracy to suppress and limit religious freedom.”

Beyond the report’s findings of general intolerance, its seems that the Mormon faith faces additional attacks and persecution most frequently from fellow believers in ultra conservative Christian faiths.

Examples of these attacks were evident in widely publicized news stories on network TV last year which reported a prominent pastor openly labeling the Mormon Church as not only non-Christian, according to his view, but also a “cult.”

http://www.examiner.com/article/mormons-get-double-dose-of-growing-religious-intolerance

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Utah Up, Chicago Down: Why Mitt Romney Should Embrace His Mormonism

August 22, 2012

Daily Beast

In his run for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney downplayed his Mormonism–referring only to “faith” or “shared values”–in the face of small-minded members of the Christian right and the occasional cackle from the Eastern cultural avant-garde. But with his party’s nod in hand, Romney has been “coming out” in the run-up to the Republican convention, letting pool reporters join him and his family at a church service, and even choosing a member of the church to deliver the invocation on the night he addresses the Republican convention.

The church’s appeal can be seen, in part, in the contrast between booming Utah and Salt Lake City and President Obama’s adopted home state of Illinois and hometown of Chicago.

Utah netted 150,000 new arrivals from other states in the last decade, while Illinois lost a net of 70,000 people each year to other states. And Utah’s new arrivals include more than Mormons returning to Zion; Salt Lake County is now only 54% Mormon. Twenty-six percent of the county’s residents are minorities, mostly Hispanic immigrants.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/08/22/utah-up-chicago-down-why-mitt-romney-should-embrace-his-mormonism.html

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NBC gets no Romney campaign help on Mormon special

August 22, 2012

Denver Post (Colorado)

The newsmagazine’s producers thought it worthwhile to examine the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the eve of one of its members becoming the Republican nominee for president. During the hour, correspondent Harry Smith does a piece on why Mormons are so successful in business and tours a Salt Lake City warehouse where a huge amount of supplies is kept for the needy.

Kate Snow profiles a gay person, a feminist and an interracial couple on their experiences within the church, and NBC finds a Mormon cast member of the Broadway show “The Book of Mormon.”

http://www.denverpost.com/dnc/ci_21375906/nbc-gets-no-romney-campaign-help-mormon-special

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Romney opening up — a little — about his religion

August 21, 2012

San Francisco Chronicle (California)

Romney is the first Mormon presidential nominee of a major political party, and highlighting his faith carries risks, given that many Americans view Mormonism skeptically.

Even so, a small group of supporters and Republicans have long said the benefits could outweigh the drawbacks. They contend that Romney, whose attempts to reach voters on a personal level often fall flat, could help people get to know him better by highlighting this core part of his life.

Michael Gerson, who was a speechwriter for President George W. Bush, wrote that Romney could “inject some authenticity– or at least some personality — into his campaign” by talking about his faith. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that a majority of people who know that Romney is Mormon are comfortable with his religion or don’t consider it a concern.

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Romney-opening-up-a-little-about-his-3804303.php

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Long silent on his Mormonism, Romney starting to open up as he tries to connect with voters

August 21, 2012

Calgary Herald (Alberta)

Romney invited reporters to Mormon chapel services with his family last Sunday in New Hampshire. He has asked a fellow Mormon to give an invocation before he addresses the Republican National Convention next week.

Michael Gerson, who was a speechwriter for President George W. Bush, wrote that Romney could “inject some authenticity– or at least some personality — into his campaign” by talking about his faith. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that a majority of people who know that Romney is Mormon are comfortable with his religion or don’t consider it a concern.

http://www.calgaryherald.com/life/Long+silent+Mormonism+Romney+starting+open+tries+connect+with+voters/7124576/story.html

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Romneys in Mexico

August 22, 2012

NBC News

In 1886, Mitt Romney’s great-grandfather, Miles Park Romney, helped to establish a Mormon colony in Mexico. Though the 1913 Mexican Revolution forced many of his descendants to return to the United States, many of Mitt Romney’s cousins still live in Mexico. Watch the whole documentary, “”Mitt Romney: The Making of a Candidate,” Friday at 10 p.m. ET on MSNBC.

http://video.msnbc.msn.com/documentaries/48753169/#48753169

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Obama and Romney interviewed about their religions by church magazine

August 22, 2012

Religion seems to be playing a big role in election politics this year with controversy within the Republican Party over Mitt Romney’s Mormonism and the GOP’s adoption of anti-abortion plank (with no exception for rape or incest) to right-wing allegations that President Obama is secretly a Muslim (according to a recent Pew survey, 30% of Republican voters believe this). Thus when Cathedral Age, the magazine of the Washington National Cathedral, published in-depth interviews about their religious beliefs with both candidates this week, it behooves those of us interested in separation of church and state to hear what they had to say.

http://www.examiner.com/article/obama-and-romney-interviewed-about-their-religions-by-church-magazine

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Mitt practices, but doesn’t preach

August 22, 2012

Boston Herald (Massachusetts)

Mitt Romney did what pastors urge parishioners to do, which was to invite someone to attend church with him last Sunday.

This, however, wasn’t a recruiting exercise aimed at attracting new members; it was, instead, an offer to join a scouting mission, a chance to ferret out covert indications that this presidential candidate might be a loose cannon.

Perhaps you missed it, but Romney invited members of the media to accompany him to the Mormon church where he worships.

It’s doubtful he was hoping for conversions.

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/columnists/view.bg?articleid=1061154907

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CNN Lands Lengthy Interviews With Presidential Candidates, Romney Declines NBC Mormonism Special

August 21, 2012

New York Magazine

Analyst Gloria Borger will report for the August 26 documentary Romney Revealed: Family, Faith, and the Road to Power,” in which Borger “speaks with Romney’s childhood friends, travels to France to retrace his days as a Mormon missionary, and to Belmont, Massachusetts, where he was a church leader, and speaks with some of his congregants.”

Yet NBC News struck out with Romney on repeated requests to interview him for a special about Mormon faith to air this Thursday, according to the Associated Press. Said the show’s executive producer Rome Hartman: “What we set out to do very broadly is not an hour on Mitt Romney but an hour about the religion that has played a very important role in shaping who he is.”

It’s not surprising that Romney passed as he rarely discusses his faith, a subject Frank Rich explored in a magazine feature. But all is not lost for NBC: The network interviewed a Mormon cast member from Trey Parker’s and Matt Stone’s Broadway show The Book of Mormon.

http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/08/cnn-lands-interviews-obama-romney.html

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Obama, Romney open up about their faith in a church magazine

August 20, 2012

CNN

Romney quoted the Gospel of Matthew: “For I was hungry, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me. …”

Romney invoked the King James Version of the text, the official English translation of the Bible for Mormons.

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/20/obama-romney-open-up-about-their-faith-in-a-church-magazine/

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Obama and Romney offer rare glimpse of their spiritual lives

August 21, 2012

The Christian Century

Religion has been a tricky political issue thus far for both men. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that only 49 percent of Americans can correctly identify Obama as a Christian. More Americans know that Romney is Mormon, but a significant minority (30 percent) does not believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christian.

http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2012-08/obama-and-romney-offer-rare-glimpse-their-spiritual-lives

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Romney in Car Crash Led Mormons From Tragedy in France

August 22, 2012

Bloomberg Businessweek

Mitt Romney had about six months left to serve as a Mormon missionary in France when tragedy struck.

The 21-year-old was driving mission leaders to Bordeaux in June, 1968, when a car driven by a Catholic priest who’d been drinking crossed into their lane and smashed head-on into their Citroen DS. The accident killed the Mormon mission president’s wife, who had been seated in the front between her husband and Romney. She was 57.

When Mission President H. Duane Anderson, then 55, took her body back to California for burial, Romney and another recruit jointly managed the church’s France operation of about 200 missionaries for the next seven weeks.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-08-22/romney-in-car-crash-led-mormons-from-tragedy-in-france

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“The Book of Mormon” musical sensational, but what about faithful?

August 22, 2012

Denver Post (Colorado)

The LDS Church’s official statement is short and sensibly understated: “The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people’s lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ.”

Jesus, by the way, is portrayed in his cameos as kind of a loopy surfer dude. Christians and any other God-fearing people of faith can also feel skewered here — the clear message is that all religions can be silly yet still manage to do good if not taken too literally.

Michael Otterson, head of LDS public affairs, said in a Washington Post “On Faith” commentary that, if other Latter-day Saints wanted to go to the musical and laugh it off, that was fine, but he wouldn’t.

http://www.denverpost.com/recommended/ci_21367817

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Mormon Democrats to Gather at Charlotte Convention

August 20, 2012

New York Times

Mormons who are Democrats are always a lonely bunch, but never more so than in this election year when one of their fellow church members is about to make history and be crowned the Republican nominee for president.

So an increasingly assertive caucus of Mormon Democrats is planning a coming-out party during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. The group, which calls itself “LDS Dems” — LDS for Latter-day Saints – expects to draw about 200 motivated Mormons from around the country at the event, planned for Sept. 4 at a hotel next to the convention arena. Their keynote speaker will be Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader and a Mormon who recently accused his co-religionist and the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, of having paid no taxes for years, without providing any evidence to back up the claim.

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/mormon-democrats-to-gather-at-charlotte-convention/

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The Simple Pleasures of Criticizing Mormonism

August 20, 2012

First Things

It’s easy, isn’t it? Draw attention to the shortcomings of Mormons (or Muslims, or Catholics, or Evangelicals, or even New Atheists) in order to feel better about one’s own. Even if Turner is himself a Mormon, his article does little more than flatter the vanity of the Times’s readers. Given the importance of his topic, that’s a shame.

http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2012/08/20/the-simple-pleasures-of-criticizing-mormonism/

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Mormonism vs. Nazism and the Helmuth Hubener Legacy

August 22, 2012

OpEd News

No Mormon for President illustrates the mess-up that will be created by a mix-up of religion and politics as was found in Nazi Germany and as will be found in the United States if the Mormon quest for empire is achieved by Mitt Romney’s election to the presidency of the United States. Helmuth Hubener was a Mormon in Hitler’s Germany until he was arrested, tried for treason; found guilty and beheaded by guillotine in November 1942 at the age of 17 years.

The Mormon Church has a list known as the 13 Articles of Faith outlining its position on a number of areas of belief. Article 12 reads, ” We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” That statement was a necessary declaration of position to enable the church to expand itself in a world of pluralistic governing styles from kingdoms to dictatorships to democratic republics.

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Mormonism-vs-Nazism-and-t-by-Douglas-A-Wallace-120821-164.html

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Yoga Helps Understand Gospel, Say Mormons

August 22, 2012

Student Operated Press

In “Yoga – Episode 39″ program on Mormon Channel Radio July 2012, posted on the official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), a Mormon yoga instructor shared that how yoga increased her understanding of the gospel. She indicated that yoga originated in India, with origins going back to ancient Indian scriptures Bhagawad Gita and Upanishads. “Yoga has made relationship with my Savior stronger; it has built my faith and my trust in Him,” she added.

Welcoming the Mormon interest in yoga, acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said thatalthough introduced and nourished by Hinduism, yoga was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. One could still practice one`s respective faith and do yoga. Yoga would rather help one in achieving one`s spiritual goals in whatever religion one believed in and made one spiritually healthier, Zed stressed.

http://thesop.org/story/20120822/yoga-helps-understand-gospel-say-mormons.html

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Romney and the Republicans: Outsourcing Religion

August 22, 2012

Huffington Post

But aren’t Mormons Protestants? That would require a much longer conversation, but historians of religion generally do not classify Mormons as Protestants. Many people, in fact, especially evangelical Protestants, deny that Mormons are even Christians — although Mormons themselves take great umbrage at even the suggestion that they are not Christians. The very name of their church, they hasten to point out, is Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The real puzzle, at least on the face of it, is why Romney didn’t choose an evangelical for his running mate, especially if he was so concerned, as widely reported, to solidify his base. The religious right, after all, has been the core constituency of the Republican Party ever since the 1980s. Throughout the primary season, evangelicals were profoundly suspicious of Romney’s Mormonism, especially because he studiously avoided talking about it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/randall-balmer/romney-and-the-republicans-outsourcing-religion_b_1810996.html

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Paul Ryan and the Curious Case of the Missing Evangelicals

August 21, 2012

Patheos

In any case, there is a major upside to the largely positive — or at least silent — evangelical response to this no-Protestant ticket. It signals a turning away from the anti-Mormonism and anti-Catholicism of evangelicalism’s earlier generations, despite some muttering in the primaries about Mormonism being a cult.
Although evangelicals should continue to recognize the major theological differences separating them from Catholics and Mormons, they should happily cooperate with people of different religious traditions on issues of common concern. (As I wrote previously at Patheos ["When Baptists Voted for a Heretic"], during the Revolutionary era and early national period, the relatively small number of American evangelicals had to cooperate, partly because they could not possibly hope for political success by depending on appeals to evangelicals alone.)

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/anxiousbench/2012/08/paul-ryan-evangelicals-and-post-protestant-america/

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Polish Archives Used in Mormon Baptism of Holocaust Victims

August 22, 2012

PRI’s The World

By the early 1960s, the Mormon Church had developed a reputation for its interest in archives with a voluminous list of names. Poland had that, but it didn’t have a lot of money to take care of its records. So in 1968 the Poles approached the Mormons for help.

“It was an agreement in which our friends from Utah were paying and providing us with equipment and materials for microfilming,” said Wladyslaw Stepniak, general director of the Polish State Archives in Warsaw.

The Mormons gave Poland cash and equipment to modernise its archives. They also paid to have locals put hundreds of thousands of primary documents onto microfilm. The Mormons got their own copy. In fact, Stepniak said the Utah microfilms are so complete that he planned to ask the Mormons to fill in gaps he’d discovered in his own archives.

“We will ask our friends in Utah — dear friends, be so kind, send us scans of these microfilms.”

Some of those microfilms include the names of Jews who died in the Holocaust, and quite a few of them have been baptized by the Mormons.

http://www.theworld.org/2012/08/polish-archives-used-in-mormon-baptism-of-holocaust-victims/

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