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4 October 2012

Mormonism and Politicized Religion

October 4, 2012

First Things

If the calls were in fact made, they would disgust me because they misrepresented Mormon teaching, and because the callers would likely have been motivated less by concern for the spread of the Gospel than by concern for President Obama’s re-election. Nevertheless I am not sure they would constitute an appalling example of anti-Mormon bigotry.

As Gabriel Rossman pointed out on Twitter, First Things founder Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, for one, did not think that a refusal to vote for a Mormon constituted bigotry. As he wrote late in 2007:

It is true, and it is a very good thing, that the Constitution forbids the government to impose a religious test. But the sovereign people may support or oppose a candidate for all kinds of reasons they consider germane. . . .

http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2012/10/04/mormonism-and-politicized-religion/

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Journalists Debate Media’s Role In Religion Coverage During Presidential Election

October 4, 2012

Huffington Post

Romney’s Mormonism continues to be in the news, including his beliefs about the church’s practice of baptism of the dead, which became controversial this year when it was uncovered that church members were baptizing Holocaust victims such as Anne Frank. More recently, a story about the potential excommunication of an Orlando-area Mormon blogger who was critical of Romney and of church practices made national headlines.

Romney himself was shy about discussing his religion — possibly because polls show many Americans have negative views of Mormonism — until right before the Republican National Convention in Tampa, when he gave several interviews about the importance of his faith.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/04/media-religion-presidential-election-2012-_n_1940325.html

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All the questions fit to ask: What should reporters ask candidates about religion?

October 4, 2012

Courier-Journal (Kentucky)

It matters, Keller said, if a candidate sees “the Bible or the Quran or the Book of Mormon as overriding the Constitution.” And, he said, candidates who believe in a literal biblical account of creation and early human events raise questions about whether they believe in “serious science and verifiable history.”

http://blogs.courier-journal.com/faith/2012/10/04/all-the-questions-fit-to-ask-what-should-reporters-ask-candidates-about-religion/

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Ex-NY Times editor: Religion fair game in presidential race

October 4, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

“We, the media at large, have been a little squeamish at doing that,” Keller said Thursday at a Religion Newswriters Association conference in Washington.

“I do believe we’re entitled to ask what a prospective president believes,” Keller said, noting he has found pieces about Mitt Romney’s time as a Mormon leader illuminating.

“I think that’s not only an OK line of reporting, I think that’s something we should do bigger and should be a routine thing.”

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/55027019-90/ask-believe-candidate-editor.html.csp

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A Glimpse at the Sacred Heart of Mormonism

October 4, 2012

Wall Street Journal

Those non-Mormons who want a glimpse at the sacred heart of Mormonism will have to wait for the completion of the church’s next temple. Fortunately for those interested, temple construction is proceeding at a feverish pace. Before the end of the year, the Latter-day Saints will dedicate temples in Calgary, Alberta, and Boise, Idaho. At this rate, Brigham Young’s vision of “thousands of temples” may soon be attained, with or without a Mormon in the White House.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444358804578014692637310834.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

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Slain Border Patrol agent described as loving father, husband, served Mormon mission in Mexico

October 4, 2012

The Republic (Indiana)

A U.S. Border Patrol agent killed along the Mexico-Arizona border this week was a devoted Mormon who developed a love for the country’s people and culture while serving on a mission in Mexico City, his family said Thursday.

Agent Nicholas Ivie and two other agents were fired upon Tuesday about five miles north of the border as they responded to an alarm triggered by a sensor aimed at detecting people crossing into the U.S. illegally. A second agent wounded in the shooting was released from the hospital after undergoing surgery. The third agent wasn’t injured.

http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/fc6064de93544259ac3b18bfa97c0abc/US–Border-Shooting-Ivie

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Arizona Border Shooting: Mexican Police Arrest 2 In Connection With Killed Border Patrol Agent, Nicholas Ivie

October 4, 2012

Huffington Post

Ivie and two other agents were fired upon Tuesday in a rugged hilly area about five miles (eight kilometers) north of the border as they responded to an alarm that was triggered on one of the sensors that the government has installed along the border. The wounded agent was shot in the ankle and buttocks and released from the hospital after undergoing surgery. The third agent wasn’t injured.

Ivie was a 30-year-old father of two who grew up in Utah and was active in the Mormon church. He was an agent for four years.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/04/arizona-border-shooting-mexico-arrest_n_1939921.html

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Feds examine whether ‘friendly fire’ killed Border Patrol agent

October 4, 2012

NBC News

Ivie was a father of two who grew up in Utah and was active in the Mormon Church. He had been an agent for four years.

It was the first fatal shooting of an on-duty Border Patrol agent since December 2010, when Brian Terry was killed in a shootout with bandits near the border. Terry’s shooting was later linked to the government’s “Fast and Furious” gun-smuggling operation, which allowed people suspected of illegally buying guns for others to walk away from gun shops with weapons, an attempt to track the weapons.

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/04/14228009-feds-examine-whether-friendly-fire-killed-border-patrol-agent?lite

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Slain agent’s brother: ‘He lived his life as a life of service”

October 4, 2012

Arizona Daily Star

Chris Ivie and his brother Rick, two of Nick’s four surviving siblings, spoke at a press conference at Cochise College in Sierra Vista today. Nick was the youngest of the four brothers and one sister, Chris said.

Recalling Nick’s Mormon mission to Mexico City and his work as a volunteer firefighter and paramedic in Utah, Rick said, “He lived his life as a life of service.”

http://azstarnet.com/news/local/border/slain-agent-s-brother-he-lived-his-life-as-a/article_d2641f12-0e41-11e2-94d3-001a4bcf887a.html

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Orrin Hatch: Mormonism Will Become Next Line Of Attacks

October 4, 2012

Huffington Post

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who is Mormon, said Thursday that it’s only a matter of time before Democrats begin attacking GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney for his religious beliefs.

“They’re going to get frustrated and clutched — and when I say they I mean the Obama people — and before the end of this race they’re going to be so clutched that they’re going to start attacking Mitt Romney’s religious feelings,” he said at the Conservative Political Action Conference here. “And let me tell you something, get prepared for it.”

Hatch brought up Mormonism a few times at the conference, to a loud cheer from one woman and applause from the rest of the crowd. He told a long joke about Mormonism to laughter from the crowd, and gave a preemptive defense of his religion.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/04/orrin-hatch-mormonism_n_1939478.html

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Orrin Hatch Warns That Mormon-Baiting’s on the Way

October 4, 2012

Slate

“They’re going to get frustrated,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, who’s LDS and who struggles sometimes to convince the Tea Party that he can be trusted. “Before the end of this race, they’re going to be so that they’re gonna start attacking Mitt Romney’s religious feelings. Let me tell you something, get prepared for it. Because I know this is coming.”

http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2012/10/04/orrin_hatch_warns_that_mormon_baiting_s_on_the_way.html

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New reality show follows Mormon missionaries

October 4, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

“The District” will premier on BYUtv this Sunday at 6:30 p.m. mountain time and is, according to its creators, the first reality series to follow missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“This is the first time the church has really allowed this level of access to the process of being a missionary,” said Scott Swofford, director and producer of the series and director of content for BYU Broadcasting. He called it a realistic look at what LDS missionaries are and what they do all day.

The eight-week-long series follows six male missionaries and two female missionaries from across the country — including the Wasatch Front — as they work to spread their faith in San Diego, Calif.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/lifestyle/55027637-80/missionaries-series-mormon-reality.html.csp

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This Week’s Presidential Debate: Nothing Divine

October 4, 2012

Huffington Post

Last Sunday, thousands upon thousands fasted — skipping two meals — and prayed that Mitt Romney would prevail in Wednesday night’s debate.

Which he certainly did with his commanding performance.

Was Romney’s victory the hand of God at work?

As a Mormon, I was raised on hand-of-God narratives in which prayer almost always yielded miracles for our underdog team, from the survival of 19th-century Mormon pioneers in direst circumstances to the success of the Brigham Young University football squad.

But in the case of the Romney debate victory, please forgive my skepticism. I’m a Mormon Democrat. Which is sort of like being a Jewish Republican — a source of perpetual consternation to most of your relatives and co-religionists.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joanna-brooks/presidential-debate-nothing-divine_b_1941110.html

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Obama Campaign Accused of Calls Targeting Romney’s Mormon Faith

October 4, 2012

National Catholic Register

When questioned about the reports, an Obama campaign official told Catholic News Agency that the campaign considers a candidate’s religion to be off-limits but did not respond to questions about the alleged calls.

Hudson and Deacon Keith Fournier, editor in chief at Catholic Online, argued that the campaign is guilty of “playing the Mormon card,” which is “insulting to Catholics, with the accompanying presumption that such prejudice appeals to them.”

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/obama-campaign-accused-of-calls-targeting-romneys-mormon-faith/

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On Catholic Push Calls, If Not the Obama Campaign, Who?

October 4, 2012

US News and World Report

Are Catholic voters getting “push calls” that question how they can vote for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Mormon? According to President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, the answer is “No.”

When the issue was raised earlier this week in this column, the Obama campaign, through a spokesman, reiterated its position that a candidate’s religion was “out of bounds.”

“The activity being attributed to the Obama Campaign and our Catholics for Obama program is categorically false,” the spokesman said.

Well, as Trace Adkins says, “Whooo-eee. Shut my mouth. Slap your Grandma.” It’s not clear from the carefully worded statement provided by the campaign to U.S. News and World Report whether they are simply denying they are behind the calls or are claiming they are not happening.

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/peter-roff/2012/10/04/on-catholic-push-calls-if-not-the-obama-campaign-who

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Loveland High School Chamber Choir will partner with Mormon Chorale

October 4, 2012

Loveland Reporter Herald (Colorado)

Talents of the Loveland High School Chamber Choir and the 75-voice Colorado Mormon Chorale, based in Denver, are combining to provide a free concert, “America the Beautiful,” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at the Loveland Stake Center of the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3800 Mountain Lion Drive.

The concert is open and free to the public, and will feature patriotic and inspirational music.

http://www.reporterherald.com/lifestyles/faith/ci_21700257/loveland-high-school-chamber-choir-will-partner-mormon

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Jef Holm of ‘Bachelorette’ Fame Says Mormon Family Never Practiced Polygamy

October 4, 2012

Christian Post

Jef Holm, the winner of “The Bachelorette,” has slammed a report alleging that some in his Mormon family practiced and still practice polygamy.

The 28-year-old Mormon tweeted Wednesday, “Now they’re going after my family? My family DOES NOT, has HAS NEVER had any affiliation with polygamy. Ever. Mormons = 1?? & 1??. ?? = ??” (the symbols are emoticons for male and female faces).

His tweet came out the day inTouch magazine released an article alleging that Holm’s grandfather had 11 wives. The magazine claims the grandfather, Carl Holm, also helped establish the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members practice polygamy.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/jef-holm-of-bachelorette-fame-says-mormon-family-never-practiced-polygamy-82744/

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Young Voters wary of Mormon President

October 4, 2012

Christian Broadcasting Network

They’re part of the most diverse generation America has ever birthed, but Millennials have reservations about having a Mormon president.

Less than half, 44%, of voters aged 18-25 say they’re comfortable with a Mormon president. The numbers go down for Athiests (43%) and Muslims (30%). 61% say they’re comfortable with an evangelical Christian in the White House.

White Millennials (50%) are more comfortable having a Mormon president than black (33%) and Hispanic (27%) Millennials.

The numbers come from a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Berkley Center at Georgetown University.

http://blogs.cbn.com/beltwaybuzz/archive/2012/10/04/young-voters-wary-of-mormon-president.aspx

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Missionaries take colorful approach to spread the gospel

October 4, 2012

Houston Chronicle (Texas)

Caden Jensen and Ryan Maccarthy knelt on a Clear Lake sidewalk, chalk crayons in hand, drawing pictures depicting the “Plan of Salvation,” the Mormon account of man’s creation and destiny.

Jensen, 20, and Maccarthy, 19, missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, were engaged in something a little different from what most Mormon missionaries do.

The series of drawings, several yards apart, provides a visual guide through the stages of humanity’s existence as recounted in Mormon scriptures, including the Bible and the Book of Mormon. They begin with “pre-Earth” and finish with “resurrection and judgment.” Each drawing is captioned with a specific scriptural reference.

http://www.chron.com/life/houston-belief/article/Missionaries-take-colorful-approach-to-spread-the-3920134.php

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Former BYU student gets jail for fondling sleeping roommate

October 4, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

A former Brigham Young University student has been sentenced to 120 days in jail for touching the genitals of his sleeping roommate.

Last October, BYU police began investigating Antonio Rubalcaba Lacy after a roommate in the Mormon-owned university’s Wymount student housing complained Lacy had repeatedly touched his genitals while he slept. A former roommate later came forward with a similar allegation.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/55027492-78/lacy-roommate-former-jail.html.csp

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Mormon Church hit by 30pc cash slump

October 4, 2012

The Independent (Ireland)

THE Irish Mormon Church has blamed increased unemployment and emigration for a drop of almost 30pc in donations by its members last year.

Mormon Church rules state members should donate 10pc of their income to the church through a ‘tithe’.

Newly filed accounts for the Irish branch of the church show that tithing income totalled €687,148 last year — a 28.6pc drop on the €962,863 received in 2010.

The drop in tithing income comes in spite of church numbers in Ireland increasing by 16pc last year from 2,514 to 2,915.

Despite the drop in income, Ben O’Farrell, director of the Irish Association of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, said yesterday that the church was in good health.

“The tithe income allows us to be self-sufficient and we have no debt,” he said.

http://www.independent.ie/national-news/mormon-church-hit-by-30pc-cash-slump-3249423.html

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Hatch: Democrats will Play Anti-Mormon Card

October 4, 2012

Utah Pulse

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who is Mormon, said Thursday that it’s only a matter of time before Democrats begin attacking GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney for his religious beliefs.

“They’re going to get frustrated and clutched — and when I say they I mean the Obama people — and before the end of this race they’re going to be so clutched that they’re going to start attacking Mitt Romney’s religious feelings,” he said at the Conservative Political Action Conference here. “And let me tell you something, get prepared for it.”

http://utahpulse.com/bookmark/20371468-Hatch-Democrats-will-Attack-Romney-s-Mormonism-

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Time Magazine’s ‘Half-Baked’ Cover Story on Romney’s Mormonism

October 4, 2012

Utah Policy

National Review’s Kevin Williamson pens a withering critique of Jon Meacham’s recent cover story on Mitt Romney’s LDS faith, noting: “Time might have rendered a service by doing Mormon thinking the courtesy of taking it seriously.”

Meacham notes that Mormons’ worldview incorporates a sense of persecution. It is not entirely clear why he believes this to be remarkable. Christians’ worldview also incorporates a sense of persecution, for precisely the same reason: persecution. “The story of the faith of Romney’s ancestors on the American continent is one of exile and redemption,” he writes, “of blessing and punishment and, perhaps above all, of struggle and endurance amid trial and tribulation.” (Also amid excessive oppositional pairings.) Exile and redemption, you say? “Which, when you think about it,” notes Meacham, “is a pretty fair description of a close-fought presidential campaign.” An election is something like a cosmic struggle between good and evil pitting man’s yearning for holiness and communion against his vices, his smallness, and the defects of his nature: That is precisely what I had not been thinking, though I suppose there are some who do think of elections that way. (Those people are insane.)

http://utahpolicy.com/view/full_story/20361369/article-Time-Magazine-s–Half-Baked–Cover-Story-on-Romney-s-Mormonism?instance=featured_home_policy

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Reid raises religion issue against Romney

October 4, 2012

Reno News Review (Nevada)

In a conference call with reporters last week, Harry Reid invoked a Mormon anti-Romney blogger and then agreed with the blogger’s description of Romney.

“He’s coming to a state where there are a lot of members of the LDS church,” Reid said, referring to Romney’s Sept. 28 visit to Nevada. “They understand that he is not the face of Mormonism.”

Romney and Reid are both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

http://www.newsreview.com/reno/reid-raises-religion-issue-against/content?oid=7974570

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Reid misquotes Romney to make immigration attack

October 4, 2012

Washington Times

The Nevada Democrat, who is a Mormon, has been harsh in his criticism of Mr. Romney, including telling reporters last week he agreed with a blogger who said Mr. Romney had “sullied the religion” that they share.
Earlier in the campaign season Mr. Reid had said someone with ties to Romney had told him the former Massachusetts governor wouldn’t release his tax returns is because he didn’t pay taxes in some years.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2012/oct/4/reid-misquotes-romney-make-immigration-attack/

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Rosa Linda’s Mexican Cafe becomes a campaign hate stop after Mitt Romney turn-down

October 4, 2012

Westword (Colorado)

Rosa Linda and Virgil are Mormon — which accounts for why a Romney operative thought this restaurant would be the perfect spot for a campaign stop. But the Aguirres, who would feed anyone — and often do, for free — did not want their restaurant to be part of a political campaign. And so they said no.

http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2012/10/rosa_lindas_mexican_cafe_campaign_hate_stop_mitt_romney.php

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Rosa Linda’s owner says controversy over Romney refusal a misunderstanding

October 4, 2012

Denver Post (Colorado)

The anger, he said, is misplaced. While the family did turn down a Romney request to visit the restaurant, they did not reject Romney due to his political persuasion. And it had nothing to do with Romney’s religion, either: Oscar’s parents are Mormons.

“Anybody is welcome to come to Rosa Linda’s and sit down with us for family meal,” said Aguirre, who uses the term “family meal” to describe the Rosa Linda’s dining experience, since Oscar and his family do all of the cooking. “If they wanted to stop by for food, no problem. You are welcome.”

But instead, Romney wanted to visit for a round of political theater, Aguirre said. And that made the owners uncomfortable.

http://blogs.denverpost.com/food/2012/10/04/rosa-lindas-owner-controversy-romney-refusal-misunderstanding/15486/

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Denver restaurant receives threats after passing on Romney campaign stop

October 4, 2012

9 News (Colorado)

“I don’t want people to be angry at me,” Rosa Linda Aguirre, the owner of the neighborhood staple, said. “I feel that this is really going out of proportion. I’m sorry if I offended somebody or everybody. I did not mean to do that.”

The café has been in the neighborhood for a very long time. The Aguirres, originally from Mexico, are U.S. citizens. They’re Mormon.

When the couple was approached by the Romney campaign in August, asking to be a campaign stop for the Republican candidate, they declined.

“We don’t want to be a tool. We don’t want to be anything more than a place of gathering and a home,” Oscar Aguirre, Rosa Linda’s son and a restaurant employee, said.

http://www.9news.com/news/article/292964/0/Restaurant-gets-threats-after-passing-on-Romney-?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Cbc%7Clarge

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Rosa Linda’s, Denver Mexican Cafe, Receives Theats After Turning Down Offer To Host Romney Campaign Stop

October 4, 2012

Huffington Post

Aguirre and his parents are Mormon and were contacted in August about being the location for a possible campaign stop. But the Aguirres turned the offer down because his family are not Republicans nor are they Democrats and didn’t want to be part of a political campaign. “We will welcome any sitting President of the United States,” Aguirre told 7News. “But, we did not want to be a campaign stop.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/04/rosa-lindas-denver-mexica_n_1940373.html

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Ken Bode: Romney’s shifting positions

October 4, 2012

Indianapolis Star (Indiana)

The year before, Romney was known to have told a Mormon gathering that he was alarmed at reports of homosexuality in the congregation, denouncing it as “perverse.” Still, he left the meeting assuring his briefers, “I’m with you on this stuff. I’ll be better than Ted Kennedy.”

Abortion was another problem. As a Mormon bishop, Romney routinely counseled congregants against having abortions. These were his private views representing the tenets of his church, he said, not what he would do as a senator.

But then a feminist Mormon journal, Exponent II, published a widely distributed article detailing how he had told a woman with a precarious medical condition that she faced excommunication if she chose abortion.

http://www.indystar.com/article/20121004/OPINION13/210050317/Ken-Bode-Romney-s-shifting-positions

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Cut from a different cloth: Br. Blane Frederik is new rector at Trinity Episcopal Church in Hamburg

October 4, 2012

Hamburg Sun (New York)

He left his homeland to embark on his spiritual journey, spending two years as a Mormon missionary in Manchester, England. He then moved to the U.S., where he received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English literature.

Though he was raised Anglican, his father and the rest of his family converted to Mormonism in the late 1970s.

“That marked the beginning of a very long tenure with the Mormon church,” Br. Blane said. He taught English and world religion at Brigham-Young University-Hawaii and Salt Lake City Community College.

Though Br. Blane enjoyed his time as a Mormon, he always felt attached to Anglican theology and eventually decided to rejoin the church. “For me, it wasn’t so much a switch when I came back. It was more of a homecoming,” he said.

http://www.thesunnews.net/news/345-Cut_from_a_different_cloth__Br._Blane_Frederik_is_new_rector_at_Trinity_Episcopal_Church_in_Hamburg.html

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