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16 November 2012

Don’t Believe the Legend: You Wouldn’t Want to Eat a Month-Old Twinkie

November 16, 2012

The Atlantic

Many people mistakenly believe that Twinkies last forever and a day because they contain no dairy and a variety of preservatives and stabilizers. And while 25 days is not bad for a baked good, if you want food that lasts, you’re going to have to look elsewhere.

Specifically, to Utah, where food-storage companies such as DailyBread, Emergency Essentials, Stormy Day Foods, and The Ready Store are all based. Food storage is an important Mormon practice, and not because of the apocalypse. Rather, the Mormon church encourages its members to keep at least a three-month to a year’s supply of food and water (and more, if possible) as part of a general ethos of preparedness and self-reliance. Similarly, the Latter-Day Saints church advises Mormons to avoid debt and instead build up some savings for a future job loss or other tough patch.


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Has the Mormon mystique been lifted?

November 15, 2012


“Mitt Romney has opened doors. He has made Mormonism much more respectable,” says Charles Dunn, a professor at Regent University, and author of numerous books on politics and religion.

“He came out of this campaign as an honourable person, and that bodes well. He is the best missionary Mormons could have.”

At the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the official name of the Mormon Church) in Salt Lake City, Utah, there appears to be a similar mood of optimism. Although they have not given figures on whether membership numbers are up, enquiries certainly are. Mormons make up about 2% of Americans, but numbers are rising steadily.

“Without question there has been an increase in the interest in the Church in the last year,” says spokesman Michael Purdy.


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Buzzfeed Reporter Reveals Anti-Mormon Bigotry of Press Corps

November 16, 2012


McKay Coppins of Buzzfeed was one of the reporters in the Romney press pool during his late campaign for president. He is also a Mormon. In a long piece posted on November 14, Coppins reveals the stark anti-Mormon bigotry that his fellow members of the media openly displayed as they followed team Romney around the country.

Coppins’ report offers several interesting bits of information and even makes Mitt out to be the John Kennedy of Mormonism in that, like Kennedy, Mitt’s candidacy brought his religion out from under the shadows of suspicion and into the mainstream.

But the piece begins revealing the stark and totally casual anti-Mormon bigotry of his fellow members of the Old Media establishment.


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Hatch: Obama’s people did attack Romney’s Mormonism

November 16, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

Sen. Orrin Hatch isn’t backing down from his previous charge that President Barack Obama would use Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith against him in the battle for the White House.

Hatch insists that an anti-Mormon whisper campaign surfaced in Virginia as well as allegations that some calls were made to Catholics saying Latter-day Saints weren’t Christians.

“There was a lot more than you think,” Hatch said this week. “If you didn’t see it, there’s something wrong.”

Hatch claimed in April that Obama and his people would attack Romney’s Mormon faith as a way to hurt the Republican rival.


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Mormons the big winners of 2012 election

November 16, 2012

Standard Examiner (Utah)

Stan Way, a Latter-day Saint from Jasper, Ala., had just finished dinner out with some Mormon missionaries when he noticed a car slowing as it approached.

The missionaries were wearing the traditional white shirts and dark ties that identify them as Latter-day Saints. It was about a month before Election Day, when voters would decide whether Republican Mitt Romney, the first Mormon major party presidential nominee, would become the first Mormon president.

The driver stopped and lowered her car window. “Hey,” she said, “it’s a good time to be a Mormon!” Then she drove off.

“We stood there in shock,” Way said. “That usually doesn’t happen in Alabama.”


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Faucheux: ‘Born-again Christians will vote for a Mormon’

November 16, 2012

Washington Post

“In this election, as was the case four years ago, 26 percent of the electorate called themselves born-again Christians. Four years ago, John McCain thumped Barack Obama by a 50-point margin among this constituency. This year, Mormon Mitt Romney beat Obama by an even wider 57 points. So, yes, born-again Christians will vote for a Mormon, and they will do so in heavy numbers in the right situation.”


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The Mormonizing of America: John Krakauer, Stephen Mansfield, and the Mormon Moment

November 15, 2012


I have known next to nothing about Mormons. Growing up as an evangelical Christian I was taught that Mormonism was a cult. A few youth group friends got into studying how to evangelize Mormons. They learned its history, and honed rhetorical strategies on the off chance they’d get to witness to a Mormon. I thought it was a waste of time. I had read the brochure – Mormons didn’t believe in the Trinity, black people were not acceptable to God, women were to be saved through their husbands, polygamy, mind control, Salt Lake City, magic peep stones, golden plates… whatever.

With the recent election and Mitt Romney’s Mormonism I’ve become a bit more interested. I couldn’t figure out how evangelicals (these are my people btw), were suddenly ready to give a Mormon a religious hall pass, especially given past attitudes toward Mormonism and the intense scrutiny of President Obama’s faith life. Obama’s religion has been a huge point of contention among many evangelicals. How did a Mormon candidate for president get Ralph Reed and Billy Graham on team Mitt while nobody said a thing about the fact that he is a Mormon?


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17 Mormons will serve in next Congress

November 15, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

When Arizona’s Matt Salmon retakes his seat in Congress in January, he’ll be one of 17 Mormons in the House and Senate, the most in more than a decade.

“It’s really nice to have that kind of camaraderie, to know that there’s that kind of commonality with values,” Salmon said Thursday as he returned to Washington, where he previously served as a congressman. “It’s very comforting to know when you’re that far away from your home like we are, that you can always call on a fellow member to sit down and talk to them or ask them for a priesthood blessing.”


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Franklin Graham Was ‘Shocked’ to Find Mormonism Is a Cult Article on BGEA Site

November 15, 2012

Christian Post

A month after the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association removed an article describing Mormonism as a “cult” from its website, ministry head Franklin Graham clarified on Wednesday that he was unaware of the article’s existence.

The evangelist told CNN that he did not write the article and that he was “shocked” to find the article on the BGEA website.

“We have 10,000 pages and I don’t write the 10,000 pages. Other people have written it. There was a discussion as to what a cult was and they (the article) had a definition of a cult and then they gave some examples and when I found out there were examples they took them off. But I was shocked that we even had that on there,” Graham said, as he described the “cult” reference as name-calling.

“If I want to win a person to Christ, how can I call that person a name? That’s what shocked me, that we were calling people names.”


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Charges: Man faked cancer, got Disneyland trip

November 16, 2012

San Francisco Chronicle (California)

Police say a South Jordan man faked terminal cancer and got a family trip to Disneyland out of the deal.

Court documents show 46-year-old Jeffrey Averett was charged with felony communications fraud on Thursday.

Authorities say a Mormon ward threw a fundraiser for the man last September to send him and his family on a final vacation. Police say they identified $1,700 in donated money in bank accounts for Averett and his wife.


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Campus politics

November 16, 2012

World Magazine

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), or the Mormon church, recently announced it would lower the minimum age of missionaries to 18 for men (down from 19), and 19 for women (down from 21). Observers expect the move will significantly increase the total number of LDS missionaries, especially female ones. Early signs indicate great enthusiasm for the new rules, as applications from prospective missionaries shot up 471 percent in the two weeks following the announcement. More than half of the new applicants are female. Women have ordinarily made up less than a fifth of the worldwide Mormon missionary contingent, which currently numbers about 58,000.
Rodney Stark, co-director of Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion, and author of The Rise of Mormonism, told me that he thinks the change is significant, but not for reasons one might expect. His research suggests that LDS missionaries actually convert very few people to their faith. Most converts become Mormons through the influence of LDS friends or relatives (Ann Romney, for example, converted after she began dating Mitt Romney). Missionaries mainly “provide religious education for new converts,” Stark says. “But the missionary experience has hugely beneficial effects on the missionaries. It is a cliché in the Mormon community that ‘kids go out on missions and adults come back.'” Serving as a missionary often galvanizes young Mormons’ faith, regardless of whether they convince many people to become part of their church.


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Faith on the Hill: The Religious Composition of the 113th Congress

November 16, 2012

The Pew Forum

Catholics have seen the biggest gains among the 530 seats in the new Congress that have been decided as of Nov. 16. So far, Catholics have picked up five seats, for a total of 161, raising their share to just over 30%.1 The biggest decline is among Jews, who have been elected to 32 seats (6%), seven fewer than in the 112th Congress, where Jews held 39 seats (7%).2 Mormons continue to hold 15 seats (about 3%), the same as in the previous Congress.

However, a few religious groups continue to have lopsided representation in one chamber or the other. For example, Jews make up 10% of the new Senate but 5% of the House. Likewise, Mormons make up 7% of the Senate and 2% of the House. Presbyterians make up more than twice as much of the Senate as the House (16% vs. 6%). The share of Baptists, by contrast, is greater in the House (15%) than in the Senate (9%), as is the percentage of Episcopalians (8% vs. 4%).


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Manti Te’o: The Notre Dame Linebacker Unplugged

November 16, 2012

Notre Dame Athletics (Indiana)

Of course, lots of institutions were intrigued by Teo’s talent–he stopped counting scholarship offers at 29–but no schools east of the Rocky Mountains appeared to have a viable chance at landing him. Brigham Young was a finalist, as Te’o is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon). There is, in fact, a BYU satellite campus (BYU-Hawaii) located in Te’o’s hometown of Laie.


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My Take: 113th Congress looks like old America

November 16, 2012


The GOP delegation will be 69% Protestant, while Protestants will account for only 43% of the Democrats. Mormons also lean heavily Republican, with three Democrats versus 12 members of the GOP.


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Panelists speak to Tech, Lubbock community about their differing religions

November 15, 2012

Daily Toreador (Texas)

Two students, Stephanie Wade, a sophomore biology major from Breckenridge, Colo. and Raul Cevallos, a freshman political science major from Dallas, represented the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church is more commonly known as the Mormon faith.

Wade and Cevallos spoke about the Mormon’s 13 Articles of Faith.

Some of the first articles, Wade said, include their belief in the trinity, and they do not believe in original sin.

Cevallos then spoke about their sacred text, “The Book of Mormon,” written by Joseph Smith.


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No, it’s not ‘Christians” fault Obama won

November 16, 2012


In fact, white evangelicals/born-again Christians made up the same percentage of the electorate as they did in 2008 – 26%. They voted for Mitt Romney, a devout Mormon, by a wider margin than they did for Sen. John McCain four years ago.

And, they made up a larger share of the electorate in 2012 than in 2004, when the Christian Right supposedly fueled George W. Bush’s reelection. They also voted for Romney with the exact same margin as for Bush in 2004, 78%-21%.

Not to mention, Obama won the 48 percent of the electorate that was Christian and not Protestant or Mormon — 50%-48% among Catholics (25% of the electorate) and 50%-49% of “Other Christians” (23% of the electorate).


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