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8 December 2012

The Mormon Call for Openness and Understanding of LGBT Issues
December 8, 2012

Huffington Post

On December 6th, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) launched a new website designed to open the dialogue about LGBT issues inside the Mormon faith.

This had particular meaning for me, since I’m not your ordinary Mormon. But I’m not your ordinary gay man, either. For the past 16 months, I’ve served in a priesthood leadership role in my local Mormon congregation as my authentic self — an openly gay man. It has been my desire for many years to start this kind of dialogue inside our Mormon community, so I take this website as a sign of hope — guarded hope, but hope nonetheless.


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Mormon Church urges compassion for gays
December 8, 2012

Arizona Republic

Mormon leaders made their most significant outreach yet to gays and lesbians, unveiling a new website that encourages church members to be more compassionate in discussions about homosexuality.

Church officials insist they haven’t changed the Mormon teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman and that same-sex relationships are sinful. However, the website states that Mormons should be loving and respectful toward gays and lesbians, while appealing to gay and lesbian Mormons to stay in the church.


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Mormon Church Officially States That Being Gay Is Not a Choice
December 7, 2012


The Mormon Church has launched a new website, Mormonsandgays.org, to establish its official stance on homosexuality, saying that gay people were born this way, as it were. It’s a surprising evolution from the church’s previous attitude. Whereas, as recently as 2008, mormons didn’t accept “biological determination for same-sex attraction,” now the church has changed it’s position, stating that “individuals do not choose to have such attractions.”

The site one-paged site features numerous videos of church leaders speaking about AIDS counseling and urging parents not to reject their children who “pursue a gay lifestyle.” Aside from aiming to clarify the church’s standing on homosexuality, it also seems to promote a message to its followers of extending love and understanding to gay people, and “responding sensitively and thoughtfully” when encountering those with same-sex attraction.


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McEntee: Top Mormon leaders should drop political party labels
December 5, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

It was no surprise to learn that LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson, his first counselor, Henry B. Eyring, and nine Mormon apostles are registered Republicans in this GOP-dominated state.

It does seem a bit odd, though, that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is fiercely nonpartisan even as so many of its top leaders — and members — decidedly are not.


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Mormons: Okay With Gay?
December 7, 2012


The Mormon Church, actually called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has started a new website to try to get their message out about gay members. The doctrine hasn’t really changed, but the Church is making an effort to help families and members with ‘same-sex attraction’ understand how to deal with it while following current doctrine. In a video called ‘What Needs to Change’, LDS apostle Dallin H. Oaks says, “what needs to change is to help our own members and families understand how to deal with same-gender attraction.”

The fact is, the only way Church doctrine changes is by revelation. Oaks say the “doctrine of the church, that sexual activity should only occur between a man and a woman who are married, has not changed and is not changing.” Gay members and members with a LGBT loved one can sometimes get frustrated trying to explain that to non-members. The Church is hopeful that the website, mormonsandgays.org, will encourage “understanding and civil conversation about same-sex attraction”.


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Russia’s Anti-Mormon Campaign
December 9, 2012

Daily Beast

Steniakina is leading the charge to change Russia’s legislation and ban Mormon missionaries from the nation. Though the number of Mormons living inside the country is small–around 400 foreign missionaries and 21,000 registered members at last count–they are a relatively visible presence in Russia’s larger cities. The missionaries hand out the Book of Mormon to those who might be interested, give free English lessons, and spend three hours a day cleaning public places or helping people around their homes.

Steniakina, who says the Latter-day Saints are a “totalitarian cult” sent by the FBI and the CIA “to fool and covert” unwitting Russians, is making her anti-Mormon campaign her top priority for the next political season. Specifically, she’s agitating to add language that would ban “the West [from converting] our citizens into non-traditional religions”–i.e. anything other than Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. She already has a seat in Moscow’s city hall, and she is certain Russia’s president Vladimir Putin will back her push, if it makes it all the way to the Duma.


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Living History: Mormon Tea, good for what ails you?
December 8, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

Mormon Tea, also known as Brigham Tea, is made from a leafless shrub with jointed stems that grows abundantly in the deserts of the Southwest. The green stems can be cut up, boiled and left to steep for 20 minutes before being spat out as too nasty for human consumption.

The local variety is related to the Chinese plant from which ma huang tea is made. It is said that the ever-thrifty Brigham Young encouraged use of the local decoction rather than the more expensive Asian import.


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Utah college removes Confederate statue
December 8, 2012

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Nevada)

Emotions ran high as Dixie State College removed a bronze statue of Confederate soldiers from campus, the latest skirmish for a school looking for a new identity as it prepares to become a full university.

Southern Utah was called Dixie by Mormon settlers who tried to turn the mild region into a cotton-growing mecca in the 1800s. Many argue the “Dixie” name and its Confederate symbols symbolize racism or discrimination and wouldn’t reflect well on a modern university. Others say the name is a part of history that should remain.


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The World for The Days of Christmas 2012
December 8, 2012

Post News Group (California)

December is a month of lights for many Bay Area faith traditions. The public is invited to Oakland’s Mormon Temple Hill to enjoy the thousands of lights now illuminating the landscape, waterway and buildings.

Continuing a long tradition of Days of Christmas, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from throughout the Bay Area donate time to help install the lights and decorate the buildings and grounds. Volunteers also participate in the live nativity, which is performed nightly.
Special free events and programs are planned each evening now through Dec. 30, featuring world-class singers, dancers, bell ringers, instrumentalist, and even a professional storyteller.


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Learning on the JOBS
December 7, 2012

Arizona Republic

The four-credit course, housed in a portable building on the Highland High campus, helps students find opportunities in job shadowing, volunteering, service learning, internships, apprenticeships and paid employment. Mormon students have been helped to find local volunteer work at the Bishop’s Storehouse in Mesa to complete their shorter six-month, eight-hour-a-week missions.

The students, ranging in age from 19 to 22, have an individualized education program (IEP) team that determined they have not yet completed their vocational transition goals, so they are still in school.


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Same-sex marriage: Waiting now for the Supreme Court to act
December 8, 2012

Christian Science Monitor

One hint at changing attitudes, even among those who continue to believe strongly that marriage must be exclusively between one man and one woman: The Mormon Church (which provided much if not most of the financing and grass-roots support for Prop. 8 in California) just launched a new website “aimed at providing ‘greater sensitivity and better understanding’ among Latter-day Saints with regards to same-sex attraction,” reports the church-owned Deseret News in Salt Lake City.

“The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people,” the church’s position reads. “The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.”


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Heisman Trophy finalists: Manti Te’o
December 8, 2012

Dubuque Telegraph Herald (Iowa)

Te’o has said the game didn’t play a role in his decision. What did, though, was his English teacher showing the movie “Dead Poets Society” on the eve of signing day in February 2009. Te’o had already decided he was going to USC, but a character in the film struggling with a difficult life choice prompted Te’o to rethink his choice. He prayed, and something told him to go to Notre Dame.

He prayed again following his freshman season about whether to return or go on a Mormon mission. He did the same thing again a year ago when he was deciding whether to enter the NFL draft or return for his senior season.

He believes what has happened to him this season shows the power or prayer.

“I think for anybody who’s questioning if God lives, he lives, and I’m an example of that. For those who don’t know if he answers your prayers, he does, because he answered mine. If he didn’t answer prayers, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t have come here. I definitely wouldn’t have come back for my senior year. And I wouldn’t have done a lot of things that I’ve done,” he said.


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Beck, Marriage and The State of The Union
December 8, 2012

Patriot Post

Faced with this unyielding opposition, the Mormon Church wisely reconsidered its position on polygamy. Mormons desperately wanted to be included in the American Union. They were willing to give up a sincerely held tenet of their new religion in order to gain acceptance.

This turnabout led to one of the funniest episodes in congressional history. When Church Elder Reed Smoot was elected by Utah to serve in the U.S. Senate, he was vigorously opposed. Critics said that even though Smoot was not a polygamist himself, he had strongly supported polygamy as one of the Mormon Council of Twelve. Idaho Sen. William E. Borah, a fellow Republican and also a Mormon with only one wife, rose to argue for seating Smoot. “I would rather serve in this august body with a polygamist who doesn’t polyg than with a monogamist who doesn’t monog.” Smoot was seated.


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