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7 January 2013

Response to Mormon Missionary Age Announcement Remains Enthusiastic and Unprecedented
January 7, 2013


Like Richins’ experience, the decision to drop everything is not easy for any young man or woman in the Church. Nevertheless, the response to the 6 October announcement remains enthusiastic as unprecedented numbers of young men and women continue to fill out missionary applications.

“I’ve never seen anything affect a generation of young people like what President Monson announced the Saturday morning of general conference,” says Elder David F. Evans, executive director of the Church’s Missionary Department and member of the Seventy. “What we’re seeing is just an absolute overwhelming response from this generation to the invitation of the Lord and His prophet to rise up and go and serve your fellow man and preach the gospel.”

In the weeks following the missionary age announcement, the Church reported that missionary applications had increased dramatically (from 700 applications per week to 4,000), with women comprising more than half of the applicants. While the number of post-announcement applications is still double what it has been in the past, the total number of men and women who have applied since October is now about equal. Prior to the announcement, approximately 15 percent of missionaries were young women.


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Mormon Tabernacle Choir offers comfort to Sandy Hook, Newtown
January 6, 2013

KSL (Utah)

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir dedicated Sunday’s “Music and the Spoken Word” to the 26 children and adults who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Associate Music Conducter Ryan Murphy spent his early years at the school and wanted to offer comfort to their families.

Singing a Swedish melody — “Children of the Heavenly Father” — members of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir added their voices to those of millions throughout the world who mourn the deaths of 20 students and 5 faculty and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary.


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The Spaulding Manuscript as Jeffersonian idealism, and not a Book of Mormon template
January 7, 2013

Standard Examiner (Utah)

In the Fall 2012 “Journal of Mormon History,” Adam Jortner, assistant professor of history at Auburn University, posits an alternative reason to value the Spaulding manuscript. (“Solomon Spaulding’s Indians, Or, What the ‘Manuscript Found’ Really Tells Us”) Rather than putting primary emphasis on its relationship to the Mormon scripture, it should be examined as part of a utopian, Jeffersonian vision of assimilating American Indians through moving them from hunting to farming.


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Notre Dame and its Mormon star plan a pregame ‘Hail Mary’
January 7, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

Before the Fighting Irish take the field for Monday night’s championship game against Alabama, players will attend a Catholic Mass, receive “a priest-blessed medal devoted to a Catholic saint,” and “kiss a shrine containing two slivers Notre Dame believes came from Jesus’ cross,” according to a Huffinton Post article.

Such Catholic rituals will be on display — even though not all the players are believers.
Indeed, the team’s star player, linebacker Manti Te’o, is Mormon.

The senior’s LDS faith “hasn’t been an issue,” Notre Dame Athletics spokesman John Heisler told CNN. “The emphasis here is that this is a place of faith and it really doesn’t matter what your faith is.”

Clearly, Te’o is comfortable with Cathlic rituals. The Wall Street Journal has a photo of the Mormon player being “blessed” by former Notre Dame President Father Theodore Hesburgh.


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Faith-based alliance predicts growth of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
January 6, 2013

God Discussion

The Institute on Religion and Democracy (IDF) is a faith-based alliance of Christians who monitor, comment, and report on issues affecting the Church.

The IDF predicts that one of the big stories that will emerge over the coming year is the growth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — or the Mormon church. The IDF writes,
Nearly tying United Methodists for members, the growing Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will be increasingly seen as mainstream in conservative circles and hard to ignore in liberal circles. The growth of Mormonism, along with Pentecostalism and Nondenominational Evangelical Christianity, will continue to contrast with diminishing oldline Protestantism.


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Jodi Arias trial: Gruesome crime scene revealed in death of ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander
January 7, 2013

New York Daily News

Arias reportedly converted to Mormonism for Alexander, an insurance salesman, when they were together. They met at a Las Vegas convention in 2006, later breaking up in June 2007. But the two continued to engage in a sexual relationship.


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Gov. Gary Herbert sworn in for first full term
January 7, 2013

Connecticut Post

The governor began his first full term in office with the speech and a ceremony featuring a 19-gun salute, flyover and performances by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, One Voice Children’s Choir and the Utah National Guard 23rd Army Band.


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Golf Channel Host David Feherty Talks Interview Wish-List, Checkered Past
January 7, 2013

Hollywood Reporter

The third season of Feherty includes interviews with golfing icon Billy Casper – a 51-time winner on the PGA Tour and three-time major winner – at his Utah home. A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who has been married to the same woman for 60 years (they have eleven children), Casper takes Feherty to a rehearsal of the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir.


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Cancer deaths down, but new causes threaten
January 7, 2012

NBC News

Utah and California have smoking rates of 10 percent, while Missouri and Kentucky have rates of 30 percent, Brawley noted. Utah’s majority Mormon population largely shuns smoking and the low rates there are most likely cultural. “But in California they did some amazing work with advertisements,” Brawley said. “I wish we were doing that all across the country.”


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Residents in Sausalito, Mill Valley and Tiburon give biggest share of their income to charity
January 7, 2013

San Jose Mercury News (California)

“The Mormon Church requires members to give 10 percent a year. That’s why you see Utah at the top of the giving rankings,” Gipple said. “And in the South and through the Bible Belt states we see households donating more.”


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Marie Osmond’s Daughter Marries 10 Days After Getting Engaged — What’s the Rush? (VIDEO)
January 7, 2013

The Stir

Not to be a total skeptic, but there’s a lot of evidence here (they’re relatively young to tie the knot, they were engaged for just 10 days!) to lead us to believe there may have been some shotgun-iness goin’ on …

Hey, it’s possible. OR — they’re good Mormon kids who couldn’t go another year without having sex?!


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Church History Lives! Especially in South Carolina
January 7, 2013

Religion News Service

Founded in 1888, the ASCH was for a long time the particular domain of white mainline Protestant males, many of them teaching at seminaries, whose dominant concerns were with “the church” in its Primitive state, its magisterial Reformation mode, and its North American establishmentarian condition. In the early days, membership was by invitation only. Catholics and those belonging to other Christian streams-Eastern Orthodox, Pentecostals, the Black Church, etc.-were not in the club.

Over the years the society has opened up. You no longer have to be invited to join, and there’s even a Mormon contingent. A number of women and African-Americans have served as president. And the interests have broadened, not only over time and communities but also toward the spaces outside churches where Christianity is to be found.


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Samuel Brannan — Man of his time
January 7, 2013

San Mateo Daily Journal (California)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was established by Joseph Smith Jr. on April 6, 1830 in Western New York. Smith had plans to establish a New Jerusalem in North America, called Zion. After moving to Missouri to establish an outpost that would eventually be the church headquarters, Missouri settlers brutally expelled the Latter-day Saints from Jackson County, Mo. They moved to Kirkland and built the Kirkland Temple. After a financial scandal, the group, in 1838, again moved to Far West, Mo. but again tension escalated and the group was ordered out of the state by the governor. In 1839, the group settled on and improved an area of swampland along the Mississippi River and called it Nauvoo, Ill. Here the group prospered again but their practice of plural marriages angered the neighbors and, on June 27, 1844, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were murdered by a mob in Carthage, Mo. Brigham Young assumed leadership. The differences of religion in the community again forced the Latter-day Saints to plan for a move to west of the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains or further west.


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Virgins and Vampire Worship: The Religion of Twilight
January 7, 2013

Religion Dispatches

Erzen’s 2009 online survey, completed by almost 600 fans, shows that 98 percent of the US Twilight fanbase is made up of women; eighty percent identify as nondenominational Christians or Catholic, while the remainder identify as spiritual. Meanwhile, Erzen one estimate says that over 90 percent of Mormon women have read the series.


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January 13, 2013

New Yorker

3. If a friend mocked Scientology as a creepy ersatz religion, how would you reply?
(a) “Kirstie Alley looks just like the Buddha.”
(b) “Someday a Scientologist will be President, in a miniseries.”
(c) “A Scientologist is just a Mormon with an agent.”


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Gun Death Data Points In Both Directions
January 7, 2013


Mormon Idaho, with its open gun laws and low gun-death rate, is pretty homogeneous. New York, with its strict laws and high gun-death rate, is the nation’s melting pot. An easy subject for further study would be to do New York gun-death rates by county, which would likely find gun deaths disproportionately high in The City and underrepresented in the homogeneous rural counties.


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