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21 February 2013

Women Church Leaders Visit the South Pacific
February 21, 2013


Leaders of the women’s and children’s organizations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are in the South Pacific visiting and speaking to Mormons this week.

Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, and Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary general president are in the area to visit with Church members and conduct leadership training in New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa and American Samoa.

Nearly one thousand Latter-day Saint women in Auckland, New Zealand, listened to Sister Burton on 19 February 2013 during a training meeting. She encouraged the women to follow Jesus Christ’s example and teachings in all that they do.


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Mormons Around the World: Country Newsroom Websites
February 21, 2013


Mormonnewsroom.org pulls stories from the international Newsroom websites to show what members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the world are doing to better the communities in which they live.


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Mormon FAIR-Cast 130: Equality and Priesthood
February 20, 2013


Marvin Perkins provides a scriptural compilation of the Lord’s command for all to be equal and to ordain to the priesthood all who will embrace the gospel work.

This episode is an audio version of segment 3 of the Blacks in the Scriptures DVD Series . The complete DVD can be purchased at the FAIR Bookstore here.

This presentation has been provided courtesy of Blacks in the Scriptures. The opinions expressed in this podcast do not necessarily represent the official views of FAIR or of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


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Mormon stake president goes off on politics, laments election results
February 21, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

An LDS stake president in Sandy did something in a speech earlier this month that other Mormon leaders have done many times: He warned that evil is corrupting the world.

Then President Matthew DeVisser did something few LDS leaders ever do over the pulpit: He rattled off a number of Republican talking points, lamenting that voters last year chose “socialism over capitalism, entitlements over free enterprise, redistribution and regulation over self-reliance.”

DeVisser, who oversees a number of LDS congregations in the south valley, never referred to President Barack Obama or his Mormon opponent, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, in his Feb. 3 speech to the Hidden Valley Stake Conference but did say 2012 would “prove to be one of the more significant years in our lifetime.”


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Mormon Boy Scout gives ultimatum on gays
February 21, 2013


Max S. is a 15-year-old member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he joined the Boy Scouts of America through an LDS Church-affiliated troop. He’s a member of his school speech and debate team and is working hard to get good grades so he can “get a scholarship to a good college” and study physics. Over the years, he has worked his way up to the ranks of Life Scout; in the past few weeks, he’s also confronted anti-gay discrimination within the BSA. I spoke to him to put a human face on the current debate over inclusion of LGB scouts and leaders in the BSA.

I was unaware that the Boy Scouts had a policy against gay members and leaders until I learned that they were considering changing it. I was shocked. Now that they have decided to postpone the decision until May, I am completely annoyed because it should not have been that hard of a decision in the first place. If they decide against allowing gay members and leaders into the Boy Scouts, I think I will leave the organization without finishing my Eagle Scout award. It would be a prestigious honor and one that I have worked hard on but I don’t want my name attached to an organization that does not honor the choices of others and feels so differently than I do on the issue. I feel like it is a discriminatory policy.


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Mormon church creates new ward in Urbana
February 21, 2013

Maryland Community Gazette

For the first time in at least six years, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has created another ward in the Frederick area.

In 2007, the Frederick “stake” of the LDS church, also known as the Mormon church, had about 2,400 members.

Six years later, membership has increased by more than 1,000 members, causing church officials to create a new congregation in fast-growing Urbana.

The Frederick stake has four buildings where congregations come to worship based on their place of residence. Currently, three congregations, including the Urbana ward, are meeting in the stake’s Walkersville building at 1811 Latham Drive.


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Arizona slaying suspect can’t recall most of Mormon man’s killing
February 20, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

A woman charged with killing her lover testified Wednesday that she has no recollection of stabbing him, slitting his throat or even whether she shot him during a fight at his Arizona home nearly five years ago.

Jodi Arias, 32, has spent eight days on the witness stand recounting in precise detail one life event after another — from an abusive childhood to dead-end jobs and ex-boyfriends — but when pressed Wednesday about how she killed Travis Alexander, she drew a blank, noting there was a “huge gap” in her memory from that day in June 2008.


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Gay mormon video, Google Glass and embezzlement
February 21, 2013

Macleans (Canada)

It must be especially difficult to be gay and a Mormon right? Well it may have just become easier. Jimmy Hales, a student at Brigham Young University, decided to come out to his friends and family while recording their reactions. Most of them were surprisingly supportive–if a bit shocked. In a blog post he writes that he will never get married and plans stay celibate his whole life, but he’s happy with the acceptance he’s found. That may not be the ideal situation for most gay youth, but it seems to work fine for him.


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Will Mormons (and Catholics and other Utahns) support biggest Christian-rock show in Utah history?
February 21, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

Lowell MacGregor, of Seattle-based Christian promoter LMG Concerts, recently brought Third Day and Casting Crowns to Abravanel Hall. Neither act sold out the venue, which they routinely do in other cities. Promoting Christian-rock shows anywhere is a risky proposition, MacGregor said, but especially in Salt Lake City, where there’s no major Christian radio station to spread the word.

But MacGregor hasn’t soured on the market’s potential. “I would go back to Salt Lake City if I had the right act,” speculating that Christian acts such as TobyMac, Chris Tomlin and Skillet (which last performed in Utah at Saltair) could draw large crowds.

One problem in Utah, MacGregor says, is finding musicians who appeal to two very different local audiences: contemporary Christian music fans and Mormon music fans. MacGregor found support from Mormon music fans at the Third Day and Casting Crowns shows, but there wasn’t a sizable overlap.
Bob Ahlander, who calls himself a fan of contemporary Christian music, is director of music and film for Deseret Book, a division of Deseret Management Corp., which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He believes that Christian music springs out of the evangelical Christian culture more pervasively than in the LDS and even Catholic culture, and that Mormon music fans simply aren’t exposed to Christian acts.

Mormons are “typically uncomfortable” mixing the sacred with the secular; rock bands singing about Jesus strike some as off-putting. “It’s not the way Mormons worship,” Ahlander said.


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Orlando columnist: Tim Tebow risking it all by associating with ‘noxious’ preacher of Dallas church
February 21, 2013

Dallas Morning News (Texas)

We are talking about the First Baptist Church of Dallas and a pastor named Robert Jeffress, who seems to be an equal-opportunity hater of anybody who doesn’t believe as he believes. Jeffress is anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-Mormon, anti-gay, anti- President Obama and seemingly anti-everything that is not the First Baptist Church of Dallas.

Jeffress once called Muslims and Mormons the followers of religions born “from the pit of Hell.” Even so, Jeffress ended up endorsing Mormon candidate Mitt Romney for president because he said President Barack Obama was “paving the way for the future reign of the anti-Christ.”


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Is Pope Benedict XVI setting precedent for…the Mormons?
February 21, 2013

Orlando Sentinel (Florida)

The Salt Lake Tribune religion reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack writes that Pope Benedicts’ decision to retire, rather than die in office, has Mormons talking about whether that could happen to the leader of the Latter-Day Saints?

With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, some Mormons began to speculate whether an LDS Church president could do the same.

Doug Gibson, writing in Ogden’s Standard-Examiner, argues that one already did so — in 1981.

That’s when LDS President Spencer W. Kimball, then age 86, “resigned” from his position, Gibson writes, calling a spry 71-year-old Gordon B. Hinckley as a “third counselor” in the governing First Presidency and relinquishing most of his responsibilities to the younger man.What Kimball did was similar to the pope’s action, Gibson writes, just “more subtle.”


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‘Superman’ author’s gay-rights opposition prompts local boycott
February 21, 2013

Baltimore Sun (Maryland)

Card, who is on the board of the National Organization for Marriage, has campaigned vigorously against gay marriage. Opinion pieces the author has written have linked same-sex marriage to the end of civilization.

“[M]arriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy,” he wrote in 2008 in the Mormon Times.

More than 14,000 people have signed an online petition asking the company to drop Card.


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Teacher’s rants caught on tape, parents upset
February 20, 2013

KTNV (Nevada)

A Las Vegas father is shocked. His daughter, a freshman at Arbor View High School, played him a recording of what her teacher had said in class to his students.

The father says he sat in disbelief listening to it.

On the tape was a rant against religion and the encouragement of drug use.

The father and his daughter are Mormon. His attorney explains that one of the comments recorded on his daughter’s phone asks a student if he’d rather be Mormon or use hookers and blow.

The father says his daughter made the recording back in January because the rants kept happening.


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Huntsman comes out for marriage equality
February 21, 2013

Washington Blade (DC)

Huntsman’s support for marriage equality is also noteworthy because he’s a Mormon, a religion whose leaders have opposed same-sex marriage and purport that homosexuality is in violation of God’s law.

David Baker, a spokesperson for the LGBT Mormon group Affirmation, praised Huntsman for adding his voice to those in support of marriage equality.

“Affirmation commends former Gov. Huntsman for his support for full civil marriage equality and agree with him that marriage equality is the ‘right thing to do’ as ‘all Americans should be treated equally by the law,'” Baker said. “We firmly believe that marriage equality strengthens the institution of the family and that gay couples and their children deserve every societal and legal protection afforded to straight couples.”


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Better Know Your Opponent: BYU Cougars
February 21, 2013

SB Nation

Did you know that the lead singer of the Arcade Fire was raised in an LDS household? And while he isn’t Mormon, his brother is. And his brother is in the band. So we have our official Mormon music hook for the week.


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Burnett’s the new cop walking the beat in Yangan
February 22, 2013

Warwick Daily News (Australia)

Before joining the force, Snr Const Burnett spent time in the Philippines with the Mormon Mission.

“It was great – one of the best things I’ve done in my life,” he said.

Snr Const Burnett, his wife and two young children moved to Yangan in September and are thrilled to be part of the community.


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February 21, 2013

South Florida Times

Dozier, who made news when he openly opposed the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney because of Romney’s Mormon faith, did not disclose the names of the people or organizations behind the group or their number.

He said they are “black pastors, attorneys, and concerned citizens of this great country.”

With blacks involved in the organization of the network, it would “not resemble the Tea Party,” he said.


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Seven tasks for the Browns at the NFL scouting combine
February 21, 2013

ESPN Cleveland (Ohio)

Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah, 6-6 and 270 pounds, is a physical freak with little football experience but may have the most upside of any player in the draft. A native of Ghana, he grew up playing soccer and was recruited to Brigham Young University by a Mormon missionary to play basketball. He also ran track. When he switched to football in 2010, he didn’t even know how to put his pads on. By the time he left, he was opening eyes as a disruptive player, rushing the passer from inside and outside and lining up anywhere. At the Senior Bowl, Ansah destroyed opponents from the “wide nine” technique used by the Detroit Lions coaches in the game, recorded 1 ½ sacks and was lauded as the best player on the field. He may be more raw than Jason Pierre-Paul, the 15th overall pick by the New York Giants in 2010, but he also may be the next pass rush sensation. You don’t think Ray Horton could find a place for Ansah in his “attacking” 3-4 defensive scheme?


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Former Bishop Pleads Guilty to Tarp Fraud
February 21, 2013

American Banker

A former leader of a Mormon congregation in Connecticut has pleaded guilty to charges he laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars through a bank that received funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Julius Blackwelder, an ex-bishop of the Bridgeport Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Trumbull, has accepted liability for criminal charges that he tricked members of his congregation and others into entrusting their money with him in exchange for a return on their investment, U.S. Attorney David Fein said in a press release on Wednesday.

Rather than invest the funds in long-term investments as he told the investors he would do, Blackwelder allegedly deposited the money in an account at Bank of America (BAC) that he used to pay down personal loans, reimburse earlier investors in the scheme and build a home.


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John Sweeney: Why Church of Scientology’s gravest threat is the ‘net
February 21, 2013

The Register (United Kingdom)

The church, Sweeney feels, should be able to ignore criticism of its beliefs and let the activities of a group such as Anonymous wash over it. After all, he pointed out, there is a musical opening in London that takes a satirical look at the Mormon faith. The Mormon Church – often accused of cultish behaviour itself – has handled the fun-making rather well. It issued a statement suggesting that people may be entertained by the show but that the scripture would change their lives for ever.


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Santora: Finding faith in the company of men and women
February 21, 2013

Jersey Journal (New Jersey)

Myers will preside at the closing Mass at 3 o’clock. The theme is “We Walk By Faith” and the speakers include Dr. Michael Barber, a research fellow for the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. His topic is “Overcoming Temptations in the Wilderness: Jesus as the Model of Faith.” Mormon turned Catholic Thomas Smith, a frequent guest on EWTN, and Richard Moore, founder of Children in Crossfire, round out the English speakers. Ruben Quezada, author of “Cristiada,” and Jose Prado Flores, a lay evangelizer, will deliver the Spanish talks.


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Arias describes fateful moment of killing lover
February 21, 2013

Arizona Republic

Over the next several hours in court, Arias expressed her remorse.

“I couldn’t believe what had happened,” she said. “I couldn’t take back what had happened.”

Still, she tried to explain her peculiar behavior over the next several days, when she drove to Utah to meet with a prospective new boyfriend, spoke to police and Alexander’s Mormon bishop, even attended a memorial service for Alexander.

She was trying to create an illusion of normalcy, she said. “I wanted to try to determine how much time I had,” she said, though, “I knew that my life was pretty much over.”


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WOTR: Heard around the West
February 21, 2013

Summit Daily (Colorado)

What’s in a name? If the name is Dixie State College, based in St. George, Utah, it’s nothing to sneeze at. Recently, as the college began moving closer to becoming a university, locals saw this as the perfect opportunity to sever any connection to the South’s history of slavery and racism. Defenders countered that the name most likely derived from pioneer attempts to grow cotton in southwest Utah. Besides, they say, hundreds of local businesses pride themselves on the so-called “Dixie Spirit” of friendliness. Perhaps the name has good intentions, but as the daily Spectrum pointed out, the history of the college also includes hosting mock slave auctions, flying Confederate flags and erecting a statue honoring Confederate soldiers. Spectrum columnist Sally Musemeche talked to lots of people about the issue, and many were baffled and saddened that anyone would be offended by such things, or by a sports team named “The Dixie Rebels.” “Only the over-sensitive” could possibly read racism into this, they said; Dixie really means “the spirit of independence.” If that’s true, Musemeche suggested, then the college ought to start celebrating the state’s own civil war — an armed confrontation between the Mormon settlers in the Utah territory and the armed forces of the U.S. government, which lasted from May 1857 until July 1858: “Go, Dixie!” …


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Jodi Arias Does Not Remember Stabbing Boyfriend 30 or So Times
February 21, 2013

Hollywood Reporter

Arias’ testimony was the long-anticipated centerpiece of her defense. Once that’s done, prosecutors are expected to spend days trying to pick it apart.

Arias talked about how she and Alexander, a charismatic Mormon motivational speaker, had an off-and-on relationship – one sometimes violent or sadistic.


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Mia Love Gets CPAC Speaking Role
February 21, 2013

Huffington Post

Mia Love, the African American, Mormon, Republican mayor of Sarasota Springs, Utah and a rising star in the GOP, will deliver a speech at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference in March, organizers at the American Conservative Union announced Thursday.


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Prosecutor questions woman in Arizona murder case
February 21, 2013

Carlisle Sentinel (Pennsylvania)

Arias also attempted to explain away her repeated lies. She first told authorities she knew nothing about Alexander’s death, then later blamed it on masked intruders before eventually settling on self-defense.

She said she was scared of being arrested, had been contemplating suicide and didn’t want to sully Alexander’s name with accounts of his violent behavior and lurid details of their sexual relationship, given his public persona as a devout Mormon who was saving himself for marriage.


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Video Buzz: two coming-outs that marked the spirits
February 21, 2013

Yagg (France)

According to Mormon teachings, the homosexuals-s must lead a life of celibate chastity. Determined to follow this path, Jimmy announced his homosexuality to his bishop, who replied: “It will be hassle.” The young man did not expect less of the religious leader and appreciates “empathy.” He then revealed his sexual orientation to his family and her friends are filming their reactions. He was delighted that finally you always have it-s responded with love and “compassion” and a “weight” has been removed from his shoulders.

The purpose of this video? Understanding that LGBT people are not systematically banned from the Mormon community. “The doctrine of the church will not change but the Mormons themselves are changing,” says Jimmy. He still aware that the message preached by religious leaders Mormons is not the most attractive possible. On his blog , he says he still wonders how he can announce himself to homosexuals-s “Once baptized, we ask that you remain celibate until your DEATH” …


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