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8 April 2013

Church Launches “I’m a Mormon” Media Campaign in UK and Ireland

April 8, 2013

mormonnewsroom.org

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has launched an integrated “I’m a Mormon” media campaign in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

In London, 250 double-decker buses will feature advertisements for the next four weeks, as will Charing Cross mainline station and 10 tube stations. Throughout the rest of the UK and Ireland, the effort will be focused on the Internet, where “I’m a Mormon” ads will be visible until the end of 2013.

Learn more about the campaign at MormonNewsroom.org’s UK page.

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormon-media-campaign-uk-ireland

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Distinguished Religious Freedom Scholars to Participate in UVU Conference

April 8, 2013

mormonnewsroom.org

The challenges and erosions of religious freedom are concerns voiced by scholars and shared by many faiths around the world. A religious freedom conference at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, 9 and 10 April will feature some of the United States’ foremost scholars on the topic.

Former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt of the Center for Constitutional Studies will be the keynote speaker Tuesday, followed Wednesday by award-winning author and Bemis Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School, Noah Feldman.

Other notable scholars participating in the conference include Randall Balmer of Dartmouth College, Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, Matthew J. Franck of the Witherspoon Institute, Daniel Dreisbach of American University, Vincent P. Munoz of the University of Notre Dame and Mark L. Rienzi of the Catholic University of America.

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/top-religious-freedom-scholars-participate-uvu-conference

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Help Thou Mine Unbelief

April 8, 2013

FAIR Blog

In the Sunday afternoon session of General Conference, Elder Holland (hereafter “EH”) gave an address with the title “Lord, I Believe.” He sets the stage by recounting the story of the father of an afflicted child, desperate for whatever help might be afforded. The disciples were not able to provide the needed blessing. The father then appealed to Jesus with last-resort desperation:

“If thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

EH tells us that the man’s initial conviction, by his own admission, is limited, but he has an urgent, emphatic desire on behalf of his only child. And we are then told that that is good enough for a beginning.

http://www.fairblog.org/2013/04/08/help-thou-mine-unbelief/

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A Woman’s Prayer Makes Mormon History

April 8, 2013

National Public Radio

There was no formal acknowledgment of the historic moment Saturday when Jean Stevens stood at a dark wooden podium framed by potted plants and colorful flowers in the cavernous Mormon conference center in Salt Lake City.

“Our beloved father in heaven,” she began, as 20,000 faithful and silent Mormons in the building listened, and as millions of others (according to Church officials) watched on television screens around the world.

Stevens became the first woman to recite a prayer at a general session of the faith’s semiannual conferences, which Mormons consider the most important religious gatherings of the year.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/04/08/176604202/a-womans-prayer-makes-mormon-history

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Top Mormon leader warns against ‘tolerance trap’

April 8, 2013

Religion News Service

Just because the nation may change its laws to “tolerate legalized acts of immorality” does not make those acts any less spiritually damaging, senior Mormon apostle Boyd K. Packer said Saturday (April 6) at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ 183rd Annual General Conference.

“The permissiveness afforded by the weakening of the laws of the land to tolerate legalized acts of immorality,” Packer said, “does not reduce the serious spiritual consequences that result from the violation of God’s law of chastity.”

Packer, president of the Mormons’ Quorum of Twelve Apostles and next in line to take over the church’s reins, didn’t specifically mention gay marriage, but his comments came amid controversy on the issue nationwide and a significant swing in public and political opinion toward favoring such same-sex unions.

http://www.religionnews.com/2013/04/08/top-mormon-leader-warns-against-tolerance-trap/

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Mormon conference welcomes thousands of Latinos

April 8, 2013

Global Post

The Mormon church has seen the number of its faithful in the United States increase by more than 45 percent over the past 10 years, largely because the number of Spanish-speaking members has practically doubled.

This weekend, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held its semi-annual conference in Salt Lake City with a special place reserved for Hispanics.

Eric Hawkins, an LDS spokesman, told Efe that thousands of Latinos arrived at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City over the weekend to take part in the event.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/agencia-efe/130408/mormon-conference-welcomes-thousands-latinos

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Top Mormon leader warns against ‘tolerance trap’

April 8, 2013

Washington Post (DC)

Just because the nation may change its laws to “tolerate legalized acts of immorality” does not make those acts any less spiritually damaging, senior Mormon apostle Boyd K. Packer said Saturday (April 6) at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ 183rd Annual General Conference.

“The permissiveness afforded by the weakening of the laws of the land to tolerate legalized acts of immorality,” Packer said, “does not reduce the serious spiritual consequences that result from the violation of God’s law of chastity.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/top-mormon-leader-warns-against-tolerance-trap/2013/04/08/0de0a21e-a07c-11e2-bd52-614156372695_story.html

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Another woman leads prayer at Mormon conference

April 7, 2013

San Francisco Chronicle (California)

It didn’t take long for another woman to lead a prayer at the semiannual gathering of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Carole M. Stephens, first counselor of the faith’s Relief Society general presidency, offered the invocation for the Sunday afternoon session.

She became the second woman to lead a prayer in the event’s 183-year history, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Another-woman-leads-prayer-at-Mormon-conference-4416438.php

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Woman Leads Prayer at Mormon Event

April 8, 2013

Wall Street Journal

For the first time anyone can remember, the person leading millions of Mormon faithful in a prayer at an important church conference was a woman. Sister Jean A. Stevens offered a benediction Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ semiannual General Conference in Salt Lake City.

http://stream.wsj.com/story/latest-headlines/SS-2-63399/SS-2-206001/

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Woman for the First Time Leads Mormon Conference Prayer

April 8, 2013

Fox News Radio KLIX (Idaho)

For the first time in the event’s 183-year history, a woman has led a prayer at the semiannual gathering of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Jean A. Stevens led the morning session’s closing prayer Saturday for the more than 100,000 church members gathered in Salt Lake City for the two-day general conference, and the millions more watching via satellite, radio or Internet broadcast.

Stevens holds various church roles and is member of a three-person board that advises and assists parents on teaching their children about the faith. A feminist group launched a campaign earlier this year asking Mormon leaders to let women lead the opening and closing prayer at the conference as a symbol of gender equality.

http://newsradio1310.com/woman-for-the-first-time-leads-mormon-conference-prayer/

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Eldred G. Smith, Ex-Mormon Church Patriarch, Dies

April 8, 2013

ABC News

Elder Eldred G. Smith, the oldest Mormon church general authority and oldest known Utahn, has died at the age of 106.

Smith, who was born in Lehi, died Thursday night.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement praising him as a “valued friend” and “respected leader.”

During his 32 years as church patriarch, he traveled to every continent and gave more than 18,000 blessings. He had been an emeritus church patriarch since 1979.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/eldred-smith-mormon-church-patriarch-dies-18903260

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Mormon Church reorganizes in region

April 8, 2013

Lebanon Daily News (Pennsylvania)

Consistent growth in membership has resulted in reorganization for local congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, leading to creation of a new Lancaster Stake of the Church.
A stake in the Mormon Church is a regional organization, not unlike a Catholic Diocese, but made up of wards and branches in a particular area, according to a news release. The Lebanon Ward of the Church remains in the Harrisburg Stake, and two of the presiding officers are Lebanon County residents.

http://www.ldnews.com/religion/ci_22980567/mormon-church-reorganizes-region?source=most_viewed

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“Gun Talk Radio” vs. Mormon women priests

April 8, 2013

Salon

By then, though, I’d found a great listener-sponsored radio station outside Salt Lake City, KCRL, that featured an ongoing series of interviews with local activists. I listened to Kate Kelly, who’s campaigning for the rights of women to be ordained Mormon priests. Asked why she stays a Mormon, given her liberal views, she cites Paul Robeson singing “The House I Live In.” A snippet of the song plays in the background. The great black left-wing singer-actor-activist being invoked in the name of Mormon feminist rights. Is this a great country or what?

http://www.salon.com/2013/04/08/%E2%80%9Cgun_talk_radio%E2%80%9D_vs_mormon_women_priests/

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Salt Lake County assessor leaving in August for Mormon church mission

April 8, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

Salt Lake County Assessor Lee Gardner has received his LDS mission call and is planning to leave office in August for Barcelona, Spain.

His impending departure already has sparked interest in the elected position. From what he’s heard, Gardner expects three to five candidates to vie for the job, which pays about $164,000 a year, including benefits.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/56126421-90/county-assessor-gardner-lake.html.csp

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Boyd Packer, Top Mormon, Warns Of Immorality ‘Tolerance Trap’

April 8, 2013

Huffington Post

Just because the nation may change its laws to “tolerate legalized acts of immorality” does not make those acts any less spiritually damaging, senior Mormon apostle Boyd K. Packer said Saturday (April 6) at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ 183rd Annual General Conference.

“The permissiveness afforded by the weakening of the laws of the land to tolerate legalized acts of immorality,” Packer said, “does not reduce the serious spiritual consequences that result from the violation of God’s law of chastity.”

Packer, president of the Mormons’ Quorum of Twelve Apostles and next in line to take over the church’s reins, didn’t specifically mention gay marriage, but his comments came amid controversy on the issue nationwide and a significant swing in public and political opinion toward favoring such same-sex unions.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/08/boyd-k-packer-tolerance_n_3038815.html

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Senator Orrin Hatch Defends DOMA, Thinks Civil Unions Will Keep Everybody Happy

April 8, 2013

Towleroad

Senator Orrin Hatch believes civil unions will solve the country’s inequality issues while saving the word “marriage” for heterosexuals, the Salt Lake Tribune reports:

The senator made the comment Wednesday at the end of a wide-ranging interview on Logan station KVNU, where he also said he doesn’t believe people choose to be gay, but “I draw the line on traditional marriage.”

…Hatch, R-Utah, defended the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, and hopes the court will allow each state to handle this controversial issue on its own.

“I’ll say this, I do believe this could be solved greatly by a civil-union law that would give gay people the same rights as married people,” said Hatch, who mentioned hospital visitations and tax benefits. “I think we can solve this problem without undermining the very basis of marital law in our country.”

http://www.towleroad.com/2013/04/senator-orrin-hatch-defends-doma-thinks-civil-unions-will-keep-everybody-happy.html

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Corrections & Amplifications

April 9, 2013

Wall Street Journal

Mormon men as young as 12 years old can receive offices in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ priesthood authority but can’t receive the title of priest until at least age 16. A U.S. News article on Monday about a woman leading prayer at an important Mormon church conference incorrectly said the title of priest is available to all faithful Mormon men when they reach age 12.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323550604578410540646056224.html

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Postcards From Camp

April 8, 2013

Slate

Of course, not all examples of Innocence are as cynical as Fieri’s. When I think of camp’s relationship to such things, I’m always reminded of an evening I spent camp-watching the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s elaborate Christmas special on PBS. At some point, probably to the tune of “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” a troupe of dancers in full Victorian garb skipped onto the stage to perform some of the gayest choreography I have ever witnessed. The scene was utterly breathtaking, and not in the way that the artistic director of the spectacle clearly intended. As I fixated on a ruddy, young Utahan spinning and stage-grinning (my nuance was somewhere between those facial expressions and his cravat), it occurred to me that to have put together this production without the slightest hint of irony, to present it to the world with earnest pride, the Mormon church’s investment in old-timey Innocence is so complete that our response to it must move beyond mockery to something more like pity.

This, of course, is a strange thing to feel for an organization that has traditionally been rather hostile to my own being. But then, pity bespeaks a position of condescension–and in that a certain kind of personal, if not political, power–doesn’t it? My camping of the Mormon Christmas special spared me from common feelings of hate or of being carried aloft by the rush of Innocent Christmas joy. No, it doesn’t undo the violence that this entity has done indirectly to me through its funding of Proposition 8, etc., but it does afford me the more immediate satisfaction of having my way with an object that wasn’t designed for my consumption (or at least, given the cravats, not consciously anyway). And better still, by undermining the Mormon Church’s hypocritical “Peace on Earth” claims to Innocence, camp allows for a certain, if limited, cutting-down-to-size, akin to when Nathan Lane (playing Chauncey Miles in the Broadway play The Nance) reduces the whole of Catholic hegemony to the pitiable vulgarity of wearing gold atop red velvet.

Camp’s inability to tolerate Innocence is not meanness; it’s a kind of survival mechanism. But if you think surviving Guy Fieri and the Mormon Church is hard, see what happens tomorrow when we look to camp to get us through the seriously tragic.

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/features/2013/postcards_from_camp/pete_wells_guy_fieri_review_that_was_camp.html

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One Secret to BuzzFeed’s Viral Success: Buying Ads

April 8, 2013

The Atlantic

“One of the things I realized is that quality is not all that matters,” Peretti said. “Case in point: Which is higher quality, Judaism or Mormonism?”

He flashed a slide that juxtaposed a pair of white-shirted missionaries with a pair of Hasidim. Peretti, who is half-Jewish, performs this bit frequently; it never fails to make audiences uncomfortable. After asking for shows of hands, he nailed the punch line, projecting a chart showing the growth of both religions. “When you look at the performance metrics, there was one Mormon for every ten Jews in 1950, and now there are more Mormons in the world than there are Jews,” Peretti said. “Mormons know that it’s not enough to practice your religion; you also have to spread your religion.”

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/04/one-secret-buzzfeeds-viral-success-buying-ads/63993/

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Residents Excited About Plans For Cedar City Temple

April 8, 2013

KUTV (Utah)

After years of rumors about whether Cedar City would get a Mormon temple, the official announcement has turned the talk in town to speculation about where the new temple will be built.

LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson made the announcement Saturday, noting that the Cedar City temple will be Utah’s 17th.

“Exact locations of the temples will be announced at a later date,” read a news release from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints following the announcement of plans for new temples in Cedar City, Utah and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“It was great,” said Alan Garfield of Cedar City of hearing about the temple. “It’s going to mean a lot to a lot of people.”

http://www.kutv.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_4490.shtml

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