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9 April 2013

Mormonism in Pictures: April 2013 General Conference

April 9, 2013


“Mormonism in Pictures” is a photo essay feature from Mormonnewsroom.org depicting The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members around the world. Today we feature photos from the Church’s 183rd Annual General Conference, which took place last Saturday and Sunday in Salt Lake City.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ semiannual general conferences are global events. Every April and October, thousands from around the world attend in the Church’s Conference Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City; millions more watch or listen via Internet, satellite or radio.


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So are Mormon women really making gains? Views differ

April 9, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

Two days after women offered prayers at LDS General Conference for the first time in the faith’s 183-year history, some Mormons still are celebrating the moment as well as the church’s other recent strides in gender equality.

These feminists point to institutional moves, such as modernizing the LDS Young Women’s program, lowering the missionary age for young women, and including women in mission leadership teams. And, though some disagree with the point of view on priesthood in the church’s recent video interview with its top female authorities — that men and women have different but equally vital roles — they applaud the faith for having women, not men, discuss their roles.

Julie M. Smith, of Austin, Texas, still thinks the Utah-based church has far to go for women to feel equal in the faith, but she salutes these steps.

“Let’s take a moment and enjoy the fact that the cause of Mormon feminism has enjoyed more progress in the past six months than the past 60 years,” Smith writes at Times & Seasons, a Mormon blog. “One almost senses a trajectory that will, someday, mean that all of this will be behind us.”


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A Mormon glass ceiling shattered

April 9, 2013

Washington Post (DC)

Apparently, it’s true that no girl or woman has ever said an opening or closing prayer to open or to close this biggest of all Mormon church services. When Jean A. Stevens stepped to the conference center podium to sweep aside the longstanding manifestation of God’s revealed order, there was a sudden shift in the global winds–perhaps you felt it–as the breath of 14 million Mormons around the planet caught in their lungs. Many of them were surely fearful of being hit by the falling shards of the glass ceiling. Others were dumbstruck that God has been following the Facebook campaign.

A small move like this is just another step on the sure and straight road towards the Oz in which LDS congregations ordain women pastors (Mormons use the term “bishop” in the place of “pastor”, but these are just terms for the same thing). For 18 decades, LDS Mormonism has had a male-only clergy. But women praying alongside the grand, gray men of Mormondom signals that the LDS Mormon woman-of-the-cloth is as inevitable as federally-sanctioned, same-sex marriage in the United States.


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Mormonism and the discussion of a woman’s place

April 9, 2013

Los Angeles Times (California)

So it should come as no surprise, as Mormons assimilate somewhat more, that there has been a renewed push for Mormon women to be able to gain the priesthood, which would allow them, for example, to confer blessings. (Mormonism is a lay-led religion, so a priest is not a clergyman as in the Roman Catholic Church.) It was seen as a major step forward when a woman was chosen, for the first time in 183 years, to lead the closing prayer at the semiannual conference of the Mormon Church over the weekend.

A step toward one thing, though, is generally a step away from something else. Although members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints might hold to orthodox practices while people of many other religions have relaxed their observance, this is still an issue that all religions ponder: If they don’t change at all, they risk losing members as well as the friendly eye of the larger society in which they hope to fit. If they change substantially, they risk losing their identity.


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Mormon Conference Welcomes Thousands of Latinos

April 9, 2013

Fox News Latino

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.


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International diplomacy from a Mormon perspective

April 9, 2013

Deseret News

Sometime later on that trip, a local man asked Ford and his students to help with olive harvesting in a nearby village, as he did not have enough workers. After a long day of hard work, the man requested their company at his dinner table. At dinner, he expressed hope that the students’ perspectives of the people had changed for the better. He also said his own opinions of Americans had become more respectful after seeing them unafraid of hard work and getting dirty. He then asked Ford to pray over the meal, which resulted in another spiritual and peace-building experience.

“As I searched for the words, I heard a voice again,” Ford said. “It simply said, ‘I am here.’ I don’t remember exactly the words that came out of my mouth that day, but I do remember the idea that simply this: Heavenly Father does not reside in stones or tombs. He doesn’t reside in religious sites or in cathedrals or churches. But his spirit will always be there when his children are joined together, unified in purpose, unified in heart, trying to understand, trying to make peace. There, his spirit will always be.”

Ford said the village now has respect for Latter-day Saints; likewise, the students feel reverence and peace toward the village. The lesson of compassion and respect was Ford’s message of hope for the conference attendees.


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Instead of seeking change from within, Mormon women should start new church

April 9, 2013

Boston Globe (Massachusetts)

MORMON FEMINISTS like Danielle Miller Mooney, who is part of a group seeking the ordination of women as Mormon priests, would be better off stepping away from their churches than trying to change their attitudes toward women (“Mormon feminists raise their voices,” Page A1, April 5). Her religion — like others — was created by men, not God, and reflects the attitudes toward women that existed at the time of its creation.

The only way women will find true equality is to form their own religions. It’s not clear to me why, after all this time, it hasn’t happened already.


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Two BYU grads sing their way onto “The Voice”

April 9, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

Ryan Innes got a full segment, complete with his backstory. A broken engagement prompted him to give up his plans to become a doctor and try to make a go of it as a singer. His rendition of John Mayer’s “Gravity” wowed the judges, who all fought over him until Innes chose to join Usher’s team.

Innes seems tailor made for the “The Voice,” where judges choose singers while their backs are turned to them. Innes’ soulful sound isn’t exactly what you’d expect out of a 31-year-old, bald, bearded Mormon.

“I just like to sing and I happen to look this way,” he said. “I just have a beard, I just like to eat. I’m just a normal human.”

Both Innes and Whitcomb are alumni of BYU’s a cappella groups.


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First Wyo Marriott TownePlace breaks ground

April 9, 2013

Wyoming Business Report

Marriott will also be bringing in another hotel in Afton to coincide with the arrival of a new temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormon temples tend to attract regional church members, who often need places to eat and stay, causing an infusion of local economic growth. A sign on the main drag in Afton announces the future home of a Marriott Fairfield being brought in by a pair of Utah developers.

“And they’re not alone in looking at the Star Valley/Afton area,” said Elaina Zempel, a Wyoming Business Council regional director. “But until the announcement of the temple, [the towns] hadn’t gotten much interest [from hotel developers].”


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Dublin High Grad Receives Hero’s Welcome Home

April 9, 2013

Pleasanton Patch (California)

Charles “Chip” Richey is a Specialist in the United States Army Airborne Division and last week returned from his deployment in Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan he was stationed in the Wardek and Loagr Provinces, where he worked as a mortar launcher and infantryman. Richey graduated from Dublin High School in 2008 and then joined the Army attending basic training at Ft. Benning, Ga. During his deployment he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious performance.

Richey is active in the Mormon Church and his interests cover a wide range from being in school musicals to hot rods and target shooting.


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Tuesday’s Religion News Roundup: Tee Ball * Thatcher’s Faith * Military nuns?

April 9, 2013

Religion News Service

Tolerance schmolerance. Senior Mormon apostle Boyd K. Packer at the LDS General Conference: just because the nation may change its laws to “tolerate legalized acts of immorality” does not make those acts any less spiritually damaging.


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Church evangelism draws ire of some West Texas A&M students

April 9, 2013

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (Texas)

Ashley Farren, 27, a senior environmental sciences and geology major and a member of the Secular Student Alliance campus group, said she thought the church’s message promoted intolerance of others.

“If you don’t believe in their God, you’re going to burn in a lake of fire,” she said. “If you’re gay, you’re going to burn in a lake of fire. If you’re a Mormon, if you’re a Catholic or if you’re anything but what this dude right here says, you’re dead. That’s horrid.”


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Rawtenstall ‘trainee priest’ jailed for sex abuse

April 9, 2013

Lancashire Telegraph (United Kingdom)

A 27-YEAR-OLD man, said by a judge to ‘pose a real risk to children’, has been jailed for 10 years for sexually abusing two girls.

Richard Simcock, who told the authorities he has since studied for the Mormon priesthood, repeatedly tried to rape one frightened victim and committed indecent acts on the other.


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Local Roundup — Published April 9, 2013

April 9, 2013

San Joaquin Record (California)

Anderson wrestled and competed on the Flames’ track and field team for four years, and also played football for three years and ran cross country for one year. In wrestling, he was a three-time San Joaquin Athletic Association champion and qualified for the Masters tournament twice. He was the track and field team MVP his junior year and has qualified for Masters each of his last two years. Anderson was the cross country Rookie of the Year this season. He is an AP Scholar with distinction, a commended student in the National Merit Scholarship Program and won the DAR Good Citizen Award for Lodi High. He volunteers with Mormon Helping Hands, Lodi City Youth track meets, the Lodi High freshman orientation program and projects through the Boys Scouts, including food drives, Christmas tree pick-up and city beautification. Anderson has a 4.54 GPA, which ranks him No. 2 out of his class of 469. He will attend BYU and major in chemical engineering with the hope of going into that field.


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