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23 July 2013

Mormonism in Pictures: Pioneers’ Trek West

July 22, 2013

Mormon Newsroom

“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.

This week, as Latter-day Saints and others remember Mormon pioneers’ inaugural journey to Utah in July 1847, we feature photos related to that pioneer trek west. Pioneer Day in Utah is held 24 July in honor of the first group of Mormon pioneers who entered the Salt Lake Valley through Emigration Canyon between 22 and 24 July 1847.

The historic trek of the Mormon pioneers in the mid to late 1840s was an event that helped shape the development of the American West.

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormonism-pictures-pioneers-trek-west

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Choir Presents Pioneer Day Concert with Stirling, Pacheco

July 22, 2013

Mormon Newsroom

Over the weekend, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square presented two concerts held in conjunction with community-wide Pioneer Day celebrations in Utah. Guest artists Lindsey Stirling and Nathan Pacheco performed with the choir and orchestra. For more, see coverage in the Church News, or view a video of the 20 July concert.

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/choir-presents-pioneer-day-concert-stirling-pacheco

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Remembering Iosepa and other determined Mormon pioneers

July 23, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

As a group of Pacific Islander Boy Scouts from Taylorsville and Orem played basketball nearby in this West Desert ghost town, Jacob Fitisemanu pondered the significance of Utah’s Mormon pioneers.

Not Brigham Young. Not Parley P. Pratt. Not Eliza R. Snow.

But I.W. Kauleinamoku. And Benjamin Kaloni Hoopiiaina. And Makaopiopio Kaohimaunu.

They and scores of others helped found a Pacific Islander outpost called Iosepa in western Utah’s Skull Valley.

Named after Mormon founder Joseph Smith and a later LDS prophet, Joseph F. Smith, Iosepa (pronounced Yo-see-pa) served as a home for Islander converts who came to Utah, mostly from Hawaii, in the late 1800s.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56607504-78/iosepa-utah-group-mormon.html.csp

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With Mormon Muffins, restaurant celebrates pioneer heritage all year long

July 23, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

The owners of the Greenery restaurant can’t swear on a Book of Mormon that the recipe for their hearty muffins was the same one used by pioneers pulling handcarts. After all, Kellogg’s wasn’t around then to sell one of the key ingredients, All-Bran cereal.

But Rob King, whose family owns the Rainbow Gardens, the building that houses the restaurant, declares the Mormon Muffins a “treasured pioneer recipe.” He said they were at the very least inspired by Mormons, who arrived in Salt Lake City 166 years ago on July 24, 1847.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/entertainment2/56438374-223/muffins-mormon-restaurant-muffin.html.csp

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Provo’s Mormon temple makes list of ‘ugliest churches’

July 23, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

The Provo LDS temple has made RealClearReligion’s “ugliest churches” list.

As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and this list, like all such assessments, is subjective. It favors more traditional religious architecture, while mocking modern expressions.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/blogsfaithblog/56631590-180/churches-provo-temple-ugliest.html.csp

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Inside the Mormons’ elite Missionary Training Center

July 23, 2013

Washington Post (DC)

The 35-acre campus is an island of young people, where teens and 20-somethings outnumber grown-ups by 10-to-1.

The place is awash in fresh-faced students, and even the workers — from the cafeteria to the copy center, the mailroom to the bookstore — and most of the teachers are under 30.

It’s no “Animal House,” though, with raucous frats, food fights and binge drinking. This is Mormonism’s elite Missionary Training Center, where the men wear white shirts and ties, the women don modest skirts and dresses and everyone is expected to heed the rules.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/inside-the-mormons-elite-missionary-training-center/2013/07/23/19475156-f3ca-11e2-81fa-8e83b3864c36_story.html

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Monday’s Religion News Roundup: Sinful St. Louis * Francis for Pope! * Mormon Doubts

July 22, 2013

Religion News Service

Our pal Laurie Goodstein at the NYT profiles Mormons who go online searching for answers and end up finding doubt instead.

http://www.religionnews.com/2013/07/22/mondays-religion-news-roundup-sinful-st-louis-francis-for-pope-mormon-doubts/

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Boy Scout-themed Norman Rockwell exhibit marks 100-year tie between Mormon Church, Scouts

July 22, 2013

Minneapolis Star Tribune (Minnesota)

Twenty-three original, Boy Scout-themed Norman Rockwell paintings are on display in Salt Lake City to celebrate the 100-year relationship between Scouting and the Mormon church.

The Rockwell exhibition that opened over the weekend at the Church History Museum will run through year’s end. A second exhibition, set to run through October 2014, is titled “A Good Turn Daily: 100 Years of Scouting and the Aaronic Priesthood.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the largest organization to charter Boy Scout troops, with Mormon-sponsored groups enrolling more than 430,000 youths last year.

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/216476371.html

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Mormon church to end door-to-door missionary practice

July 21, 2013

Beaumont Enterprise (Texas)

When The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints fully implements its new online missionary program, it will – if nothing else – at least minimize the occasions in which a firearm is brandished to ward off a pair of Mormons.

Elder Joshua Limb and Elder Beaver Ho Ching have some experience with that.

Both missionaries, who have served Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana for the past two years, have looked down the barrel of a shotgun while out spreading the word about the Mormon church. But those days may soon be over.

http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/article/Mormon-church-to-end-door-to-door-missionary-4675510.php

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New York Post Publishes Op-Ed From Mormon Ex-Gay Group Defending Harmful Therapy

July 22, 2013

Think Progress

On Saturday, the New York Post inexplicably published an op-ed defending ex-gay therapy, written by the founder of a Mormon ex-gay and ex-trans support group. Defending Jewish ex-gay therapists currently being sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center for consumer fraud, Jeff Bennion of North Star International argues that “sexual orientation change efforts” (SOCE) helped him deal with his shame about being gay:

SOCE was a revelation to me. It helped me confront my shame, around not only my homosexual feelings but also many other experiences. It taught me that my feelings were innately good, and a natural response to the circumstances I faced. It motivated me to try to repair important family relationships, and helped me learn how to better relate to other men, whom I’d previously ignored or disdained. It’s made me much more accepting of myself and of others.

Of course, as Equality Matters aptly pointed out, he would not have felt he needed SOCE to deal with shame if the Mormon Church didn’t shame homosexuality in the first place. That’s why the consensus of mental health professionals recommend affirmation for same-sex orientations.

http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2013/07/22/2338231/new-york-post-publishes-op-ed-from-mormon-ex-gay-group-defending-harmful-therapy/

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Mormons Announce Groundbreaking Service for Farmington Temple

July 22, 2013

West Hartford Patch (Connecticut)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will break ground on the first Mormon temple in the state of Connecticut on Route 4 in Farmington next month.

The Church announced in a press release Monday that the groundbreaking service is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 17 at the 1024 Farmington Ave. site.

President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints first announced the temple plans on Oct. 2, 2010, according to the release. The groundbreaking ceremony will be a religious service that includes “congregational singing, speakers from Church leadership, and a dedicatory prayer,” the release stated. At the conclusion of the service, “Church and community leaders will ‘turn the ground,’” the statement said.

http://westhartford.patch.com/groups/around-town/p/mormons-announce-groundbreaking-service-for-farmington-temple_e6909b20

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Mormon pilgrims bring tourism dollars to Palmyra, NY

July 23, 2013

North Country Public Radio (New York)

With 750 cast members, more than 1,000 costumes, and special effects to rival a James Cameron film, the Hill Cumorah Pageant draws thousands of people to western New York each year.

They come in droves, from around the world, converging on the town of Palmyra to witness a Mormon spectacle taking place way off Broadway.
There’s a ten-level stage, a burning at the stake, and cast members descending on wires.

But, this theatrical retelling of the history of Mormonism brings more than entertainment to the upstate region. The spectacle is responsible for an annual shot in the arm for the local economy.

http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/story/22406/20130723/mormon-pilgrims-bring-tourism-dollars-to-palmyra-ny

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Norman Rockwell exhibit marks tie between Mormons, Scouts

July 22, 2013

North Jersey (New Jersey)

Twenty-three original, Boy Scout-themed Norman Rockwell paintings are on display in Salt Lake City to celebrate the 100-year relationship between Scouting and the Mormon church.

The Rockwell exhibition that opened over the weekend at the Church History Museum will run through year’s end. A second exhibition, set to run through October 2014, is titled “A Good Turn Daily: 100 Years of Scouting and the Aaronic Priesthood.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the largest organization to charter Boy Scout troops, with Mormon-sponsored groups enrolling more than 430,000 youths last year.

http://www.northjersey.com/news/national/Norman_Rockwell_exhibit_marks_tie_between_Mormons_Scouts.html

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Mormon Church Gives Tax Rebates to Residents of Small Illinois Town

July 22, 2013

Nonprofit Quarterly

The competition between local governments and community non-profits for scarce resources is being played out once again, this time in a small town in Illinois, some 200 miles southwest of Chicago on the Iowa border.

The town is Nauvoo, and the nonprofit is the Mormon Church (also known as the Church of Latter Day Saints, or LDS). Nauvoo property owners received rebate checks from the LDS as a partial refund on higher taxes paid this year after a change in the church’s tax status on its holdings in town.

Some church properties had been exempt from property taxes, but since the 1960s, the church has paid taxes on its extensive holdings of other properties in the area, even though churches are exempt from paying property tax on religious properties. However, this year the church petitioned the state and county to apply the exemption on all its properties, which was granted quickly.

http://www.nonprofitquarterly.org/policysocial-context/22633-mormon-church-gives-tax-rebates-to-residents-of-small-illinois-town.html

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In 1845, William Smith, Mormon apostles waged low-key war in the LDS press

July 22, 2013

Ogden Standard Examiner (Utah)

There’s an interesting article in the new summer 2013 issue of the “Journal of Mormon History.” Christine Elyse Blythe has contributed a long article on the tenure of William Smith as church patriarch. William is generally considered in LDS history as a kind of “bad boy” of the Smiths, a “legacy apostle” who survived in the church while elder brother Joseph Smith was alive but was eventually kicked out of the church after he died.

There’s a lot of history in the article, “William Smith’s Patriarchal Blessings and Contested Authority in the Post-Martyrdom Church,” but what caught my interest was an intramural newspaper feud over who was best to lead the church a year after Joseph Smith had been murdered. William Smith, despite already shaky relationships with Brigham Young and the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, was named Presiding Patriarch of the LDS Church. It was a lucrative gig for Smith. Besides the high authority of being the church patriarch, William earned a buck per patriarchal blessing, according to Blythe. That doesn’t sound like much, but after 300 blessings over six months, William had earned roughly what a full-time laborer of that era would earn over half a year.

http://blogs.standard.net/the-political-surf/2013/07/22/in-1845-william-smith-mormon-apostles-waged-low-key-war-in-the-lds-press/

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Pioneer Day Surprise

July 23, 2013

Salt Lake Magazine (Utah)

Just in time for Utah’s quasi-religious celebration of Pioneer Day (It’s bigger than the Fourth of July!), the Mormon church has been getting national headlines from The New York Times to the New York Post that, well, could have waited at least until the fireworks-spawned fires are extinguished..

NYTimes prominently ran online a story this week about Hans Mattsson, a former “area authority” overseeing Latter-day Saints throughout Europe. Mattsson says browsing the Internet is hurling thinking Mormons, like himself, into doubt and the church is dodging their questions. For instance, Mattsson learned online that Joseph Smith was a polygamist. He also found out that the Book of Momon has a few historical inconsistencies.

http://saltlakemagazine.com/blog/2013/07/23/just-in-time-for-pioneer-day/

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The Church You Doubt, the Church You Love

July 22, 2013

The American Conservative

A fascinating New York Times article about doubt in Mormonism suggests that crises of faith are widespread not just among the marginally committed, but also the true believers and leadership. It points to a survey of more than 3,300 Mormon “disbelievers” released last year that found that over 40% of respondents had served in leadership positions.

Possibly more interesting than the survey itself, however, is the man who conducted it: John Dehlin, a graduate student at Utah State University, the founder of the “Mormon Stories” podcast, and himself a traveler in the gray area between faith and doubt in Mormonism.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/the-church-you-doubt-the-church-you-love/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-church-you-doubt-the-church-you-love

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St. George dominates Utah’s Dixie

July 23, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

St. George is named after Mormon apostle George A. Smith, known as the Potato Saint because he urged settlers to eat raw potatoes to prevent scurvy. According to www.Utahsdixie.com, Mormon leaders sent 309 families to St. George in 1861 to grow cotton. St. George became the Washington County seat in 1863. Its Mormon temple, dedicated in 1877, is the longest continuously operated LDS temple in the world. Dixie Academy, established in 1911, was precursor to today’s Dixie State University.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56548698-78/george-dixie-mormon-temple.html.csp

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Church group spruces up Bay Area projects

July 22, 2013

The World (Oregon)

Next time you pass by the boat mounted at the Coos Bay Boardwalk, you’ll see a bright new coat of paint on it.

You can thank Mormon Helping Hands for that.

On Saturday, the Latter-day Saints group hosted a service venture that had volunteers clean up and offer services around the Bay Area, with the boat paint restoration as the headliner.

“It did not look nice without that coat of paint. That is my honest answer. It looks a lot better,” volunteer Austin Philip Lee Davis said. “It’s a diamond in the rough.”

http://theworldlink.com/news/local/church-group-spruces-up-bay-area-projects/article_0044dcde-f2dd-11e2-92c3-001a4bcf887a.html

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The gay card: ‘Ender’s Game’ film can be appreciated despite author’s politics

July 23, 2013

The Collegian (Kansas)

In an opinion column Card wrote for the Mormon Times in 2008, he expresses his desire to violently overthrow the government if gay marriage were legalized. After the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act this year, Card released a statement to Entertainment Weekly on July 8, asking for proponents of gay marriage to show tolerance to those who disagree with them. As you can imagine, the irony was not lost on people, and the slander he has been throwing in the face of gay people for decades is now coming back to bite him in the ass.

http://www.kstatecollegian.com/2013/07/23/the-gay-card-enders-game-film-can-be-appreciated-despite-authors-politics/

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Mormons Start Questioning Their History, Stumble Upon Racism

July 22, 2013

The New Republic

Goodstein’s story is interesting because it manages to evoke plenty of sympathy for Mattsson–”I felt like I had an earthquake under my feet. Everything I’d been taught, everything I’d been proud to preach about and witness about just crumbled under my feet. It was such a terrible psychological and nearly physical disturbance”–while simultaneously raising the question of what took him so long to do some simple research. “I was just in a bubble, and we felt so happy,” is pretty much his explanation.

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/113969/mormons-history-racism-and-religion#

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Some Mormons search the web and find doubt

July 21, 2013

Honolulu Star Advertiser (Hawaii)

In the small but cohesive Mormon community where he grew up, Hans Mattsson was a solid believer and a pillar of the church. He followed his father and grandfather into church leadership and finally became an “area authority” overseeing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout Europe.

When fellow believers in Sweden first began coming to him with information from the Internet that contradicted the church’s history and teachings, he dismissed it as “anti-Mormon propaganda,” the whisperings of Lucifer. He asked his superiors for help in responding to the members’ doubts, and when they seemed to only sidestep the questions, Mattsson began his own investigation.

http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/19040101_Some_Mormons_search_the_web_and_find_doubt.html

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Mormons Face Internet-Related Crisis Of Faith

July 22, 2013

Huffington Post

In the small but cohesive Mormon community where he grew up, Hans Mattsson was a solid believer and a pillar of the church.

Read the whole story at www.nytimes.com

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/22/mormons-doubt-faith_n_3635005.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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