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10 October 2013

Mormonism in Pictures: October 2013 General Conference

October 9, 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. Today we feature photos from the Church’s 183rd Semiannual General Conference, which took place 5 and 6 October 2013 in Salt Lake City.

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormonism-pictures-october-2013-general-conference

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John Howell

October 9, 2013

Mormon Scholars Testify

I chose to study physics because someone shared with me the slightly misquoted statement by Einstein, “I want to know what God knows.” This lofty goal seemed reasonable at the outset of my studies. However, after twenty years of study, it has been tempered by the realization that we know so very little of the world and God’s creations.

I teach and study quantum mechanics and the quantum effects of light. I marvel at the beauty, the symmetries, the asymmetries, the order, the chaos, the uniqueness, the reproducibility, the simplicity, and the complexity of the natural world. I remember one day being almost overwhelmed at a leaf on a tree. I found that this rather mundane object was so complex from a quantum mechanical standpoint that any hopes of writing a mathematical description from a quantum level were far beyond my capabilities.

http://mormonscholarstestify.org/3212/john-howell

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One True Church Vs. Everybody Else

October 10, 2013

FairMormon Blog

I have become convinced that Nichiren was a prophet, or at the very least, a man of God. He lived in a time of great crisis in Japan, and went about preaching repentance and a return to the True Path. (Reminds me of Jeremiah and, like Jeremiah, this did not sit well with the authorities, in that he was constantly persecuted and in danger of his life.) Around 1260 he wrote a famous treatise in which he asserted that if Japan did not soon turn from its wrong path it would come under attack from a foreign army that would devastate the nation. Imagine the shock when, just 14 years later, the Mongols arrived with a vast fleet on the shores of Kyushu. (The Japanese barely beat them off that year, and again in 1281 before the Mongols gave up. Famously, the Kamikaze (Divine Wind, or in other words, a typhoon) blew away the Mongol fleet both times. And this was the only time in recorded history that Japan was invaded by foreign armies before the arrival of the Americans in 1945.) Nichiren lived long enough to see this, and to see a chastened Japanese elite turn their allegiance to him. His teachings underpinned the Japanese samurai ethic of later centuries.

http://www.fairblog.org/2013/10/10/one-true-church-vs-everybody-else/

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FairMormon Frameworks 5: Mike Ash & Shaken Faith

October 9, 2013

FairMormon Blog

In this interview with LDS author Mike Ash, we talk about his book “Shaken Faith Syndrome.” the experience of a faith crisis in general, and we delve into a few issues like whether or not the Church hides its History.

Michael R. Ash is a Mormon scholar and apologist. Br. Ash is on the management team for the FairMormon. Br. Ash has written dozens of articles for FAIR as well as his own website, MormonFortress.com.

http://www.fairblog.org/2013/10/09/fairmormon-frameworks-5-mike-ash-shaken-faith/

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Mormon Missionary From Idaho Dies in Mexico

October 11, 2013

ABC News

The Mormon church says a missionary was electrocuted by a live power line atop a building in Mexico.

Colt Daniel Kunz, of Victor, Idaho, is the 11th proselyting member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to die of illness or an accident this year.

Church spokeswoman Ruth Todd says the 20-year-old arrived in Mexico less than a month ago and died Wednesday. It wasn’t immediately clear how the accident occurred.

Traffic and other accidents have claimed six other missionaries this year. Another four died from such illnesses as aneurysm, heart attack or tuberculosis meningitis. One of the missionaries was a woman.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/mormon-missionary-idaho-dies-mexico-20535130

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Mormon women are no longer afraid to challenge inequality

October 10, 2013

The Guardian (United Kingdom)

At City Creek Park in downtown Salt Lake City this week, nearly 200 women and men gathered to request entry to the priesthood session of the general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). A friend called just as I was arriving to ask what the mood was like. All I could say between my smiles and choked back tears was “I found Zion”.

Mormons believe in a priesthood authority, restored directly from God through a visitation by John the Baptist to LDS founder Joseph Smith. Degrees of this priesthood, as of 1978, are held by all worthy LDS men and boys over the age of 12. Prior to that year, men of African descent were excluded from the priesthood.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2013/oct/10/mormon-women-challenge-inequality

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Mormon Couple Pushes LDS Church to Change Anti-Gay Stance After Son Comes Out

October 10, 2013

Hollywood Gossip

Wendy and Tom Montgomery, devout Mormons, are pushing the church to reconsider its anti-gay stance now that their own teenage son has come out.

They had to do some rethinking of their own. As recently as 2008, they campaigned hard in their California neighborhood for anti-gay marriage proposition.

The Supreme Court threw out Prop 8 for good this year, upholding a lower court’s ruling. Despite their prior efforts, the family now sides with the court.

They learned last year that their 15-year-old son is gay, a revelation that rocked their belief system and shifted their views, Wendy Montgomery admits.

Now, she is leading a growing movement among Mormons to push The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to teach that homosexuality isn’t a sin.

http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/2013/10/mormon-couple-pushes-lds-church-to-change-anti-gay-stance-after/

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Dieter Uchtdorf, Mormon Leader, Says Church Has ‘Made Mistakes’ And There Is Room For All In LDS Faith

October 8, 2013

Huffington Post

It is wrong to assume that Mormons who leave the faith “have been offended or lazy or sinful,” a top leader told members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday (Oct. 5) during the church’s 183rd Semiannual General Conference.

“It is not that simple,” said Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the LDS Church’s governing three-man First Presidency.

Some struggle with “unanswered questions about things that have been done or said in the past,” Uchtdorf explained. “We openly acknowledge that in nearly 200 years of church history — along with an uninterrupted line of inspired, honorable and divine events — there have been some things said and done that could cause people to question.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/08/dieter-uchtdorf-mormon-leader-church-mistakes_n_4059683.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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Utah college enrollment down 2% this year

Ocdtober 10, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

The number of students at Utah’s public colleges and universities dropped by just over 2 percent this fall, a softer blow than many institutions feared after the Mormon church lowered age requirements for its missionaries a year ago.

Utah schools are dealing with a double whammy: The improving economy means people are getting jobs rather than enrolling, and more potential students are leaving for missions with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The loss of tuition dollars come as a blow to institutional budgets following cuts to public funding during the recession.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56982670-78/students-percent-college-state.html.csp

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Mormon missionary from Idaho electrocuted in Mexico, marking 11th death this year for church

October 10, 2013

Washington Post (DC)

The Mormon church says a missionary was electrocuted by a live power line atop a building in Mexico.

Colt Daniel Kunz, of Victor, Idaho, is the 11th proselyting member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to die of illness or an accident this year.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/mormon-missionary-from-idaho-electrocuted-in-mexico-marking-11th-death-this-year-for-church/2013/10/10/9a48cba8-31f1-11e3-ad00-ec4c6b31cbed_story.html

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Sex, religion and Dan Savage: Gay writer and activist speaks at U of U

October 9, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

“We’ve seen the Mormon church call off its dogs in marriage equality,” he said in an interview before his speech. But he didn’t exempt the Salt Lake City-based LDS Church from his take on religion and sexuality, noting that sex has been around a lot longer than the Mormon church.

“Sex is for pleasure,” he said, “and the Mormon church has always taken the position that sex is for creating more worshipful, zombie-eyed followers for Jesus.”

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56980648-78/savage-gay-sex-church.html.csp

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A fifth of Mormons express doubts about some church teachings

October 10, 2013

Pew Research Center

A top Mormon leader made headlines this week when he acknowledged, without being specific, that past actions by church leaders may have contributed to doubts about church teachings.

Indeed, one-in-five Mormons surveyed in 2011 said they have such doubts.

A 2011 survey of American Mormons by the Pew Research Center found that three-in-four (77%) people who are current members of the LDS Church say they believe wholeheartedly in all the teachings of Mormonism. But 22% say they find some of the church’s teachings hard to believe.

Mormons over age 50 are somewhat more apt than younger Mormons to say they find some of the LDS Church’s teachings hard to believe (28% vs. 18%). Mormons with a high school education or less are substantially more likely than those with more education to say they find some elements of Mormonism difficult to believe. Converts to Mormonism also are more inclined than lifelong Mormons to say they find certain teachings of the faith hard to believe.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/10/10/a-fifth-of-mormons-express-doubts-about-some-church-teachings/

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LDS missionary from Victor dies in Mexico

October 10, 2013

Rexburg Standard Journal (Idaho)

A Victor man serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints died Wednesday in Mexico after sustaining injuries when he came in contact with a live electrical wire.
Elder Colt Daniel Kunz, 20, was serving a mission in Tampico, Mexico.

http://www.rexburgstandardjournal.com/news/lds-missionary-from-victor-dies-in-mexico/article_6a091fee-31f4-11e3-a590-0019bb2963f4.html

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Exxon and LDS Church team up to feed the hungry

October 10, 2013

Spring Observer (Texas)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ peanut butter cannery in Spring opens its doors for 64 four-hour humanitarian shifts a year to make and can peanut butter for the Houston Food Bank. The cannery is open year-round except for July, December and November and is staffed by church member volunteers.

Volunteers from ExxonMobil worked a shift Friday, canning 7,128 jars of peanut butter. The group tied the previous cannery record, which was set by another group of ExxonMobil volunteers. Both groups also hold the record for 13,100 jars of peanut butter canned in one 8-hour period.

Clyde Black, a corporate liason at the cannery, said the peanuts come from a farm in Pearsall which is owned by the Latter-day Saints. The peanuts are a special variety engineered at Texas A&M University. The McCloud peanuts are high in Omega-3. Also high in protein, peanut butter makes a “nutritious source of non-perishable protein” for the food bank, Black said.

http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/spring/news/exxon-and-lds-church-team-up-to-feed-the-hungry/article_ab4d9a56-640e-5c6e-9b94-23c4cbb1eb19.html

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With 10 deaths so far this year, are Mormon missionaries safe?

October 9, 2013

Religion News Service

Four died in transit accidents. Four succumbed to health problems. One was electrocuted while doing a good deed and another fell to a stray bullet.

Ten Mormon missionaries have died so far in 2013, far above typical levels. And while church officials insist the spike doesn’t represent a trend, it has raised anew the question: Is missionary work safe?

The answer, according to the head of the faith’s Missionary Department, is an emphatic yes.

http://www.religionnews.com/2013/10/09/10-deaths-far-year-mormon-missionaries-safe/

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Idaho LDS Missionary Dies in Mexico

October 10, 2013

East Idaho News

The LDS Church has announced the death of a missionary from Victor. Elder Colt Daniel Kunz died Wednesday after coming into contact with a live electrical wire. A spokesperson with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints said the 20-year old Kunz was serving in the Mexico Tampico Mission and had just arrived in the country.

“In his short service, he had been described as the kind of missionary every mission president wants to receive,” the church said Thursday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Elder Kunz’s family, friends and others who mourn his passing.”

http://www.eastidahonews.com/2013/10/idaho-lds-missionary-dies-in-mexico/

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Carl Wimmer goes from pit bull to teddy bear, Mormon to evangelical

October 10, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

His transformation from that of a lifelong Mormon, he added, began about five years ago. He formally left the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this year. “I love Mormons and I love the church,” he told me. “I believe this is a path God has led me to.”

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/56982850-90/wimmer-love-utah-carl.html.csp

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Mormon women march for entry into priesthood

October 9, 2013

Al Jazeera

Ordain Women is made up of proud Mormons – a few are quick to note their pioneer blood. But they take serious issue with what they see as gender inequality within the church. And they believe one solution to this issue is to get women in leadership and decision-making roles, like the priesthood, currently only open to men.

Many of the activists here see a similarity between their movement and the one that led to blacks joining the priesthood in the late 1970s – although the movement for the ordination of women likely doesn’t have the same popular support among Mormons.

For some, the demonstration was part of a far larger movement. The ordination of women in the Mormon church, they think, might be the unlikely wedge in a greater struggle for women’s equality.

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/10/9/mormon-women-marchforentryintopriesthood.html

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Mormon-owned BYU sells caffeinated colas in soda slip-up

October 9, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

Caffeinated colas — long forbidden for sale at LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University — popped up Tuesday in a vending machine on the Provo campus.

They were sighted in the Brimhall Building and immediately caused a run on the machine there, tweeted Provoan Sarah Kathryn Smith.

Alas, it was all an accident, said BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins.

“Coke mistakenly included a limited number of caffeinated Coke Zeros in our order,” Jenkins wrote in an email, “which no one caught while the vending machines were being stocked.”

The caffeine question for Mormons stems from the Utah-based faith’s health code, known as the Word of Wisdom, which bars coffee and tea. For years, some have suggested that the ban included caffeinated colas, and the church’s flagship school, BYU, traditionally has neither sold nor served such drinks.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/blogsfaithblog/56975397-180/church-jenkins-byu-caffeinated.html.csp

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A Leader’s Admission of ‘Mistakes’ Heartens Some Doubting Mormons

October 8, 2013

New York Times

Terryl and Fiona Givens, married Mormon scholars who conducted a series of seminars in the United States and Europe this year for Mormons struggling with questions about their faith, said that Mr. Uchtdorf’s talk was seminal because of the admission that church leaders were fallible.

“In a single blow, it shattered the cultural mythology that has been at the root of the doubt and disaffection that affects our members,” said Terryl Givens, a professor of literature and religion at the University of Richmond and the author of books on Mormonism.

Mrs. Givens said, “I’m looking at his talk as the balm of Gilead for many people who are struggling with questions to which they cannot find answers.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/09/us/a-leaders-admission-of-mistakes-heartens-some-doubting-mormons.html?_r=0

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Leander, Cedar Park Mormon group cleans up Roy G. Guerrero Park

October 8, 2013

Austin Statesman (Texas)

More than a hundred Cedar Park and Leander residents participated in the “Mormon Helping Hands” park cleanup project Sept. 14 at Roy G. Guerrero Park in Austin.

Wearing yellow “Mormon Helping Hands” vests, men, women and youngsters gathered trash and branches along park trails, weeded, spread mulch, scrubbed baseball bleachers, power washed graffiti, painted a bridge, cleared dead trees and spread wildflower seeds.

The park was selected for the project because it could utilize more than 500 volunteers at one time. The Mormon Helping Hands program brings together members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their neighbors to provide community service to support and improve the communities where they live.

http://www.statesman.com/news/news/local/leander-cedar-park-mormon-group-cleans-up-roy-g-gu/nbJNd/

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Soprano Voigt, actor Rhys-Davies join Mormon Tabernacle Choir for Christmas

October 8, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has booked its Christmas dates: Soprano Deborah Voigt and actor John Rhys-Davies.

The choir announced today that Voigt and Rhys-Davies would take leading roles in the annual Christmas concerts, set for Dec. 12, 13 and 14 at the LDS Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/blogsmoviecricket/56974321-66/tickets-music-voigt-choir.html.csp

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Mormon leader defends stance vs. same-sex marriage

October 9, 2013

Wichita Eagle (Kansas)

More states and nations may legalize same-sex marriage, but human laws cannot “make moral what God has declared immoral,” a top Mormon leader said Sunday.

Apostle Dallin H. Oaks, in an address at the Mormon church’s biannual general conference in Salt Lake City, said the faith’s stance against same-sex marriage might be misunderstood or prompt accusations of bigotry.

But he urged members to remember that their first priority is to serve God, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ policies are based on God’s decrees, The Salt Lake Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1huO8fj ).

http://www.kansas.com/2013/10/09/3047707/mormon-leader-defends-stance-vs.html

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Mormon Leader Reiterates Position Against Gay Marriage

October 8, 2013

Townhall

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints broadcast its general conference this weekend, which included a reiteration of its position against same-sex marriage and more.

http://townhall.com/video/mormon-leader-speaks-out-against-gay-marriage-n1719039

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Mormon Church Softens Stance On Homosexuality

October 8, 2013

HNGN

The Church of Latter-Day Saints demonstrated a recent shift in their stance on homosexuality by softening their attitude towards gay people, Fox News reported.

Although the Mormon Church was active in California’s Proposition 8 — a ballot proposition organized to overturn the state’s ruling that legalized gay marriage — their new website suggests a more welcoming approach to the gay community. The recently launched site encourages gay people to stay in the church and also says they will no longer advise gay people to marry the opposite sex.

http://www.hngn.com/articles/14329/20131008/mormon-church-mormon-church-gay-rights-mormon-church-gay-marriage.htm

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