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13 January 2014

How To Make A Movie About Mormon Missionaries Even Agnostics Will Love

January 13, 2014


The Rave 18 theater 10 minutes north of LAX was filled to capacity Friday for the Los Angeles premiere of The Saratov Approach, an independent film based on the true story of two Mormon missionaries kidnapped and held for ransom in Saratov, Russia, in 1998.
The film became the fastest Mormon-themed movie to reach $1 million after opening for four weeks on 20 screens in Mormon-heavy states like Utah, Idaho, and Arizona. This month, it opened in theaters in California, Florida, Texas, Washington, Wyoming, and Alberta, Canada.
“It was a wonderful film,” said Larry King, who attended the screening. He later joked, “I’m an agnostic. I’m a Jew. I feel weird here.”
But agnostics, Jews, and anyone else outside of the film’s natural audience are exactly who the film’s creators are hoping to reach as it opens in new markets.


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New almanac offers look at the world of Mormon membership

January 13, 2014

Religion News Service

The encyclopedic endeavor is based on official reports the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gives out every year, information on the faith’s website as well as “literally thousands of reports we have obtained from members and church leaders over the years,” Martinich said.

In the almanac’s introduction, premier LDS sociologist Armand Mauss praised the undertaking’s independence, scope, candor and sources, and predicted it will be seen for years as “the most reliable and indispensable source available.”


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Boy Scouts, families relive Mormon Battalion trek through the Imperial County

January 13, 2014

Imperial Valley Press (California)

Nearly 170 years ago, the Mormon Battalion embarked on a 2,000 mile-long journey from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to San Diego.
Made up of almost 600 volunteers, the only religious unit in the American military was instrumental in securing a route through the western territories being fought over during the Mexican-American War.


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Glenn Beck, Christine Caine, Michael Reagan Among Notable Speakers at Liberty University’s Spring Convocation

January 13, 2014

Christian Post

Unlike many Christian schools, Moore made it clear that Convocation is not a chapel service. Although it includes prayer and singing worship songs, speakers do not need to share the school’s faith. As a result, Mormons, such as Beck and former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney, have both accepted the school’s invitation. (Moore pointed out Romney was the fourth Mormon commencement speaker in the school’s history.)


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Gay-marriage ban considered by Indiana lawmakers

January 13, 2014


Same-sex marriage became legal in eight states last year. Same-sex couples also could marry for a brief period in Utah after a federal judge overturned the heavily-Mormon state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.


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January 13, 2014

XO Jane

Salt Lake City, meanwhile, is 75% white. Furthermore, it’s not just white, but heavily Mormon (something Wilcox does discuss in his analysis, to be fair). The Mormon Church is extremely organized and supportive of its community members. Mormons don’t just go to church on Sunday and call it good, especially in Salt Lake City, which is the heart of the Mormon faith. They attend church events throughout the week, have a close social network with other members of the church, and, critically, have their own secondary safety net through the church.

Mormons, in other words, aren’t going to sit idle when they see members of the faith in trouble. They’re also less likely to tolerate single mothers, of course, which is one reason the marriage rate in Salt Lake City is so much higher.


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