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8 November 2011

Rugby Star Will Hopoate Gives Up Millions for Missionary Service

November 7, 2011

newsroom.lds.org

Turning down million-dollar contract offers for two years of nonprofit service might seem silly to some. But that’s just what 19-year-old Australian rugby star Will Hopoate did in May when he chose to become a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) instead of accepting a lucrative offer to keep playing rugby.

A new “I’m a Mormon” video features Hopoate, who says he made his choice as a way to give thanks to God for his blessings, including his athletic ability. Hopoate has been assigned to complete missionary work in Brisbane, Australia.

While Hopoate’s fame brings more attention to his missionary service, missionary work in the Church is not unique. More than one million young men and women have given such service since 1830, and approximately 52,000 are currently serving. Like Hopoate, each of them has had to postpone personal pursuits to serve others.

http://newsroom.lds.org/article/will-hopoate-missionary-service

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Gay Mormon Conference, Circling The Wagons, Explores LGBTQ Issues and Religion

November 7, 2011

Huffington Post

Circling the Wagons, a three-day conference for LGBTQ and same-sex attraction Mormons, explored the issues surrounding sexuality and religion in Salt Lake City, Utah, this weekend.

The event, which attracted more than 300 participants of varying faiths, was sponsored by Mormon Stories and the Open Stories Foundation, organizations with no official affiliation with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, according to the Deseret News. The conference featured speakers as various as bishops, therapists, authors and poets and was aimed a providing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and same-sex attracted persons and their families a place where they can “gather to acknowledge, explore and honor shared experiences.”

Homosexuality isn’t supported by the LDS, but the church reportedly strives to “understand and respect” those with same-sex attractions, the Deseret News explains.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/07/gay-mormon-conference-circling-the-wagons_n_1079891.html

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Gay Mormons Address Challenges At Utah Conference

November 7, 2011

Local News 8 (Idaho)

A three-day conference addressing the unique challenges confronting gay Mormons wraps up today in Salt Lake City.

About 300 people gathered at the First Baptist Church for the conference titled “Circling the Wagons.”

Speakers included author and playwright Carol Lynn Pearson, Utah Democratic Party Chair Jim Dabakis, researcher John Dehlin and psychologist Lee Beckstead.

Beckstead told participants that gay Mormons often feel torn by those urging them to “get off the fence” and choose “to be gay or Mormon.” He says that suggests a person can’t be both, and either choice is painful.

Beckstead says that while he personally has had a hard time being both gay and Mormon, the same may not be true for others. He urged participants to find “what is right” for them.

http://www.localnews8.com/news/29701569/detail.html

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Mormons on campus share message behind religion

November 7, 2011

Daily Texan

In his campaign for president, Mitt Romney has come under scrutiny for his religion, Mormonism, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For UT Mormons, Romney’s running is an opportunity for others to learn more about their religion.

About 300 18- to 30-year-olds attend classes at the Institute of Religion, a house of study for LDS Church members, said Institute Director Eric Johnson. The institute also houses Sunday services for single adults in that age range. Many participants are UT students, Johnson said.

“Politics and the media, they’re going to do what they’re going to do,” he said. “Members of the church are being given more opportunities to say ‘this is who we are and this is what we’ve been, and it points to the savior Jesus Christ.’”

The church is nonpartisan, and a lot of LDS Church members probably won’t vote for Romney, said health promotion senior Nick Elizondo. He attends classes at the institute but goes to another church service for families with his wife. The LDS Church divides its congregations by age and geography.

http://www.dailytexanonline.com/life-and-arts/2011/11/07/mormons-campus-share-message-behind-religion

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Romney, Huntsman Not the Only Mormons in Politics

November 7, 2011

Houston Chronicle

I remember as a little girl how my dad was very active in the Democratic Party. He was as religiously devout as any one could be and felt inspired to run for public office. I have fond memories of being in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the campaign headquarters, campaigning for him, and attending rallies and parades. By being involved in politics from such a young age, I learned how important it is to seek to improve life around us, no matter what party we represent.

I find it interesting and a bit exciting to see how many LDS leaders have served in politics over the years. Besides Romney and Huntsman, others have come before them.

First, was Joseph Smith, who served as mayor of Nauvoo, Illinois. Later, he ran for President when political leaders including the governors of both Missouri and Illinois, persecuted Mormons by burning their homes, and tormenting the women and children, and often killing the men defending them. When Joseph and other Church leaders went to Pres. Martin Van Buren for aid, the President did not want to risk his re-election and refused to stop their oppression. Sadly, six months into his political campaign, Joseph Smith was murdered in Carthage, Illinois.

http://blog.chron.com/mormonvoice/2011/11/romney-huntsman-not-the-only-mormons-in-politics/

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I Am Not For Herman Cain. Believe Me, I Really Am Not. But…

November 8, 2011

The New Republic

Romney kept the state out of debt. Along with Cain, he’s now the front-runner for the Republican nod. The main issue against him is his Mormonism. Here is an area where America has become more and more bigoted. A pastor who supports Rick Perry called the Mormon church a “cult.” But aren’t all of our religions, whether we believe in one of them or not (and I do believe in one of them, quite fervently), really and finally cults? What the Mormons believe is not intrinsically more unbelievable than what the established faiths believe. It’s just that their miracles occurred in the nineteenth century. And Catholic miracles actually “happen” in the twenty-first century.

http://www.tnr.com/article/tel-aviv-journal/97176/herman-cain-ross-perot-clarence-thomas

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PBS Celebrates Holiday Season with Full Slate of Family Programming

November 7, 2011

Market Watch

CHRISTMAS WITH THE MORMON TABERNACLE CHOIR WITH DAVID ARCHULETA AND MICHAEL YORK –Tuesday, December 13, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET

Award-winning pop sensation David Archuleta and actor Michael York join the renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir in an energetic Christmas celebration of magnificent proportion. Recorded before audiences totaling 80,000 people, this spectacular event combines elegant dancing, masterful musical performances and storytelling. Complete with Yuletide favorites such as “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World,” the memorable performance also includes unique music such as “Los Pastores a Belen,” sung by David Archuleta in Spanish, and Michael York’s touching tale of the humble beginnings of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, together with moving organ, choir and orchestra performances.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/pbs-celebrates-holiday-season-with-full-slate-of-family-programming-2011-11-07

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Does Glenn Beck Know Bible Prophecy?

November 7, 2011

Christian Post

The first of those announces that Satan’s plan can be stopped if people now will stand with Israel. Of course, that statement does not align with Bible prophecy at all; in fact, it is more of a realized eschatology, which aligns more closely with Mormonism than with premillennial thinking.

The second proclamation he made in this connection is that all who align with Israel are “brothers and sisters under God” along with “our good Jewish friends.” This, too, aligns more closely with Mormon doctrine than with consistent, evangelical, premillennial teaching.

http://blogs.christianpost.com/endtimes/2011/11/does-glenn-beck-know-bible-prophecy-07/

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Mormons believe in Jesus

November 8, 2011

Times-Herald (Georgia)

This is in response to a Letter to the Editor in your paper about Mormons. I find it a little amazing that some people of other faiths find it necessary to characterize and define the tenets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in such distorted and derogatory ways.

We believe in Jesus Christ. He is the center and chief cornerstone of our faith. If anyone really wanted to know what “Mormons” believe, it’s as easy as going to the Mormon.org website.

They could find out as much as they could ever want to know about the Mormons and what they really believe if they were at all sincere about finding out about their true beliefs.

http://www.times-herald.com/opinion/Mormons-believe-in-Jesus–1918069

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40% of Americans uncomfortable with Mormon as president, poll says

November 8, 2011

Salt Lake Tribune

More than 40 percent of Americans would be uncomfortable with a Mormon as president, according to a new survey that also suggests that as more white evangelical voters have learned White House hopeful Mitt Romney is Mormon, the less they like him.

A survey by the Public Religion Research Institute released late Monday also shows that nearly half of white evangelical Protestant voters — a key demographic in the Republican primary race — don’t believe that Mormonism is a Christian faith, and about two-thirds of adults say the LDS faith is somewhat or very different than their own.

The most striking part of the survey, however, shows that Romney’s favorability among white evangelical Protestants dropped to 49 percent in the October survey from 63 percent in a July poll. The decline comes as more than half of the voters in that demographic reported that they were aware Romney is Mormon compared to 44 percent who were aware of that fact in a July survey. Other factors could have caused the change in favorability, survey authors caution.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home2/52865033-183/mormon-voters-president-romney.html.csp

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US voters find religious belief important in leader

November 8, 2011

Times (New Zealand)

When asked about specific religious faiths and the presidency, 29 percent of Americans would be uncomfortable with an evangelical Christian in the job, 53 percent would be uncomfortable with a Mormon, 64 percent with a Muslim, and 67 percent would be uncomfortable with an atheist as president.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman are Mormons running for president. The remaining Republican candidates are Christian, with some espousing strong beliefs.

http://www.timeslive.co.za/world/2011/11/08/us-voters-find-religious-belief-important-in-leader

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Breaking out of the cult

November 7, 2011

Daily Texan

Robert Jeffress, a Baptist pastor with ties to Gov. Rick Perry, recently ignited a firestorm of controversy when he labeled Mormonism a “cult.” While some dismiss his claims as extremist and unrepresentative of the average American, a fundamental unease with Mormon politicians permeates today’s political culture. A poll released last week by UT and The Texas Tribune revealed that Texans are uncomfortable with the idea of a Mormon in the White House. According to the poll, 23 percent of respondents said that most people they know would not vote for a Mormon, even if they agreed with the candidate on the issues.

The phenomenon is not unique to traditionally conservative Texas. A Gallup poll earlier in the year found that 21 percent of Americans are “unwilling” to vote for a Mormon presidential candidate. According to the same Gallup poll, the extent of American hostility to the idea of a Mormon president is “exceeded only by their opposition to someone who is either gay or lesbian or an atheist.” To be a Mormon has remained almost a kiss of death on the national political stage on the national political stage.

http://www.dailytexanonline.com/opinion/2011/11/07/breaking-out-cult

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Mormon Missionary Impossible: Mitt Romney’s French education

November 8, 2011

Reuters

To understand why Mitt Romney persists in the face of rejection, opposition and indifference from his own party, look no further than the two and a half years he spent in France, getting up at 6:30 a.m. every day to venture forth and have doors slammed in his face for 10 hours.

The fresh-faced Latter-Day Saints who came to France in the late 1960s to preach the message of Jesus Christ — of whom Republican presidential candidate Romney is the best known — discovered a secular and sceptical populace, and few willing converts.

On bad days, the young Americans were greeted with guns, or barking dogs chased at their heels. Romney has said his mission, which took him through Le Havre, Paris and Bordeaux, was testing.

But it was precisely this challenge that helped cement Romney’s tenacity and his faith, say current and former missionaries.

http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2011/11/08/mormon-missionary-impossible-mitt-romneys-french-education/

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Mitt Romney and his time as a missionary in France

November 8, 2011

Al Arabiya

To understand why Mitt Romney persists in the face of rejection, opposition and indifference from his own party, look no further than the two and a half years he spent in France, getting up at 6:30 a.m. every day to venture forth and have doors slammed in his face for 10 hours.

The fresh-faced Latter-Day Saints who came to France in the late 1960s to preach the message of Jesus Christ – of whom Republican presidential candidate Romney is the best known – discovered a secular and skeptical populace, and few willing converts.

On bad days, the young Americans were greeted with guns, or barking dogs chased at their heels. Romney has said his mission, which took him through Le Havre, Paris and Bordeaux, was testing.

But it was precisely this challenge that helped cement Romney’s tenacity and his faith, say current and former missionaries.

http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/11/08/176051.html

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Folau content after ditching Mormonism

November 8, 2011

Sydney Morning Herald

A change of faith has steeled Israel Folau ahead of the immense challenges awaiting him in the 2012 AFL season.

Folau was a devout Mormon since childhood but his family cut ties with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints earlier this year.

Greater Western Sydney’s code-hopping star now practises under the Assemblies of God fellowship, at a Tongan service similar to the Hillsong Church.

He couldn’t be happier with the change in spiritual path.

“I had a personal experience with the holy spirit touching my heart,” Folau told AAP.

“I’ve never felt that before while I was involved in the Mormon church – until I came to the AOG church and accepted Christ.

http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-sport/folau-content-after-ditching-mormonism-20111108-1n597.html

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Unique challenges confronting gay Mormons addressed at Salt Lake City conference

November 7, 2011

South Florida Gay News

Experts weighed in on the unique challenges confronting gay Mormons during a three-day conference in Salt Lake City that ended Sunday.

About 300 people heard various speakers at the First Baptist Church during the gathering, the Deseret News reported.

The conference was sponsored by the group Mormon Stories, which has no affiliation with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One of the organization’s goals is to “build bridges between all who identify as Mormon.”

Organizer Joseph Broom said conference was convened so that gay Mormons and their families and allies can “step beyond historic divisions to establish a shared space where all who have ever self-identified as Mormon and have experienced same-sex attraction can speak truthfully and respectfully.”

http://www.southfloridagaynews.com/news/national-news/4896-unique-challenges-confronting-gay-mormons-addressed-at-salt-lake-city-conference.html

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Mormon Church Receives Village Board’s Blessing

November 7, 2011

Plainfield Patch (Illinois)

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: Welcome to Plainfield.

So Trustee James Racich pronounced Monday, moments after the Plainfield Village Board unanimously approved a site plan for the new 21,000-square-foot Mormon church on Ridge Road, south of 127th Street.

Three weeks ago, the board heard from nearly a dozen White Pines subdivision residents who objected to church traffic being routed through their neighborhood. More than 40 other residents filled the village board chamber in opposition to the plan; an equal number of church members attended in support.

The church’s entrance/exit through the subdivision was necessitated by village staff rejecting a full interchange at Ridge Road to accommodate church traffic. Ridge Road is one day to become the Wikaduke Trail, a main thoroughfare linking Will, Kendall, Kankakee and DuPage counties, and turn lanes need to be limited now in anticipation of the road eventually being built, staff said.

http://plainfield.patch.com/articles/mormon-church-receives-village-board-s-blessing

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WASPs and I’m Not Talkin Bees

November 7, 2011

Lovely County Citizen (Arkansas)

If we are to believe the “Birther/Religious ilk”, President Obama is not a citizen or a Christian and Mitt Romney is a Mormon which everyone knows is not Christian, but only a cult.

Today’s WASPs are a dying breed, but they are trying their hardest to convince us of how white and right they are about the issues that really count in their minds. Behind closed doors, the extremely religious conservatives, more than likely are predicting what could happen if Romney were to be chosen the Republican candidate and elected president. I think I hear them now. “Why he might even have a special cabinet built in the Oval office to hold copies of those gold tablets found by that Joseph Smith.” “I bet Old Mitt could even be wearing that weird Mormon underwear on Inauguration Day, and he might insist on taking his oath with his hand on that Book of Mormon instead of our Bible, God forbid.”

So, folks, when you hear the whispered suppositions of these “faith experts”, consider the source, and what crack pot religious influence really earns our country…less separation between church and state. And this from Romney’s own party that claims it is the most interested in preserving the American constitution.

http://www.lovelycitizen.com/blogs/1655/entry/44505/

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Republicans Agree that Mitt Romney Is Most Electable

November 7, 2011

The American Prospect

According to The Washington Post, 48 percent of Republicans say they are less likely to support Romney for his health-care plan, a number that shoots to 55 percent among those who describe themselves as very conservative. What’s more, Romney’s Mormon faith puts him at a disadvantage among conservative voters — 32 percent say that they are less likely to vote for Romney because of his Mormonism.

http://prospect.org/article/republicans-agree-mitt-romney-most-electable

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Homophobia an “Atrocity,” LDS Bishop Tells Gay Mormon Conference

November 7, 2011

Religion Dispatches

Last weekend, more than 300 people attended the three-day “Circling the Wagons” conference of LGBT and SGA Mormons in Salt Lake City, including an interdenominational worship service on Sunday morning. On Sunday evening, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that speaker Kevin Kloosterman, an LDS bishop from Illinois, had said that “the way gays are treated and perceived by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is an ‘atrocity”– an inaccurate report, according to conference attendees.

I spoke with Bishop Kloosterman Sunday night to hear his side of the story. (A full transcript of Bishop Kloosterman’s talk is available here.)

How did you come to be involved in the Circling the Wagons event?

http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/joannabrooks/5357/homophobia_an_%E2%80%9Catrocity,%E2%80%9D_lds_bishop_tells_gay_mormon_conference/

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Buddhist lifestyle becoming more popular

November 7, 2011

USU Statesman (Utah)

Dan Judd and Shawn Bliss attended Saturday’s presentation. Both men said they attend a local Sangha, or Buddhist group. Judd said he’s a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, while Bliss said he’s not religious.

Even though they don’t hold the same religious beliefs, Bliss said the two still share some of the same spiritual pursuits.

“The thing that fuels both of our paths in the Sangha, is that we’re interested in the question of suffering and how to end suffering in our lives and then, hopefully, in the world,” Bliss said.

http://www.usustatesman.com/mobile/buddhist-lifestyle-becoming-more-popular-1.2666243

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Bountiful’s city manager accepts religious mission

November 7, 2011

Salt Lake Tribune

Tom Hardy, the veteran city manager of Bountiful who has guided the Davis County city for more than three decades, announced plans Monday to step down.

According to a statement from Bountiful City Hall, Hardy has been called on a religious mission by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He will remain with the city until February.

In a letter addressed to the mayor and city council, Hardy said he “appreciates more than words can express the opportunity to serve Bountiful City for the past 31 years.”

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/52864421-78/hardy-bountiful-manager-tom.html.csp

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Purple Heart recipients to be honored at markers’ Ogden unveiling

November 7, 2011

Standard Examiner (Utah)

Two new monuments bearing the names of nearly 200 Purple Heart recipients were installed Monday at the George E. Wahlen Ogden Veterans Home and will be unveiled Friday.

The new additions are placed alongside four existing monuments, said Dave Bott, owner of Mark E. Bott Company in Ogden.

His company inscribed the names on the granite monuments donated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. State Stone did the finish work and polishing of the monuments.

http://www.standard.net/stories/2011/11/07/purple-heart-recipients-be-honored-markers-ogden-unveiling

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