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20 November 2011

The Religious Experience of Mormonism
Sunday, 20 November 2011
Salt Lake City

The religious experience of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is based on a spiritual witness from God that inspires both heart and mind, creating an interpersonal relationship directly with the divine. It does not require one to pass a rigorous theological test. Nor does it demand the extreme self-denial and seclusion of asceticism. Rather, this unique individual experience unfolds in the natural course of everyday living. Thus, the beliefs of Latter-day Saints are not rooted in concepts and principles, detached from the realities of life. They are grounded in a much deeper level of experience that motivates individuals to action.

Furthermore, religious experience is too varied and indefinable for systematic theology to fully account for. At the same time, it is not simply relative to the passing whims of each individual believer. For Latter-day Saints, it must be founded on revealed truth. Emphasizing the important role that doctrine plays in guiding religious experience, President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles encouraged Latter-day Saints to internalize that truth: “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior.”


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LDS Business College celebrates 125 years
Published: Friday, Nov. 18, 2011 8:48 p.m. MST
By Emiley Morgan, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The LDS Business College culminated a year of celebrating it’s 125th anniversary with a Founder’s Reception Friday featuring three of the school’s presidents.

There have been 12 presidents since the school was established in 1886 — 10 years before Utah would become a state — and two former presidents and current president, Larry Richards, spoke at the event, Louise Brown, public relations director for the college, said. Many references were made to the school’s objective of providing a “skills-based education in a spiritual environment,” Brown said.While the school’s official inception date is Nov. 15, those at the school have commemorated the landmark throughout the year with a variety of activities ranging from creating an award-winning Days of ’47 parade float to a large-scale, ping pong ball drop.

The students also participated in a “125 days of service” event beginning July 14 and ending Nov. 15, which included a blood drive, a canned food drive, craft projects involving blankets and knit caps and a letter-making project for U.S. soldiers.

Brown said the school started in the basement of Social Hall at 51 S. State Street with one teacher and a small classroom and has expanded to its current enrollment of 2,000 students from 50 states and more than 60 different countries. To date, the college has graduated close to 100,000 students.


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Critics blast Las Vegas pipeline proposal
Published: Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011 4:54 p.m. MST
By Amy Joi O’Donoghue, Deseret News

CARSON CITY, Nev. — An attorney for the LDS Church called a proposal for tapping ground water in the dry regions of Nevada and pumping it to Las Vegas a disaster with good intentions.

“It’s the cotton candy of good intentions with nothing good at its core,” attorney Paul Hermonskie said Friday. “It does not provide the protection my client must have.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is just one of hundreds of protestors who have lined up against the proposal for tapping groundwater aquifers in eastern Nevada. Hermonskie was among several who testified Friday’s closing hearing convened by the Nevada State Engineer’s Office. Hearings first began in September in which hundreds of documents were submitted and more than 80 people have testified.

The church has launched objections to ground water applications in Spring Valley, where it runs more than a 1,000 head of cattle on the Cleveland-Rogers Ranch.

“The springs will all go dry. It’s no accident this is called Spring Valley,” Hermonskie said, pointing to the availability of water. “Without it we face cheat grass — acres and acres of cheat grass.”

The Nevada hearings only dealt with valleys within the state, but Utah residents had plenty to say about their concerns and what would happen if the pipeline goes through.
Eskdale resident Don Anderson talked about the area, which has 1,500 acres of farmland and 75 people living there. He blasted the proposal, saying it would essentially wipe out a farming tradition established by Mormon pioneers more than a century ago.


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LDS Church Demolition Vehemently Opposed
Friday, November 18, 2011
Kevin L. Hoover

A STREET – The City will approve a building permit for demolition of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) Meeting House on A Street, the Planning Commission was told last week.
The LDS Church hasn’t used the moldy building since 2004 and has wished to tear it down since 2001, when it first applied for a demolition permit. The church has said that it doesn’t need the building and that repairs necessary to restore it to safe use would be prohibitively expensive.
Opinions varied as to whether the building was sufficiently distinguished historically or architecturally to merit preservation. The LDS Church said it was nothing special, but local historians and preservationists disagreed.


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Mormons help clean up after floods in Owego, N.Y.
Published: Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011 5:00 a.m. MST
By Donn Ianuzi, For the Deseret News

OWEGO, N.Y. — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints assembled nearly 400 members and friends from several cities in central New York at Owego, N.Y., on Sept. 17, 18 and 24 for a massive cleanup effort to more than 150 homes in Owego, Binghamton, Conklin, Endicott, Kirkwood, Lounsberry, Tioga Center and Nichols, N.Y., all in the Owego New York Stake.

Included in the cleaning were the Tioga County Museum and Historical Society Building in Owego and a large farm at Nichols. The volunteers, ranging in age from teens to seniors in their 60s and 70s, worked from early morning until late afternoon. They removed mud from homes, garages and barns. They hauled buckets of mud up narrow stairways in darkened basements and worked together to carry mud to the street with smiles on their faces.


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Mormonism: Not a cult, not a problem
Evangelicals should cast aside old suspicions and hostilities and listen carefully during this campaign
By Richard J. Mouw
November 20, 2011

Some voters are convinced that if Mitt Romney wins the Republican nomination, we run the risk of ending up with a member of a “cult” in the White House. Many of my fellow evangelicals are especially concerned about this possibility. Some are unhappy with me because I have gone on record as saying that Romney’s church, the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is not a cult.

It’s not that these folks believe that Mormons are unfit for any public office. Many evangelicals voted for Romney as governor of Massachusetts — and in earlier days Mitt’s father, George Romney, got strong evangelical support as Michigan’s governor.

The presidency, though, is seen as a special case. John F. Kennedy discovered that when he ran for president in 1960. People who had lived contentedly under Catholic mayors and senators suddenly began weaving conspiracy theories about a president who — so the stories went — would have a direct line to the pope in Rome.


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Romney’s religion: Have faith in the presumptive Republican nominee
Published: Saturday, November 19, 2011, 10:41 AM
By Elizabeth Hovde

It’s true. As many predict, Mitt Romney is going to be the next Republican nominee. He sounds presidential, not angry, he boasts a lot of successful private and public experience, more than most rival candidates, and he doesn’t have any scandal threatening to bring his candidacy to an early end.

But if you float in conservative circles for any length of time, especially evangelical-based circles, the biggest complaint you hear about Romney is about his faith. Even Vice President Joe Biden recently defended Romney’s Mormonism. “I find it preposterous that in 2011 we’re debating whether or not a man is qualified or worthy of your vote based on whether or not his religion … is a disqualifying provision,” Biden told an audience at the University of Pittsburgh.

What is bad about having a man in the White House who thinks there is something bigger than himself and whose religious community does an incredible — even enviable — job demonstrating family values?

Despite those polygamists that mainstream Mormons are often wrongly saddled with, Mormons are known for doing “family” impressively. Though the Mormon divorce rate is debatable, given people’s ability to profess a faith that they might or might not actually practice and relatively few temple divorces, practicing Mormons make no bones about the importance of marriage and family and their value to one’s life and one’s community.

At a 1995 church meeting in Salt Lake City, then-President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

“We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

If a candidate does not agree that family is the fundamental unit of society and worth strengthening, that is a problem. Voting for someone who in word and deed puts family at the top of his life list is not. There is no shortage of men who have identified themselves as Christians and have let their spouse and kids down. While mistakes are forgivable, not admitting faults or not even seeing some actions as faults is trouble.


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