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5 December 2011

First Presidency Focuses on Christ, Introduces BibleVideos.lds.org at Christmas Devotional
December 4, 2011

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) urged Church members to focus on Jesus Christ this holiday season, and also announced the launch of a new “Life of Jesus Christ” Bible video website at the annual First Presidency Christmas devotional.

Church President Thomas S. Monson encouraged Latter-day Saints to focus on Christ by loving and serving others rather than focus on the commercial aspect of Christmas.

“The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness,” President Monson said. “It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things.”


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Donald Trump Makes Jon Huntsman Mormon Joke, Attacks Karl Rove, Talks Obama’s Birth Certificate (VIDEO)
December 5, 2011
Huffington Post

“Mr. Huntsman called my office a number of times trying to set up a meeting,” Trump said. “I didn’t have a meeting with him. And then he went on the debate and he said ‘I didn’t meet with Mr. Trump like everyone else in the room.’ I’m sure he’ll tell the truth about that because he’s a Mormon.”


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Trump: Huntsman Has To Tell The Truth ‘Because He’s A Mormon’ (Updated)
December 5, 2011
Think Progress

Trump fired back today, telling MSNBC’s Chuck Todd in a testy exchange that Huntsman repeatedly sought a meeting. And for no apparent reason, Trump couldn’t resist hurling a religious insult in the process. “I’m sure he’ll tell the truth about that,” Trump said, “because he’s a Mormon.”


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Mormonism: What a statement
December 5, 2011
Richmond Times-Dispatch (Virginia)

Persecution and persistence drove Mormons to the Great Salt Lake. Hostility from their neighbors forced the religion – founded by a son of Upstate New York – to cross the Plains and the Rocky Mountains to a plateau in a territory that would become Utah. The Mormons did not give up. Significant numbers of them live not only in Utah but throughout the Rockies and the Southwest. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., is a Mormon, as is Mitt Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts – a state far from the Mormon heartland – who rates as a leading contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Romney descends from Mormon legend. His father served as governor of Michigan and may have been the white elected official most committed to the civil rights movement. The Romney lineage mingles with the Pratt, a first family in The Church of Latter-day Saints.


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Answers to a rabbi, part 2: Do Mormon politicians take orders from Utah?
December 4, 2011
Jewish Journal

Q: Since the supreme leader of the Mormon faith is considered by its adherents to be endowed with prophetic powers, might not the independence of a faithful Mormon elected to the presidency of the United States be compromised by his loyalty to his faith’s ultimate authority?

A: Mormons do indeed believe that prophets are indispensable to Israelite worship (Amos 3:7) and are grateful for prophetic guidance. It’s important to note, however, that this guidance follows the pattern established by Joseph Smith of teaching correct and moral and spiritual principles to church members and then letting them work out the details for themselves.

While LDS doctrinal teachings are often clear and unambiguous, they do leave room for individual members, including politicians, to apply them in their own lives. Let’s take the case of gay marriage, which the church clearly opposes. Can an LDS governor, while personally opposing gay marriage, not lift a finger to prevent gay marriages from taking place in his state? The answer is obviously yes, since that’s what Mitt did while serving as governor of Massachusetts. Of course, another LDS governor could choose to fight gay marriage tooth and nail during his term. In both cases the church’s doctrine is the same, but individual members are free to figure out how best to apply it in their personal and professional lives.

http://www.jewishjournal.com/jews_and_mormons/item/answers_to_a_ rabbi_part_2_do_mormon_politicians_take_orders_from_utah_39111/

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Talladega beginning to feel like home to Mormon missionaries
December 3, 2011
The Daily Home (Alabama)

Talladega, Ala., is a long way from Utah, but for Mormon missionaries Patrick Holley and Tevin Cullimore, it is starting to feel like home.

Holley has been in Talladega for about three weeks now, and Cullimore has been here about a month and a half. “I was born in Georgia and lived there until I was 13,” said Holley, who is 20. “So being in the South always feels like home to me. I always enjoy coming back here to serve the Lord.”

Cullimore, 19, a native of Sandy, Utah, says the South is “very different for me. Everything is a culture shock. I’ve never been here before I started mission. But everyone has been very cool all along the way. I’m having a blast.”


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New CMI Special Report: Baptism by Fire
December 5, 2011

Networks Create more than 100 “Mormon Moments”: The three networks brought up Mormonism more than 100 times in 10 months. The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints is the fourth largest religious denomination in America. Yet network reporters clearly think having two Mormon candidates (Romney and Huntsman) of the nine in the race is newsworthy. Before October 8, they mentioned the candidates’ Mormonism 61 times, and 13 times wondered if conservative Christians would vote for them. When an evangelical pastor and Rick Perry supporter said Mormonism is “a cult,” the networks brought up the incident 40 times over the next 22 days.


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LDS leaders cancel church Sunday, ask members to help neighbors recover from windstorm
December 5, 2011
The Republic (Indiana)

Mormon leaders in Davis County say they cancelled church services Sunday morning so members could help neighbors clean up after a destructive wind storm.

Officials with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints estimate about 1,000 members of the Bountiful Utah South Stake were loading and unloading trucks full of debris Sunday during a citywide clean-up.

Bountiful, Utah bishop Austin Sargent tells KSL-TV that caring for neighbors in times of need is “the essence of what we believe.”


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Kiryas Joel: Theocracy in America?
December 4, 2011
Huffington Post

This is not to say that America’s constitutional culture is unambivalently committed to protecting the rights of religious groups to form their own self-governing enclaves. Far from it, as the history of the Mormon Church amply illustrates. Indeed, the Mormons’ history of confrontation with the federal government is the sharpest rejoinder to the claim that the Constitution protects the right of religious subgroups to form their own governments. From the moment of its inception, throughout the 19th century, the U.S. government waged a relentless campaign to stamp out the Mormon Church and, above all, to prevent it from establishing its own state government. The Supreme Court strongly sided with the government’s actions. Despite this campaign, the Mormon Church not only survived, but thrived. More to the point, in the end it succeeded in founding its own state: Utah, a place not just of refuge from persecution, but of active
self-governance through the formation of state and local government institutions that answer to the values and preferences of the local (Mormon) population.

Does that make Utah a “theocracy”? The answer to that question turns on semantics. Some who deny that claim will note that non-Mormons are free to live — and vote — in Utah. Similarly, non-Satmars are free as a matter of American law to live and vote in Kiryas Joel; nor is there a Village ordinance barring non-Satmars or denying them equal rights. That said, there is intense pressure within the community to avoid selling or renting to those who do not adhere to a strictly observant lifestyle. Moreover, there can be little doubt that the ultimate authority in matters spiritual and temporal is Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum. Defying his word has real consequences in the Village’s civil and religious life, which indeed are so entwined as to be indistinguishable. We might say that this is a most regrettable violation of the vaunted doctrines of liberalism on which this Republic was built. But one must also ask whether Kiryas Joel does not in fact
attest to another long-standing American tradition — the potent strain of communitarianism — which permits difference and segregation, not least religious difference and segregation. Seen from that angle, Kiryas Joel, N.Y., may be as American as apple pie.


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Annandale violinist nominated for pop Grammy
December 5, 2011
Washington Post

She said she was hoping fellow Mormon Mitt Romney was elected president “so I could play the White House.”

The Disney album is a good way to introduce a wider audience to classical music, Baker said. “It’s been really fun to perform around the country because at concerts, little girls will come in their princess outfits.”

She also was hopeful of her Grammy chances because “Disney has unusual appeal. I’ve got a good shot. If people hear the album, they’ll like it.”

You can get a free listen to the Grammy nominee at the Mormon temple in Kensington, Md., where Baker is playing free shows at the temple’s Festival of Lights next Sunday at 7 p.m. and Monday, Dec. 12, at 8 p.m.


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Gay Rights Advanced in 2011
December 5, 2011
Consortium News

An important side issue in Prop. 8 is the involvement of two large religious bodies in the effort to pass the measure. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) led the effort, with Mormon sources raising more than half of the funds to support Prop. 8 and Mormons staffing over 80 percent of the workers going door to door on the measure’s behalf.

The Mormon efforts were supplemented by the Knights of Columbus, a service organization related to the Catholic Church, providing the second largest source of funds. Of course, the Catholics and Mormons have every right to participate in a public debate and no one is suggesting that they did anything illegal or unethical. But the Prop. 8 struggle underscored what for me is a troubling role of religion in denying gays and Lesbians their basic civil rights.


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Rick Perry’s plight sidelines GOP govs
December 4, 2011

Herbert is in a unique jam. He urged Romney — who is extremely popular in heavily Mormon Utah — to run again, but then Huntsman jumped in. So he’s officially neutral.

“For me, I would support a Romney-Huntsman ticket — it doesn’t necessarily have to be in that order — because I think their skills are very complementary,” he said. “The world is really used to seeing two Mormons walk around together in white shirts and ties.”


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WOSTER: Thune doesn’t wear his faith on his sleeve
December 4, 2011
Rapid City Journal (South Dakota)

Thune doesn’t wear his religion on his sleeve. Nor does he judge the faith choices of others. He seems every bit as comfortable with Romney’s Mormonism as he is with my Catholicism.

That separates him from some in the hard-right-Christian community who struggle with both Mormons and us, uh, icon-worshipping papists.


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Competition for breast milk stirs up concerns
December 5, 2011
ABC Action News (Utah)

Utah mothers breast-feed at rates well above the national average, and many in the predominantly Mormon state shun tobacco and alcohol.

Commercial formulas can’t match breast milk’s immunity-boosting properties, growth factors, hormones and enzymes. Donated milk has proven to be a life saver for the 51,000 low birth-weight babies treated in NICUs each year. Neonatologists refer to it as “liquid gold.”


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Today in History: Dec. 5
December 5, 2011
Richmond Times-Dispatch (Virginia)

1979 Feminist Sonia Johnson was formally excommunicated by the Mormon Church because of her outspoken support for the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.


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