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9 December 2011

Actors Share Nativity Experiences With Life of Jesus Christ Bible Videos
December 8, 2011
newsroom.lds.org

What would it be like to witness firsthand the events surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ? Actors who took part in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ (Mormon) Life of Jesus Christ Bible Videos project had this opportunity, if only in a vicarious way.

The Church has produced a video with several of these actors talking about what it was like to be a part of the Nativity scenes.

“I think the most touching part of the Nativity is the Nativity itself, in the stable at the birth of Christ,” said Savannah Stevenson, who plays Mary. “And when the shepherds come and visit her is this beautiful moment, which I hope the film captures, where they come to worship Christ. It’s really moving, so amazing to be in that scene, a scene that you read about in the scriptures and have read about for years. To actually play my part in that is really incredible.”

http://newsroom.lds.org/article/bible-videos-actors-experiences

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Mormons do not teach or excuse dishonesty
December 8, 2011
MormonVoices

“Sneaky.” “Dishonest.” “Disingenuous.” “Secret.” “Mormons won’t tell you their REAL beliefs.”

By insinuation or outright accusation, it is common for some commentators to claim that Mormons aren’t honest. This is puzzling to most Mormons, whose convictions are summed up in a straightforward Article of Faith: “We believe in being honest.”
Why, then, the common accusation of dishonesty?

http://mormonvoices.org/656/dishonesty

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Journalists urged to allow Mormons to define themselves
December 8, 2011
Deseret News

News reporters and editors from around the country were urged to allow members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to define themselves rather than to exclusively look to sources outside the church for definitions of what it means to be a Mormon or to explain LDS doctrine or history.

“Define us by who we are and by our central beliefs rather than who we are not or by obscure or irrelevant beliefs,” Michael R. Otterson, managing director of public affairs for the LDS Church, said during a Thursday morning session of a conference called, “Politics and Religion: Getting it Right in 2012.”

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700205386/Journalists-urged-to-allow-Mormons-to-define-themselves.html

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Mormons honor Houston civil rights leader at Christmas concert
December 8, 2011
Houston Chronicle (Texas)

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church will gather together Sunday to honor the historic church’s founder, Rev. William Lawson.

The LDS choir will perform holiday music at a concert for Lawson, who held sit-ins, hosted Martin Luther King, Jr. and led the civil rights movement in Houston.

“Rev. Lawson is a role model to people of all faiths,” said Kenneth S. Barrow, president of the LDS Houston South Stake. “In addition to being a good shepherd to his own congregation, he has tirelessly worked to serve all the people of the Houston area.”

http://blog.chron.com/believeitornot/2011/12/mormons-honor-houston-civil-rights-leader-at-christmas-concert/

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Should Mormonism be a factor in presidential race?
December 9, 2011
One News Now

With two Mormon politicians in the presidential race, a filmmaker and Mormon historian has produced a documentary to educate voters about the church and its founder, Joseph Smith.

Adam Christing is an evangelical Christian who grew up in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a denomination traced to Mormon founder Joseph Smith that split from the larger Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are members of the latter.

Christing’s documentary, A Mormon President: Joseph Smith and the Mormon Quest for the White House, details the Mormon founder’s 1844 presidential run. It also contains interviews both against and in support of the Mormon movement.

http://www.onenewsnow.com/Politics/Default.aspx?id=1492992

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The Mormon group – whether they like it or not
December 8, 2011
CNN

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints oversees BYU, and the members of the singing team Vocal Point, whether they liked it or not, were going to be representing the church on primetime television. And with a recent Pew Research poll finding that nearly 25 percent of people have negative views of the Mormon Church, Vocal Point would be representing a misunderstood and at times maligned religion.

According to multiple members of the team, while representing their faith was not necessarily something they sought to do, it was a reality they knew they had to accept.

“We knew that a connection would be made between us and the Mormon Church whether we tried to or not,” said Keith Evans, a 25-year-old member of the BYU team.

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/12/08/the-mormon-group-whether-they-like-it-or-not/

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A Mormon college’s skinny jean ban (not)
December 8, 2011
Get Religion

The Internet soaked up a skinny jeans story yesterday when some writers thought Brigham Young University had banned the tight pants. It turns out that the confusion revolved around rules at BYU’s sister school in Idaho over those really tight pants the average Americans can’t fit into.

The story revolves around student who said that that a testing center employee told her she couldn’t take the test because her pants were too tight. Later reports reveal that there was confusion between departments, but the school ultimately does not ban skinny jeans.

Outlets like The Atlantic Wire to ABC News picked up the story. The Huffington Post another outlet that caught on with a post titled “BYU-Idaho Dress Code Prohibits Skinny Jeans: Report.” Adding “report” somewhere in your headline means that the writer thinks he or she can get away with posting just about anything and be absolved, I think.

http://www.getreligion.org/2011/12/a-mormon-colleges-skinny-jean-ban-not/

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Here’s the skinny on skinny jeans at both BYUs: They’re not banned
December 7, 2011
Salt Lake Tribune

The school’s standards do require clothing not to be too form-fitting and current fashions such as the popular “jeggings” — that’s jean/leggings — can be pretty tight.

“Skinny jeans are really form-fitting, like jeggings, which are technically leggings,” BYU-Idaho student Rachel Taylor told the Review. “They show a lot of curves.”

But the school has no policy against these popular pants, BYU-Idaho spokesman Andy Cargal said Wednesday.

“The testing center had chosen to make their own adaptation of the policy,” Cargal said. “The sign was up for about a week. When the university found out, that policy was discontinued.”

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/blogsfaithblog/53068768-180/skinny-byu-jeans-idaho.html.csp

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BYU Banning Skinny Jeans On Curvy Girls Is Offensive
December 8, 2011
Bliss Tree

In today’s way-to-make-women-feel-bad-about-themselves news, a female student at Brigham Young University-Idaho was booted from an exam for wearing jeans that were considered too tight by her Mormon teacher’s standards. The problem is, skinny girls are allowed to wear the exact same thing.

Apparently, young women in some local congregations have been told by local leaders that the way they dress constitutes “a sexual temptation to young men, or that their dress choices constitute a walking form of pornography,” according to one Mormon blogger, Joanna Brooks.

http://blisstree.com/look/byu-banning-skinny-jeans-on-curvy-girls-is-offensive-832/

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Skinny Jeans Ban at BYU Is Reason for Revolt
December 8, 2011
The Stir

Brigham Young University, the Idaho campus of the Mormon college, has forbidden their students from wearing skinny jeans. In fact, the college is so against the form-fitting pants that one student was actually denied entrance to a testing center because she was wearing them. As the student tells it: “I got in line and the guy said that I couldn’t take a test because my pants were too tight. I thought he was joking at first. I’d never gotten a warning.”

The new policy hasn’t come as a shock to BYU students (the university also has a strict no shorts or flip-flops rule), but they’re miffed by it nonetheless. One student commented to the school newspaper, “This school is crazy.”

This school is crazy. I think if I went to a college that banned skinny jeans, I’d just drop out and live the rest of my life degree-less. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

http://thestir.cafemom.com/beauty_style/129843/skinny_jeans_ban_at_byu

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BYU-Idaho dress code under scrutiny after campus department banned ‘skinny jeans’
December 8, 2011
The Republic (Indiana)

A spokesman for Brigham Young University-Idaho says a campus department crossed the line when banning students from wearing skinny jeans while attempting to carry out the Mormon school’s dress code.

Spokesman Andy Cargal says at least one student was turned away from the university’s testing center because their pants were deemed too tight.

Cargal says university policy does prohibit students from wearing form-fitting clothing, which is in line with the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But the school doesn’t have a rule explicitly banning “skinny jeans,” with their ultra-slim silhouette.

The university in Rexburg started to receive student complaints last week about a sign posted at the testing center prohibiting skinny jeans. Cargal says university administrators contacted the department and the sign was taken down.

http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/89ee996d33a04f9889c9f3785e8a9b3d/ID–BYU-Skinny-Jeans/

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Answers to a rabbi, part 3: Baptizing dead Jews
December 9, 2011
Jewish Journal

Mormons believe that a prerequisite for reaching heaven is to receive certain ordinances, including baptism. One can receive these ordinances in person while on earth (as LDS Church members do) or by proxy after death. In the latter case, Mormons acting on behalf of the dead receive the ordinances in their name during temple rituals.

In the past year some Jewish leaders have publicly proclaimed that Jewish Holocaust victims are exempted from this requirement in LDS theology. This is a mistaken belief. The only people for whom temple ordinances are not performed posthumously are children who die before they are eight years old (the age of accountability, when they are deemed capable of sinning). Those young spirits get a free pass to heaven. The rest of us need to receive the ordinances that God has prepared for us.

Just to be absolutely clear, Mormons believe that people who need temple ordinances in the next life in order to live in God’s presence include victims of the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, and other extermination campaigns where victims were targeted because of their race, nationality, or religion. Those who argue that Holocaust victims don’t have to receive the ordinances that are required for all of God’s other children are inadvertently making the case that God loves a group of Jews less than He loves everyone else. This certainly does not square with our theology.

http://www.jewishjournal.com/jews_and_mormons/item/answers_to_a_rabbi_part_3_baptizing_dead_jews_39111209/

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Beliefs: Faith and Family Values at Issue in Republican Contest
December 9, 2011
New York Times

Randall Balmer, who teaches American religion at Barnard College, offers two explanations for the support gap. First, he says, one should not underestimate the evangelicals’ suspicion of Mormonism. “They do see it as a cult, and the Mormons have not been able to overcome that,” Dr. Balmer says.

Dr. Balmer pointed to comments made in October by the Texas pastor Robert Jeffress, who called Mormonism a “cult” and said Mr. Romney is not a Christian. “What Jeffress said was utterly distasteful, but for evangelicals it is absolutely accurate,” Dr. Balmer said.

Joanna Brooks, a Mormon scholar and political commentator, says she has long encountered anti-Mormon sentiment among evangelicals. Many Christian churches use Sunday school curricula and other publications that “make Mormons look fringe and suspect,” Dr. Brooks says. While she believes other factors contribute to Iowa voters’ mistrust of Mr. Romney, anti-Mormonism remains “a huge part of the lived religion of a huge percentage of evangelicals, and of many mainline Protestants.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/10/us/politics/on-religion-broad-mindedness-and-bigotry-among-voters.html

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Latinos Don’t Vote on Faith or Religion but on Economic Issues
December 9, 2011
Huffington Post

Interestingly, 12% of Latinos said Obama is a Muslim, and only 25% correctly said Romney is a Mormon or belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Something else the poll revealed is that Latino voters have a very vague idea of what Mormonism is. This issue will probably be relevant during the general election if Romney is the GOP’s candidate, although this is yet to be determined.
Of respondents, 58% are not familiar with Mormonism, 13% are very familiar and 27% are somewhat familiar.

About 40% said, incorrectly, that Mormonism is not a Christian religion and only 31% said that it is–while 27% said they do not know. Although religion does not seem to have a positive effect on Latinos’ vote, it is not clear whether it might have a negative effect on Latino Republican or independent voters.

“Apparently, Mormonism is not defined in the minds of these voters. This could be good or bad for the Republican candidate if it’s Romney, because this issue will surely come up in the race,” said Michael Jones-Correa, a professor of government at Cornell University. “If there’s more definition of what the Mormon religion is, it could be more beneficial or detrimental for Romney; it depends.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pilar-marrero/latinos-dont-vote-on-fait_b_1137577.html

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Religion still affects voters’ views of candidates
December 8, 2011
The Republic (Indiana)

A quarter of Americans in a recent poll said they are less likely to support a Mormon running for president, suggesting Republican Mitt Romney continues to have a “Mormon problem.”

That was the conclusion of speakers at a Poynter Institute for Media Studies conference Thursday on “Politics and Religion: Getting it Right.” The session was in part aimed at exposing false stereotypes about evangelical Christians and Mormons, with speakers explaining the sects and errors made in reporting about them.

Alan Cooperman, associate director of research for the Pew Forum, said the November poll results showed people free associate negative terms like “cult” but also positive terms like “family values” when asked about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/religion-politics120811/religion-politics120811/

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The Prayerful Young Man Can Also Nail a Jumper
December 8, 2011
New York Times

There also is a side to Jabari that does not attract the spotlight: The Mormon, who attends religious classes in the predawn hours three days a week.

Early on a recent Monday, the 16-year-old with a 3.7 G.P.A. was at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Hyde Park, offering an opening prayer for six classmates and two teachers.

“Dear father in heaven, please bless us this morning,” Jabari said. The class then opened the Old Testament to Leviticus.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/09/us/the-prayerful-young-man-can-also-nail-a-jumper.html

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On Religion: Broad-Mindedness, and Bigotry, Among Voters
December 9, 2011
Blue Ridge Times-News (North Carolina)

But it seems possible that but for his Mormon faith he would be doing better among Iowa evangelicals, especially against Mr. Gingrich.

Randall Balmer, who teaches American religion at Barnard College, offers two explanations for the support gap. First, he says, one should not underestimate the evangelicals’ suspicion of Mormonism. “They do see it as a cult, and the Mormons have not been able to overcome that,” Dr. Balmer says.

Dr. Balmer pointed to comments made in October by the Texas pastor Robert Jeffress, who called Mormonism a “cult” and said Mr. Romney is not a Christian. “What Jeffress said was utterly distasteful, but for evangelicals it is absolutely accurate,” Dr. Balmer said.

http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20111209/ZNYT02/112093006/1042/news?p=2&tc=pg

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Mission City Council revisits and approves permit for Mormon church
December 8, 2011
The Monitor (Texas)

Two Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congregations in Mission will get a church of their own next year.

On Wednesday, after a recommendation from its attorney, the Mission City Council decided to revisit two previous votes that ultimately prohibited the congregations from building a church on the corner of Bryan and Two Mile roads in a residential neighborhood. This time, City Council members voted four to one to allow the church to build, with Norie Gonzalez Garza dissenting.

Nine of the 12 neighbors in within 200 feet of the property signed a petition against giving the church a conditional use permit to build on the property, which is zoned as agricultural.

It’s not that the neighbors are against the church itself, they just don’t want a more vehicle traffic and a large building with a parking lot and lighting in the residential neighborhood, explained Ariel King, one of the property owners who signed the petition.

http://www.themonitor.com/news/mission-57158-counil-mormon.html

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LDS Malian Presidential Frontrunner to Speak at UVU
December 9, 2011
Meridian Magazine

Yeah Samake, a BYU graduate and frontrunner for president of Mali, will be hosting a free “family night” this Monday, December 12, at 6:30 pm at the UCCU Center. He will tell the story of a “series of miracles” that led him from one of the poorest countries in the world to America, where he found the LDS church, received a BYU education, and then decided to return to serve his people.

Samake, the father of the only Mormon family in a 90% Muslim country, was elected mayor of his municipality with 86% of the vote. When he took over in 2009, Ouelessebougou was ranked 699 out of 703 cities in terms of economic development, transparency, and management, with a tax collection rate below 10%. Today Ouelessebougou is ranked in the top 10 with a tax collection rate above 68%. He accomplished this by increasing citizen participation through a tribal council system which he likes to call his “Elder’s Quorum,” and by challenging the culture of corruption. Samake says, “Corruption isn’t always about greed, but about need. We must provide opportunities for people to make money honesty and make the price of corruption higher than the price of hard work.”

http://ldsmag.com/church/update/article/9047?ac=1

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Yeah Samake, Malian Presidential Frontrunner and BYU Alum, To Speak at UVU, Announces Team Samake
December 9, 2011
Benzinga

Samake, the only Mormon in a 90% Muslim country, was elected mayor of his municipality with 86% of the vote. When he took over in 2009, Ouelessebougou was ranked 699 out of 703 cities in terms of economic development, transparency, and management, with a tax collection rate below 10%. Today Ouelessebougou is ranked in the top 10 with a tax collection rate above 68%. He accomplished this by increasing citizen participation through a tribal council system which he likes to call his Elders Quorum, and by challenging the culture of corruption. Samake says, Corruption isn’t always about greed, but about need. We must provide opportunities for people to make money honestly and make the price of corruption higher than the price of hard work.

Unlike his opponents, Samake grew up poor in a small village. Believing that education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty, his father sacrificed the income from his children who are normally expected to work in Mali and sent all 18 of them to school. Espousing his father’s commitment, Samake went on to obtain a Masters degree in Public Policy from BYU, and has since made education his life’s mission by founding Mali Rising, a non-profit which builds schools throughout his country.

http://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/11/12/p2191263/yeah-samake-malian-presidential-frontrunner-and-byu-alum-to-speak-at-uv

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NOTE: This is posted for those who are interested in keeping abreast what is being said around the world about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members. MormonVoices cannot and does not guarantee the validity or truthfulness of any information reported. The responsibility for the interpretation and use of this information lies with the reader. As all information comes from other news sources and has not been independently verified, MormonVoices cannot guarantee or be responsible for the security of links in the clipping service. MormonVoices will attempt as much as possible to exclude news articles containing strongly offensive language or which lead to offensive images, but cannot guarantee that some will not slip through.

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