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10 January 2012

Would Mormons try to influence a Romney White House?

January 9, 2012

Washington Post

But for some, the fact that Mormon lawmakers waged the battle at all is troubling, and they point to it as evidence that if elected president, Mitt Romney may use his post to promote his faith and protect its interests.

“I think it is a very serious problem that would arise if he is president,” said Fred Karger, a gay rights activist from California who is running a fringe campaign for the Republican nomination.

He argues top officials at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints coordinated the letter to the Swiss ambassador, and says it shows the influence the faith’s First Presidency can wield simply by picking up a phone. That influence could grow greatly if, instead of calling senators, those church leaders could call the White House.

“How can a President Romney turn down a call from the First Presidency?” Karger asked. “He has been an obedient, faithful Mormon his whole life; he won’t just disregard it. I think the separation of church and state is designed to prevent exactly that.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/would-mormons-try-to-influence-a-romney-white-house/2012/01/09/gIQAzsREmP_story.html

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Would Mormons Try To Influence A Romney White House?

January 9, 2012

Huffington Post

But for some, the fact that Mormon lawmakers waged the battle at all is troubling, and they point to it as evidence that if elected president, Mitt Romney may use his post to promote his faith and protect its interests.

“I think it is a very serious problem that would arise if he is president,” said Fred Karger, a gay rights activist from California who is running a fringe campaign for the Republican nomination.

He argues top officials at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints coordinated the letter to the Swiss ambassador, and says it shows the influence the faith’s First Presidency can wield simply by picking up a phone. That influence could grow greatly if, instead of calling senators, those church leaders could call the White House.

“How can a President Romney turn down a call from the First Presidency?” Karger asked. “He has been an obedient, faithful Mormon his whole life; he won’t just disregard it. I think the separation of church and state is designed to prevent exactly that.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/09/would-mormons-influence-romney-white-house_n_1195206.html

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Romney facing scrutiny over Mormonism

January 10, 2012

The Australian

The first Mormon to run was, in fact, the first Mormon: Joseph Smith Jr, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The son of a Vermont farmer, Smith began having religious visions in the 1820s: an angel named Moroni came to him, he said, and led him to unearth a set of golden plates inscribed with the history of the Israelites and revealing a new Christian testament, which he translated using crystal spectacles and published as the Book of Mormon.

Persecuted and harassed, Smith’s growing band of Mormon followers headed west, first to Ohio and Missouri, and then on to Illinois.

In 1844, Smith announced his candidacy for the US presidency, running as an independent.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/romney-facing-scrutiny-over-mormonism/story-e6frg6so-1226240676975

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Mormon Reckoning

January 9, 2012

Patheos

In the last few years, I have become acquainted with the progressive theological and social movement within the Mormon world. It’s much bigger than the public perceives, if it is perceived at all. There is a wide range of thought within the membership of the LDS on matters religious and political. There is a loyal opposition to its leadership’s positions on same-sex marriage, homosexuality, women’s limited roles, and other issues. The online Mormon “bloggernacle” on these topics includes dropout (or “Jack”) Mormons, temple-ready, tithe-paying Mormons, Mormons who take the Book of Mormon literally, Mormons who don’t, Mormon Democrats, and Mormon Republicans. Journals like Dialogue and Sunstone make space for respectful but critical viewpoints about the church.

This lively contrarian community within the LDS world results in part from the fact that the Mormon church has a theology, but few theologians. The top leaders of the church, some of whom I had the occasion to meet a few months ago in Salt Lake City, are chosen primarily for their gifts as managers, not as scholars. There is no LDS seminary, and there is little scholarship within the church to compare to what is found in the Catholic or mainline Protestant traditions. An integral part of Mormon theology is the principle of personal revelation. Each Mormon is expected to come up with his or her own “testimony” that the Church is “true”. And while there are clear Mormon doctrines, the LDS Church is not preoccupied with interpreting them. That task is largely left to the personal relationship between the individual Mormon and God.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithforward/2012/01/mormon-reckoning/

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Satan Cheers Graham, Osteen, Starr for Not Telling the Truth About Mormonism

January 9, 2012

Christian News Wire

Bill Keller, the world’s leading Internet Evangelist and the founder of LivePrayer.com, with over 2.4 million subscribers worldwide reading the daily devotional he has written every morning for 12 years on the issues of the day from a Biblical worldview, says Satan is cheering Rev. Franklin Graham, Joel Osteen, and the former special prosecutor during the Clinton impeachment investigation Kenn Starr for being too gutless to tell the truth about Mormon cult member Mitt Romney.

In the past weeks as it becomes more likely former Mass. Governor and member of the Mormon cult Mitt Romney will win the Republican nomination to run against President Barack Obama, more and more high profile Christians are putting politics over souls by not telling the truth about the true beliefs of the Mormon cult and why a Mormon is no more a Christian than a Muslim is.

http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/3507818606.html

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New Mormon Chapel to Serve Three Cultures

January 9, 2012

Houston Chronicle (Texas)

With a rapidly increasing membership, it was no surprise that a new chapel was recently built on Dairy Ashford, near Westpark Road. Yet, the wow factor is in the three diverse cultures the building serves: English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. In our Church, when a new building is needed, Church headquarters builds the building and pays for it. Because buildings are expensive, each is fully utilized and shared by several congregations.

http://blog.chron.com/mormonvoice/2012/01/new-mormon-chapel-to-serve-three-cultures/

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Baylor president Ken Starr says he could vote for a Mormon

January 9, 2012

Houston Chronicle (Texas)

The head of America’s biggest Baptist university and former federal judge Ken Starr discouraged voters from ruling out a presidential candidate based on his faith and asked them to remember the country’s history of religious freedom in an editorial in the Washington Post Sunday.

“In my own life, I have drawn great strength from my religious practices and, according to the teachings of my faith tradition, I intend to continue to keep in prayer those who are chosen to lead our nation,” wrote Starr. “That said, the litmus for our elected leaders must not be the church they attend but the Constitution they defend.”

The piece was headlined “Can I vote for a Mormon?,” and without addressing specific candidates, Starr basically said yes, he could vote for someone of a different faith.

http://blog.chron.com/rickperry/2012/01/baylor-president-ken-starr-says-he-could-vote-for-a-mormon/

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A candidate’s religious beliefs should not be the guide

January 9, 2012

Bangor Daily News (Maine)

Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary looms large on the political horizon. In the midst of lively public debates over taxes, jobs, the national debt and similarly important questions related to the future vitality of our nation, a different kind of question continues to privately occupy the minds of some prospective voters: Can I vote for a Mormon?

This is an important question in our constitutional democracy. Without endorsing or even praising (much less criticizing) any candidate, I strongly encourage Americans who would ask this question of themselves to consider and weigh thoughtfully our nation’s constitutional traditions. At their best, those are traditions of welcoming religious forbearance.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/01/09/opinion/a-candidates-religious-beliefs-should-not-be-the-guide/

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Mormon Church’s Plans for Land Upset Harlem

January 9, 2012

New York Times

The wider world does not often glimpse the internal disputes of the Mormon Church. Formally known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the fast-growing religion is expanding in places as far-flung as Africa and Latin America, but most big decisions are still made centrally by a church hierarchy in Salt Lake City.

Recently, though, a debate over a ramshackle church property in Harlem has spilled into public view. And perhaps it is no surprise what subject could raise passions strong enough to override Mormons’ aversion to airing differences outside the church: Manhattan real estate.

What is at stake is, at first glance, extraordinarily modest: a crumbling, windowless, one-story building on 129th Street between Lenox Avenue/Malcolm X Boulevard and Fifth Avenue, and the grassy vacant lot beside it. Harlem’s first Mormon congregation met in the building before moving in 2005 to a larger, newly built church around the corner at 128th Street and Lenox. The congregation and some of its non-Mormon neighbors still use the windblown lot to grow vegetables, train Cub Scouts and host family barbecues.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/10/nyregion/mormon-churchs-plans-for-land-upset-harlem.html

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Mitt Romney isn’t the only one: Mormon celebrities

New York Daily News

January 9, 2012

Bet you didn’t realize that numerous members of the celebrity set are also members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In other words, top names in Hollywood belong to the Mormon religion. Take dancer and actress Julianne Hough for example. The ‘Footloose’ star and ‘Dancing’ pro was raised in Utah, a state well-known for Mormon communities. Which other celebs belong to the LDS church?

http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/mitt-romney-mormon-celebrities-gallery-1.1003490

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New bishop for Mormon church

January 10, 2012

Spenborough Guardian (United Kingdom)

A CLECKHEATON man has been ordained a bishop with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Stephen Beckwith, 36, was ordained as the new bishop of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Dudley Hill near East Bierley.

Mr Beckwith, of Whitechapel Road, Cleckheaton, is married to Clare.

The couple have four children, Jacob, seven; Lucy, five; Maisy, two, and baby daughter Scarlett, born in October.

http://www.spenboroughguardian.co.uk/news/local/new_bishop_for_mormon_church_1_4116904

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MSNBC Contributor: Mitt Romney’s ‘Mormonism Is A Problem’ In South Carolina

January 9, 2012

Mediaite

Appearing on MSNBC’s Now with Alex Wagner, political contributor Jimmy Williams opined that Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith would be a liability for the Republican hopeful in the South Carolina primary. “Yeah, I hate to say this, but I’m going say it, his Mormonism is a problem down there. I just got off the phone with a Republican friend down there and the first thing he said to me — this is a stock broker — he said to me, his religion is a problem. It’s just that simple.”

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/msnbc-contributor-mitt-romneys-mormonism-is-a-problem-in-south-carolina/

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Gov. Nikki Haley: Mormon Faith Won’t Hurt Romney in SC Primary

January 9, 2012

Newsmax

Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C., insists her experience proves that Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith will not be a problem for him in the South Carolina primary, The Daily Caller reports.

“You’re talking to someone who was just elected in South Carolina as a 38-year-old Indian female,” Haley said after the New Hampshire GOP primary debate, according to the Caller. “Don’t think that’s a problem.”

http://www.newsmax.com/InsideCover/Gov-NikkiHaley-South-Carolina-primary/2012/01/09/id/423508

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Huntsman Backer Called Traitor as Romney Rivalry Splits Utah

January 10, 2012

Bloomberg Businessweek

“In this state there are a lot of divided loyalties, there’s no question about it,” said Cramer, the World Trade Center Utah chief executive officer, who endorsed Romney in 2008 and switched to Huntsman this year. “I’ve had friends kid me a lot about being a traitor” even though he’s backing a native of the state.

Their split points to a broader divide among Utah Republicans over the two candidates who also have shared backgrounds: both are Mormons, businessmen and former governors. In interviews, Utah Republicans regularly refer to them interchangeably as “favorite sons.”

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-10/huntsman-backer-called-traitor-as-romney-rivalry-splits-utah.html

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Salt Lake City named America’s ‘gayest’ burg

January 9, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

“Nationally, people just can’t imagine that we’re an LGBT-friendly community, and I think this really breaks that stereotype of what people think Salt Lake is like and what Utah is like,” Penfold says. “It just has always impressed me how embracing Salt Lake City people are of differences in culture, and I think that works for all kinds of minority populations.”

Numbers from the 2010 Census shows Salt Lake City and Utah have had an uptick in the number of households headed by same-sex couples. In fact, Salt Lake City ranks No. 3 nationally among mid-size cities for its rate of gay and lesbian couples (17.3 per thousand households). First place went to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which came in fourth in The Advocate’s list of ‘gayest’ cities.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53263384-78/lake-salt-lgbt-utah.html.csp

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SLC Ranked No. 1 Gay City

January 9, 2012

Salt Lake City Weekly

The truth can now be told — despite annual legislative skirmishes, entrenched LDS views (and a state constitutional amendment) against same-sex marriage, and church-endorsed programs to change gay men into straight ones — Salt Lake City is still a great place to be gay. It is so great, in fact, that the nation’s oldest continuing LGBT publication, The Advocate, ranked Salt Lake No. 1 in its recent “Gayest Cities in America 2012″ list, beating out Seattle and San Francisco, for Pete’s sake.

http://www.cityweekly.net/utah/blog-26-6905-slc-ranked-no-1-gay-city.html

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PRUDEN: ‘Obama’ is how you spell relief

January 10, 2012

Washington Times

Over the weekend, Newt Gingrich continued to pound Mitt Romney, to “slow him down” so he could “expose” him (though not necessarily by stealing his pants). Ken Starr, the Whitewaterprosecutor, scolded anyone who won’t vote for a Mormon just because he’s a Mormon, and pointedly said he wasn’t endorsing Mr. Romney. He must have been talking about Jon Huntsman Jr., who scolded his fellow Mormon for injecting “partisanship” into the campaign. Horrors! Partisanship in an election campaign? Who would have thought it? Ron Paul was chased out of Moe Joe’s Diner in New Hampshire by scrambling reporters intent on doing harm.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jan/10/pruden-obama-is-how-you-spell-relief/

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Guest column: Thomas Taylor … Religious Tolerance in an Election Year

January 10, 2012

Naples News (Florida)

In 1838, the governor of Missouri expelled all Mormons from the state. Seventeen were murdered during the removal process.

http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/jan/10/guest-column-religious-tolerance-in-an-election/

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What have we done to elections?

January 10, 2012

Barnesville Herald Gazette (Georgia)

Very few of us know anything about Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith but some dismiss him out of hand because of it. It’s reminiscent of the “takeover by the Pope” that never materialized (what a surprise) after John F. Kennedy was elected the nation’s first Roman Catholic President. I do know Mormons were severely persecuted in the early days of this country but I don’t believe they’re given to revenge.

http://www.barnesville.com/archives/4339-What-have-we-done-to-elections.html

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A Forty-Three-Year Odyssey: Tom Yuill’s Conversion Story

Mormon Scholars Testify

January 9, 2012

Ann continued to pass along articles on evidence for the Book of Mormon and discuss them with me. Little by little, I began to see that the Book of Mormon might be true. Finally, she passed along an article on word print analysis of the Book of Mormon that provided strong evidence of multiple authorship of the Book. That meant that Joseph Smith, Jr. wasn’t a genius who just made it up. With that, I decided that I needed to discuss this with a friend of mine. He was a distinguished biological scientist who had been an active Church member all his life. He agreed to meet with me, and brought along two missionaries. I had had missionary lessons before, but they did not connect with me. The missionaries were unable to make one of the appointments with me, but my friend came. I mentioned that I had not experienced those feelings that my friend and foster son had received that convinced them that the Church was true. He said something important–there are many ways to achieve a testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel and the Church. I should not expect to have the same experiences that others, like my friend and foster son, have had. An intellectual path can also lead to faith and a testimony. The key point is that all paths end up at the same point, with a conviction that the Book of Mormon and the Church are true. One could be both a good biological scientist and an active LDS member.

http://mormonscholarstestify.org/3012/tom-yuill

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