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3 March 2012

Mormonism in the News: Getting It Right

March 2, 2012

mormonnewsroom.org

We are starting a regular Mormon Newsroom feature. “Mormonism in the News: Getting It Right” will present several recent news articles, blog posts or videos that, in our view, provide accurate and fair reporting on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as those that misrepresent the faith to readers. Don’t forget to discuss these stories on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormonism-getting-it-right

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First Presidency Issues Direction on Names Submitted for Temple Ordinances

March 2, 2012

mormonnewsroom.org

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a letter on 29 February reiterating policies concerning submission of names for proxy temple ordinances.

The letter will be read to all Church congregations worldwide. The letter states:

We would like to reiterate the policies first stated in 1995 concerning the submission of names for proxy temple ordinances:

Our preeminent obligation is to seek out and identify our own ancestors. Those whose names are submitted for proxy temple ordinances should be related to the submitter.

Without exception, Church members must not submit for proxy temple ordinances any names from unauthorized groups, such as celebrities and Jewish Holocaust victims. If members do so, they may forfeit their New FamilySearch privileges. Other corrective action may also be taken.

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/first-presidency-issues-direction-members-names-ordinances

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Mormon church to warn members of proxy baptisms

March 2, 2012

Daily Herald (Utah)

The Anti-Defamation League on Friday applauded the extra step to educate members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“We welcome this as an important step by the LDS Church to further educate its worldwide members about the Church’s policies regarding posthumous baptism, particularly its prohibition of baptizing Jewish Holocaust victims,” the league’s national director, Abraham H. Foxman, said in a statement. “Church members should understand why proxy baptisms are so offensive to the Jewish people, who faced near annihilation during the Holocaust simply because they were Jewish, and who throughout history were often the victims of forced conversions.”

http://www.heraldextra.com/news/state-and-regional/utah/mormon-church-to-warn-members-of-proxy-baptisms/article_26ef0f72-cb09-5cf0-ab99-c368b9a96b2b.html

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A Twist on Posthumous Baptisms Leaves Jews Miffed at Mormon Rite

March 2, 2012

New York Times

“With Anne Frank,” Mr. Otterson said, “this person tried to enter the name, found it was rejected, then created a duplicate record and falsified information to submit the record. And our system didn’t catch it.”

He said the perpetrator’s account had been suspended.

Even for the light-hearted Rabbi Waldoks, however, such explanations may be little consolation. Jews do not believe that baptism has any religious significance — it’s just water — but the Mormon practice leaves many Jews feeling disrespected.

“It smacks,” Rabbi Waldoks said, “of a certain sense of proselytism: If you can’t get them while they’re alive, you’ll get them while they’re dead.”

Laura A. Baum, an Ohio rabbi who runs OurJewishCommunity.org, an online community, said that even though proxy baptism did not actually accomplish anything, it still had the power to offend.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/03/us/jews-take-issue-with-posthumous-mormon-baptisms-beliefs.html?_r=1

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Holocaust Victim Baptisms Cause Mormon Church To Warn Members

March 2, 2012

Huffington Post

The Anti-Defamation League had encouraged the church to provide further education to its members given the practice continues even after a 1990s agreement that it would end.

Researcher Helen Radkey, a former Mormon who revealed the Wiesenthal and Frank baptisms, also said this week she had found that Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, a Jewish writer who was murdered while on assignment in Pakistan, also was posthumously baptized in Idaho.

In a previous statement, the church blamed deception and manipulation of records for the mistaken baptisms.

“While no system is foolproof in preventing the handful of individuals who are determined to falsify submissions, we are committed to taking action against individual abusers by suspending the submitter’s access privileges,” the church said in its statement. “We will also consider whether other Church disciplinary action should be taken.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/03/mormon-church-to-warn-mem_0_n_1318212.html

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Mormon church to further educate members about proxy baptisms of Holocaust victims, others

March 2, 2012

Washington Post

The Anti-Defamation League had encouraged the church to provide further education to its members given the practice continues even after a 1990s agreement that it would end.

Researcher Helen Radkey, a former Mormon who revealed the Wiesenthal and Frank baptisms, also said this week she had found that Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, a Jewish writer who was murdered while on assignment in Pakistan, also was posthumously baptized in Idaho.

In a previous statement, the church blamed deception and manipulation of records for the mistaken baptisms.

“While no system is foolproof in preventing the handful of individuals who are determined to falsify submissions, we are committed to taking action against individual abusers by suspending the submitter’s access privileges,” the church said in its statement. “We will also consider whether other Church disciplinary action should be taken.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/mormon-church-to-further-educate-members-about-proxy-baptisms-of-holocaust-victims-others/2012/03/02/gIQAmZKanR_story.html

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Mormons warn members on baptisms

March 2, 2012

Boston Globe (Massachusetts)

Mormon leaders say its policy of not performing proxy baptisms of Holocaust victims and others unrelated to church members will be reiterated worldwide during services tomorrow.

The announcement follows outrage over recent claims that temples posthumously baptized Anne Frank and other Holocaust victims.

“Without exception, Church members must not submit for proxy temple ordinances any names from unauthorized groups, such as celebrities and Jewish Holocaust victims,” reads a letter sent to church leaders around the world.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2012/03/03/mormon-church-warn-members-proxy-baptisms/fFYGtnCl2DK4mu6kU7NFqN/story.html

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Mormon church to warn members of proxy baptisms

March 2, 2012

CBS News

Mormon church leaders say the church’s policy of not performing posthumous baptisms of Holocaust victims and others unrelated to its members will be reiterated worldwide during Sunday services.

The announcement this week follows outrage over recent claims that Mormon temples posthumously baptized the family of Holocaust survivor and Jewish rights advocate Simon Wiesenthal, along with Anne Frank, a Jewish teenager forced into hiding in Amsterdam during the Holocaust and killed in a concentration camp, and other notable Jewish figures.

“Without exception, Church members must not submit for proxy temple ordinances any names from unauthorized groups, such as celebrities and Jewish Holocaust victims,” reads a letter sent to church leaders around the world.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57389894/mormon-church-to-warn-members-of-proxy-baptisms/

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Mormon leaders warn members to heed rules on proxy baptisms

March 2, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

Mormon leaders are fed up.

On Friday, the LDS Church’s governing First Presidency issued an unequivocal mandate to its members: Do not submit names of Jewish Holocaust victims or celebrities for proxy baptism. Doing so could cost Mormons’ access to their church’s genealogical data or even their good standing in the faith.

“Without exception, church members must not submit for proxy temple ordinances any names from unauthorized groups, such as celebrities and Jewish Holocaust victims,” LDS President Thomas S. Monson and his counselors wrote in a letter to all Mormon bishops, dated Feb. 29. “If members do so, they may forfeit their New FamilySearch privileges [access to the church’s genealogical holdings]. Other corrective action may also be taken.”

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53635455-78/mormon-lds-church-proxy.html.csp

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Kirby: LDS proxy baptism not the worst thing the dead endure

March 1, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

I’m not sure how this baptism for the dead is more offensive than the general religious practice of believing that everyone else is going to hell, but apparently it is. Maybe I only think that because I’m Mormon.

People can be fussy about their dead ancestors. I didn’t think I was until last Saturday when I asked Salt Lake City Cemetery sexton Mark Smith if I could troll a reality-show film crew through his turf.

As politely as he could, Mark told me to go to hell.

Not in those exact words, but it amounted to the same thing. He was nice. He said I could try going over his head, but as long as it was up to him, no would stay no.

“I’ll tell you why,” Mark said. “People entrust their loved ones to me and expect that I’ll protect them, and I take my job very seriously.”

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/cougars/53627791-80/dead-dogs-kirby-baptism.html.csp

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Should I Care If Mormons Baptize Me After I’m Dead?

March 1, 2012

Slate

Matthew Yglesias: As a non-observant Jewish person, I feel that the Mormon view that they should posthumously baptize me so I go to heaven is better than the orthodox Christian view that I should just burn in hell forever.

Emily Bazelon: Plotz, I thought John Dickerson and I talked you out of this last week. These baptisms are insulting. You spend your life as a Jew; you die in part because you’re a Jew, in Pearl’s case and certainly Simon Wiesenthal’s; you hold on to that identity at great personal cost. And then when you’re dead, someone else decides for you that no, actually you’re a Mormon? To hell with that, no pun intended. Religion is exclusive–maybe not Buddhism, but all the other major world religions. You choose to be one thing, not the other, and that is your choice, not some other church’s.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/im/2012/03/posthumous_baptism_was_it_wrong_for_mormons_to_baptize_daniel_pearl_.html?wpisrc=twitter_socialflow

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The problem of Daniel Pearl’s Mormon baptism

March 2, 2012

Washington Post

Mormons, who believe that baptism is necessary for salvation, feel their proxy ceremonies give the deceased person one last chance to accept Jesus Christ, even in death. They particularly want to extend this post-mortem “invitation” to their relatives and ancestors.

Mormons explain that while they record the dates of the various rites they perform on behalf of the dead, they don’t really know whether their invitations to Christ have been accepted.

Christians who are aware of the long history of forced Christian baptisms of Jews find the LDS practice disturbingly similar, although Mormons argue that no coercion is involved. Indeed, the practice of posthumous baptism, along with other distinctive beliefs and practices, lead many to conclude that Mormonism should not be considered a Christian community per se but a separate (though related) religious tradition.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/the-problem-of-daniel-pearls-mormon-baptism/2012/03/02/gIQAbpEGnR_story.html

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Q&A about Mormon baptisms for the dead

March 2, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

But a proxy baptism doesn’t mean that person is now a Mormon in heaven. Latter-day Saints believe those who have passed on can choose to accept or reject the rite done in their names. It is a free-will offering. Those who agree to it presumably would then, the church’s website says, “follow the Savior while residing in the spirit world.”

The ultimate aim is to provide that opportunity for everyone who has ever lived, starting with the family lines of living Latter-day Saints.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/faith/53632863-142/baptism-church-dead-holocaust.html.csp

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Both Mormon church, anti-Mormon group buy Google ads targeting Romney

March 2, 2012

The Hill

Both the Mormon Church and an anti-Mormon group have purchased advertisements on Google targeting Internet users searching for information about Mitt Romney.

A search for videos on Google using the search term “Romney” brings up keyword-targeted ads promoting www.mormon.org, the official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church.

Another ad sends users to www.4mormon.org, a website controlled by Witnesses for Jesus, Inc. That group deems neither Mormons nor Jehovah’s Witnesses to be Christians and works to expose what it calls deception by those religious groups.
“We offer our research into the history and doctrines of Mormonism as a loving attempt to alert unsuspecting Mormons and potential converts to this deception so they can be liberated from the seduction of evil spirits,” reads the group’s website.

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/gop-presidential-primary/213921-mormon-church-anti-mormon-group-place-google-ads-targeting-romney-searches

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Brent Hunsaker – Mormonism compared to Islam

March 2, 2012

ABC 4 (Utah)

In a new hit piece from the “anybody but Romney” folks at Newsmax.com, it is explained that Romney is not a Christian and Mormonism is like Islam.

Yup.

Oh, and Joseph Smith Jr. is Muhammad.

Their source? Dr. Richard Land, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention with an assist from Reverend Franklin Graham.

http://www.abc4.com/content/about_4/blogs/story/Brent-Hunsaker-Mormonism-compared-to-Islam/rzhlGfGuF06UkPtv-UJC-w.cspx

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Romney and the “Mormon Moment”

March 2, 2012

Columbia Journalism Review

As much as we hear about Mormons in the media, we don’t often hear from Mormons, and that’s a shame.

“Mormons in America,” a Pew report released in January, demonstrates the cost of the missing Mormon voice: According to Pew’s survey, 62 percent of Mormons feel other Americans know little or nothing about their faith. Forty-six percent of Mormons feel there is “a lot of discrimination” towards Mormons. Thirty-eight percent feel news coverage of their faith is unfair.

Theoretically, this may be an ideal moment to broaden understanding of Mormon views and to remember the American values of religious freedom and tolerance.

Yet, much of the commentary on Romney’s faith this has campaign has cast the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as strange, cultish, and perhaps most of all, something to be mocked. And Mormons have noticed.

http://www.cjr.org/campaign_desk/romney_and_the_mormon_moment.php

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Religious Groups Buying Up Romney Related Ads on Google

March 2, 2012

Fox News

Both the Mormon Church and an anti-Mormon group have purchased advertisements on Google targeting Internet users searching for information about Mitt Romney.

A search for videos on Google using the search term “Romney” brings up keyword-targeted ads promoting www.mormon.org, the official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church. Another ad sends users to www.4mormon.org, a website controlled by Witnesses for Jesus, Inc. That group deems neither Mormons nor Jehovah’s Witnesses to be Christians and works to expose what it calls deception by those religious groups.

http://nation.foxnews.com/romney/2012/03/02/religious-groups-buying-romney-related-ads-google

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Paul Russell: ‘Just how stupid do the Mormons think God is?’

March 2, 2012

National Post (Canada)

“While most of your opinion writers are fear-mongering conservative loons, they are at least cogent and often interesting,” wrote Micah Anshan. “Thus I was dismayed by Jonathan Kay’s view on the Mormon practice of posthumously baptizing Jews. I am Jewish and my grandparents survived the Holocaust. If someone told me their names were on a Mormon baptismal list, I would be somewhat offended — and somewhat amused — by the fact that those people actually thought what they were doing mattered. While I understand that this story is controversial to an extent, the fuss being made over it is a little much.”

“Just how stupid do the Mormons think God is?” asked Terry Watkinson in a one-sentence letter.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/03/02/paul-russell-just-how-stupid-do-the-mormons-think-god-is/

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Romney’s tough line irks Mormons

March 3, 2012

Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)

For years, Nora Castaneda watched her Mormon community grow and grow as it drew converts from a burgeoning Hispanic population in Mesa, Arizona. Then, in 2010, it all went into slow motion.

It turned out the author of Arizona’s tough illegal immigration law, then State Senator Russell Pearce, was a Mormon. As word got around, the dark-suited missionaries who’d been having great success in this Phoenix suburb were suddenly having doors slammed in their faces.

“Now we hardly have a baptism,” Castaneda said.

The strongest growth for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in recent years has come overseas, and one of its richest source of recruits in the United States is the Hispanic community.

http://gulfnews.com/news/world/usa/romney-s-tough-line-irks-mormons-1.989114

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Bride Lies About Virginity: Should Mormon Husband Still Marry Her?

March 2, 2012

ABC News

A young Mormon couple is in love and soon to be wed. But the would-be bride has kept a secret that could change their future forever.

“A long time ago … I slept with someone,” she says as they sit together in Ruth’s Diner in Emigration Canyon, Utah.

For her fiance, the transgression is too big to overlook.

“Kylee, this is our faith, our beliefs … the wedding’s off,” he tells her.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2012/03/bride-lies-about-virginity-should-mormon-husband-still-marry-her/

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Mitt Romney’s Mormonism Should Not Be Fodder For Liberals in Election 2012

March 3, 2012

Policy Mic

The signs so far are not auspicious. Of the 22% of Americans who say they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate, self-described liberals outnumber conservatives within that group by three to two (27% to 18%). Their animus seems to stem from the Mormon Church’s right-wing political activism on issues like gay marriage and women’s rights, a sentiment best summed up in a recent New York Times editorial by author Jane Barnes, who cited it when claiming that the Mormon Church “does not respect the separation of church and state” and that “individual Mormons have obeyed like sheep.”

While I agree with Barnes that religious institutions like the Mormon Church should not have as much political pull as they currently possess, and further share her disgust with the homophobia and misogyny underlying the support for Proposition 8 and opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment, it is disingenuous to single out Romney’s coreligionists for their actions here while not pointing out the comparable activism of dozens of other religious groups (most notably those on the Christian Right). In the end, a politician’s faith should only be a disqualifier for higher office if he or she has shown a tendency to be unusually subservient to his or her religious institutions when performing the inherently secular duties of public office.

http://www.policymic.com/articles/4950/mitt-romney-s-mormonism-should-not-be-fodder-for-liberals-in-election-2012

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Is Mormonism Still Racist?

March 2, 2012

The Root

Randy Bott, a professor of religion at Brigham Young University, in a Washington Post piece by Jason Horowitz, said that “God has always been discriminatory.” His comments have caused a stir (to put it mildly). Slate’s Max Merry Mueller points out that this wouldn’t have been so significant if not for Mormonism’s complicated and troubling history with regard to race. The issue, of course, will continue to be of interest for at least as long as Mormon GOP hopeful Mitt Romney is looking to lead a country that includes people of all ethnicities.

http://www.theroot.com/buzz/mormonism-still-racist

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Mormon Church Condemns BYU Professor’s Racist Remarks

March 2, 2012

Afro

The Mormon Church Feb. 29 condemned racism in the church after a Brigham Young University (BYU) professor said Blacks aren’t ready for priesthood.

Church officials issued a statement Feb. 29 repudiating comments published in the Washington Post from BYU religion professor Randy Bott saying Bott’s comments “do not represent the teachings and doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. BYU faculty members do not speak for the Church. It is unfortunate that the Church was not given a chance to respond to what others said.

“The Church’s position is clear–we believe all people are God’s children and are equal in His eyes and in the Church. We do not tolerate racism in any form,” the church said.

http://www.afro.com/sections/news/national/story.htm?storyid=74253

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Former ban on black priests still reverberates through Mormon faith

March 3, 2012

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)

After a tumultuous night of prayer, Gray still felt a call to join the faith and went on to help found the Genesis Group, an official church support group for black Mormons, which he believes paved the way for the 1978 lifting of the ban on blacks in the priesthood. It was an anguishing period that coincided with Romney’s full embrace of his faith and his rise within it.

If Romney gets the nomination, the nation’s first Mormon presidential nominee will challenge the first black president. Romney, the son of former Michigan governor George Romney, who had a strong record of civil rights activism, bears no responsibility for the doctrines of his church. But in the prolonged Mormon debate over whether the ban resulted from divine doctrine or inherited historical racism, Romney appears to have embraced the prevailing view: The ban was the word of God and thus unalterable without divine intervention.

http://www.macon.com/2012/03/03/1929013/former-ban-on-black-priests-still.html

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BYU students react to professor’s controversial comments

March 2, 2012

KSL (Utah)

A group of BYU students handed out fliers Friday saying their aim is to eliminate racism following controversial remarks from a BYU religion professor.

Trevor Antley, a senior at Brigham Young University, did not like Professor Randy Bott’s statements to the Washington Post trying to explain why, for a time, blacks could not hold the priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Now, Antley is blogging about what is taking place on the school’s campus in the wake of Bott’s remarks.

According to Antley, a group of BYU students known as the Provo Peace Forum protested Friday by distributing fliers on campus.

http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=148&sid=19437055

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‘BYU of the East’ names former Mormon official as its president

March 2, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

Southern Virginia University, sometimes dubbed the “Brigham Young University of the East,” named a former Mormon general authority as its new president Friday.

Paul K. Sybrowsky, a member of the LDS Church’s Second Quorum of the Seventy from 2005 to 2011, will take office June 1 at the school.

Though SVU has no official connection to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sybrowsky, who was born in Salt Lake City, likely will feel right at home there.

The college in Buena Vista was launched by an independent group of Mormon business types; 93 percent of the students are Mormon; and its dress and grooming code mirrors that of the Provo campus — no beards or earrings on men, and modest dress for women.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53633692-78/sybrowsky-university-byu-former.html.csp

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Reservations being taken for Mormon temple tours

March 2, 2012

Liberty Tribune (Missouri)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is accepting requests for formal presentations about the Kansas City Missouri Mormon Temple, now under construction near Liberty. The temple, which broke ground in May of 2010, is located at 7001 Searcey Creek Parkway, near the intersection of Interstate-435 and Shoal Creek Parkway.

Churches, community and service associations, neighborhood groups, retirement communities, schools, corporate and business organizations, and other interested groups are welcome to schedule the program at their location throughout the greater metropolitan area. Programs are offered free of charge, according to a press release.
Speakers on the temple explain the differences between temples and regular church meetinghouses, give an overview of the history of temples, address the sacred nature of temples and outline basic beliefs of the church.

http://www.kccommunitynews.com/liberty-tribune-community-living/30595436/detail.html

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The Mormon Trail of Tears

March 2, 2012

Canada Free Press

This was a rut I was grateful to be stuck in one crisp, blue-sky morning in western Wyoming. Standing deep in a trough on a sparsely wooded hill overlooking the North Platte River near the outskirts of Guernsey, I felt the earth rumble as oxen mooed, whips cracked, and covered Conestoga wagons creaked up the steep rutted incline hauling heavy loads of the essentials, and the trivial. Hardened women in bonnets and long skirts followed coughing in the dust, and men in hats on horses yelled at their livestock and encouraged children and the old staggering to keep pace.

Among this rolling wave of humanity were hundreds of poor English and Scandinavian Mormons on foot who had no idea what awaited them in October of 1856 as they pushed and pulled two-wheeled carts with bloody hands ever-onward to Zion and the Valley of the Salt Lake for 1,300 tiresome miles in the ultimate test of their faith.

http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/45005

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NYPD Daily Blotter

March 3, 2012

New York Post

A mini-Mormon Madoff allegedly swindled five congregants out of more than $56,000 in a real-estate scam after meeting the victims through their Inwood church, The Post has learned.

Richard Brodmerkel, 50, gained the trust of unsuspecting congregants at the Mormon Church on Dyckman Street and moved in with a churchgoer, sources said.

The con artist allegedly tricked his roommate and four others into giving him money for bogus real-estate investments by promising big returns.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/nypd_blotter/nypd_daily_blotter_zClaF5SoZMDTmM7TpVilFL?utm_medium=rss&utm_content=NYPD%20Blotter#

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Washington State caucuses could foreshadow Super Tuesday

March 2, 2012

Christian Science Monitor

“If Romney does end up winning Saturday night it will be a large Mormon vote that puts him over the top,” PPP reported Friday. “We find that 14 percent of likely caucus goers are Mormons and 64 percent of them support Romney to 15 percent for Ron Paul and 13 percent for Santorum. Romney actually trails Santorum 35-32 with non-Mormons.”

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Elections/President/2012/0303/Washington-State-caucuses-could-foreshadow-Super-Tuesday

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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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