Category Archives: Mormon Church in the News

For Mormons, a Cautious Step Toward Mainstream Acceptance

The New York Times has a good article about how the election has helped Mormons become more mainstream:

On Tuesday, Dr. Peterson, 59, did something that seemed wondrous and nearly unthinkable: he entered a voting booth and cast his ballot for a Mormon, Mitt Romney, for president.

“I have to say that when he first announced, I thought, ‘Not a chance, never going to happen,’ ” said Dr. Peterson of Mr. Romney’s nomination, still marveling that he was wrong. “I don’t want to sound too triumphalist about it, but Mormons have had a feeling of insecurity about their status in America; we were driven from state to state. I think a lot of us see this as maybe a kind of arrival on the American scene.”

October 2012 World Report of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

One of my favourite things about General Conference weekend is seeing The World Report. This is a “news” program that the Church puts together highlighting what has happened in the last 6 months. Normally I watch the broadcast between sessions of conference, but didn’t have a chance to. I just watched it earlier this week. As usual, it had the “standard” items, as well as some items that you sometimes don’t hear about.

The broadcast included segments on:

  • President Monson’s 85th birthday celebration
  • Elder Holland’s visit to Harvard
  • Elder Bednar’s trip to Mexico
  • Elder Oaks’ trip to India to create the first stake
  • Elder Christofferson’s trip to Eastern Europe and the Middle East
  • An update on the construction of the Rome temple including information about the visitors centre that will house the Christus and the apostle statues
  • Information on the dedication of the Kansas City Temple and the associated cultural celebration
  • Information on the Brigham City Temple dedication
  • Elder Holland doing the groundbreaking for the Provo City Center Temple
  • Information on the dedication of the Manaus Brazil Temple and the associated cultural celebration
  • Information on the Pioneer Day concert with Katherine Jenkins
  • Information about a new Family History Centre in Nauvoo
  • Elder Oaks’ visit to Notre Dame
  • Information about the candidacy of Mitt Romney for US President
  • Gail McGovern’s trip (President of the American Red Cross) to Salt Lake City
  • Pocatello Idaho brush fire and Mormon Helping Hands
  • London Olympics and Hyde Park Chapel and Visitors Centre
  • More information on the Christus and the apostle statues that will be in the Rome Temple Visitors Centre. The marble comes from Carrara Italy

The Mormon Newsroom has links to the full video, as well as individual segments. There are also links to other stories that the Newsroom has released about the segments.

2011: The year Mormonism went mainstream

The National Post (in Canada) has a relatively positive article about the Church that was in the paper on December 26, 2011, and is also on their web site:

Something happened to Mormons in 2011: They got popular, gained cachet and became, well, cool.

Long thought of as outsiders, followers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are enjoying a newfound acceptability and their church’s profile has risen in politics, theatre and sports.

“This is really a wonderful American story,” says Jon Butler, a professor of religious history at Yale University. “Mormons were always seen as very different. Now they’ve become just other Christians. They’ve become as interesting as Presbyterians.

“[In 2011] people began to say, ‘We have something to learn from these Mormons.’ ”

Philadelphia’s Mormon Temple: An Affront to Modernism

The Philadelphia Weekly Press has a mostly positive article about the new temple being built there. It’s worth a read:

When it comes to church or temple architecture, Mormons have it all over Catholics and mega-church Protestants, whose modern churches frequently overemphasize cold, hard lines and sterility.

The proposed Mormon temple at 18th and Vine Streets near the Philadelphia Parkway won’t be a utilitarian warehouse. The design is one of many temple designs currently in use throughout the Mormon world. Currently there are 133 Mormon Temples in operation. When the Philadelphia Temple is completed, that number will rank in the high 130s. The Temple will have two spires, one hosting an image of the Angel Moroni, the angel whom, according to Mormon belief, appeared to Mormon founder Joseph Smith in Palmyra, New York, sometime after Smith asked God which church he should join.

Hill Cumorah crew: A voluntary labor force

From MPNnow.com:

When the Latter-day Saints come to town, much work gets done — beyond Hill Cumorah.

During their stay, cast members from the pageant provide more than 1,800 hours of volunteer labor in Wayne and Ontario counties. They do everything from pull weeds and mulch gardens to clean high school lockers and paint picnic pavilions.

On an related note, last week I posted about how I wondered if the new passport laws would affect how many people from Ontario went to the Hill Cumorah Pageant. There were several members of my ward who went last week, and they said the place was only half full. However, there was the normal group of protestors yelling crazy things at the visitors.

LDS Newsroom – Faith Matters to NBA Champions’ General Manager

I’m a big basketball fan. I don’t really have a favourite team, but I love playing, and I regularly listen to the Toronto Raptors games on the radio during the season. If you can combine basketball and Church, that’s even better 🙂

Well, it is fairly well known that Danny Ainge is a Mormon. He is also the General Manager of the Boston Celtics (as well as former Toronto Blue Jay baseball player). The LDS Newsroom has a nice article about him that includes a mention that he is in the bishopric in his ward. That would be something to sit down for a temple recommend interview and have him asking the questions!

Mormons affirm new church leader

From MSNBC:

Faithful Mormons stood by the thousands with upraised hands Saturday, officially installing the newly appointed head of their first new leader in 13 years.

Thomas S. Monson took over The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in February after the death of Gordon B. Hinckley, but the faith traditionally calls for a sustaining vote by members in a ceremony known as the solemn assembly.

Each church organization took its turn — from its top leaders down to youth groups — standing when called to cast votes in the packed conference center, which holds 21,000 people. The ceremony has been practiced since 1880, when John Taylor was named president of the church.

New official picture of the First Presidency

Although the posting is dated from Friday, today an official picture of the new First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was released. I quite like it.

orig_finalfp.jpg

You can download a large version of the picture from the Newsroom.

Mormons Confront Negative Ideas About Their Faith

On Tuesday, Morning Edition from NPR had a 5-minute segment on the Church. The campaign of Mitt Romney brought a lot of attention to the Church. Unfortunately, we’ve found out that there are still a lot of misconceptions out there, as well as a lot of people who just don’t want to hear the truth of what we believe.

Howard Berkes, the chief Rural Affairs correspondent (who is based in Salt Lake City), talks with Elder M. Russell Ballard, Richard Bushman, Jan Shipps, and others in talking about what we learned and what we need to do.

PETA Urges New Mormon President to Promote Humane, Scriptural Vegetarian Diets

Normally when I think of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), I think of them protesting outside a KFC or similar establishment. However, just the other day they issued a press release directed at the Church, and wrote a letter to President Monson. The press release is as follows, followed by the content of the letter (which you can read on their site):

This morning, PETA sent a letter to newly elected Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Thomas Monson wishing him well in his new position and urging him to emphasize God’s requirement to protect His creatures and treat our bodies as sacred gifts by urging all Mormons to go vegetarian.

“As you know, the Doctrine and Covenants states, ‘And [animals] hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger,'” writes PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich, a lifelong Christian, in his letter to Monson. “Adopting a vegetarian diet is a wonderful Christian response to the unholy abuse of billions of animals every year by today’s industrialized meat industry.”

To help Mormons adhere to scripture, achieve better health, and save animals from bleak lives and painful deaths, PETA is offering to work with Monson to design a Mormon-focused version of PETA’s “Vegetarian Starter Kit” to be distributed at various temples and church events.

It might seem like an odd association, but there is a connection there. I don’t think we need to be vegetarians, but I do think we need to be more aware of how we treat all of God’s creatures. The same goes for “green” causes. God created the earth… shouldn’t we care for it? Whatever cause we support, I still don’t think they’ll be handing out a “Vegetarian Starter Kit” at the temple any time soon 🙂