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November 21, 2014

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November 21, 2014

Vatican Strengthens Ties with Evangelicals and Mormons Against Gay Marriage (TIME) (November 21, 2014)
In a month when papal conversation about marriage has been all the rage, the Vatican is enlisting a new set of allies to support its commitment to marriage between a man and a woman: American evangelicals and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Mormons expand with new stake in Seminole County (Orlando Sentinel - Florida) (November 21, 2014)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expanded this month with the creation of its seventh stake in Seminole County. The newly created Lake Mary Stake joins the Orlando Stake, the Orlando South Stake, the Hunter’s Creek Stake, the Cocoa Stake, the DeLand Stake and the Leesburg Stake.

Mormon Gender Issues Survey Snowballs On Social Media (Utah Public Radio) (November 21, 2014)
Along with the quizzes about which states you’ve visited and which Disney character is your spirit animal, another online survey has been spreading like wildfire across Facebook pages in Utah—the Mormon Gender Issues Survey. Unlike other online quizzes, the gender issues survey has the backing of researchers from universities across the nation, who plan to publish the survey findings.

Dalai Lama is returning to Utah (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (November 21, 2014)
The Dalai Lama is coming back to Utah. "I’m ecstatic," said Pema Chagzoetsang, former president of the Utah Tibet Association. "Utah is so blessed. He embodies humanity. He is my leader and my teacher for this life and the next. I feel so much gratitude. So much happiness." The spiritual and political leader of worldwide Tibetan Buddhists spent four days in the Beehive State in 2001, dazzling throngs of avid supporters at settings as diverse as the University of Utah, Primary Children’s Hospital, Abravanel Hall, the Governor’s Mansion, Utah Valley University and Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.

'My ancestor the Pilgrim Father' - Mormon missionary's spiritual connection to Plymouth (Plymouth Herald) (November 21, 2014)
In September 1620, William Bradford sailed on the Mayflower to the New World, having fled England to escape religious persecution. He was among the first of the Pilgrim Fathers to sign the historic Mayflower Compact, and went on to serve as governor of the Plymouth colony for most of his adult life. Now, 394 years later, one of his direct descendants is in our city pursuing a spiritual mission of his own. SAM BLACKLEDGE reports.

Utah faith leaders applaud Obama’s move (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (November 21, 2014)
The Rev. Steve Klemz of Salt Lake City’s Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church was heartened Thursday by President Barack Obama’s executive action on behalf of undocumented immigrants. "I applaud the president for stabilizing the status of families and for taking an important step toward a more compassionate system," said Klemz, a longtime immigration-reform advocate. "I am especially pleased to hear that the order may extend deferred action to [millions of] parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents."

Mormon creator of 'Battlestar Galactica' dared to produce something profound (Deseret News - Utah) (November 21, 2014)
So Glen A. Larson has passed away. If that name means nothing to you, then you weren’t a kid in the '70s and '80s. But it just so happens that I was such a kid, and during my childhood, it was impossible to turn on the television and not see Glen Larson’s name on just about every TV show that mattered to me. But there was one occasion when I got to see some of Mr. Larson’s work live and in person.

Share Love for Scriptures on “International Day of the Bible” (Church News) (November 21, 2014)
The International Day of the Bible is Monday, November 24. This multifaith celebration of the Holy Bible is an opportunity for Latter-day Saints to share their belief in and love for the Bible and the Savior. At noon on Monday, members are encouraged to share their belief in the Bible on social media. This could be a favorite verse, a video, or some other creative way of sharing while using the hashtag #BibleCelebration.

Missionary Moment: Our “Sacred Charge” to Share Gospel (Church News) (November 21, 2014)
The sacred charge of Jesus to His Apostles to go and “teach all nations” (see Matthew 28:19) has been reemphasized in this dispensation, and the world stands in constant need of the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So declared President Thomas S. Monson, then First Counselor in the First Presidency, during the priesthood session of the April 1995 general conference. “Almost everywhere one looks there appears an … erosion of spirituality and of compliance with eternal commandments. One sees a blatant disregard for the precious souls of mankind,” he said.

Vernal teens catch vision of early-morning indexing (Deseret News - Utah) (November 21, 2014)
While many LDS teenagers are used to the idea of early-morning seminary, a group of youths living in Vernal, Utah, greets the sun with temple and family history work.

Klein Ward youths index 107,000 names in two months (Deseret News - Utah) (November 21, 2014)
When the teenagers of Houston's Klein Ward recount how they spent their summer vacation, they can say, “indexed 100,000 names with my youth group.” The youths were issued a summer challenge: an indexing competition of boys against girls. The group that indexed the most names was to be served dinner by the “other” group. (Because, of course, when it comes to indexing, there are no “losers.”)

Group seeks change so ex-Mormons can stay at BYU (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (November 21, 2014)
If you lose or change your Mormon faith at Brigham Young University, you get expelled — much to the dismay of some former students who are pushing to alter that policy. Why, they wonder, can’t these BYU students be allowed the same religious freedom non-Mormons are afforded at the LDS Church-owned school?

November 20, 2014

Historic Vatican Summit on Strengthening Marriage Concludes (LDS Newsroom) (November 20, 2014)
Pope Francis set the tone in his opening remarks at the three-day conference by underscoring the importance of strengthening marriage and families.

Mormon church reveals what bigger MTC will look like (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (November 20, 2014)
Instead of erecting a nine-story tower — which drew objections from neighbors — the LDS Church will build three six-story structures to expand its flagship Missionary Training Center in Provo. The Salt Lake City-based faith released renderings of the final plans late Tuesday. "Crews are expected to start building several new structures just south of the existing campus in the summer of 2015," according to a news release from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "The additional space will be used for classroom learning, personal study and small-group activities."

Herald Editorial: LDS Church right to work with MTC neighbors (Daily Herald - Utah) (November 20, 2014)
We were pleased to see the latest plans for the expansion of the Missionary Training Center that were released to the public Tuesday night. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made great strides in overcoming a volatile issue over building plans that at one time included the construction of a nine-story building.

Missionaries use 'The Book of Mormon' to recruit (USA Today - reprint from Tennessean) (November 20, 2014)
Theatergoers here are getting a low-key dose of real proselytizing when they come for the sold-out Broadway tour of The Book of Mormon. Rocky Spiker — Elder Spiker to his colleagues — holds open the door as ticket holders rush to get out of the cold. "You know the book is always better," he tells them, eliciting chuckles. Or, "We're real Mormon missionaries. Come talk to us after the play."

What happens when you put values front and center in your business (Fast Company) (November 20, 2014)
When Paul Anderson was brainstorming ways to sell pianos for his now-shuttered music store The Piano Guys in Saint George, Utah, he came across a video featuring pianist Jon Schmidt and cellist Steven Sharp Nelson performing a mash-up of "Love Story" by Taylor Swift and "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay. Anderson was dumbstruck with inspiration and wanted to make them the centerpiece of a marketing campaign for the store. Schmidt needed a place to practice for a local concert and chose Anderson's store; the ideas was pitched, the deal was sealed, and the rest is history. Music producer Al Van Der Beek soon joined the duo, and what was once just a marketing campaign to sell pianos exploded into the YouTube sensation that is The Piano Guys.

The Silence of the ‘Colored People’ (National Review) (November 20, 2014)
Voters on Election Day chose Tim Scott as South Carolina’s U.S. senator. They also sent Utah’s Mia Love and Texas’s Will Hurd to the U.S. House of Representatives. Thus, the 114th Congress will include three black Republicans. This is a new high-water mark for black Americans. Too bad the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People couldn’t care less. (America’s oldest civil-rights organization still plasters that retrograde expression all over its logo and website.) NAACP has yet to congratulate, acknowledge, or even attack Scott, Love, and Hurd — now America’s three most powerful elected black Republicans.

From the Homefront: The good Mormon Democrat (Deseret News - Utah) (November 20, 2014)
Until his dying day, my grandfather was a card-carrying member of the Democratic Party. He was also a bishop, stake president and faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A lawyer and judge who helped prosecute Nazis in post-war Germany, my grandfather believed in the little guy. He never lived in fancy homes or drove fancy cars. He was involved in numerous civic organizations.

Jabari Parker posts photo of himself with LDS missionaries (Deseret News - Utah) (November 20, 2014)
Jabari Parker, a professional basketball player and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, posted a picture of himself with two LDS missionaries on Instagram Monday. Along with the picture, Parker described the importance of his faith. "I don't post much, but when I do, it's only because I feel some type of inspiration that I would like to share with some of you," Parker wrote. "I just want to thank God for sending people like the missionaries in my life."

Cemeteries are family history centers for Virginia woman (Deseret News - Utah) (November 20, 2014)
Melyssa Webb grew up in the historical Mayflower Society House in Plymouth, Massachusetts, that her father managed back in the ’80s. She spent years in various archives and old church basements looking through documents, as well as in cemeteries. Family history is a part of her life.

Cancer patient finds strength in indexing (Deseret News - Utah) (November 20, 2014)
At a time when Diana Karras was struggling with cancer and had every reason to say "no" to indexing, the family history activity helped keep her going. A few years ago, Karras, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Roy thought family history work was "boring." Her husband was involved with genealogy, but when the activity sign-up sheets were passed around in church meetings, she usually declined.

Defending the Faith: A note on the limits of archaeology (Deseret News - Utah) (November 20, 2014)
Critics of the Book of Mormon often declare that archaeology demonstrates that no Nephites ever existed, thus proving Joseph Smith and Mormonism fraudulent. Of course, they downplay or altogether ignore significant evidence for the book’s authenticity. But let’s examine their complaint: Most human artifacts perish. Most archaeological sites haven’t been excavated. We possess only a fraction of even the evidence that still exists. Biblical historian Edwin Yamauchi has justly remarked that "the absence of archaeological evidence is not evidence of absence."

College student accused of making failing grades all A’s (New York Post) (November 20, 2014)
Authorities say a former student of Brigham Young University-Idaho altered his college transcript to rise from failing to obtaining $7,000 in academic scholarships. Jacob Mahonri Espinal is charged with two counts of computer fraud and one count of grand theft. The 24-year-old remained in the Madison County Jail on $50,000 bond Wednesday after being charged Nov. 9.

November 19, 2014

At Vatican Summit, Mormon Leader Calls for “Renaissance” of Happy Marriages (LDS Newsroom) (November 19, 2014)
In his address to faith leaders gathered for a summit on marriage at the Vatican, President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said “a man and a woman, united in marriage, have a transcendent power to create happiness for themselves, for their family, and for the people around them.”

TRANSCRIPT: President Eyring Addresses the Vatican Summit on Marriage (LDS Newsroom) (November 19, 2014)
I am grateful to be invited to be a witness at this Colloquium. I am especially grateful for the opportunity to give evidence that a man and a woman, united in marriage, have a transcendent power to create happiness for themselves, for their family, and for the people around them. I am an eyewitness of the power of the union of a man and a woman in marriage to produce happiness for each other and for their family. The evidence I offer is personal, yet I trust my recital may trigger in your memories what you have seen that would point to a general truth beyond the experience of one couple and one family.

Q&A with President Henry B. Eyring, Elder L. Tom Perry and Bishop Gérald Caussé (Deseret News - Utah) (November 19, 2014)
Deseret News Editor Paul Edwards sat down in Vatican City with President Henry B. Eyring of the LDS Church's First Presidency, Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Bishop Gérald Caussé of the church's Presiding Bishopric to discuss the significance of Humanum: An International Interreligious Colloquium on The Complementarity of Man and Woman, and what it means for families around the world.

Romney at BYU: Being a Mormon is not a burden (USA Today) (November 19, 2014)
There was a time when Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith was a curiosity, prompting the Republican to speak out about his beliefs and explain how they would inform his presidency before he ran the first time in 2008. Fast forward to Tuesday and the 2012 GOP presidential nominee shared insights on his religion at Brigham Young University, the school owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his alma mater.

Mitt Romney to BYU students: Most important work is serving others, God (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (November 19, 2014)
Mitt Romney says life’s greatest work isn’t something like running for president of the United States, but instead focusing on others and God. He told Brigham Young University students Tuesday that life’s most important work is "to lift others, to lift your spouse and family if you marry, and to remain true and faithful to the Almighty."

America needs heroes, Mitt Romney tells BYU forum (Deseret News - Utah) (November 19, 2014)
America needs heroes, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told BYU students and faculty gathered for a Tuesday forum, urging them to fill that role by following their faith. "You don't have to be larger than life to be a hero, just larger than yourself," Romney said. "We see heroes every day — Scoutmasters, (LDS) primary teachers, missionaries, campaign volunteers, parents."

Church Moves Forward With Expansion Plans for Provo MTC (LDS Newsroom) (November 19, 2014)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has finalized plans to expand the missionary training center (MTC) in Provo, Utah. Crews are expected to start building several new structures just south of the existing campus in the summer of 2015. The additional space will be used for classroom learning, personal study and small-group activities. Construction is expected to take two years to complete.

'Glorious’ Video Compilation Features Singers Around the World (LDS Newsroom Blog) (November 19, 2014)
A fan supercut of the music video of “Glorious,” recorded by David Archuleta for the movie “Meet the Mormons” has been released by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Missionaries use ‘Book of Mormon’ at TPAC to recruit (Tennessean) (November 19, 2014)
Three missionaries stood at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s front entrance for the opening night of “The Book of Mormon,” smiling broadly in their suits and ties, handing out stacks of the book itself or little cards offering free copies. Rocky Spiker — Elder Spiker to his colleagues — held open the door as ticketholders rushed to get out of the cold. “You know the book is always better,” he told them, eliciting chuckles. Or, “We’re real Mormon missionaries. Come talk to us after the play.”

LDS woman faces deaths of 2 sons, husband with faith in new Mormon Messages video (Deseret News - Utah) (November 19, 2014)
The newest Mormon Messages video, released Tuesday by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, provides a visual for what the Bible calls “a refiner’s fire.” Showing a refiner carefully creating a rose by bending and burning an ordinary material into something beautiful, the video allows viewers to understand both the literal context of the metaphor along with a real-life example of the principle.

Homes Can Be Holy Places of Gospel Learning (Church News) (November 19, 2014)
Our family recently enjoyed a memorable vacation to the eastern United States. The journey began in New York City with its bright lights, baseball, and theaters. After a quick stop in Niagara Falls, we set our sights on Church history. After visiting Harmony, Palmyra, and Kirtland we gathered together for one last family meeting before departing for home. Everyone was invited to share a memorable experience. After several family members had shared, five-year-old Maggie said, “My favorite place was the Sacred Grove.”

November 18, 2014

Stage set for Henry B. Eyring in Rome as Pope reinforces traditional family values (Daily Herald - Utah) (November 18, 2014)
The stage was set Monday for President Henry B. Eyring's 8 a.m. address Tuesday from the Vatican, where he was expected to speak on the value of families.

Pope, Mormon leader make history with a handshake (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (November 18, 2014)
Pope Francis made history Monday by shaking hands with a saint — a Latter-day Saint. The pontiff greeted Mormon leader Henry B. Eyring at the Vatican, marking what is believed to be the first time a Catholic pope and a top LDS general authority have met face to face. Eyring, first counselor in the governing First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is in Rome — along with religious leaders and scholars from 14 faiths and 23 countries — for a three-day "colloquium" titled "An International Interreligious Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman."

Vatican opens conference on traditional marriage (Washington Post) (November 18, 2014)
Pope Francis Monday opened an unusual high-level interfaith conference to support traditional marriage, saying “children have the right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother.” The three-day “Complementarity of Man and Woman” conference includes global faith leaders including prominent U.S. evangelical pastors Rick Warren and Russell Moore, former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom Jonathan Sacks and Anglican, Muslim, Pentecostal and Hindu leaders. For the first time, a top Mormon leader – Henry Eyring – is in official attendence at a Vatican conference.

LDS gender survey leaves some questions (Daily Herald - Utah) (November 18, 2014)
A survey on Mormon gender issues is working its way through Facebook at a rapid pace. What people should understand before taking the survey is that it is not sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and while a legitimate survey, it feels a bit misleading to some who have completed it.

New Survey on LDS Gender Issues Piques Interest of Liberal, Conservative Mormons (KUER) (November 18, 2014)
A group of academics from around the country is conducting an online survey to learn more about attitudes toward gender roles in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. KUER’s Dan Bammes reports it’s drawing interest from both liberal and conservative Mormons. The Mormon Gender Survey was launched over the weekend on social media. It’s not a standard random sample – anyone can choose to participate.

At Brigham Young, Students Push to Lift Ban on Beards (New York Times) (November 18, 2014)
The dark pants, tightly knotted ties and crisp white shirts that once defined the Mormon man are nearly absent at Brigham Young University, the Mormon school that dominates this city. Instead, the young men crisscrossing this campus look a lot like everyone else: They wear skinny jeans and flannel tops, gym shorts and sweatshirts. They are preppy, sporty and hipster; buzzed, shaggy and mustachioed. Beards, however, remain few and far between.

FamilySearch replaces documents wiped out by storm (LDS Church News) (November 18, 2014)
When Typhoon Haiyan — known locally as Typhoon Yolanda — wreaked its devastation in the Philippines a year ago, government officials in four cities thought the loss included irreplaceable civil records. What they hadn’t counted on was a godsend: the Church’s international genealogical organization known as FamilySearch.

Sperry Symposium: 'Peter and the Restored Priesthood' (LDS Church News) (November 18, 2014)
As a result of the Restoration, Latter-day Saints “have knowledge about Peter that significantly expands what is known from the relatively sparse ancient sources,” said Steven C. Harper in his Oct. 25 Sperry Symposium presentation about “Peter and the restored priesthood.”

Secret recordings at BYU? Police investigate (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (November 18, 2014)
Earlier this month, Brigham Young University professors discovered that recording devices had been concealed underneath several classroom stools in the Joseph Smith Building, where religion courses are primarily taught and department faculty meetings are held. "A university investigation has been launched," BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins confirmed. "The administration is taking this very seriously."

Katherine Heigl talks primetime premiere, motherhood, Mormon roots and Utah home (Deseret News - Utah) (November 18, 2014)
After stepping away from primetime and the big screen to bond with her family, Emmy Award-winning actress Katherine Heigl will return to TV tonight in a political drama, but she still considers motherhood to be her most important role.

72-year-old Idahoan indexes a million names (Deseret News - Utah) (November 18, 2014)
Five years ago when Sherryl Peterson was reading an article about indexing in the LDS Church magazine the Ensign, she decided it was her time to begin. Peterson, 72, has been faithfully indexing ever since and on Aug. 29 processed her millionth name for extraction.

Canadian girls plan to build community of homes in Dominican Republic (Deseret News - Utah) (November 18, 2014)
Two young girls from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, have more on their minds than just the next school day — namely, a goal to build homes for the poor in the Dominican Republic, at least one home per year until they finish high school. Zoe Palmer, 12, is a seventh-grader at Londonderry Junior High. Her sister, Gemma, 8, attends Kildare Elementary School as a fourth-grader. They both have lots of years ahead of them to accomplish their goal.

Mormon Issues (Huffington Post) (November 18, 2014)
Sightings has sighted and commented on trends and travails among standard-brand faith communities this fall: Jews, Protestants, "The Mainline," "Evangelicals," "Southern Baptists" and more. Most of them report on or envision down-trends in matters of affiliation and participation.

The one factor missing from Utah’s suicide puzzle (Religion News Service) (November 18, 2014)
Suicide has long been an alarming phenomenon in Utah. But a new theory abandons the cultural rationales that have been offered in the past — such as that Mormonism, the dominant religion in the state, is so dysfunctional that it drives people to end their painful lives — in favor of science. One key finding is that Utah’s residents aren’t the only ones at a heightened risk for suicide — as much as a 30% higher risk. It’s a regional problem throughout the West.

Ordain Women going billboard route (Daily Herald - Utah) (November 18, 2014)
Organizers of the Ordain Women group have launched a project for Christmas -- a billboard alongside Interstate 15 in Salt Lake City. A fundraising effort using the crowdfunding site gofundme.com set up by Joanna Wallace of Ordain Women has already surpassed its $3,000 goal.

November 17, 2014

Pope Francis Addresses Faith Leaders Gathered at Vatican to Discuss Marriage (LDS Newsroom) (November 17, 2014)
Opening the historic meeting of religious leaders gathered at the Vatican to discuss the importance of marriage, Pope Francis said, "For most of us, the family provides the principal place where we can aspire to greatness as we strive to realize our full capacity for virtue and charity."

Phoenix Arizona Temple Dedicated by President Thomas S. Monson (LDS Newsroom) (November 17, 2014)
The Phoenix Arizona Temple was dedicated Sunday, November 16, 2014, in three sessions by President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Youth Shine at Phoenix Arizona Temple Cultural Celebration (Church News) (November 17, 2014)
Thousands of Latter-day Saint youth celebrated Arizona’s rich cultural history through music and dance November 15. The celebration was held in conjunction with the dedication of the Phoenix Arizona Temple, the Church’s 144th worldwide and fifth in Arizona. The temple will be dedicated on Sunday, November 16.

Elder Oaks Visits the Philippines: the Land of Smiles amid Trials (Church News) (November 17, 2014)
On his first visit to the Philippines nearly 30 years ago, Elder Dallin H. Oaks met with the 33 stake presidents serving in that nation. Church membership there stood at about 100,000. From October 23 to November 1, Elder Oaks again visited the area and met with local members and leaders. Today, there are 91 stake presidents and a nationwide membership of more than 700,000. Also, the Philippines has 21 missions, 81 districts, and 1,106 wards and branches.

Elder Ballard offers grandfatherly counsel to single university students (LDS Church News) (November 17, 2014)
The 22,700-seat Marriott Center can accommodate huge crowds for BYU basketball games and other large-scale events. But for the legions of young single adults who gathered here Nov. 9, the massive facility almost seemed to double as a cozy family room where they received loving direction from a trusted patriarch.

New change allows young moms, divorced members to teach Mormon seminary (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (November 17, 2014)
Before today, if you were a Mormon woman hired to teach at an LDS seminary or institute, the moment your first child showed up, you lost your job. If you were divorced but happily married a second time — even for decades — you could not be considered for either position. Both those policies have been reversed.

Mormons Around the World: Country Newsroom Websites | November 14 (LDS Newsroom Blog) (November 17, 2014)
Mormon Helping Hands volunteers worked with residents of Kiribati (an island northeast of Australia) filling and hauling sandbags to save 100 homes from flooding.

The black Mormon moment? (Deseret News - Utah) (November 17, 2014)
"The Book of Mormon" musical is no longer winning Tonys, and Mitt Romney has stopped running for president (or so he insists). Yet, two years after Newsweek dubbed it the so-called “Mormon Moment,” members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are once again in the news. But this time, it’s black Latter-day Saints leading the way.

Mormon Church Publishes Essay On Founder Joseph Smith's Polygamy (NPR) (November 17, 2014)
Brigham Young publicly acknowledged what Mormons call "plural marriage" after the church became established in Utah in 1852. But an article posted last month on LDS.org, the official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, says the practice of polygamy originated with its founding prophet, Joseph Smith.

God vs. the Internet. And the Winner is… (Daily Beast) (November 17, 2014)
Faith leaders are starting to air previously hard-to-find “truths” as religious seekers are researching central tenants of their faiths’ histories online. Since the 1830s, Mormons have survived riots, the violent death of their founder, a long march from Illinois to Utah, and the hardships of settlement in the intermountain West. They’ve made it through schisms. They’ve weathered confrontations with the federal government. They’ve escaped the vicious clutches of Broadway producers. But can the Mormon Church survive the Internet?

Mission accomplished: 5 tips for returned missionaries (Deseret News - Utah) (November 17, 2014)
Returning from a mission can be difficult. Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have months of a specific mindset, rigid schedule and noble purpose that suddenly ends. Many LDS returned missionaries experience guilt, confusion and stress. Like with any major life change, the emotional difficulties can be lessened by turning to the Lord, seeking help and finding direction from family and church leaders. Below are five additional steps to successfully adjust back home.

November 14, 2014

LDS Church responds to national media coverage of Gospel Topics pages (Deseret News - Utah) (November 14, 2014)
Amidst a flurry of national news coverage about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' transparency in discussing its early history, including such controversial subjects as plural marriage, the LDS Church released a statement today shedding light on its purpose for releasing nearly a dozen in-depth essays on topics of special public interest.

Scholars shred 'new' claims of Jesus' marriage and fatherhood amid media storm (Deseret News) (November 14, 2014)
While sensational new claims of a "lost manuscript" documenting Jesus' alleged marriage and fathering two children grabbed global media attention this week, scholars from a variety of perspectives shredded the "discovery."

Tenacity Is Required to Become Savior’s Disciples, Says Seventy (Church News) (November 14, 2014)
When Elder David F. Evans of the Seventy said the opening prayer in the final session of general conference last month, he mixed up his words and prayed that “our strength may be faithened,” rather than “our faith may be strengthened.” When he returned home and pulled up his Facebook account, he quickly discovered his mistake had been turned into a meme and was on the Internet.

LDS leaders visit Africa, say 'progress is remarkable' (LDS Church News) (November 14, 2014)
The progress of the Church in the Africa Southeast Area is remarkable, said Elder Quentin L. Cook after visiting the area Oct. 15 through Oct. 27.

Aspiring wakeboarder changed his life because his Mormon family never gave up on him (Deseret News - Utah) (November 14, 2014)
The newly called elders quorum presidency in the Jupiter Hills Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had been asked to speak in sacrament meeting. When it was Casey Harbertson’s turn, the new first counselor said he felt impressed to tell a personal experience, one he rarely shared.

BYU Professor Finds Playing Favorites Is Detrimental to Families (Church News) (November 14, 2014)
sk the members of most large families, and many opinions exist about who is the favored child. New research from Brigham Young University might give parents some ideas about why they shouldn’t play favorites. It seems perception of favoritism can be linked to drug use in certain families. Favoritism in parenting is a complex topic, but researchers share some important points they gleaned from the study.

Haws brothers choose different routes to same school (Daily Herald - Utah) (November 14, 2014)
BYU senior guard Tyler Haws takes some time every Monday to email his younger brother T.J., now serving an LDS mission in France.

Freshman builds first 35 snowmen of year (BYU Universe) (November 14, 2014)
BYU freshman Greg Sorenson of Hemet, California took advantage of Provo’s first real snowfall of the season Thursday evening by building 35 miniature snowmen on the walkway up from Helamen Halls to the Tanner Building.

November 13, 2014

Apostles to Instruct at RootsTech 2015 Free Family Discovery Day (Church News) (November 13, 2014)
Elder Neil L. Andersen and Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy, Young Women general president Bonnie L. Oscarson, and other Church leaders will speak and participate during the 2015 RootsTech Family Discovery Day in February.

New Visitors’ Center Directors (Church News) (November 13, 2014)
Eight new visitors’ center directors and their wives have been called by the First Presidency. They will begin their service in January 2014.

LDS Church celebrates 120th anniversary of Genealogical Society, now FamilySearch (Daily Herald - Utah) (November 13, 2014)
An obscure nonprofit group, known as the Genealogical Society of Utah, organized on Nov. 13, 1894. It's charge, under the direction of its new president, Franklin D. Richards: gather family histories and historical records.

Joseph Smith’s Many Wives: The Faith at Stake in the News (TIME) (November 13, 2014)
Religions at their core do not hinge on historical proofs. They hinge on faith. And that, ultimately, is what is at stake in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ public confirmation that Joseph Smith had dozens of wives.

Public relations schism: Mormons and Scientologists (Tampa Bay Times - Florida) (November 13, 2014)
Until a few years ago, about the only thing most Americans knew about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was that they had one darn fine Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Other than that, there was the mystery underwear thing. And yes, the long-ago legacy of polygamy.

Mia Love is black, Mormon, Republican — and baffling (Chicago Tribune - Illinois) (November 13, 2014)
Mia Love is already getting more attention than most of her newly elected congressional colleagues. She is Haitian-American, a woman, daughter of immigrants, Mormon, Republican and from Utah, all things that she seems eager to boast about, except when she isn't, as those who contrasted her post-election speech with a subsequent CNN interview noted.

It's a Mormon moment in new film about the faith (NJ.com - New Jersey) (November 13, 2014)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is one of the fastest growing Christian denominations in the world. And while most of the growth is attributable to an ingenious process of missioning young members all over the world, a blockbuster Broadway show keeps the Mormons in the spotlight.

Mormon church celebrates 60 years in Manhattan Beach (Beach Reporter - California) (November 13, 2014)
On Saturday the Manhattan Beach Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are inviting the community to celebrate an important piece of the city’s history.

Divine Revision (Slate.com) (November 13, 2014)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a firm view on homosexuality and gay marriage. “Marriage between a man and a woman is essential to the Creator's plan,” the church declares on its website. “The Church’s doctrinal position is clear: Sexual activity should only occur between a man and a woman who are married.”

November 12, 2014

Church Provides Context for Recent Media Coverage on Gospel Topics Pages (LDS Newsroom) (November 12, 2014)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has provided the following information in response to news media inquiries: For many years the Church has had a reference section on its main website for various "gospel topics," listed in alphabetical order.

Underwear, vigilantes and planets: Things we now know about Mormons (BBC - UK) (November 12, 2014)
The Mormon church chose to publicise the news that its founder, Joseph Smith, practised polygamy in an essay on its website. The piece is one of several written to provide accurate information about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to its followers. Many are on secretive and sensitive subjects that have been ridiculed outside the religion.

While most eye mobile for the bottom line, the Mormon church has higher goals (IT World) (November 12, 2014)
Almost everyone's pouring time and money into smartphones these days. Social networking giants mine them for ad revenue, retail stores use them to reach customers, and credit-card companies want to turn them into wallets. And then there's the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Missionary worker now in Carbondale after facing Ebola outbreak in West Africa (Aspen Daily News - Colorado) (November 12, 2014)
A missionary worker stationed in Sierra Leone during a widespread outbreak of the deadly virus Ebola this summer is now calling Carbondale home. And while he’s looking forward to experiencing a winter season in Western Colorado, Elder Yasir Finkenthal’s heart is still back with the people in the village of Jui.

Mormon missionaries pound Italian pavements with chalk (Deseret News - Utah) (November 12, 2014)
For the past eight months, young Mormon missionaries have trekked to a busy corner of Via Rizzoli and Via Calzolerie each Sunday to draw in chalk. These missionaries aren’t reconnecting with childhood pursuits. Instead, they hope that their pavement drawings and the texts will spread the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a country they describe as godless.

Treasures from the 150,000 free online digitized books collection from FamilySearch (Deseret News - Utah) (November 12, 2014)
Some time ago, I was doing some online family history research concerning my great-grandfather, Henry Martin Tanner. I came across a reference to a biography written about him by his son, George S. Tanner, my great-uncle. I had two copies of the book given to me by my father, but I was interested in seeing the availability of obtaining copies for other family members. In clicking around looking for a copy of the book, I found a copy offered for sale on amazon.com for $11,125. I immediately began looking for other copies of the book. Given the incredible asking price for this book, I was interested to see if there was a digital copy available. Here is a full citation to the book:

Find Your Family’s World War I Veterans in New Collections Online (Church News) (November 12, 2014)
Veterans Day is a time to recognize the veterans in our lives—to honor their service for our country and show them that we appreciate their sacrifices made in our behalf. “The Great War,” World War I, began 100 years ago and later ended on November 11, 1918. In commemoration of Veterans Day, FamilySearch.org has announced the addition of three free World War I collections containing information on the millions of American and British citizens who served and registered for military service between 1914 and 1920.

Lecture to focus on politics of Mormon prophet-patriot Ezra Taft Benson (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (November 12, 2014)
Come January, all adult Mormons will spend a year studying the religious teachings of their 13th church president: Ezra Taft Benson. But those members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will hear little or nothing about Benson’s right-wing political views — despite the fact that he was the only Mormon apostle ever to serve in a U.S. president’s Cabinet, a staunch opponent of any organization he deemed "communist" and an advocate of conservative polices espoused by the John Birth Society.

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