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LDS Today

July 24, 2014

July 23, 2014

FamilySearch Volunteers Break International Indexing Record (LDS Newsroom Blog) (July 23, 2014)
FamilySearch indexing volunteers broke a record this week during the first Worldwide Indexing Event.

Mormon Youth in Utah Host Special Needs Pioneer Trek (LDS Newsroom) (July 23, 2014)
Every summer, Mormon youth groups reenact the trek pioneers made with their hand-carts across the Great Plains of the United States to Utah to escape persecution. The Mormon pioneers endured many hardships along the trail.

What life was like for the Mormon pioneers after entering the Salt Lake Valley (Deseret News - Utah) (July 23, 2014)
On June 28, 1847, Brigham Young met with Jim Bridger, famed frontiersman and owner of Fort Bridger. The two men discussed the merits of settling the Salt Lake Valley. Bridger expressed his opinion that growing grain would be difficult in the area, making it unsuitable to sustain a large population.

In Our Lovely Deseret: Who were the first 3 women to enter the Salt Lake Valley? (Deseret News - Utah) (July 23, 2014)
It was the great unknown, this vast wilderness the Saints needed to pass through in order to reach their new home. And what then? What would they find? And what could they make of this place the Lord would give them?

Researching Family History: It's a day of a flood of family history records, documents (Deseret News - Utah) (July 23, 2014)
Since I was small and young, my family has been heavily involved in genealogy. My father used to take me and some of my sisters and brothers to family meetings held in the extended Bangerter family once a month.

This is the place for facts you might not know about Mormon pioneers (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 23, 2014)
You may be yawning at the thought of yet another Pioneer Day parade celebrating the heroic arrival of beleaguered Mormons into the Salt Lake Valley. You’ve heard of the LDS prophet declaring on July 24 that "this is the right place." The tragic Willie and Martin handcart companies, trapped in snowy Wyoming. The crickets and sea gulls.

Video: Anatomy of a Days of ‘47 Parade float (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 23, 2014)
Late last year, the LDS Church assigned the Salt Lake Bonneville Stake, among dozens of others, to design and construct a float for the 2014 Days of ’47 Parade with the theme, "Pioneers Pushing Towards the Future."

New Mormon mental health group to take less-churchy approach (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 23, 2014)
Next week, a group of newly organized mental health providers, clinicians, educators and advocates — interested in or working with the LDS population — will meet in Utah. Organizers created the Mormon Mental Health Association in June to provide "training, research, strategy, collaboration and education in the mental health treatment of Mormons, helping ensure that this population’s needs are being met by trained professionals who adhere to their professions’ code of ethics."

7 surprises in the Mormon pioneer diet (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 23, 2014)
As Pioneer Day approaches, Utah tends to remember only those Mormon settlers who survived on boiled mush, sour weeds or — in some cases — nothing at all as they crossed the Western plains. Of course, the stories about starvation are the exception, said Utah author and food historian Brock Cheney.

July 22, 2014

Odgen LDS Temple tour reservations fill up quickly Read more: The Davis Clipper - Odgen LDS Temple tour reservations fill up quickly (Davis Clipper - Utah) (July 22, 2014)
Open house and rededication dates for the newly renovated Ogden Utah Temple have been set, and people who want to tour the building began scheduling visits on Monday.

Youngstown Ohio Stake Pioneer Trek Inspires Gratitude, Faith (Church News) (July 22, 2014)
Youth from the Youngstown Ohio Stake participated in a difficult, yet rewarding, 20-mile trek July 10–12 that gave them obstacles they will never forget and a greater appreciation for their pioneer ancestors.

Brigham Young’s Short-Lived, Experimental Mormon Alphabet (Slate) (July 22, 2014)
Catherine Falzone, cataloger at the New-York Historical Society, recently blogged about three books printed in the Deseret Alphabet, a 19th-century experiment sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The idea for the alphabet came from George D. Watt, one of the first Latter-Day Saints to be baptized in Britain in 1837. Watt, who was schooled in Sir Isaac Pitman’s phonetic shorthand, had also become a proponent of spelling reforms (a cause that Pitman and Watt had in common with Samuel Johnson, Benjamin Franklin, and contemporary Noah Webster).

Float party gives thousands a sneak peek of Thursday's big parade (Deseret News - Utah) (July 22, 2014)
For the past 75 years, the Days of '47 Parade has been a tradition for lifelong Utah resident Ruth Mahoney. "I think it just takes thousands and thousands of hours of work and clever people and people that are willing to give their all. … It’s one of the nicest parades in the country. We wouldn’t miss it for anything," she said.

Judge sets hearing in clash over Tribune-Deseret News deal (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 22, 2014)
A federal judge will hear arguments in September on whether supporters of The Salt Lake Tribune have a legal basis for suing to halt a revised business arrangement between Utah’s two largest newspapers. On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups set a Sept. 8 hearing in the high-profile case to address, in part, whether a group of former Tribune employees has standing to challenge the amended operating agreement between The Tribune and its rival, the LDS Church-owned Deseret News.

LDS World: Days for Girls is changing girls' lives around the world (Deseret News - Utah) (July 22, 2014)
Celeste Mergens has discovered that a $10 contribution, or contributing a few hours time, can infinitely transform a woman’s life and provide her lifelong opportunity and dignity.

Man arrested after altercation at St. George Temple (Spectrum - Utah) (July 22, 2014)
A Salt Lake City man apparently suffering from a mental illness was arrested Saturday after a confrontation with police at the St. George LDS Temple. Witnesses said Tavita Hamilton, 19, entered the building at about 7 p.m., speaking loudly and incoherently, and was asked to leave.

July 21, 2014

Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Santino Fontana Headline Pioneer Day Concerts (LDS Newsroom) (July 21, 2014)
Excited, honored and terrified is how actor and singer Santino Fontana described his feelings about the opportunity to headline a summer performance titled A Summer Celebration of Song with the world renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.

Concert review: ‘Frozen’ prince charms crowd in Tabernacle Choir’s summer show (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 21, 2014)
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir nabbed a cool guest star for its summer concerts: Santino Fontana, the voice of Prince Hans in "Frozen." Though it was the Disney blockbuster that put him on the pop-culture map last November, Fontana is an established Broadway star, and those skills served him well Friday.

Groundbreaking Date Announced for Meridian Idaho Mormon Temple (LDS Newsroom) (July 21, 2014)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Friday that the Meridian Idaho Temple groundbreaking will take place on 23 August 2014 at 10:00 a.m. MDT. The temple site is located at 7345 North Linder Road, a few blocks north of the intersection of North Linder Road and Chinden Boulevard.

New study: Mormon pioneers were safer on trek than previously thought, especially infants (Deseret News - Utah) (July 21, 2014)
From 1847 to 1868, Mormon pioneer babies traveling across the Plains were safer — yes, more likely to live — than infants in the general U.S. population, according to a dynamic new study. The infant mortality rate on the plains was 9 percent, while the general infant mortality rate in 1850 was above 15 percent.

What is it like to be a Mormon in Ireland? (The Journal - Ireland) (July 21, 2014)
THERE ARE AROUND 6,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Ireland. You might know them as Mormons. To answer your questions straight away: no they don’t all go door to door, they don’t have multiple wives, they do celebrate Christmas, but they don’t make Communion, and their mass lasts three hours.

Sister Burton: Make Relief Society a Haven for New Sisters (Church News) (July 21, 2014)
We live in a world where “new” is often synonymous with “better.” But “new,” when used in the context of “change,” can sometimes be synonymous with “uncomfortable.” I am thinking in particular of our “new” Relief Society sisters who are coming to us from Young Women. But there are also others who are “new” to Relief Society: new converts, recently activated sisters, those who have been serving in other organizations in the ward and perhaps have been away from Relief Society for a long time.

Relief Society Building, 'A Home of Our Own' (LDS Church News) (July 21, 2014)
Using the words of Belle S. Spafford, the ninth Relief Society general president of the Church, a new online exhibit titled “A Home of Our Own” shares the journey of Relief Society sisters and their efforts to create a building for their organization in “the shadow of the temple.” Available through, the exhibit shares photos, videos and information in a tidy chronological timeline that follows the progression of the Relief Society organization, as well as the needs of the organization as it grew.

Black Mormon pioneers — a rich but forgotten legacy of faith (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 21, 2014)
Green Flake was in the vanguard company of Mormon pioneers in 1847, driving a wagon into the Salt Lake Valley with LDS prophet Brigham Young, who famously declared Utah to be the right place to build Zion. But you won’t likely see a figure of Flake atop any floats in Thursday’s Days of ’47 Parade as they glide down the streets of Utah’s capital.

What does the Mormon 'temperature' reading mean in new Pew survey? (Deseret News - Utah) (July 21, 2014)
A new survey released this week with data about how Americans feel about Latter-day Saints didn't prove whether the "Mormon Moment" is over or add insight into why Mormons like each other so much.

“A Mother Is Love,” Says Texas Young Mother of the Year (Church News) (July 21, 2014)
Pinning down a single word that would describe Jessica Merrifield’s philosophy on life would be extremely simple: love.

Mormon Church Hasn't Budged on Gender Roles in 40 Years (Yahoo News) (July 21, 2014)
The Mormon Church has not shifted its official positions on the roles of men and women since the 1970s, a new study finds.

July 18, 2014

Ogden Utah Temple Open House: Tickets Available 21 July (LDS Newsroom) (July 18, 2014)
Reservations for tickets to the Ogden Utah Temple open house will be available beginning Monday, 21 July 2014, at 10:00 a.m. Tickets can be reserved online at The public open house will begin on Friday, 1 August 2014, and run through Saturday, 6 September 2014, except for Sundays.

Stay funeral highlights LDS customs (Houston Chronicle - Texas) (July 18, 2014)
Footage of the parade of six white caskets has been broadcast around the world. Still photos of mourners have captured moments in time that could be from any funeral anywhere. But the church service for six members of the Stay family - shot to death in their Spring home last week - contained elements unique to the Mormon faith.

Hikers to retrace Mormon pioneers’ first steps in Salt Lake Valley (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 18, 2014)
The First Encampment Celebration hike is a relaxed family affair and fun for those who want to get a feel for what it was like for the original Mormon pioneers entering the Salt Lake Valley. Oh, yeah, there’s a pancake breakfast, too.

Alleged kidnapper of Mormons held in Melchor - was heading to Belize (Guardian - Belize) (July 18, 2014)
The sub-station of the municipality of Melchor De Mencos, Petén, pursuant to an arrest warrant, has detained a suspected kidnapper in the district Fallabon in that jurisdiction. According to Guatemalan police agents, the capture was made when the alleged criminal had an intention to leave the Country with destination to Belize. The catch is the result of coordination between Interpol Guatemala, the task force against kidnappings and officials of the local police station in Melchor.

Home of Wisconsin’s Young Mother of the Year Reflects Gratitude (Church News) (July 18, 2014)
Five children. All boys. The oldest is 10. The youngest is three. “I’d rather have my hands full than empty,” said Amy Raynor Brinton, the Wisconsin Young Mother of the Year. Her five boys certainly keep her busy and have helped her to develop a parenting motto she became familiar with during her days at Brigham Young University: “Enter to learn; go forth to serve.”

Wright Words: A day in the life of Mormon missionaries in Woodstock, Virginia (Deseret News - Utah) (July 18, 2014)
Recently, I wrote about exciting developments in missionary work in Baltimore. A new social media program called #socialmediasplit seeks to better link local church members to the full-time missionaries, and to take the blessings of the traditional “split” and multiply them using tools like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. For a deeper understanding of the project, I spent a full day in June with two Spanish-speaking elders serving in the city. The experience was a memorable, educational whirlwind and exposed readers to the unpredictable nature of the work in a multicultural, fast-paced area.

Bridging the gap: Catholic students' artwork displayed at temple visitor center (LDS Church News) (July 18, 2014)
An elementary school art project in West Los Angeles became the spark that not only ignited stronger ties between members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Catholics, but also introduced several hundred children, parents and teachers to the Los Angeles Temple Visitors’ Center.

July 17, 2014

Funeral held for 6 slain family members in Texas (Deseret News - Utah) (July 17, 2014)
Six white caskets containing the bodies of a suburban Houston couple and four of their five children were wheeled into a church Wednesday for funeral services not far from where the family was gunned down at their home a week ago.

Our religions are inextricably linked to our politics. Here’s how. (Washington Post) (July 17, 2014)
It's probably no surprise that, in the United States, the two most unpopular religions are Islam and atheism (to the extent atheism is, you know, actually a religion). And new data from the Pew Religion and Public Life project show that is indeed the case. The average rating for these two groups, on a scale of zero to 100 (with 100 being the best), is around 40.

Religion survey: Jews score highest, Muslims lowest (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 17, 2014)
A new Pew Research survey finds U.S. adults feel most warmly about people who share their religion or those they know as family, friends or co-workers.

Pioneers and former missionaries celebrate first stake, growth of LDS Church in Jamaica (Deseret News - Utah) (July 17, 2014)
Between 1976 and 1978, the membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Jamaica consisted of three individuals: Victor E. Nugent, his wife, Verna, and their son, Peter. In 1974, the Nugents became the first native Jamaican LDS converts. Unfortunately, economic and political upheaval forced the small branch’s priesthood leaders and their families to depart from the Caribbean island, leaving the Nugents all alone. The Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission was their closest LDS neighbor.

Never too late: 100-year-old woman baptized into LDS Church (Deseret News - Utah) (July 17, 2014)
For those who know the story of Madeline Baldwin, a recent convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the message is clear. "You're never too old," the 100-year-old Baldwin said with a voice that's still clear and strong.

Mormon missionaries teach New Yorkers about family history using chalk-drawn trees (+video) (Deseret News - Utah) (July 17, 2014)
A chalk-drawn tree in Union Square grabbed the attention of passersby last month. Intrigued by the statement "find your family" written on the ground, many stopped to investigate. Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the New York New York North Mission, under the direction of President Tom Morgan, created the drawing. After having success last year with a chalk drawing of the plan of salvation, missionaries used the same medium to teach about family history.

Business owners expect economic boom once LDS Church’s Ogden Temple reopens (Fox 13 - Utah) (July 17, 2014)
Alex Montanez, owner of Rovali’s Restaurant, has been giving his staff daily pep talks in preparation for the reopening of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Ogden Temple, which is scheduled for August 1. The city predicts 700,000 people will visit the city during the five-week open house.

Could Mormon church excommunicate Shurtleff, Swallow? (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 17, 2014)
On the heels of Mormon feminist Kate Kelly’s recent excommunication for "conduct contrary to the laws and order" of the LDS Church, a new question has emerged: Could former Utah Attorneys General John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff lose their Mormon memberships, too?

BYU-Utah rated nation's 12th-best rivalry by, even with a two-year hiatus (Deseret News - Utah) (July 17, 2014)
There might not be another game scheduled between these two schools until 2016, but the BYU and Utah rivalry is still on the minds of college football pundits. In its latest installment of the 14 for '14 series on college football, rates the BYU-Utah rivalry the 12th best in the country.

Frenchtown LDS Church vandalized; suspects sought (Missoulian - Montana) (July 17, 2014)
Law enforcement is looking for suspects who vandalized the Frenchtown Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Frenchtown Frontage Road. Sometime over the weekend of July 11-13, the suspects used pink and blue spray paint to write anti-secular comments on the exterior brick wall of the church, including the Star of David and derogatory comments about religious figures.

July 16, 2014

Mormonism in the News: Getting It Right (LDS Newsroom) (July 16, 2014)
In a recent editorial, The Salt Lake Tribune quotes a new report that shows that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ concern for and investment in a strong and vibrant downtown Salt Lake City is bearing fruit.

BYU-Idaho, Rexburg experience flooding after heavy thunderstorms (Deseret News - Utah) (July 16, 2014)
Heavy thunderstorms resulted in close to 2 inches of rain and severe flooding throughout Rexburg and Madison County Tuesday evening. The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory at 5:59 p.m. for Madison County, extending it until 9:45 p.m. Tuesday, the Rexburg Standard Journal reported. Rexburg police shut down areas of Main Street due to the storm.

LDS Church begins using a 3rd new temple film (Deseret News - Utah) (July 16, 2014)
A year after the LDS Church began using a new film for temple instruction for the first time in 20 years, and six months after introducing a second, a third new film is in rotation. The latest film presentation began showing Tuesday in 30 of the 143 operating temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a church spokesman confirmed.

Richard Davis: Latter-day Saints should appreciate the president (Deseret News - Utah) (July 16, 2014)
President Obama isn’t popular with Mormons, according to a new Gallup poll. While 44 percent of Catholics and 37 percent of Protestants approve of the president’s job performance, only 18 percent of Mormons do. The 78 percent disapproval rate among Mormons was 20 percent higher than it was for Protestants. Why there is such intense disapproval of the president? One likely reason is that Obama defeated Mitt Romney, who many Latter-day Saints hoped would become the first LDS president.

First All-Vietnamese YSA Conference Held in Southeast Asia (Church News) (July 16, 2014)
A short 10 months ago, Le Huu Vuong, who grew up 120 miles north of Hanoi, Vietnam, joined the Church. He had not envisioned that 10 months later he would be participating in a historic event, the first all-Vietnamese young single adult (YSA) conference held in Southeast Asia.

Rolly: As ex-AG is booked, his Dem foe rises to Mormon temple leader (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 16, 2014)
Reed Richards, the Democrat whom Shurtleff defeated in 2000 to become the state’s attorney general, was made a member of the presidency of the newly revamped Ogden LDS Temple in a sacred ceremony Mormons refer to as "setting apart."

July 15, 2014

Mormonism in Pictures: A Look at Members, Missionaries and Temples in Peru (LDS Newsroom) (July 15, 2014)
Peru, a land widely recognized for its architectural achievements and rich cultural traditions, is creating a new chapter in its history for the membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The country is located in western South America and its population currently totals more than 30 million people.

LDS Church's growing presence in Hawaii (LDS Church News) (July 15, 2014)
Sunset Beach on Oahu’s North Shore has long been home to some of the world’s best surfers, best waves and some of the world’s premier surfing competitions. Now it is also the home to a growing presence of Latter-day Saints in Hawaii.

Returned missionary son tackles widowed mom in airport after two years (+video) (Deseret News - Utah) (July 15, 2014)
Few hugs compare to the one a mother receives from her returned missionary after a long absence. And when William Atwood returned from serving mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Philippines, he didn’t disappoint.

Abraham to blacks to Brigham — Mormon essays confront tough questions (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 15, 2014)
They have tackled touchy topics: Did Mormons really abandon polygamy in 1890? Did Brigham Young order the Mountain Meadows Massacre? Do Latter-day Saints believe a man can become like God? These are just some of the prickly questions confronted in a string of provocative essays released in the past half year or so by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The End of the ‘Mormon Moment’ (New York Times) (July 15, 2014)
LAST month, Kate Kelly, a feminist Mormon lawyer who had called on the Mormon Church to open the priesthood to women, was excommunicated on the charge of apostasy. John P. Dehlin, who runs a popular podcast on hot-button church issues and has loudly advocated for the church to welcome gay men and lesbians, also was threatened with expulsion. Other Mormons have faced sanctions for participating in online forums questioning the church’s positions on these and other matters.

Poll: Obama scores best with Muslims, worst with Mormons (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 15, 2014)
President Barack Obama should be grateful Mormons account for barely 2 percent of the U.S. population — otherwise his overall approval rating would be sinking even lower than its current 43 percent. That’s because only 18 percent of Latter-day Saints give a thumbs up to the commander in chief’s 2014 job performance, according to a new Gallup poll.

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