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August 3, 2015

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July 31, 2015

Elder Andersen says pioneers' example can help people face trials today (LDS Church News) (July 31, 2015)
In considering the example of faith and courage set by pioneer ancestors, Latter-day Saints today should remember that “our days are no less difficult and no less rewarding,” Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said July 27 at This Is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City.

Family History conference: Strengthening ties that bind families (LDS Church News) (July 31, 2015)
Family history consultants and genealogists of all ages met for the 47th annual Brigham Young University Conference on Family History and Genealogy on July 28-31.

BYU hosts first-ever youth family history camp (LDS Church News) (July 31, 2015)
It’s summer and the possibilities are almost endless for Logan Sprague.

Wisconsin Mother of the Year Relies on the Gospel to Keep Her Afloat (Church News) (July 31, 2015)
“I come from a long line of strong, southern women,” said Stephanie Rogers, named the 2015 Wisconsin Young Mother of the Year by American Mothers Inc.

LDS Church may part ways with BSA, but other sponsors might return as ban on gay leaders ends (FOX 13 - Utah) (July 31, 2015)
The relationship between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America goes back a century, but, soon, it could all be coming to an end.

Mormon thrill ride creator still generating excitement at age 74 (Deseret News - Utah) (July 31, 2015)
Stan Checketts is a 74-year-old grandfather who loves to throw his grandchildren into the air as they giggle with delight.

The ‘Splainer: How do Jewish conversions work? (Deseret News - Utah) (July 31, 2015)
Jewish conversion seems to be all over the media lately. In the third season of the Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black,” Litchfield prison inmate Cindy Hayes wants to convert to Judaism, a journey that begins because pre-packaged kosher meals taste better than regular prison food.

'Freetown' tells true story behind 8 missionaries' journey through war-torn Liberia (LDS Church News) (July 31, 2015)
It’s 1990 and Liberia is in the midst of civil war. A rebel army has taken over the town of Monrovia where a group of missionaries is teaching.

Choir is a family affair for Newell brothers (LDS Church News) (July 31, 2015)
For a quarter-century now, Lloyd D. Newell has been with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, giving the “Spoken Word” portion of its weekly television and radio broadcast and traveling far and wide, but the recently concluded Atlantic Coast tour had a special familial flavor. For the first time, his younger brother Arthur was on tour with him as a newly minted choir member in his own right.

Modest swimwear makes a splash in women's retail (Deseret News - Utah) (July 31, 2015)
As this swim season comes to an end, retail companies have seen an increase of women veering away from skimpy bikinis and sexy one-pieces, and more toward newly surfacing modest swimwear.

July 30, 2015

Mormon Church Considers Creating Its Own Version of the Boy Scouts (TIME) (July 30, 2015)
The Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS)—Mormonism’s central church body—is seriously considering creating “its own international program for boys separate from the Boy Scouts of America,” after the Scouts revoked their ban on openly gay scout leaders this week, church spokesman Eric Hawkins told Religion News Service.

Religious groups react to Boy Scouts’ vote to drop ban on gay leaders (Deseret News - Utah) (July 30, 2015)
The Boy Scouts of America’s decision to drop its ban on gay adult leaders and employees brought a range of responses from religious groups.

Elder Oaks BYU’s August 2015 commencement speaker (BYU Universe) (July 30, 2015)
Elder Dallin H. Oaks will be BYU’s commencement speaker during exercises August 13.

Helping the Needy; It's a Hand Up (LDS Newsroom) (July 30, 2015)
Each year thousands of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donate more than 7 million hours to the Church's food production and welfare facilities as they strive to follow the example of Jesus Christ by serving those around them.

Missionary Dies in Costa Rica (Church News) (July 30, 2015)
A 20-year-old from the Xalapa Mexico Stake, who was serving as a missionary in the Costa Rica San Jose East Mission, died in his sleep on July 14 of unknown causes, the Church reported on July 17.

LDS Church to break ground on Cedar City Temple August 8 (FOX 13 - Utah) (July 30, 2015)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will break ground on their new temple in Cedar City on August 8.

Younger sister is living tribute to brothers who died in a plane crash (Deseret News - Utah) (July 30, 2015)
ubri Whatcott sits in the front row in a classroom packed with more than 100 eighth- and ninth-graders at West Point Junior High School in West Point, Utah. She and her classmates are in the middle of my novel, "The Seventeen Second Miracle."

July 29, 2015

Top Mormons Could Meet Soon About Leaving Scouts (New York Times) (July 29, 2015)
In August, the most senior leaders of the Mormon Church are expected to meet and discuss a decision with profound consequences: whether to end a 100-year relationship with the Boy Scouts of America that has helped shape both institutions.

If Mormons leave Scouting, BSA will feel it — in its wallet (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 29, 2015)
For many years, the LDS Church has discussed breaking away from the Boy Scouts of America, but the group's decision this week to admit "openly gay leaders" into its ranks may finally push the Utah-based faith to bolt. LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins confirmed Tuesday that the 15 million-member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is "considering creating its own international program for boys, separate from the Boy Scouts of America."

Mormon Temple Tours Drawing Big Crowds (WFYI - Indiana) (July 29, 2015)
The clock is ticking for the public to see the inside of the world's newest Mormon temple, in Carmel. Over 30,000 people have already made their way through the ornate limestone building, and church officials are expecting more than twice that many before it closes its doors to outsiders on Aug. 8.

Newly redesigned Mormon pioneer website helping users connect with ancestors (Deseret News - Utah) (July 29, 2015)
There was a time when Paul Embley found it difficult to do any meaningful family history work because so much had already been done on each of his lines.

Satirical Broadway musical 'The Book of Mormon' gets warm reception in heart of Mormonlandia (U.S. News) (July 29, 2015)
The biting satirical musical that mocks Mormons received a rousing reception Tuesday in its first-ever showing in the heart of Mormonlandia, kicking off a sold-out, two-week run at a Salt Lake City theater. The audience cheered wildly as the Tony Award-winning "The Book of Mormon" began, with the show's gleefully naive missionaries singing in front of a backdrop of the Salt Lake City skyline and Mormon temple that resembles the real one just two blocks away.

Early Mormon marriages database to shed light on polygamy, past and present ( (July 29, 2015)
University of Virginia religious studies professor Kathleen Flake is building a digital database of early polygamous marriages among Mormons to understand the nature of these marriages, their internal logic and the resistance to conventional 19th-century norms. Though a historical study, it raises many of the same issues as today's debate over the definition of marriage.

Monroe youth participate in re-creation of historic Mormon handcart trek (Monroe Monitor - Washington) (July 29, 2015)
It was hot. It was dusty. It was, at times, excruciatingly difficult. It was also incredibly rewarding and vastly meaningful. Most of all, Snohomish Trek 2015 was an experience that its participants will not soon forget. Meant to pay homage to the Mormon migration that took place in the mid-1800s, Trek is coordinated every four years by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. Church-goers between the ages of 14 and 18 are invited to participate in Trek, which involves a realistic simulation of what it might have been like to travel across the Great Plains, painstakingly toting their possessions in wooden handcarts.

LDS Church holds off on plans to demolish driving range (KSL - Utah) (July 29, 2015)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints canceled a hearing over a controversial plan to demolish the Thanksgiving Point driving range. VCBO Architecture was going to present its plans to the Lehi Planning Commission scheduled for Thursday but the church withdrew its request for the hearing.

Picturing history: Sidney Rigdon's Nauvoo home (Deseret News - Utah) (July 29, 2015)
Sidney Rigdon joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by baptism in November 1830. He was serving as a Campbellite minister in Mentor, Ohio, at the time. Many of his congregation joined the LDS Church when he did. He was prominent in those early days of the LDS Church, sharing in revelation to the Prophet and being called to the First Presidency.

July 28, 2015

Church Re-evaluating Scouting Program (LDS Newsroom) (July 28, 2015)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is deeply troubled by today’s vote by the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board. In spite of a request to delay the vote, it was scheduled at a time in July when members of the Church’s governing councils are out of their offices and do not meet....

Boy Scouts End Ban on Gay Leaders, Over Protests by Mormon Church (New York Times) (July 28, 2015)
The Boy Scouts of America on Monday ended its ban on openly gay adult leaders. But the new policy allows church-sponsored units to choose local unit leaders who share their precepts, even if that means restricting such positions to heterosexual men. Despite this compromise, the Mormon Church said it might leave the organization anyway. Its stance surprised many and raised questions about whether other conservative sponsors, including the Roman Catholic Church, might follow suit.

LDS Church 're-evaluating' Scouting program after Boy Scouts of America policy change (Deseret News - Utah) (July 28, 2015)
The Boy Scouts of America's National Executive Board voted 45-12 to end the organization's blanket ban on gay adult leaders on Monday, although the change in policy would still allow church-sponsored BSA units to disallow openly gay leaders for religious reasons.

LDS Church ‘deeply troubled’ by Boy Scouts ending ban on gay adult leaders, will re-evaluate relationship with program (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 28, 2015)
LDS Church leaders say they will evaluate the faith's centurylong relationship with the Boy Scouts of America in the wake of Scouting's decision to immediately end a blanket ban on gay adult leaders. The policy change was approved Monday evening by the BSA's 80-member National Executive Board in a teleconference. The new policy allows church-sponsored Scout units to maintain the exclusion because of their religion. Even so, Mormon apostle Jeffrey R. Holland and LDS Young Men President Stephen Owen voted against the policy change, church spokesman Eric Hawkins told The Salt Lake Tribune.

LDS Church relationship with Boy Scouts in doubt, may create new international program (Deseret News - Utah) (July 28, 2015)
The future relationship between the Boy Scouts of America and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is now uncertain after the Scouting body voted Monday to rescind a nationwide ban on gay Scout leaders, prompting strong words of concern from the church and a promise to re-evaluate its century-long affiliation with the organization. "The church has always welcomed all boys to its Scouting units regardless of sexual orientation," church spokesman Eric Hawkins said in a prepared statement. "However, the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America.”

Seeking a balanced life (LDS Church News) (July 28, 2015)
“Seeking balance among the essential responsibilities of life is preparatory to salvation,” Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy told graduates at Brigham Young University-Idaho Commencement Exercises held on July 23. Held in the BYU-I Center on the university’s Rexburg, Idaho, campus, the event recognized 1,891 graduates. Of those graduates, 1,395 received bachelor’s degrees and 523 received associate degrees.

BYU student’s portrayal of Mormonism’s Heavenly Mother vanishes from photo exhibit (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 28, 2015)
The art show of a Brigham Young University student became more participatory than expected last week. Part of a photography exhibit by Katie Marie Liechty was stolen sometime between July 16, when the BYU senior put up the display, and July 20. The swiped piece focused on Heavenly Mother, part of a series of photos examining topics from "Mormon Doctrine," the 1958 encyclopedia of LDS teachings by the late Mormon apostle Bruce R. McConkie.

Divisive ‘Book of Mormon’ musical opens Tuesday in Utah (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 28, 2015)
No matter your opinion about that profane, sweet little "Book of Mormon" musical — perhaps you've heard of it — there's a special thrill to a story about Mormon missionaries unfolding in front of a Broadway set depicting the Salt Lake LDS Temple spires that exist just two blocks away from downtown's Capitol Theatre. "Clearly it's a little bit fraught and exciting to bring the show to Salt Lake City," says Megan Sanborn Jones, an associate professor of theater at Brigham Young University. After all, Salt Lake City, or in the musical's parlance, "Sal Tlay Ka Siti," isn't often referenced in the contemporary musical-theater canon.

July 27, 2015

Floats “Forging New Frontiers” at Days of ’47 Parade (Church News) (July 27, 2015)
From dragons to spaceships, covered wagons to historical military vehicles, the Days of ’47 parade held on July 24 in downtown Salt Lake City had something to entertain everyone.

Pioneering: A Work that Fires the Soul, Says Sunrise Service Speaker (Church News) (July 27, 2015)
Pioneer Day began early on July 24 for hundreds of people who marked the holiday attending the annual Days of '47 Sunrise Service at the Salt Lake Tabernacle. Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Seventy offered the message at the popular event and challenged Latter-day Saints to learn, emulate, and celebrate the principles that guided the Mormon Pioneers.

5 Things We Learn from Database of Mormon Pioneers (Church News) (July 27, 2015)
The first Mormon settlers of Salt Lake City came to the area in 1847, and over the next 20 years they were followed by an estimated 70,000 emigrants. Now, nearly two centuries later, a new database provides fresh new insights about these overland pioneers.

Pioneer Day Is A Mormon Celebration Of History And Faith. Here's Why. (Huffington Post) (July 27, 2015)
Pioneer Day is one of the most important dates on the calendar for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as Mormons. It is an official state holiday in Utah, where the church is based, although it is often marked by Mormon communities outside of the state. Pioneer Day is celebrated yearly on July 24.

Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson: Lighting the fire to learn (LDS Church News) (July 27, 2015)
As a mother and grandmother my greatest desire is that my children and grandchildren will seek to understand the principles of the gospel and enjoy the full blessings of membership in the Church. In short, I hope they will be truly converted. No matter how much I desire this for those I love, I can’t achieve it for them. Each and every individual is responsible for his own learning and conversion. No one can gain a testimony for someone else.

The Straight Edge Mormon DJ Taking Over the World (The Daily Beast) (July 27, 2015)
“I don’t know what day it is, truth be told!” says Kaskade, surging with adrenaline. It’s 4:30 on the morning of July 5, and the acclaimed DJ has just rampaged through a three-plus-hour set at the Encore Resort’s XS Nightclub—a 40,000-square-foot Dionysian dancehall in Las Vegas that’s half-nightclub and half-nighttime pool party, lit up by a plethora of pyrotechnics.

Boy Scouts expected to end ban on gay leaders (New York Times reprint) (July 27, 2015)
The Boy Scouts of America is expected Monday to end its blanket ban on gay leaders, but to gain the acquiescence of conservative religious groups, like the Mormon and Catholic churches, the policy will allow church-run units to pick leaders who agree with their moral precepts.

Arizona Senator May be Only Hope for Bipartisan Support of Iran Deal (Wall Street Journal) (July 27, 2015)
As one Republican senator after another told Obama administration officials at a hearing last week that they had been “fleeced” and “bamboozled” by Iranian diplomats negotiating a nuclear deal, one GOP lawmaker stuck to technical questions and a non-confrontational tone. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona represents President Barack Obama’s best shot at getting at least one Senate Republican vote for his Iran nuclear accord—and one is all the administration needs to trumpet bipartisan support for the agreement.

Clergy learn value of utilizing Internet (Columbus Dispatch - Ohio) (July 27, 2015)
Smith, who is in her 60s, represents a challenge faced by many in mainstream Christian churches. While the rest of the world has long been knee-deep in the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram culture, some denominations are still reticent about diving in, said Tom Ehrich of New York-based Morning Walk Media and the Church Wellness Project. As a church consultant, he’s concerned that the only Christian denominations experiencing growth are the Latter-day Saints and the Assembly of God. The rest, he said, are in severe decline, and pastors won’t turn that around simply by doing a better job on Sunday mornings.

Kirby: The LDS Church could diversify its leadership by calling me (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 27, 2015)
Still no call — phone or otherwise — regarding me being considered for a place in the LDS Quorum of the Twelve. I'm not surprised. Such a calling requires dignity and maturity, of which I have none. But it's not over yet. With two current vacancies in the Quorum — and the possibility of a third before General Conference in October — there's still a chance that my phone will ring. Especially if the church is looking to diversify.

Kate Kelly joins Latter-day Saints gathered outside Mormon headquarters for mass-resignation event (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 27, 2015)
When Logan resident Stephanie Engle was a teenager, she struggled with what she termed as the racism and sexism within the LDS Church. Engle said she researched Mormon history after moving away from home for college, learning about polygamy and other "really questionable practices" of church founder Joseph Smith.

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