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March 6, 2015

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March 5, 2015

Utah Lawmakers Introduce Bill Balancing Religious Freedom and Nondiscrimination Protections (LDS Newsroom) (March 5, 2015)
Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Utah came together Wednesday to publicly support a bill that provides robust religious freedom protections while also extending protections for LGBT people in areas of housing and employment.

Mormon leaders, LGBT groups trumpet new anti-bias bill as a ‘model’ (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (March 5, 2015)
After weeks of behind-the scenes negotiations with legislators, the LDS Church and gay advocacy groups, lawmakers released a draft bill Wednesday seeking to bar housing and employment discrimination against the LGBT community but carving out narrow religious-liberty protections in the workplace.

Family Research Council Urges Mormon Church to Rethink Utah SOGI Measure (PR Newswire) (March 5, 2015)
Today, the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints held a joint press conference with Utah-based homosexual activists to advocate for Utah Senate Bill 296, a supposed "compromise" measure on sexual orientation and gender identity. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement...

LDS apostle Jeffrey R. Holland predicts 100,000 Mormon missionaries by 2019 (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (March 5, 2015)
The LDS Church expects to have more missionaries than ever in its global proselytizing force by 2019, according to a top Mormon leader. "We're projecting out probably within four years," apostle Jeffrey R. Holland told a radio interviewer, "the base-line number for the missionary force will be something around 100,000."

What Is the Next ‘Next Silicon Valley’? (New York Times) (March 5, 2015)
But let’s look at the place that scored fourth on P.P.I.'s list: Utah County, Utah, whose largest city is Provo. In February, The New Yorker proclaimed that Utah is “the next Silicon Valley.” That’s hyperbole, but Provo (population: 116,288) does punch far above its weight; of 73 private venture-funded companies in the world with valuations over $2 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal, Provo is home to two. A large, new National Security Agency facility in the area is adding to the concentration of tech jobs and workers. Continue reading the main story Provo provides an example of one of two models for competing with Silicon Valley. “There’s a group of people who really want to live there and there’s a really good research university,” says the urban theorist Richard Florida. He’s referring to Brigham Young University and the opportunity to live among a large Mormon community.

Mormon church plays starring role in Ithaca high school basketball player’s life (Michigan Live) (March 5, 2015)
Kayla Belles likes Coldplay and Carrie Underwood and, at first glance, is a typical 15-year-old high school freshman. As long as typical means you’re a 6-foot-3 Mormon who wakes up at 4:30 a.m. every weekday to study the Gospel and doesn’t get home until after 6 p.m. after studying Ithaca girls basketball coach Bob Anderson’s gospel.

Defending the Faith: Exploring complexities in the English language of the Book of Mormon (Deseret News - Utah) (March 5, 2015)
Recently, “Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture” published an article bearing the somewhat dry and intimidating title “The Implications of Past-Tense Syntax in the Book of Mormon." However, the implications of the evidence and analysis provided by linguist Stanford Carmack are anything but dry. They’re profoundly thought-provoking and, indeed, spectacular.

Woman discusses pornography addiction in new Mormon Channel video (Deseret News - Utah) (March 5, 2015)
The Mormon Channel released a new installment in the "His Grace" video series Wednesday. The video — titled "Pornography Addiction: Is There Hope?" — features a woman named Elizabeth, who encountered pornography when she was 11 years old. When she realized that pornography had become more important to her than her family, she was determined to overcome her addiction.

Story of LDS man who forgave drunk driver for deaths of family members makes its way to the big screen (Deseret News - Utah) (March 5, 2015)
The story of Chris Williams' decision to forgive the drunk driver who hit and killed his wife and two children in 2007 is now a major motion picture that will be released in theaters Oct. 9, 2015. A first look at the movie, “Just Let Go,” was released Tuesday. The film will star Henry Ian Cusick, who is known for playing Desmond Hume on ABC’s "Lost."

BYU Museum Exhibit: Caring for the Earth Is Everyone’s Responsibility (Church News) (March 5, 2015)
A visit to Brigham Young University’s Monte L. Bean Museum is akin to a child entering a huge candy store—there’s so much to see and so much to try. The daunting question: Where to begin? Start by visiting the Our Sacred Stewardship exhibition. It’s found just a few steps from the main entrance, and for good reason. Our Sacred Stewardship is the anchoring feature in a museum committed to the belief that people of faith and people of science can be one and the same.

March 4, 2015

Villarica volcano erupts in Chile, thousands flee; LDS missionaries safe, spokesman says (Deseret News - Utah) (March 4, 2015)
One of South America's most active volcanoes erupted early Tuesday in southern Chile, spewing heavy smoke into the air as lava surged down its slopes, prompting authorities to evacuate thousands of people.

Elder Holland discusses religious freedom, faith with radio host Hugh Hewitt (Deseret News - Utah) (March 4, 2015)
In a follow-up to his Feb. 26 speech at Chapman University, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sat down with popular radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt to discuss not only religious freedom but a variety of other topics.

Women Church Leaders Visit Faith-Based Relief Agency in Texas (LDS Newsroom Blog) (March 4, 2015)
Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, general president of the Primary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Sister Linda S. Reeves, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, were in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday, February 27, 2015, to visit a food pantry and medical clinic of Grapevine Relief and Community Exchange (GRACE), a faith-based, nonprofit relief agency. GRACE provides food, clothing and other emergency assistance to people in need in northeast Tarrant County.

With average age of 80, Mormon church has never had older top leaders (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (March 4, 2015)
The LDS Church has never had an older First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The average age of the 15 men — who together comprise the faith's top leaders — turned 80 for the first time in the history of the 185-year-old Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. LDS researcher Christian Anderson in Carlsbad, Calif., did the math, drawing on data provided by lds.org.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir reaches the big leagues: Yankee Stadium (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (March 4, 2015)
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir will perform on Independence Day weekend in a hallowed but different kind of cathedral: Yankee Stadium. The New York Yankees announced Monday that the choir will offer a patriotic medley July 3 before singing the national anthem prior to the American League team's night game against the Tampa Bay Rays, according to a release on the LDS Church's newsroom website.

How Can I Teach My Kids to Avoid Pornography? See 5 New FHE Lessons (Church News) (March 4, 2015)
For many parents in the Church, talking to their children about pornography seems like a daunting and difficult task. New resources produced by the Church are meant to help parents—and leaders—talk to young people about sacred and sometimes sensitive topics.

BYU Cougars challenge negative perception of athletes through service (LDS Church News) (March 4, 2015)
The perception of college athletes has taken a hit in recent years. Entitled. Spoiled. Self-centered. Right or wrong, those are just a few of the labels that are sometimes connected to students who suit up for intercollegiate sports in the United States. Student-athletes at the Church-owned Brigham Young University are challenging those negative notions.

LDS missionaries reunite man with his lost mission journals (Deseret News - Utah) (March 4, 2015)
Some might call it luck or coincidence that Elder Dan and Sister Colleen McArthur showed up early for a district meeting on a Thursday morning. But the fact that they were there when a man showed up with a box of priceless missing memories was nothing short of divine in the eyes of my family.

Running for a Reason: Rex Lee Run Celebrates 20 Years (BYU news release) (March 4, 2015)
When a friend or family member has cancer, it’s often hard to know exactly the right thing to say or do in support. But for the last 20 years, the Rex Lee Run at BYU has been giving those affected by cancer a way to contribute to research and to give encouragement.

LDS Teens Learn And Serve At Youth Conference (MV Progress - Nevada) (March 4, 2015)
The LDS Logandale Stake held its annual Youth Conference last weekend which involved more than 200 local teens in a variety of faith- and character-building experiences. The conference incorporated various activities and projects for Moapa Valley youth and offered instruction to both youth and their parents.

Anti-discrimination, religious rights bill now expected Wednesday (Deseret News - Utah) (March 4, 2015)
State lawmakers, LGBT advocates and faith leaders intend to stand together at the Capitol on Wednesday to unveil legislation attempting to balance religious rights and nondiscrimination. Those involved in crafting the bill call it a historic moment.

Mentor to Brandon Mull, James Dashner chose morality, LDS Church over mafia (Deseret News - Utah) (March 4, 2015)
David Farland didn’t have the best childhood. When he was 11 years old, his grandfather, who was in the mafia and believed young Dave wanted to follow in his footsteps, tried to explain the best ways to commit crime.

Dog reacts to LDS missionary returning home after 2 years (Deseret News - Utah) (March 4, 2015)
When young men and women serve missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they leave behind many loved ones. While the 18 months or two years of service may fly by for some, several homecoming videos also prove that missionaries may not realize how much they miss their family until they see them.

March 3, 2015

LDS Family Services providing free online profiles for parents wanting to adopt (Deseret News - Utah) (March 3, 2015)
For the next 12 months, LDS Family Services will pay the monthly fee for qualifying hopeful adoptive parents to post profiles on Adoption.com, which birth parents use to select families to adopt a child.

LDS Church to provide financial aid to Mormon couples looking to adopt (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (March 3, 2015)
Less than a year after LDS Family Services discontinued its adoption services, it is joining up with Adoption.com to give some LDS families profiles on the popular online adoption network. Adoption.com/lds was launched Monday to link prospective LDS parents to birth parents. All families identifying as LDS will appear on the site. However, LDS Family Services will pay the $99 start-up fee and $199 monthly fee for couples who meet certain requirements. Eligible couples must have had their marriages sealed in an LDS temple and possess current temple recommends, a bishop's endorsement and a current adoption home study.

Review: Mormon Tabernacle Choir wraps up American Choral Directors Association national conference (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (March 3, 2015)
Salt Lake City was choral central this week as thousands of singers, conductors and composers converged downtown for the American Choral Directors Association national conference. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir wrapped up the week with a crowd-pleasing concert in the Conference Center. Santino Fontana made his third visit to the Conference Center in seven months, once again charming the multitude with his assured delivery of show tunes, spirituals and a medley of songs about happiness. Soprano Sylvia McNair proved equally charming and delivered the evening's best line: "Friends do not let friends clap on beats 1 and 3."

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Inducted Into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame (LDS Newsroom) (March 3, 2015)
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has been inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. The announcement was made on Thursday, February 26, 2015, prior to the choir’s concert for the American Choral Directors Association national conference in Salt Lake City.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir to perform at Yankee Stadium (YES Network) (March 3, 2015)
The New York Yankees announced today that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has added a pregame set at Yankee Stadium to their previously announced Atlantic Coast Tour schedule this summer. On Friday, July 3, the 360-person Mormon Tabernacle Choir will perform a brief medley of patriotic songs from the field at Yankee Stadium before singing the national anthem prior to the start of the Yankees' 7:05 p.m. game vs. Tampa Bay.

Church Dedicates Pasta and Mill Plant in Northern Utah (LDS Newsroom) (March 3, 2015)
The new Deseret Mill and Pasta plant, 20 miles north of Salt Lake City, Utah, was dedicated Thursday, February 26, 2015. It is a food production facility to provide some of the basic staples of life to those in need. Another important benefit, said Bishop Gérald Caussé, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the opportunity for members of the Church and others to provide service.

LDS Charities Hosts Conference to Discuss Help for Refugees (Church News) (March 3, 2015)
A sizable majority of the workforce at the Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Center in Salt Lake City is refugees. Most are women and very few are Church members. But almost all are making giant strides in their daily trek to self-reliance and assimilation into their new culture. That’s great news for many refugee families who have known only fear and hopelessness.

7 things to see at the LDS Film Festival (Daily Herald - Utah) (March 3, 2015)
The LDS Film Festival kicks off Wednesday at the SCERA Center for the Arts. Now in its 14th year, the festival has steadily grown to include more than 20 feature films and documentaries this year. Here are seven films and events worth checking out.

Mormon woman who uttered historic prayer gets new assignment (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (March 3, 2015)
There's a change coming to the LDS Primary's general presidency, which directs programs for Mormon children up to age 12. On Saturday, the faith's Church News announced that first counselor Jean A. Stevens — who, in April 2013, became the first woman to offer a public prayer at an LDS General Conference — will be accompanying her husband, Mark Stevens, as he presides over the London LDS mission, starting in July.

‘I think we’re going to make history together’: LGBT groups, LDS Church close to final religious liberty/nondiscrimination bill (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (March 3, 2015)
The long-awaited marriage of religious liberties and prohibitions against housing and employment discrimination may come as early as Tuesday — with gay-rights advocates heralding the arrangement and conservative organizations uneasy with the outcome.

Ordain Women’s Kate Kelly loses last appeal; husband to resign from Mormon church (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (March 3, 2015)
Ordain Women co-founder Kate Kelly has lost her final appeal to regain membership in the Utah-based LDS Church. The activist, who is pushing for female ordination to the all-male Mormon priesthood, received word Saturday from her former lay leader in Virginia that the faith's governing First Presidency had rejected the appeal of her June 2014 excommunication from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Raised Mormon, actor Claybourne Elder is uniquely qualified for ‘Angels in America’ (Kansas City Star - Missouri) (March 3, 2015)
Claybourne Elder considers himself an ex-Mormon. But when you talk to the Utah-raised actor, you get the idea that there’s more involved than simply embracing or rejecting a belief system. He might be “ex,” but he descends from generations of Americans who created their own brand of Christianity based on revelations delivered on golden plates by an angel to a living prophet in upstate New York.

February 27, 2015

Faith, Family and Religious Freedom Subject of Apostle's Speech at California University (LDS Newsroom) (February 27, 2015)
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discussed the issues of faith, family and religious freedom on the campus of Chapman University on Thursday, February 26, 2015.

Elder and Sister Bednar share marriage advice in Australia (Deseret News - Utah) (February 27, 2015)
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Susan, spoke at a meeting focused on the topic of marriage in Sydney on Saturday.

Helping parents teach their children about pornography (LDS Church News) (February 27, 2015)
For many parents in the Church, talking to their children about pornography seems like a daunting and difficult task. New resources produced by the Church are meant to help parents — and leaders — talk to young people about sacred and sometimes sensitive topics.

A new report says that BYU has a better value MBA than Harvard (Business Insider) (February 27, 2015)
A master's in business administration can be an expensive degree, but if you're smart about where you go, it can also be a valuable career investment. Harvard is often touted for having the best value MBA program in the country as it has a high employment rate after graduation and high starting salaries, but according to a new graduate school credit ratings report by financial firm M7 Financial, it's Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Management that comes out on top.

Philanthropist forges ties with school through YSA bishop, missionary experiences (Deseret News - Utah) (February 27, 2015)
If anyone knows what it's like to be a struggling college student, it’s Leo Beus, who has come a long way from his days of looking for rides from Salt Lake City to Provo.

Latter-day Saints most likely to believe in afterlife, survey shows (KSL - Utah) (February 27, 2015)
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are most likely among religious Americans to believe in life after death, a new survey shows. The Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture asked Americans if they thought there was life or “some sort of conscious existence” after death and 72 percent of Americans and 98 percent of Latter-day Saints answered “yes.” The survey results were published in Relationships in America.

LDS university president receives national attention for shoveling student's driveway (Deseret News - Utah) (February 27, 2015)
Dr. Michael T. Benson — a BYU graduate, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the president of Eastern Kentucky University — recently made headlines for shoveling the driveway of one of his students after the two made a deal over social media.

BYU basketball: Haws breaks scoring record, Cougars rally for win over Portland (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (February 27, 2015)
On a night when Tyler Haws became the career scoring leader at BYU, it was mostly another Cougar who kept the team's dim NCAA Tournament hopes alive. Haws scored 21 points, passing Jimmer Fredette's 2,599 points with a layup in the first half, and Skyler Halford scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half as the Cougars overcame an 8-point halftime deficit and rolled past Portland 82-69 at the Chiles Center.

Boston Celtics general manager explains role of Mormon bishop Read more: Iron County Today - Boston Celtics general manager explains role of Mormon bishop (Iron County Today) (February 27, 2015)
Few responsibilities in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are more demanding than that of bishop, the person who leads one of the faith’s 29,000 congregations. So imagine holding that position while also being general manager of the National Basketball Association’s Boston Celtics. Read more: Iron County Today - Boston Celtics general manager explains role of Mormon bishop

Utah basketball: Brandon Miller returns from mission a changed man on a changed team (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (February 27, 2015)
While the Runnin' Utes were going from 15-18 to No. 13 in the nation, 2013 signee Brandon Miller went from Utah to Idaho to Buenos Aires, back to Utah, to the Bronx and Manhattan, and back home. Miller sat in the Huntsman Center on Thursday night, watching what he'd expected to see when he began racking up frequent flier miles two years ago.

Mormon church rising in Flushing (Queens Chronicle - New York) (February 27, 2015)
A controversial church building is expected to be completed next year in a mostly residential Flushing neighborhood. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon church, went through a long and bitter zoning battle with elected officials and area residents in 2012 to get variances for the project at 145-15 33 Ave.

How much influence can a church have over its members’ political beliefs? A Mormon case study. (Washington Post) (February 27, 2015)
Religious beliefs can be a powerful influence on political beliefs, but there's a limit to how much bishops and pastors can sway their congregations, according to new poll data from Utah shows. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced its support last month for LGBT housing and employment nondiscrimination laws as long as religious freedoms are protected. The sponsor of Utah's law, Sen. Stephen Urquhart (R), himself a Mormon, told me at the time the announcement was a "tectonic shift" that would help the bill's passage.

Mormons Building Bridges brings to Capitol flowers, message: Pass LGBT protections (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (February 27, 2015)
Dozens of women with Mormons Building Bridges showed up at the Utah Capitol in a snowstorm Thursday, bringing bouquets of flowers to thank legislators and urging them to adopt a nondiscrimination bill that would protect the state's LGBT community. They wanted to recognize the lawmakers' "hard work and show our support for the bill, SB100," Bridges co-founder Erika Munson said in an interview.

Southern Baptists plant gospel in Mormon heartland (BRnow) Editor's Note: an interesting view of how a Southern Baptist perceives the LDS faith (February 27, 2015)
You’ve looked out the front window of your home and seen them coming. Two young males wearing white shirts and black ties are riding bikes in the neighborhood. When they knock on your door, what do you do? North American Mission Board (NAMB) missionary Travis Kerns would encourage you to love them. That’s what he has learned to do. His love for Mormons grew to the point that he now lives 35 miles from downtown Salt Lake City, Utah and serves as city missionary for NAMB’s Send North America: Salt Lake City.

February 26, 2015

Groundbreaking Planned for First Wyoming Temple (LDS Newsroom) (February 26, 2015)
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced the groundbreaking for the Star Valley Wyoming Temple will be held on Saturday, April 25, 2015.

Sister Carole M. Stephens asks 'Are You Sure?' at BYU-Idaho devotional (LDS Church News) (February 26, 2015)
Despite living in what the apostle Paul called “perilous times,” people can come to a knowledge of the truth, said Sister Carole M. Stephens, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency during the weekly BYU-Idaho devotional on Feb. 24 in the BYU-Idaho Center.

Family History Blesses the Living as Well as the Dead (Church News) (February 26, 2015)
“Family history should be a source of joy and peace in our lives,” Elder Allan F. Packer of the Seventy said during a session of RootsTech’s Family Discovery Day held in the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City on February 14.

Pres. Uchtdorf extends birthday greeting to centenarian (LDS Church News) (February 26, 2015)
A birthday celebration for Erma Rosenhan, a sister who has done the family history work for over 400,000 of her German ancestors, was held at the Family History Library on Feb. 25. Sister Rosenhan, who turns 100 on Feb. 28, still works at the library three days a week researching family names.

From Catholics to Muslims to Mormons — a look at the meaning of martyrdom (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (February 26, 2015)
"Martyr" is an old word getting new attention. Earlier this month, Pope Francis named Oscar Romero, a Catholic archbishop murdered in 1980, an official Catholic martyr, and the 50th anniversary of the Selma civil rights march reminds us of the martyrdom of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other activists.

There’s Now a Sanitized Version of Uptown Funk by Mormon Singer Alex Boyé (TIME) (February 26, 2015)
Mormon-owned newspaper Deseret News reports that vocalist Alex Boyé, 44, has released a sanitized version of the massive Mark Ronson hit, Uptown Funk.

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