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November 26, 2014

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November 25, 2014

Receive all things with thanks — it is the season for our hearts to rejoice (Deseret News - Utah) (November 25, 2014)
When we feel our vulnerability as mortal beings and become aware of the hand of the Lord in our lives, we find ourselves experiencing the overwhelming sensation of gratitude.

Technology behind transforming a tabernacle to a temple (Universe - Utah) (November 25, 2014)
A temple is not a typical construction job, particularly when the project is a restoration of a beloved community building. Such is the case with the transformation of the Provo Tabernacle from a burned-out building to a temple.

Mia Love: Searching for stardom; a Mormon conversion (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (November 25, 2014)
This is the third in a series of occasional excerpts from "Mia Love: The Rise, Stumble and Resurgence of the Next GOP Star" by Tribune reporters Matt Canham, Robert Gehrke and Thomas Burr. When Norwalk High choir teacher Marsha Hall heard Mia Love’s velvety soprano, she encouraged her to audition. In her sophomore year, Mia landed two roles in the Connecticut school’s musical production of "Barnum."

Students honor Kaysville girl killed in accidental shooting (KSL - Utah) (November 25, 2014)
Grief counselors were standing by and students wore their Sunday best as a community continued to mourn the loss of a 12-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed by her younger brother over the weekend. Neighbors and school officials at Centennial Junior High, where the girl attended, confirmed that the girl was Adelaide Clinger, described as a star student at the school.

Local Religious Leaders Meet in Nevada to Offer Prayers for Ebola (Church News) (November 25, 2014)
Various religious leaders gathered at the Nevada Governor's Mansion November 13 to pray for God’s mercy in regards to Ebola and its victims. Elder George Marion Keele, an Area Seventy, spoke and prayed at the event organized by Rajan Zed, Hindu statesman and president of Universal Society of Hinduism.

Many Mormons Are Unaware of the Messy Details of LDS Church History (Huffington Post) (November 25, 2014)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been in the headlines recently after a series of essays were posted on the church's "Gospel Topics" website that detailed much about the its history with polygamy (see here, here, and here). Most notably, these essays included admissions that the Church's founder Joseph Smith had up to 40 wives (at least one as young as 14) and that among these were women who were already married to other men.

Joseph Smith and the Theology of Polygamy (Interfaith Voices) (November 25, 2014)
The Mormon revelation about plural marriage begins with an angel, as so many spiritual epiphanies do. As the telling goes, between 1834 and 1842, a heavenly being visited founder Joseph Smith three times to demand that he practice polygamy. Reluctantly, he agreed, and by the end of his life he would have as many as 40 wives. The church banned the practice in 1890, but this October, his many partners were officially acknowledged by the church for the first time.

November 24, 2014

Phoenix Arizona Temple Dedication Prayer (Church News) (November 24, 2014)
Following is the text of the prayer President Thomas S. Monson offered in dedicating the Phoenix Arizona Temple on Sunday, November 16, 2014.

Spiritual Waters of Phoenix Arizona Temple to Nourish Members (Church News) (November 24, 2014)
In the year 1 A.D. the Hohokam Indians dug 135 miles of irrigation canals in the Arizona desert. The water, from the Salt and Gila Rivers, brought life and nourishment to a parched land. The civilization thrived and by 1300 A.D., the Hohokams marked the largest population north of Mexico City.

LDS leader shares Thanksgiving traditions, advice for teens (KSL - Utah) (November 24, 2014)
Thanksgiving is a holiday that unites all Americans, whether they're expressing gratitude with family and friends or sharing their bounty. For Sister Neill Marriott, second counselor in the Young Women General Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it's one of her favorites. "I love it because I have this vision of hundreds of thousands of families, maybe millions, all over the nation doing the same thing at the same time," Sister Marriott said. "(It's) one day where we come together and recognize there's an abundance in our life and be grateful to God, whatever faith (we) are."

Faith Online: In Your Own Words | 21 November 2014 (LDS Newsroom) (November 24, 2014)
The historic Vatican summit that brought together a diverse group of global faith leaders concluded Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. Some 30 faith leaders from around the world participated, including President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here's a look at what some leaders and journalists shared on social media.

Mormons find a home in South Jersey (Courier-Post - New Jersey) (November 24, 2014)
A piece of Camden’s criminal past is making way for a more righteous future. The former home of Milton Milan, a mayor who went from City Hall to federal prison in December 2000, will be razed to provide parking for a planned Mormon church in East Camden. The meeting house is set to rise on an adjacent lot off Federal Street, between 33rd and 34th streets.

LDS Donates Wheelchairs, Hearing Aids to the Disabled in Jiangsu (Women of China) (November 24, 2014)
The Jiangsu Women's Federation and Huai'an Women's Federation hosted a donation ceremony for wheelchairs and hearing aids by All-China Women's Federation (ACWF) - American LDS Charity Association in the Dongfeng community of Huai'an City in east China's Jiangsu Province on November 19, 2014. The 250 donated wheelchairs and a similar number of hearing aids worth 1 million yuan (U.S. $0.17 million) will be presented to 500 disabled families in nine Huai'an City counties by the end of November.

Gallatin Latter-day Saints honor local vets with quilts (Tennessean) (November 24, 2014)
The Gallatin Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Nov. 11 hosted an event to recognize the men and women of their congregation who had served in the armed forces. Twenty-four members of the congregation from all branches of service were honored with a program, music and slide show of military photographs. Each veteran was given a "Quilt of Valor," handmade by the women's auxiliary of the church.

Producing musical gives satisfaction (Davis Clipper - Utah) (November 24, 2014)
Producing a show for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is much different than producing a show in the secular world, the producer of “Savior of the World,” said. Jay Clark, a Layton resident, said producing the musical that tells the story of Jesus Christ’s birth and resurrection gives him a satisfaction that working in the secular world doesn’t

Eagles soaring out of Heights scout troop (Billings Gazette - Montana) (November 24, 2014)
Boy Scout Troop 18, sponsored by the Lake Hills Ward of the LDS church in Billings Heights, has way more Eagle Scouts than scouts of any other rank. Their stories are as varied as the colorful merit badge sashes each scout sported during a recent troop meeting....

November 22, 2014

120 years of pioneering genealogy (LDS Church News) (November 22, 2014)
FamilySearch International, the Church’s worldwide Internet genealogy service and the largest such service in the world, is observing a milestone this month: 120 years since the formation of its forerunner the Genealogical Society of Utah.

Elder Robert B. Harbertson, LDS general authority and USU basketball star, dies at 82 (Deseret News - Utah) (November 22, 2014)
Elder Robert B. Harbertson, a former LDS leader known for his story about a snake tricking a young boy and for making a tournament-winning buzzer beater for Utah State at Madison Square Garden in 1952, died Tuesday after a battle with cancer. He was at 82. Elder Harbertson was part of a historic group called to a five-year term in the First Quorum of the Seventy in April 1984. Previously, all members of the Seventy served lifetime terms. During his tenure, the church created a Second Quorum of the Seventy, to which he was transferred and from which he was released in October 1989.

Monday set aside for the Bible (Daily Herald - Utah) (November 22, 2014)
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are being asked to start the week of Thanksgiving by sharing their testimony and love of Bible scriptures at noon Monday as part of International Day of the Bible. "At noon on Monday, members are encouraged to share their belief in the Bible on social media," said a church news release issued Thursday. "This could be a favorite verse, a video, or some other creative way of sharing while using the hashtag #BibleCelebration.

'Candy Bomber' highlights local German Remembrance Day (LDS Church News) (November 22, 2014)
German communities worldwide gathered Nov. 16 to observe Volkstrauertag — the German veterans day. Counted among the many formal commemorations was Utah’s own German National Day of Remembrance Day — an event held each year at Fort Douglas Cemetery. Utah’s Volkstrauertag has a specific purpose. Folks from the local German-American community and their friends pay tribute to the 41 German prisoners of war who are buried here. The annual program offers people of all backgrounds a moment to pray together for remembrance, peace and healing.

'Book of Mormon' overlooks power of faith (Tennessean) (November 22, 2014)
I have heard that the musical "The Book of Mormon," which has performances this week in Nashville, is witty and well-written. It follows the fictional adventures of two missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in Uganda. I have also heard that one of the themes of the musical is that people of faith are naive if they believe their faith can help make the world a better place. As a former full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I understand the value of faith in changing individual lives and communities. I lived and worked in the African countries of Zambia and Malawi for 18 months. During my service as a missionary, I saw hearts healed and burdens lifted by applying Christ's teachings from the pages of the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

BYU Management Society honors LDS slugger (Deseret News - Utah) (November 22, 2014)
For almost two decades, LDS baseball player Dale Murphy terrorized pitchers — belting almost 400 homers and driving in more than 1,200 runs. Twice while playing for the Atlanta Braves he was the National League’s Most Valuable Player. But Brother Murphy’s personal reputation stretched beyond his feared prowess at the plate. His superior character — inside and outside of the diamond — made him one of pro sports “Good Guys.”

Submit Artwork for “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus” Competition (Church News) (November 22, 2014)
Every three years, artists from around the world participate in a theme-based competition hosted by the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Many well-beloved pieces of LDS artwork have come from these competitions. Submissions for the 10th International Art Competition at the Church History Museum will be accepted February 27, 2015.

Capturing 'Mormon Faces': LDS mother, daughter share goodness on Instagram (Deseret News - Utah) (November 22, 2014)
A fascination with people and a desire to share goodness led Sandi and Claire Gentry — a mother and daughter from Ladera Ranch, California — to create an Instagram account they titled “Mormon Faces.” They believe “everybody has a story, no matter who you are,” and they are on a mission to share those stories. Sandi, a mother of six, felt an increased responsibility to share the gospel when her oldest son, Parker, left to serve a mission in Madrid for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She thought about all the members of the LDS Church she knows and had the idea to create an Instagram account featuring Latter-day Saints.

Wyoming couple celebrates 81st wedding anniversary (LDS Church News) (November 22, 2014)
On Nov. 25 in the small town of Byron, Wyoming, Edwin and Geraldine NeVille will celebrate their 81st wedding anniversary. Brother and Sister NeVille, members of the Byron Ward, Lovell Wyoming Stake, first met in high school and married when they were 18 and 16 years old, respectively.

Faith important for one LDS weightlifter (News-Press - Missouri) (November 22, 2014)
When Marissa Klingseis was on the platform at the Senior World Weightlifting Championships, she knew she wasn’t alone. For the 19-year-old weightlifter and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints, religion has always been an important part of her life and weightlifting routine.

Faith important for one LDS weightlifter (News-Press - Missouri) (November 22, 2014)
When Marissa Klingseis was on the platform at the Senior World Weightlifting Championships, she knew she wasn’t alone. For the 19-year-old weightlifter and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints, religion has always been an important part of her life and weightlifting routine.

The Return of Mormon Polygamy? (The American Conservative) (November 22, 2014)
Ross Douthat has a thought-provoking reflection on the future of religion, both globally and in America. He says that it’s dangerous to assume that the future will look like the present, only moreso. Which Catholics in 1940 would have foreseen something as epochal as the Second Vatican Council, coming just 20 years later? Who could have anticipated that China is on track to having the largest Christian population in the world, and that Africa would be sending missionaries to the West? But here we are. Douthat calls attention to Will Saletan’s Slate piece saying that the Mormon Church has a clear theological method to change doctrine, has done so (on polygamy and other issues), and will do it on homosexuality eventually. Saletan points out that the Mormons have a history of changing doctrine to make it easier for them to get along in American society.

Mormons grappling with their history (Baptist Press) (November 22, 2014)
Leaders within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are speaking more openly about Mormonism's controversial history and teachings. Even as Mitt Romney's presidential bid drew the national spotlight to Mormonism in 2012, leaders of the nearly 180-year-old religion expressed concern about its future.

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 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, 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.

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