1.) An interesting development covered by the Washington Post late yesterday – Michelle Boorstein reports on the group “Strangers in Zion“, a group who describes themselves as “Prominent advocates for more diversity and inclusion within the LDS Church are currently facing Church discipline for apostasy. Join us in standing with these brave activists, by requesting a disciplinary council from your local Church leaders.” Boorstein quotes site founders Brian Johnston, Jake Abhau, and Micah Nickolaisen on their various feelings concerning the Kelly excommunication and Dehlin disciplinary council, as well as their journeys away from the faith. According to Boorstein, “Strangers in Zion founders say at least 60 U.S. Mormons say they have reached out to their local leaders and six have had or will soon have meetings. At least two ended with leaders saying they didn’t object to dissent but tried to draw certain lines.”
2.) Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes announced on Wednesday that they will directly appeal to the US Supreme Court over last month’s ruling by a federal appeals court that backed gay marriage in the state. The Supreme Court is in recess and will not consider petitions filed this summer until the fall. If the justices take up Utah’s case, it would likely be heard in early 2015 with a decision by the end of next June, according to Reuters.
3.) Have you ever wanted a behind-the-scenes look at the Hill Cumorah Pageant? The Weber Post of Canandaigua (NY) looks into the history, the background, and the details of how the 70-minute long Palmyra Pageant.
- Lee Davidson, writer for the Salt Lake Tribune, posts for Religion News Service about the Book of Abraham essay released by the church earlier this week, noting in his headline “Mormon Church essay says one of its scriptures may not be a literal translation.” Davidson talked with accomplished University of Utah religious-studies instructor David Bokovoy, who stated, ““This (essay) now allows Latter-day Saints to adopt the view that the Book of Abraham was not on the papyri that Joseph Smith possessed as an acceptable orthodox option.”
- Speaking of David Bokovoy, he will be interviewed by Doug Fabrizio on RadioWest today. You can find the main site here, or you can catch the live-stream (which will be broadcasting at 11am mountain and 7pm mountain) here. Personally, I find Bokovoy’s outlook and his method of explaining the complex Old Testament to be riveting, and Fabrizio is the best interviewer in Mormonism right now, so I’d highly recommend checking this one out. If you can’t listen, RadioWest usually posts the podcast download link 24 hours after the interview.
- Christian Century, in their “Then and Now” column (which “harnesses the expertise of American religious historians who care about the cities of God and the cities of humans”) looks at the current situation of Kate Kelly, Ordain Women, and the LDS Church. Columnist Jenette Wood Crowley notes in her concluding paragraph “Kelly joins the ranks of other Mormon feminists who have lost their church membership for publicly calling for female ordination, but this time the outcome may be different. Kelly’s excommunication may not trigger a period of silence as church sanctions have in the past. The online communities may maintain momentum, as the church cannot discipline the thousands of Mormon men and women who have publicly supported Kelly and the Ordain Women movement.”
- Roanoke.com profiles two LDS missionaries in the city. For those members who read the report, there won’t be anything new here, but it’s always interesting to me how outsiders to the faith view our missionaries and how they describe their experiences.
- The Dowlais Male Choir performed their 49th annual concert on Saturday at the LDS auditorium in Wales (UK). WalesOnline notes that “Among those to take a seat in the audience was deputy mayor David Isaacs, a former Dowlais chorister, and recently-inducted president of the choir Professor Sir Mansel Aylward.”
- Mesquite Local News (NV) reports that “A special dinner and program were held May 7, 2014 to honor young women who have earned their Young Women Recognition Award.” According to the report, 22 young women from across the valley were recognized for their accomplishments and awarded the highest achievement given to young women in the LDS Church.
- The Statesman of Austin (TX) profiles David Calabuig Jr., Sean Beckstead and Dillon Franklin, who each earned their Eagle Scout award in recent months.
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