Mormon News Report: 26 April 2016
1.) The Deseret News has the story of Hayley Smith, a BYU graduate who is extensively volunteering with refugee camps and her on-the-ground experience working with refugees. Candicee Madsen of the DesNews writes “Smith, a BYU graduate, has volunteered in several refugee camps and is back in France and Greece figuring out what items are actually needed by the refugees and some of the items may not make sense initially. “They prefer black underwear. Why? Because they don’t like seeing stains in their white underwear,” said Smith who also explained that men are receiving far fewer donations than women and children. When people think refugee camp, they think babies and children and everybody wants to help children and so what’s happening is a lot of donations are for children.” It is also extremely hard to wash clothes in these camps. “I told someone about the underwear and they were like, ‘Uh, beggars can’t be choosers.’ But these are civilized people and it isn’t that much harder to give what they actually want and need.”” Smith is the founder behind Lifting Hands International (the same NGO that friend-of-the-report Mette Harrison is fundraising for!), and said “I was so excited. My heart was just singing” when she found out about the LDS Church’s “I Was A Stranger” initiative. I really love this story, and I wish there were more out there to show the good work we can do in the refugee area. I think it’s going to take more grssroots efforts, instead of Mormons waiting for the SLC Headquarters to tell them what to do.
2.) Friend-of-the-Report Jana Riess is back at Flunking Sainthood (via Religion News Service) with a guest post by Jennifer Mansfield to talk a favorite topic of Mormons everywhere – MORMON NAMES. Mansfield wrote her masters thesis on Mormon naming conventions (with a wonderful title: “It’s Wraylynn – With a W”: Distinctive Mormon Naming Practices), and hypothesizes that “Perhaps because naming is one of few areas in which the Church has not formally instructed its members, Mormons in heavily Mormon areas might use naming as a way to set them apart and express individuality to some degree. Ironically, the act of unique and creative naming does not set them apart, but instead is another characteristic shared with many of their Mormon neighbors.” She also found “distinctive naming patterns seem to be a less-common practice for Mormons outside of the Mormon Corridor. In these places, being a Mormon in and of itself makes a person different from his or her neighbors because Mormons are a visible sub-culture.” I know we all love a good crazy Mormon name, but Mannsfield has a great write-up as to why we might be that way. Oh, and because this is what I do for fun, I’ll be reading Mannsfield’s master’s thesis tonight for some light reading before bed.
3.) Required Listening: Today on KUER’s Radio West, Doug Fabrizio (the best podcaster in the business) will be joined by the amazing Andrea Radke-Moss (of my alma mater BYU-Idaho) and Cynthia Bailey Lee at Stanford University to discuss sexual assault and the BYU Honor Code. Catch the live-stream here at 11:00 AM Mountain / 1:00 PM eastern.
- Former missionary Joseph Dresden Empey (Dres) did an interview with Ladd Egan and Viviane Vo-Duc of the Deseret News yesterday talking about his experience during the Brussels bombing, and how he has looked for positives since the tragic day. Dres said “I felt lots of pressure, and my vision just went bright orange and then it went black…It knocked me out.” He said he was unconscious for the second blast. I was laying on my right side; it was my left side that was facing the blast. I opened my eyes and my ears were ringing super bad, and I slowly got up and I kind of was putting the pieces together in my mind as I got up. What were we doing? I realized we were at the airport. I kind of realized, like, there’s been lots of terrorist attacks in Europe recently. It looks like a bomb went off, so I kind of put the pieces together in my head pretty quick. I was kind of freaking out a little bit. I started looking for the other missionaries on the floor around me, because they were right next to me, and I couldn’t find (them) so I ended up just getting out of there,” he said. It’s a really amazing firsthand account of not only the bombing, but what Dres was feeling during and after the ordeal.
- Letters to the Editor!
- Gerald McDermott at First Things has a thought-provoking piece today titled “Are Mormons Actually Moving Closer to Orthodoxy?” McDermott cites an article by Richard Mouw, retired president at Fuller Seminary in May’s issue of First Things as evidence. Mouw’s evidence is the infamous Lorenzo Snow couplet about God and man: “As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become.” Mouw takes both stanzas of the couplet as his evidence. Regarding God once being a man, Mouw says LDS leaders “are simply saying nothing about it in the hope of keeping it on the margins of their historic teachings without issuing a straightforward rejection of something that loomed large in the LDS past.” it’s a very respectful and open look at LDS theology from a legitimate Christian theological perspective, and you all should know by now I’m a sucker for outsiders talking respectfully about their impressions of our beliefs.
- I’m very particular about what charitable organizations I promote within the News Report, but I’m very happy to put a word out for Friend-of-the-Report Mette Harrison and author Shannon Hale’s fundraising effort for Lifting Hands International, a charity that gets life-saving suplies directly to refugee camps. What options are there? How about a 3-hour non-fiction manuscript consult with Friend-of-the-Report Jana Riess? Or a tour of Temple Square with Mette Harrison (WITH COMMENTARY)? Do you like Mette’s articles on the Huffington Post and at Jana Riess’ Flunking Sainthood about Mormon things? How about a 1,000 word essay on a Mormon topic of your choice? This is all going to a good cause, and I’m proud to support Mette and Shannon in their efforts. If you would like more info, feel free to email me at MormonNewsReport@gmail.com.
- Good4Utah (their ABC affiliate) notes that the funeral for Elder David Smith Hampton, 18, who was struck and killed last week on his bike while serving a mission in Taiwan, will be this Thursday at the Coldwater Stake Center in North Ogden. The Hampton family has also set up a scholarship fund in David’s name, with donations accepted at Zion’s Bank or online here.
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