Mormon News Report: 11 May 2016

Mormon News Report: 11 May 2016

You might have noticed the Mormon News Report has been more sporadic in the last few days…weeks…months. Part of that is due to a massive project at work ramping up. Another (big) part of that happened last Monday night, when the News Report family welcomed Baby Dos into the fold (picture here, for those who enjoy those sorts of things). I should be getting back into the groove in the next little bit, but that’s where most of my time has been lately.


1.) Zelph on the Shelf ran a very tantalizing piece yesterday about some of the LDS Church’s for-profit holdings being found in the Panama Papers. This post has been taken down, but thanks to the internet never forgetting, Google Cache has a copy of it here Sam Brunson, tax and business law professor at Loyola University in Chicago responds to Zelph’s claims at By Common Consent here. Ah, but Zelph claims the LDS Church is whitewashing their history. Yeah. Ok.

2.) Last week, former Utah Sen. Bob Bennett passed away at the age of 82. Bennett was the grandson of LDS Church President Heber J. Grant, and great-grandson of Jedediah M. Grant, and served from 1993 – 2011, where he placed third behind two Tea-Party backed candidates. Thomas Burr of the Tribune notes the bipartisan send-off for Bennett, and writes that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid was in attendance. Burr writes “Reid, who is also a fellow Mormon, said at Tuesday’s service that he will always love his Senate friend. “I testify to all of you, Bob and I will meet again and continue our conversations,” Reid said. “So, Bob, Godspeed until we meet again.” Days before Bennett suffered a stroke last month, he gave a chat at an LDS Church, defending the faith’s Book of Mormon, a topic that Bennett wrote about in his 2009 book, “Leap of Faith: Confronting the Origins of the Book of Mormon.” It was a poignant and sharp presentation, recalled Ralph Hardy Jr., a former area authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

3.) I have a very long to-read list. I mean, sitting on my nightstand right now I have a lot of really great books I’m trying to get through: Adam Miller’s “Future Mormon” (discussing Mormon Theology from a philosophical perspective), Friend-of-the-Report John Turner’s wonderful “Mormon Jesus: A biography” (discussing the development of Christology in Mormonism), “Mormonism and American Politics” (edited by Friend-of-the-Report Jana Riess), and three books I’m really excited to start from University of Utah Press – Greg Prince’s “Leonard Arrington and the Writing of Mormon History,” Patrick Mason’s “Directions for Mormon Studies in the Twenty-First Century,” and Kate Holbrook / Matthew Bowman’s “Women and Mormonism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives.” And now…it looks like there’s another one to add to the list, as Fox 13 reports today the Church Historian’s Press released their latest in the Joseph Smith Papers collection – Documents, Volume 4: April 1834 – September 1835. This collection “includes minutes of meetings and correspondence relating to major events in the early history of the LDS Church,” including the construction of the Kirtland temple, the revelations in the first edition of the D&C, the calling of the first members of the Quorum of the Twelve, plus much more. You can buy it from Amazon here.


  • Oh boy. From “A St. George man was arrested Saturday after he allegedly stole a Mormon missionary’s gas card and used it to fill the tanks of six random vehicles. The man reportedly told police that after being kicked out of the St. George Temple Visitors’ Center, he had received a prompting from “the spirit” to clean up around the building.”
  • Tyler Glenn, lead singer for the group Neon Trees, released a video a fe weeks back titled “Trash.” This video was not kind to the LDS Church, which featured Glenn spitting on a satirical picture of Joseph Smith and making signs found in LDS Temples. Glenn’s mother, Deb Glenn, responded on Twitter with her thoughts concerning the video. Spoiler alert: she didn’t like it, but she feels its more complex than that. Gephardt Daily has her full comments here.
  • The Daily Herald of Provo announces a refugee information night on May 18 at the LDS Stake Center at 450 N. 1220 West. This event is to help residents find practical ways to make a real difference. There are approximately 70,000 refugees in Utah. Speaking of the refugee initiative by the LDS Church, friend-of-the-Report Jana Riess invited me to write a guest-post for  Flunking Sainthood with my thoughts and feelings about the refugee effort by the LDS Church. It’s a thing.
  • And then there’s this: Fred King, leader of the small “Church of Jesus Christ Restored,” pleaded guilty before Superior Court Justice Clayton Conlan Tuesday to nine assaults which took place between Dec. 12, 1988 and Aug. 10, 2008, mostly in Chatsworth Township or Grey County, and in one case in Peel Region, involving four church members. King’s father, Stan King, left the LDS Church over “doctrinal issues” to form the more conservative break-off sect, according to the Owen Sound Sun Time of Owen Sound, Ontario.
  • Will Hopoate, fullback for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in the National Rugby League is a fellow Mormon, and has made a lot of news recently for departing his early league career and serving an LDS mission. Once back, Hopoate requested to not compete on Sundays due to his religious beliefs. His coach granted this request. However, fellow Mormon Sam Perrett, teammate of Hopoate, recently made the same request. According to the Daily Mail (UK), this request was turned down. “Perrett revealed the request on Tuesday, five days before Hopoate misses his first Sunday match of the season against Wests Tigers. ‘I actually had a chat with Dessie about that and I would have liked to have done that for sure,’ Perrett said. ‘It really stirred something in me because we obviously believe the same things but it never occurred to me to ask. ‘But Dessie said this was something that was prearranged (in Hopoate’s contract) before he came so I appreciate that and understood that.” Perrett also joked “Des said we are down too many troops.”
  • Vice’s “Broadly” column looks at the big lawsuits brought against the FLDS sects in the border towns of Hildale (UT) and Colorado City (AZ), collectively known as “Short Creek.” Reporter Molly Oswaks discussed both the lawsuits but also the effect of polygamy on communities like the FLDS Community. I’m sure this is all old news for readers of the News Report, but I found this to be a very good viewpoint on the sliminess of what is occurring within FLDS communities. And because I’m in a recommending mood, if you want to know a bit more about how the FLDS Church got to this point, check out Craig Foster and Newell Bringhurst’s “Persistence of Polygamy Volume 3,” which focuses on present day polygamy and has some great essays on the FLDS perspective on plural marriage (The Principle) among the fundamentalists.

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