Mormon News Report: 13 May 2016
1.) The Deseret News looks into the alleged Mormon connections with the Panama Papers. Spoiler alert – they didn’t find any.
2.) Sharon Haddock of the Deseret News reviews “The Abolitionists,” a documentary about Tim Ballard and his team attempting to stop sex trafficking of children. Ballard is a fellow Mormon. Haddock gave the film 2 stars, noting “It’s an illuminating film, and it’s good that someone is trying to do something about this heinous trade. But it’s all a little hard to absorb and pretty discouraging to see efforts fail after being so carefully set up. It also makes it somewhat difficult to watch. There’s an expectation (that probably comes from watching TV crime shows) that everything will wrap up more neatly and quickly.” I have been meaning to see it, and I wonder if the “disturbing nature” of the film contributed to Haddock’s rating (vs. the quality of the documentary). Tim Ballard also came out with one of my favorite blunt honest quotes back in 2014, in an interview with the BYU Daily Universe: “It’s funny, because we all read history and we think, ‘Oh, I would … have risen up, I would have fought, I would have been an abolitionist’…And I tell them, ‘No, you wouldn’t have. If you would have, you’d be doing that right now. You know trafficking exists, you’ve heard of it, but you don’t want to look.’”
3.) James Curran, also known as “James the Mormon” has quickly become a big deal among internet music stars. Fox 13 reports that Curran just hit #1 on the iTunes charts. ABC 4 Utah reports that Curran’s latest song, “Treasure,” is his response to Neon Trees’ lead singer Tyler Glenn’s song “Trash,” which seems to be a denouncement of the LDS Church. “[My song] is to anyone who has felt pain…” Curran said. “No matter who you are, we’re all going through something. We’re all hurting, but God sees us as treasure, so let’s stick together,” he said.
- One of the books that I finished over the last few weeks was a collection of essays called “A Reason For Faith,” published by BYU’s Religious Studies Center. I spoke with editor Laura Harris Hales about her project here.
- Letters to the Editor! “LDS church is not a homophobic institution,” from The Maui News.
- The Los Angeles Times covers the interesting story of a street “in the capital of Mormon country” being named for Harvey Milk, the San Francisco politician and gay activist gunned down in 1978.
- The Spirit is no match for THE LAW. The Spectrum of St. George updates us on the story of a man who was arrested Saturday after “the spirit” allegedly lead him to steal a gas card from a missionary. Richard Zeh, 35, is the man in custody. You can read more details here.
- Australia’s ABC News knows how to write a headline: “Sword-swallowing former Mormon tells of her road to sideshow stardom”
- From Boston’s “The Pilot”: “Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met May 4 to discuss matters of common concern and to strengthen relationships between the two churches. The archbishop, who heads the Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky, was in Salt Lake City at the invitation of the LDS church leaders.”
- Vocative looks at the blossoming “Queerstake” happening on Tumblr and other areas of the internet, mostly with LGBT Mormons trying to make it work at church. While I’m glad they have a place where they can still retain their identity as Mormons, even in a virtual space, this article reminds me that although I’m a the older end of the Millennial generation, there’s still a lot I’m trying to wrap my head around and understand. Like Tumblr.
- The American Thinker blog, a “daily internet publication devoted to the thoughtful exploration of issues of importance to Americans,” has a piece by Sierra Rayne looking at the 2016 presidential election and wondering where the Mormons will go. Citing an older poll from KSL/Deseret News on March 20, “in the Clinton-Trump head-to-head, Utah voters would choose Clinton by a narrow 38%-to-36% margin. If the Democratic candidate is Bernie Sanders, the poll suggests that Sanders will beat Trump 48% to 37%.” Rayne looks at the Mormon influence (or lack thereof), and postulates “If the Mormons walk on the GOP, it almost certainly won’t signify a general negative trend.”
- Christian Today’s Andre Mitchell looks at the sexual assault – Honor Code kerfuffle going on at BYU, and looks at the real humans who are affected by a policy like this. While I liked the personal impacts of this policy, Mitchell seems to use loaded language, which seems to diminish the impact an article like this might have on mainstream orthodox Mormons.
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