Mormon News Report: 6 April 2017
President Thomas S. Monson remains hospitalized (multiple)
President Monson remains hospitalized, despite rumors circulating social media otherwise. LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins told multiple outlets no further updates were immediately available on Monson’s condition as of Wednesday afternoon. Scott Winterton of the Deseret News writes “Eric Hawkins, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said the church was aware of the rumors, but Hawkins confirmed at 3:20 p.m. that President Monson was alive.” President Monson spoke only twice at the April session of General Conference, with each talk lasting approximately 4 minutes each. We will keep you updated if any breaking news develops.
I’ll admit – I’m one of those people who love to do the textual analysis of the General Conference addresses (word frequency, keyword analysis, etc), and I also love seeing the possible variances between the spoken and written texts. For those of you who are nerds like me, LDS.org now has the text from General Conference on the LDS.org website. Go forth – analyze away (courtesy of LDS Media Talk)
Letter to the Editor: I Don’t Want a Temple Baptism (Herald Journal)
Letter to the Editor: Alcohol is a Red Herring (Salt Lake Tribune)
SPOILER ALERT: It’s not as salacious as it sounds. “Construction crews removed the gold-plated statue Wednesday morning as part of the temple’s renovation. Workers tells EastIdahoNews.com the statue will now receive a new coat of gold plating in a “long, difficult process.” The goal is to have Moroni looking shiny and back in place by the time public tours of the temple begin Apr. 22. Steve Poulsen, a local spokesman for the church, tells EastIdahoNews.com the statue could be back on the temple by April 12.”
Mormon Leader Asks Religion to Accept People of Different ‘Sexual Attractions’ (South Florida Gay News)
South Florida Gay News covered Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s General Conference address, writing “A top leader of the Mormon faith said there is room in the religion for those with non-heterosexual “sexual attractions” as long as they love God. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’s semi-annual general conference, Jeffrey Holland told the crowd there was “room” in the faith for LGBT people, people of different cultures, with other family structures or those questioning their faith.”
Times of Isreal covers the BYU tradition of a “simulation” Jewish Passover seder, which began in the 1970s under professor Victor Ludlow, a scholar of Judaism and Isaiah with a PhD in Jewish studies from Brandeis University. Reporter Rich Tenorio writes “This year, 175 students and community members attended the first seder on March 10. The March 24 event drew a capacity crowd of 250.” The article does a great job going through the history of Jewish-LDS connections (from the fond feelings of Mormons towards Jews to the Holocaust Baptisms for the Dead controversy), and conveys a feeling of respect for BYU’s approach to their “educational seder.”
BYU and UVU scientists question research offered at a conference on the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake Tribune)
Benjamin Wood previews the forthcoming Foundation for Indigenous Research and Mormonism (FIRM) Foundation Expo April 6-7 at UVU, and a slight brewing controversy around the conference involving speaker Dean Sessions. Sessions, founder of the Millennial Science Foundation, is one of the featured speakers and is known for writing the “Universal Model,” a faith-based explanation of Earth’s development similar to the creationism theory of flood geology. Sessions’ work states that Earth is filled with water and not molten rock, including a core of solid ice, and that fossilization, petrification and the planet’s land forms are the result of a recent worldwide flood and not millennia of geological development. Wood writes “In a letter published Tuesday in The Daily Universe — Brigham Young University’s student newspaper — faculty and students from BYU’s Geological Sciences Department cautioned against the untested assertions of [Sessions].” “Students and the BYU community are reminded that organic evolution, anthropogenic climate change, radiometric dating and a 4.56 billion-year-old age of the Earth are all seriously taught on campus by professors, who are in good standing with the church, in fields directly relating to these subjects,” the letter states, signed by BYU Associate Dean Bart Kowallis, eight faculty members and 24 students. This should be a VERY interesting little tiff to follow, especially because Mormon-on-Mormon strife is some of the most juicy (and totally insider baseball).
“Mormon leaders reminded Church members on Saturday about the importance of performing ceremonial baptisms on dead ancestors who did not receive the ordinance while alive — a practice unique to the faith that has included baptising dead Jewish Holocaust victims. Henry Eyring told a worldwide audience during a twice-yearly Mormon conference in Salt Lake City that God wants all his children “home again, in families and in glory.” He encouraged listeners to use the religion’s massive genealogical database to trace their roots.” This isn’t as complimentary as the previous Jewish article about the LDS Church, but a still interesting viewpoint to the effect of LDS baptisms for the dead.
This is in the running for Headline of the Week – “Jason Afu, 20, this afternoon pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm in the Southport District Court after coward punching another man in the jaw at Underground Nightclub in Surfers Paradise last February. He was sentenced to two years’ jail. The court heard Afu, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the Gold Coast, told the victim his hat was the same colour as those worn by a gang in the US before punching the man in the face. Afu was only 19 years old when he attacked the other man last February and had consumed about eight glasses of vodka raspberry and a quantity of wine, the court heard. Defence lawyer Vince Boss said his client had been attending a program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous at his church since the incident. He told the court his client had received “pressure” from the church not consume alcohol at the time of the offending.”
A nice profile piece from a Fijian newspaper on Elder Wakolo’s call to the Quorum of the Seventy.
‘IT COULD TEAR US APART’ Mormon man with three wives risks losing one if he marries his brothers’ two widows (The Sun)
This one is also in the running for Headline of the Week, and it’s about a TV show I don’t believe I’ve seen – “LAST week on Three Wives, One Husband, viewers were left shocked at husband Abel having been asked to take on two more wives by his dying brother.
Mormon dad-of-11 Abel Morrison is currently married to Suzie, Beth and Marina – but was faced with also marrying his dead brother Jim’s wives, Melinda and Annazela.”
“Anyway, this is a long-winded way of saying that I haven’t entirely come to terms theologically with what I’m currently doing. Can you ultimately fit the LDS and the Episcopal traditions together, even if you really want to? I don’t know. I honestly don’t. I just know that I’m having a powerful experience of God in a new setting, and it’s been life-changing. I don’t know what comes next. My hope, however, is that all of this makes me a better believer, and a better theologian, and a better person. And I’m even going to conclude with a famous quote from none other than Joseph Smith: “One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth; let it come from where it may.” I’m on board with that endeavor.”
“A disturbing trend surfaced in the last year or so in which parents wrote letters to their young adult children explaining that if they did not stay active in the church, they would be cut from the inheritance. These letters were shared in various Mormon internet groups. At roughly the same time, LDS Philanthropies published a video featuring a father who said that if his sons continued to follow church teachings, they would keep their inheritance, but otherwise, he would simply donate his money to LDS Philanthropies. The video was subsequently removed due to backlash. It’s an interesting parenting trend, some might say alarming.”
“As soon as mother and stepfather walked into the house, I started telling them about the “news.” Because denial is often the safest emotional haven, my mother began shushing me and saying, “Child, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” But, before she could finish her sentence, another “Breaking News/News Flash” came on and the newscaster began with the words – “Dr. Martin Luther King, winner of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, . . .” As the newscaster said those words my mother said, “Dear Lord, have mercy. He’s dead!” She then started to cry and my stepfather, who seemed to be choking back his own tears, tried to comfort her.”
“Several months ago, I contacted my bishopric and suggested that we have a sacrament meeting devoted to Relief Society to celebrate the 175th anniversary. They agreed that it was a good idea and asked me to speak. Below is the talk I gave on March 12, 2017. Names have been shortened to protect privacy.”
April 5 in Mormon History, courtesy of Today in Mormon History blog)
Apr 5, 1887
Apostle Heber J. Grant writes in his journal in response to a letter from Wilford Woodruff, “I do not think it is absolutely necessary that in case of the death of the President of the Church and the subsequent reorganization of the First Presidency that the President of the Twelve Apostles should be made the President of the Church. When I answer Broth[e]r Woodruff’s letter I shall request him to point me to any revelation that states that this must be the case.”
Apr 5, 1887
Patriarchal Blessing of James Henry Martineau given by Charles W. Hyde … you shall see Zion redeemed, and stand with your Redeemer and with the prophet Joseph when the Saints will be free. And be comforted, for Zion shall be redeemed: … And I seal upon your head eternal life, with all thy father’s household. Even so. Amen and amen.
Apr 5, 1902; Saturday
Grant was serving as mission president in Japan. It was a difficult endeavor. He was unable to learn the language and baptized only two people, both of whom left the church. When Grant was called, he felt gloomy because, as he said, “I was owing a little over $100,000. I had two wives, neither one having a home; my mother’s home was mortgaged at that time for $3,000.” … [Source: Anderson, Elizabeth Oberdick, editor, Cowboy Apostle: The Diaries of Anthony W. Ivins: 1875-1932, Signature Books, Salt Lake City in association with the Smith-Pettit Foundation (2013)]
Apr 5, 1907; Friday
The general authorities do not use the tithing for their support but are provided for by the dividends recd from investments. [Source: Anderson, Elizabeth Oberdick, editor, Cowboy Apostle: The Diaries of Anthony W. Ivins: 1875-1932, Signature Books, Salt Lake City in association with the Smith-Pettit Foundation (2013)]
Apr 5, 1907
Establishment of the Liahona [Magazine] — According to Andrew Jenson, assistant Church Historian, Benjamin F. Cummings, the publisher of The Liahona, was called “by the Church authorities” to edit this paper published by the Central States Mission “in the interest of all the missions in the United States, Canada and Mexico.” After 11 numbers (weekly) had been published it was considered wise on the part of Church authorities to amalgamate the ‘Liahona’ with the “Elders Journal, a periodical published in the interest of the Southern States Mission.” [Source: Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency (6 volumes)]
Apr 5, 1912
Annual Conference of the Church. During the services a telegram was handed to me from Senator [Reed] Smoot to Pres[ident]. [Joseph F.] Smith, saying the Gov[ernmen]t. were willing to furnish arms to our Colonists in Mexico but greatly feared the result of an attempt to smuggle in to the Colonies arms and ammunition under the existing Circumstances. I am in entire accord with the view taken by Bro[ther]. Smoot. [Source: Anthony W. Ivins, Diary, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1835-1951, Electronic Edition, 2015]
Apr 05, 1942
The First Presidency closes the Salt Lake Tabernacle for the duration of World War II. Meetings are held in the Assembly Hall and in the solemn assembly room in the Salt Lake Temple.
Apr 5, 1952
The Church began carrying the priesthood session of general conference by direct telephone wire to buildings beyond Temple Square. [Source: Church News: Historical Chronology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, http://www.ldschurchnewsarchive.com/articles/58765/Historical-chronology-of-The-Church-of-Jesus-Christ-of-Latter-day-Saints.html]
Apr 5, 1997
During general conference, the organization of the Third, Fourth and Fifth Quorums of the Seventy was announced. Area Authorities were then ordained as Seventies, and their titled changed to Area Authority Seventy. [Source: Church News: Historical Chronology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, http://www.ldschurchnewsarchive.com/articles/58765/Historical-chronology-of-The-Church-of-Jesus-Christ-of-Latter-day-Saints.html]