Mormon News Report: 7 April 2017
President Thomas S. Monson released from hospital (multiple)
Eric Hawkins, LDS Spokesman, released the following statement: “President Monson was released from the hospital last evening, and plans to resume his normal schedule and duties today.” Additional details have not been released. Bob Mims of the Tribune notes “Hawkins declined Thursday to offer any specifics on the nature of Monson’s treatments at the hospital.” Tad Walsch of the Deseret News writes “[Church spokesman Eric] Hawkins said he received treatment and fluid during his hospital stay.”
“HRC released Coming Home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to Self, a guide for LGBTQ Mormons. HRC worked with an advisory team of Mormon scholars and activists to develop and shape this resource…The guide provides advice and resources to help Mormons in the United States looking to engage more deeply with their faith, even in the face of significant challenges. Coming Home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to Self offers strategies for the LGBTQ faithful seeking enriching and meaningful lives in the Mormon faith…Coming Home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to Self is the fifth in a series of faith-specific “coming home” guides released by the HRC Foundation. Earlier editions include Jewish, Muslim, Catholic and general faith guides.” You can download a copy here. It might be simplistic of me, but if something like this can help stem the suicides and self-harm that some LGBTQ members of the LDS Church resort to, and if this could help their loved ones, then I’m all for it.
“Keynote speaker will be General Authority Seventy Elder L. Whitney Clayton. Clayton was named Senior President of the Quorums of the Seventy in October 2015. Former BYU-Idaho President Kim Clark will accompany Clayton. Clark is currently serving as a General Authority Seventy and Commissioner of the Church Educational System.” Stay tuned to next week’s News Report for updates on Clayton’s commencement address.
Mormon women, others gather to protest Utah woman’s deportation (multiple)
So…there’s kind of a mess going on in Utah right now. Here’s the brief rundown: Teresa Ramos (identified by KUER), also known as “Isabel” (a pseudonym used by her supporters) is a single mother and the sole caretaker for her disabled son, a U.S. citizen with mild cerebral palsy and epilepsy who recently turned 18, and her 86-year-old mother, a legal resident of the U.S. working to become a citizen. The Colombian immigrant came to the U.S. legally more than 20 years ago with a fiancée visa, Mullins Glenn said, adding that the woman did not marry, but chose to stay. At one point she began the process to become a U.S. citizen, but after she received erroneous information, she withdrew her application. The Deseret News described “Isabel” as “an undocumented Draper mother.” According to Sharlee Mullins Glenn with the organization Mormon Women for Ethical Government, “Isabel” had overstayed her visa since 1997 but each year had applied for a “stay of removal” which allowed her to stay in the U.S. to care for her son who is a citizen and who has mild cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Every single year she has received an extension because of her extenuating circumstances. The Tribune notes she received a deportation order in 1997, “but because of her son’s special needs, she was permitted to stay in the U.S. and check in with immigration services periodically…At the beginning of March, Immigration and Customs Enforcement informed the woman that its “priorities have shifted” and she must leave the country by April 6…A request to ICE for comment was not immediately returned Thursday.” “Isabel” was scheduled to be deported for an 11 AM bound flight for Colombia, but was unable to make it through security because the names on her passport and drivers license do not match exactly. Maria Noble of the Tribune writes “She was rescheduled for a late-night flight, Mullins Glenn said, leaving advocates, immigration attorneys and representatives from Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch’s office “scrambling to see if there can be something done” to keep her in the U.S. In the afternoon, though, supporters were holding out hope that there will maybe be a last-minute save…that glimmer of hope dimmed by evening, and the woman was expected to depart that night. “Isabel’s” son had recently submitted an application to serve a Mormon service mission. Annie Knox of the Deseret News also makes sure to note “The Deseret News was not able to independently verify whether Isabel had ever been charged with a crime.” The Deseret News did not indicate if it had reached out to the LDS Church for comment, KUER reports “Officials from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declined to comment,” and the Tribune notes “Church spokesman Eric Hawkins responded to a request for comment by referring to a previous statement from the LDS Church on immigration, which says, “Families are meant to be together. Forced separation of working parents from their children weakens families and damages society,” but adds: “We acknowledge that every nation has the right to enforce its laws and secure its borders. All persons subject to a nation’s laws are accountable for their acts in relation to them.”” While the story is heartbreaking, it’s also fascinating to compare all 3 outlets to see how they report on the story, the language they use, and the content within their write-ups on the same story.
The News Report was still on sabbatical while debates were raging in Utah on the placement of new homeless shelter sites, including an instance in Draper where the Mayor was threatened with impeachment crowds promised a lawsuite against he city, and a 700+ capacity crowd booed homeless man Lawrence Horman as he “called for compassion.” With that backdrop, Fox13 reports that the LDS Church issued a statement on the homeless issues in Utah, saying the church “feels keenly a responsibility to help in a Christlike way.” Ben Winslow of Fox13 writes “The statement from the Mormon faith’s First Presidency comes as political leaders in the Salt Lake Valley have tried to select new sites for shelters, which has led to often combative public meetings from people who do not want them in their neighborhoods. In the statement, the First Presidency noted “our response to those in need defines us as individuals and communities.”” Fox13 has the entire text of the statement on their website, and it is also available on Mormon Newsroom. Specifically of note is this: “Over the last decade, the Church has donated cash and commodities totaling more than $42 million to eight community and religious organizations that serve the homeless in Salt Lake City…To support the current efforts of city and county officials, the Church earlier agreed to sell its Deseret Industries facility at 130 East 700 South to Salt Lake City for use as one of three or four planned homeless resource centers. In addition, we are in active discussions with community partners to identify where the greatest needs exist and how the Church may offer additional help.” Maybe that will help the devout faithful in Draper to change their mind.
I’m surprised this didn’t get as much mainstream attention as Elder Valerie Cordon’s General Conference address on tithing, but at least KUER picked it up, detailing the experience of Rosemary Card, who describes herself as “very Mormon”: “I’m all in. I’m in the deep end of the Mormonism pool,” and her concern that “there was only one female speaker at this month’s General Conference (excluding the General Women’s and Priesthood sessions) in contrast to the 26 male speakers. She goes on to express a hope that this can change in the future.” Who knows – maybe now that KUER and the blogs are talking about it, other outlets will cover it too.
I haven’t seen this picked up by other outlets either. “Over 50 Native American youth and young adults from New Mexico gathered on Temple Square March 30, 2017, to hear from Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Larry J. Echo Hawk of the Quorum of the Seventy. The Latter-day Saint teens were enjoying listening to Elder Echo Hawk when Elder Andersen made an unscheduled appearance, much to the surprise and excitement of the young members. The apostle encouraged them to write down their thoughts from the upcoming general conference talks by Church leaders…Elder Echo Hawk spoke about the proper balance between Native American culture and Mormon culture. “I have great reverence and respect for my native traditions,” he said, “but of overriding importance is my knowledge and testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is paramount.””
Liveblogging the Firm Foundation Expo (Ardis Parshall, Keepapitchinin)
Initial thoughts on the Firm Foundation Expo, Pre-festivities, Beginning, Session: The Scriptures on Donald Trump, Surrender
“This morning Isabel, a middle-aged Mormon woman from Colombia who has lived in the US for years, left her home in Draper, Utah and was forced to board a plane bound for Colombia. ICE, acting under what they would only describe as “changed priorities,” took Isabel away from two US citizens who depend on her care. Her 18-year-old son, who is disabled and unable to care for himself (a fact that her Mormon bishop corroborated over the phone), as well as her 86-year-old mother, who is also a US citizen. As I type, a plane is carrying Isabel to Colombia against her will, where she must live for 10 years before she will even be eligible to apply to reenter the US and care for her disabled son. Isabel has spent years working with a broken immigration system, desperately trying to get the proper paperwork that she needed in order to be guaranteed the ability to stay with her family members in the US. Family members who are themselves US citizens.”
“We are going to publish all kinds of books that tell the stories of Mormonism in really powerful ways. We will have memoirs, philosophical explorations, poetry, anthologies, history, and books that will evade the neat categories of genre. While we will print scholarly books, we’re not an academic press and won’t supplant those institutions. Neither are we quite like existing LDS publishers, though there’s probably some overlap in what we find interesting. We’re here to encourage Mormon writing in new ways and to grow the community. This an enormous experiment, just like BCC was in the first place, and we’re really excited about the possibilities ahead.”
“We shall now call on some of our sisters”: Regarding General Relief Society Presidents, Beginnings, and Endings (JJohnson, Juvenile Instructor)
“As mentioned in the last post here, two women have spoken in sessions intended for all between 1994 and 2016–with an April 2002 exception when 3 women spoke. At the same time as a five-year term for the RSGPs normalized in 1997, a new pattern began with outgoing presidents speaking as they finished in the spring and the incoming presidents speaking in the fall. Conferences with ingoing and outgoing presidents in 1997, 2007, and 2012 followed. However, 2002 was a return to the earlier occurrence of both a concluding RSGP and a newly called RSGP speaking in April.”
Apr 6, 1830
Joseph Smith formally establishes and organizes the Church of Christ [Source: D&C 20:1]
Apr 6, 1892
[James E. Talmage]
It is a day long to be remembered. With ceremonies deeply impressive, the capstone of that mighty edifice [Salt Lake Temple] was laid. The act of laying the stone was performed by President Woodruff, through the agency of electricity—the stone being suspended above its place, a catch was released, and the topmost stone of the Temple fell into position […] and when the shout ‘Hosanna!’ went forth, its reverberations were deafening. [Source: Chronology of the Life and Work of James E. Talmage, J. Trevor Antley, https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MJsHY83JZL_n6CjWq11y1trT_CVXMMXAx2uYOWAwn0c/edit#heading=h.2zfdaoa]
Apr 6, 1942
First Presidency’s most comprehensive statement on war, upholding patriotic service by Mormons in any country’s military but condemning all national leaders who promote war. For first time, Sunday session of general conference is held in assembly room of Salt Lake temple where apostles pass the sacrament to assembled priesthood leaders. Policeman ray Haight reports that “during the entire morning session an intense, white light flooded the First Presidency . . . and made President Grant’s clothes to appear to be white.”