Mormon News Report: 10 July 2017

Mormon News Report: 10 July 2017

FLDS leader Lyle Jeffs to enter plea in federal court (multiple)
Lyle Jeffs is scheduled to appear in court today, his first appearance since he was arrested last month on felony food stamp fraud charges. Due to his yearlong time as a fugitive wanted by the FBI, he will also be facing a felony failure to appear charge. Fox13 has their coverage here, and Dennis Romboy of the Deseret News writes “He was awaiting trial in the fraud case when he escaped from home confinement in Salt Lake City by using olive oil to slip out of his ankle monitor in June 2016.” Jeffs was arrested in South Dakota last month after pawning two Leatherman tools while apparently living out of his pickup truck. Insert your “Mormons-and-olive-oil” joke here.
LDS Church bringing favorite Book of Mormon stories to video in new series (multiple)
The LDS Church began shooting the Book of Mormon videos on Friday at the LDS Motion Pictures Studio South, located two miles southeast of Elberta on the southwest edge of Utah County. The live-action video series is scheduled to take up to six years to complete. Director Blair Treu, who is heading up the first to episodes, told the Mormon Newsroom “This would never replace reading from the Book of Mormon…We want these [videos] to be entertaining. We want these to be engaging. It’s just that there’s a different goal in mind. We’re trying to communicate a very important story with iconic characters that we all know and love, and we’re trying to do that in a way that reaches people.” Treu was also the director behind the LDS-produced “Meet the Mormons” documentary. The first Book of Mormon videos are scheduled to be released in the fall of 2018. Portions of the project will be filmed in various locations in North America. The videos will cover elements of about 60 percent of the chapters in the Book of Mormon. The Salt Lake Tribune’s Sean Means has some additional insight into how the scripting for the episodes came about and some behind-the-scenes details regarding filming on location.
The Kirby Returneth, he’s now in a new ward. and he reminds us all what real Mormonism is supposed to be like.I was going to quote it, but I would quote the whole thing. Just read it. You’ll be glad you did.
Following up on our Mormons Behaving Badly news of last week, Erik Hughes, a former LDS Bishop in the Mapleton (UT) area, has been officially charged with two second-degree felony counts of forcible sexual abuse that allegedly occurred in June 2014 while Hughes served as an LDS bishop. He is also charged with one count of tampering a witness, a third degree felony. The Salt Lake Tribune reports the charging documents state he allegedly touched the genitals of a teenage boy. Hughes served as the victim’s bishop at the time. After learning that the abuse was reported to police, Hughes approached a second victim last month and “advised the victim that he might be contacted by police, and told that victim what to say to ensure [Hughes] would not get into trouble,” according to a probable cause statement. An LDS spokesperson last month said Hughes had been removed “from any position within the church.” I’ll be honest – it really disturbs me reporting on these cases, and I take no joy in it at all. However, these horrible situations do happen. This shouldn’t place all bishops in the same bucket – there are many out there who are trustworthy, honorable, spiritual, and sincere in their desires to serve in their callings and minister. But there are bad people out there – yes, even Church leaders. We can’t bury our heads in the sand with these situations.
More Mormons Behaving Badly, from the Virginia Gazette: “A former James City County Republican Party leader who spent nearly two decades watching child pornography will be sentenced Monday. Charles Young, 69, could spend much of the next 20 years in prison. He pleaded guilty in federal court Jan. 31 to one felony count of receiving child pornography, according to U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Virginia documents.” Young’s defense team submitted six statements on his behalf written by family members, friends, and neighbors, one of them written by someone who knew Young “casually” for years through the LDS Church Addiction Recovery Program. “Young joined the program in January 2016 following his family’s discovery of child pornography the previous month, according to federal court documents.”
This isn’t 100% Mormon, but there is a connection as the Daily News Journal of Murfreesboro (TN) details the harrowing story of Darby McCarthy and escaping from the sexual abuse of her parents. “These religious standards were so tied up in her sense of self that she remembers not even wanting to make friends, because no one would truly understand her. “He would say no one else can understand because no one else has our religion. Well, of course no one else has our religion; he made it up,” she said. The Aragons’ convictions were centralized around the “marriage” between Charles Aragon and then-14-year-old McCarthy. After that time, sexual contact was common between both adults and the young McCarthy, she said. Relatives would come visit, and they would notice something was different in the household, but McCarthy said no one ever acted on their suspicions. “We called ourselves Mormon,” she said. “When we broke away from the church, Nancy and Charles often said the church had fallen away from the truth. So we were the more “true” followers of God’s real religion. “I was convinced Charles was God’s prophet/the second coming of The David/adopted by Jesus Christ…and God commanded through Charles that we be married and fight the non believers in the last days.”
The Mormon Newsroom reports that the growth of the Church is proceeding “at a rapid rate” in West Africa. “When Elder Terence M. Vinson, President in the Africa West Area Presidency (the senior governing body of the Church in West Africa), came to Ghana four years ago, there were 40 stakes in seven countries in West Africa. This Koforidua organization accounts for the 80th stake in West Africa since the Church was established in 1978. Today the Church has organized congregations in 10 countries throughout West Africa.”

Thumbs up, thumbs down for July 7: Gordon Hayward and Fourth of July antics (Daily Herald)
The Provo Daily Herald’s “Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down” column this week has some strong words at the Provo Freedom Festival committee’s handling of not including the Encircle LGBT float in the Freedom Festival Parade, and notices the interesting contradiction between denying Encircle at the parade but allowing the LDS missionaries to participate.

USU to celebrate late LDS Church historian’s birth with conference (Herald Journal News)
Mark you calendars, and make it quick – Utah State University will be holding the Leonard J. Arrington Centennial Conference on July 12-13 at USUS campus. Speakers include Marlin K. Jensen (former Church Historian of the LDS Church), Greg Prince (Arrington’s biographer, which is a must-read book), Gary Bergera (editor of the forthcoming Arrington diaries from Signature Books), Matt Grow (Director of Publications at the Church History Department), Matthew Godfrey (Managing Historian for the Joseph Smith Papers Project), and Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. The conference is free and open to all. The Herald Journal has a nice write-up about Leonard and the conference, and By Common Consent has the schedule of events.

Chiasmus Jubilee
From Book of Mormon Central: This year marks the 50th anniversary since John W. Welch discovered Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon. This discovery has changed the way we forever approach Book of Mormon scholarship. To celebrate this day, we invite you to join us on August 16th, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m at the Joseph Smith Building Auditorium on BYU Campus. You can RSVP at

Letter to the Editor! Parade organizers seem to have forgotten what ‘freedom’ really means (Salt Lake Tribune)

Letter to the Editor! Get to know some Mormons before you judge us (Salt Lake Tribune)

Mormon News Report Podcast: Week of 3 July 2017
Shameless Plug! Want your Mormon News fix in podcast form? Join myself and co-host Brian Whitney as we run down the top news stories, blog posts, and podcasts of the week on the Mormon News Report Podcast! This week we also talked with James Goldberg about his experience at the Mormon Arts Center Festival in New York and how Mormons approach the arts.