Mormon News Report: 12 July 2017

Mormon News Report: 12 July 2017

Provo MTC Open House ticket reservations now available to public (Deseret News)
In 2014, the LDS Church announced plans to expand the Provo Missionary Training Center, beginning construction in 2015. Danielle Christensen of the Deseret News reports today that the MTC will be holding an open house from July 31 through August 19. Tickets are required, and can be reserved at If you have never been through the Missionary Training Center, this is one of the few opportunities to see what life is like on the inside. If you have, and it’s been a while, it will probably blow your mind how much things have changed. For example, kids these days won’t know the wonders / horrors / naturalness / unnaturalness of the Tree of Life locker-room showers. And we wonder why Millennials are a bit soft…

Morning links: What happens if the BYU vs. LSU game goes into Sunday?; Hayward no longer eats for free (Desert News)
From the “Mormons gonna Morm” files: The Deseret News has a blurb from Sam Young of Yahoo Sports, who looks at “what would happen if the LSU vs. BYU game extends into Sunday?” BYU and LSU play each other on Saturday, September 2 at 9:30 PM. LSU Head Coach Ed Orgeron gave a lot of coach speak, but then said “I think that that will be held up to the referees. I will let them make that decision. It has been discussed within the realm of our assistant coaches. Yes, it has, but that’s out of our hands. Cooper gives the reasoning behind why this is even a question with BYU: “BYU does not schedule games – in any sport – on Sundays…the school has a written policy forbidding its athletic teams from competing that day.” What is Cooper’s conclusion? “So what would happen if the fourth quarter of the LSU-BYU game extended beyond midnight? Well, nothing,” even having backup from BYU Football Media Relations Director Brett Pyne. I mean, at least it’s a national publication going into this question, but I can’t wait to see the feisty BYU fans furiously writing op-eds to the Deseret News arguing with each other on if this is a religious freedom issue to be playing at 12:01 on Sunday morning or if playing on Sunday is OK because it’s a missionary tool. A boy can only dream…

coming attractions

Coming Soon from BCC Press (By Common Consent)
This should be included in Best of the Blogs, but I think it’s noteworthy: BCC Press, the publishing arm of Bloggernacle mainstay By Common Consent, announced 3 forthcoming books:
Third Wheel: Peculiar Stories of Mormon Women in Love by Melissa Leilani Larsen contains 2 AML-award-winning plays: “”Little Happy Secrets,”” which explores same-sex attraction among a pair of roommates at BYU and “”The Pilot Program,”” which imagines the re-introduction of polygamy in a childless Mormon family.
The Book of Laman by Mette Harrison who narrates the first part of the Book of Mormon from Laman’s perspective–and turns it into a serious and profoundly moving story of redemption that has the ability to make us all better readers, and, more importantly, better people.
Mother’s Milk: Poems in Search of Heavenly Mother by Rachel Hunt Steenblik (author) and Ashley Mae Hoiland, which contains 246 small poems by Steenblik about “”the profound human longing for a Heavenly Mother,”” with illustrations by Hoiland. ”

Judge considered downward departure during Young’s child pornography sentence (Virginia Gazette)
More information coming out on Charles Young, the former James City County Republican Party leader and member of the LDS Church who plead guilty in 2017 to receiving child pornography. Investigators found 30,000 images of young children, many young boys, on various devices taken from the Young home. The whole story is, frankly, sickening. There is one Mormon reference. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa McKeel “said Young worked in hospital management in the Marshall Islands shortly after leaving the Navy in 1992. “There were unsubstantiated claims … that (a security guard) had seen the defendant oiling up a boy to prepare to have sex with him,” Mckeel said. It was then he was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she said.” There were no further details of the incident in the story, but we might be hearing more as the trial continues. I will say this – and let me stress in the strongest of terms that what Young did was despicable and I hope he will be prosecuted to the furthest extent of the law – but that statement by McKeel about Young’s time in the Marshall Islands has the potential to be weaponized by the disaffected community. We do not know what the local LDS Church leaders did in that situation. If it was just an excommunication, that is completely unacceptable and should be investigated further. However, as of right now, we don’t know. It’s just a line in the Virginia Gazette that caused me to think, and frankly want to get out in front of the story before its trotted around the internet. Then again, people will read what they want to read, and not allow the facts to play out, especially if there is more information on that 1992 incident. I’m not excusing at all – I am urging patience, fact-gathering, and not jumping to conclusions for whatever battle flag you are carrying.

Dignitaries Attend Special Tours of Tucson Arizona Temple (
The Tucson Arizona Temple began their temple open house on June 3, and Mormon Newsroom reports “many dignitaries visited the temple during special guest tour.” Among the dignitaries: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey; former presidential candidate and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney; U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake and wife Cheryl; U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs; U.S. Rep. Martha McSally; former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and husband Mark Kelly; Mexican Consul Ricardo Pineda; Guatemalan Consul Carlos de León; Dr. Robert Robbins, University of Arizona president; Dr. Andrew Comrie, University of Arizona provost; and Dr. Taylor Lawrence, Raytheon Company vice president. Local religious leaders also attended a tour of the temple, including Rev. Peter A. Helman of St. Philip’s In The Hills Episcopal Church; Rev. Edwin Donaldson of Prince Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church; Imam Watheq Al-Obaidi, professor of Islamic Studies; Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon of Temple Emanu-El; and Pastor David Moore of Arizona Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

More E. coli cases found in FLDS community (Deseret News)
The FLDS group has been having a bad July, and the Deseret News reports it is getting worse. The E. Coli outbreak we covered last week is spreading, with Utah health authorities confirming additional cases, bringing the total number of cases to 11. Southwest Utah Public Health Department spokesman David Heaton said Tuesday that most of those affected are children, and all have gotten medical treatment. Contaminated drinking water has been ruled out, but the cause of the outbreak is still unknown and being investigated.

In this Jan. 31, 2008, file photo, two Mormon missionaries walk past a large map of the world in a hallway at the Missionary Training Center in Provo.

Tell us your story: How did serving a Mormon mission change your life? (Standard-Examiner)
Here’s your chance to finally tell that one mission story that you never find the right place to tell – the Standard Examiner of Logan (UT) is looking for your stories on how serving an LDS mission changed your life. “The Standard-Examiner wants to provide a safe place to hear all kinds of mission stories, explore the issues these stories raise and talk with people about how their missionary service changed their lives.”

Drama, Dance and Song

1,100 volunteers put on Nauvoo, British pageants, starting today (Daily Gate City)
It’s Pageant season for Mormons, and the Daily Gate City of Keokuk, IA looks at both the Nauvoo and British Pageants. The British Pageant was first performed in the US in 2014, and will be again featured this year. The Nauvoo Pageant will be presented on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays while the British Pageant will be presented on Wednesdays and Fridays through August 5th. Report Robin Delaney has more details behind both pageants.

Church helps clean up flooded town, rebuild library (Deseret news)
From the “Mormons Doing Good” files, courtesy of the Desert News: “In March of 2016, the flooding of the Sabine River devastated the small town of Deweyville, Texas…In response to the disaster, 1,300 Church members from the surrounding area arrived for immediate remediation, wearing Mormon Helping Hands shirts. The following weekend, 600 more came to help the town’s residents.”

Bikini begone: Conservative modesty at the beach (Religion News Service)
Madeleine Buckley of Religion News Service looks at how different religions approach bathing suits, and specifically modesty at the beach, and wouldn’t you know it, the Mormons are featured. Buckley references LDS garments and the charge to wear them at all times, but also acknowledges that yes, Mormons can go swimming. “Nevertheless, Mormon women are encouraged to buy swimsuits that uphold the church’s general standard of modesty. While this does not mean their suits have to cover as much as the garments would, they are expected to cover midriffs and to wear bottoms with sufficient coverage. This allows Mormon women, if they so choose, to wear fairly modern one-piece suits and tankinis. Some LDS sites, such as LDS Living, publish swimwear guides to help girls find fashionable, modest suits.” This is also included by many pictures of ads from LDS Living’s 2017 Modest Swimsuit Guide. What I wish Buckley would have talked more about is the seemingly double-standard for Mormon women finding swimsuits vs. males, which is much more of a discussion point than a conservative religion wearing conservative swimsuits.

Marilyn Manson, Bill Engvall among those with upcoming shows in Utah (Salt Lake Tribune)
I know many of you, probably all of you don’t care much about Marilyn Manson or Bill Engvall performing in Salt Lake City during 2017. There’s not a Mormon connection there…is there? Maybe. From Eric Walden at the Salt Lake Tribune: “Back in 1994, Marilyn Manson was controversial enough for officials at the then-Delta Center to remove him from the bill for a Nine Inch Nails concert. NIN frontman Trent Reznor was sufficiently incensed to bring Manson onstage at the end of the show anyway, where he ripped pages from the Book of Mormon. Two years later, Manson sued Utah State Fairpark officials for reneging on the agreement to let him perform at the Coliseum. This week, Monday’s announcement that Manson will be back in Utah for an Oct. 20 show in the 2,500-capacity Rockwell room at The Complex in Salt Lake City was met with little fanfare and approximately zero protests.” The history of rockers upsetting the Mormons in Utah is legendary, with Manson’s story here, Alice Cooper’s story about tie-dyed garments and much more. Walden doesn’t go into much of it, but that’s one heck of a lede.

Letter to the Editor! There are two religions that personally irk me (Belleville News-Democrat, Belleville IL)
“I’ve been to different churches and one or two tent revivals in my life. There are two religions that personally have me irked: The Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Mormons won’t help anybody outside their church” Well now.


Trump Nominates Mormon to Oversee Wall Street Banks, Assume Historic New Role (LDS Living)
“On Monday, President Trump named Randal K. Quarles, former Treasury Department official, to serve as the Federal Reserve’s vice chairman for supervision. LDS Living finds that Quarles is a fellow Mormon, quoting from a 2005 Salt Lake Tribune article where Quarels stated “Mormons are now a known entity in D.C….Most people are quite aware that I’m a Mormon, more than I’m aware of their religions.”

(Image: HPD/file mug shot)

Former HPD officer accused of bribing a prostitute pleads guilty in corruption case (Hawaii News Now)
Hawaii News Now reports that former Honolulu police officer Maulia LaBarre, 34, pleaded guilty to wire fraud under a plea deal. LeBarre allegedly promised a prostitute via text message that another officer would not testify against her if she had sex with him. LaBarre has a Mormon connection: “In 2001, he played on the University of Hawaii men’s volleyball team before taking two years off to complete a Mormon mission, according to the university. From 2004 to 2006, he returned as a volunteer coach for the team.”

Quincy Newell

Newell Earns Mormon Women’s History Award (Hamilton College)
Better late than never – Hamilton College (Clinton, NY) recognized Quincy Newell for winning the Mormon History Association prize for Best Article in Mormon Women’s History for her essay “What Jane James Saw,” which can be found in “Directions for Mormon Studies in the Twenty-First Century” by University of Utah Press.

In Salt Lake and Utah counties, varying receptions for Our Schools Now initiative’s $700M tax increase (Salt Lake Tribune)
My mother-in-law is an elementary school educator in Utah, and some of the stories I hear are kind of harrowing – not-very-good pay, bad insurance, depleted school supplies and more. Benjamin Wood and Kelly Gifford of the Salt Lake Tribune look at some of the town halls taking place regarding the Our Schools Now initiative, “which seeks to raise $700 million for public education through a combination of sales and income tax hikes.” And because Mormons gonna Morm, there’s this, which I love: “Other comments dismissed Our Schools Now’s campaign materials as “propaganda” and critiqued the public education system as a socialist failure forced upon Utah’s settlers as a requirement for statehood. “The early Mormon pioneers never wanted public school,” said Allan Hale. “In our public schools, we do not talk about God. We do not hear about God.”” I love all types of people who show up and get involved in things like town halls, but I especially love THOSE types of people (and you know what I’m talking about)

LDS Church Vaults

What is REALLY Inside the Mormon Church’s Granite Mountain Records Vault? (Mormon Hub)
The LDS Church’s Granite Mountain Records Vault is the stuff of legends, conspiracy theories, and kookiness. The Mormon Hub (formerly looks at what’s inside the vault. Most of it is non-sexy (2.4 million rolls of microfilm containing 3.5 billion images of family records), but there is some JUICY SPECULATION, which only feeds the fire.