Mormon News Report: 1 August 2017

Mormon News Report: 1 August 2017

Elder Holland withdraws Church News missionary story (Deseret News)
A very interesting development, and something I can’t remember seeing in recent memory. Elder Jeffery R. Holland spoke on June 27 at the Mission President Seminar at the MTC in Provo, where he shared a story of a missionary rescue. Obviously, many outlets ran with it – I’m pretty sure we did as well. However, Tad Walch of the Deseret News writes “Elder Holland withdrew it Monday and said in a statement that he had learned from the family that the story contained inaccuracies.” Elder Holland issued a 3 paragraph statement giving context to the story and concluding it by stating “As a courtesy to me the family contacted my office, wanting me to be aware of the inaccurate parts of the story and offering their help in avoiding any perpetuation of those elements in the account I heard. I am deeply touched by their humility and courage in doing so, and as an equal courtesy to them, I am withdrawing the story completely and request that it not be shared further.” I’m impressed. You don’t see this often, and credit where credit is due to both the DesNews and Elder Holland for focusing on accuracy.

Updated BYU entrance sign

BYU ranked for religious students, being sober, unfriendliness to LGBT community in Princeton Review (Herald Journal)
This should come as a surprise to no one, though I know some won’t be happy with it. The 2018 Princeton Review just released some of their “alternative” university rankings, and LDS-owned BYU held on to its Stone-Cold Sober ranking for the 20th consecutive year as the university that consumes the least alcohol by their student body. BYU was also #1 in the “Scotch and Soda, Hold the Scotch” rankings (which evaluates hard liquor), #1 in the “Got Milk” rankings, #8 in “Best-Run Colleges,” #4 in “LGBTQ-Unfriendly,” #8 in Conservative students, #2 in Most Religious Students, and #2 in the Top 25 Entrepreneurship Undergraduate colleges. So raise a glass of milk, or something.

MLB pitcher and LDS returned missionary Jeremy Guthrie announces retirement in Players’ Tribune (Deseret News)
Fellow Mormon baseball player Jeremy Guthrie is retiring. By my quick count, there are 15 Mormon MLB baseball players – Guthrie’s retiring drops that number down to 14. Guthrie played for 5 MLB teams: the Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockeis, Kansas City Royals, and Washington Nationals. Guthrie was drafted as the 22nd overal pick in the 2002 MLB draft by the Indians.

Letter to the Editor! “Here’s the truth” (St. George Spectrum)

No one’s more surprised by Book on Tape Worm than its frontman, Scott Shepard

No one’s more surprised by Book on Tape Worm than its frontman, Scott Shepard (Daily Herald)
So is this the new band that Mormons will flock to see and ruin for everyone else? The Herald Extra’s “Ticket” section looks at Book on Tape Worm, and their interesting Mormon connection – their songwriters serve LDS missions, and it’s tough to replace them: “It was first occupied by singer-songwriter Emily Brown, who eventually left to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Julianne Brough, who currently fronts the local band DRAPE, replaced Brown, but she also eventually left for an LDS mission.”

polygamy line graph updated

Surprising survey reveals Americans are changing their minds about polygamy (Gallup)
Interesting news from Gallup today: “Polygamy, a practice that President James Garfield once said “offends the moral sense,” is now seen by 17% of Americans as “morally acceptable,” up from 14% in 2016 and the highest rate on record dating back to 2003.” Credit to Gallup, who tried to answer the question as to why the increase has happened: “In short, there is little reason to believe that Americans are more likely to know or be polygamists now than at any other time in the past. But there is one way Americans may feel more familiar with or sympathetic to polygamy: television.”

FBI: Men who spotted FLDS leader will split reward (KSL)
We mentioned a few weeks back that FLDS leader Lyle Jeffs was finally caught and arrested trying to pawn two sets of Leatherman pliers. The FBI announced on Monday that a pair of workers at the pawn shop Jeffs was selling the pliers to will be splitting the $50,000 reward that lead to Jeffs arrest.

Letter to the Editor! “Republicans, Mormons care about climate, too” (Herald Journal News)

L.D.S. donate to Samoa Social Welfare (Samoa Observer)
The Samoa Observer reports that the LDS Church donated computers to the Samoa Social welfare Fesoasoani Trust last week. According to service missionary Elder Clifford Vellinga the cost of the computer project is approximately $25,000

Millennials approve of religious freedom as a choice, but don’t know what it means (Deseret News)
Emily Hardman, president of Amicus Communications, presented results from a survey looking at Millennials and religious freedom to the 2017 Black Leadership Summit: “They think it (religious freedom) is merely just a choice, and it’s troubling to see that so many don’t know what it means more than just choosing — it means practicing that faith in a meaningful and authentic way.” Hardman is a graduate of the J. Reuben Clark Law School. After her presentation, Hardman told the Deseret News “I think the LDS Church’s approach to ‘Fairness to All’ is really effective, showing the human dignity and perfecting the humanity of all people…You have to show that religious freedom matters and that it makes a difference in society, showing the good that religious institutions bring to society, the amount of people they care for, the fact that the religious service in this country counts for $6 billion of our U.S. economy, the number of homeless that are given shelter because of religion, the number of people fed because of religion. You have to show that good.”

IFC logo

IFC Announces Development on 11 New Comedies For 2018 (Variety)
The IFC Channel announced a slew of new comedies in development for 2018, and there’s a Mormon comedy in the works. From Variety, “Additionally, IFC is developing “Elna,” a half-hour scripted comedy about what it’s like to be Mormon and lose your faith. Coming from Elna Baker, who writes, executive produces, and stars in the project, “Elna” is also written and executive produced by Eric Gilliland and executive produced by Left Right Productions.” Consider me cautiously optimistic. Elna’s memoir “The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance” was spectacular, her pieces on This American Life are great, but … the whole “be Mormon and lose your faith” can be quite meh if not done right. I trust Elna, but I’m hoping this doesn’t turn into a version of disaffected Mormon pornography. Elna’s good at stories. Hopefully she stays away from the online Mormon internet for her show.

Kirby: Yes, I went to Mormon missionary training and lived to tell about it (Salt Lake Tribune)
Robert Kirby is back, talking about his experience at the Language Training Mission (the precursor to the MTC). Naturally, he’s the best. “The first thing I did was seek out what passed for a “ponder space” back then (behind the bus that brought us there) and fervently inquired of the Lord if he was actually serious about all of this. Me • “I can’t do two more months surrounded by the blissfully faithful. I can’t do another five minutes. What am I going to do?” Lord • [dead silence]. I might as well have been praying to the bus. All I got was diesel exhaust and a headache. It turned out to be the most spiritual experience I would have in the LTM.”


The Mormon News Report Podcast: Week of 24 July 2017
Need a Mormon News fix in audio format? Join myself and Brian Whitney as we run down the week’s top Mormon stories, talking about the milk-and-honey world of the MTC, the new LDS Young Men program taking the place of the Venture / Varsity Scouting Programs, and we chat with Tracy McKay, author of the great memoir “The Burning Point: A Memoir of Addiction, Destruction, Love, Parenting, Survival, and Hope” available through BCC Press

The Mormon News Report Extended Sessions
Oh, the Mormon News Report Podcast wasn’t enough for you? Want to support the show, and get a perk for doing so? Check out the Mormon News Report Podcast Extended Sessions, where we talk longer with Tracy about her life and her book. All we ask is $1 per month, and you get access to some great interviews and archives.

The Cultural Hall Episode 240: Brandt Malone
And if the podcasting wasn’t enough, I sat with Richie Steadman of The Cultural Hall to pontificate and bloviate about Mormonism, recap the history of the Mormon News Report (and the future), and tell way too many stories. It’s a thing.