Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Dan Bammes

  The founder of the group Ordain Women and the creator of a podcast on Mormon issues are facing formal discipline from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Both face the prospect of excommunication from the church.

Kate Kelly led members of Ordain Women through the gates of Temple Square during the last two general conferences of the church, asking to be admitted to the session reserved for only those men and boys who hold the priesthood.  Each time they were turned away, but the demonstrations drew a lot of media coverage.

Mormon Podcasters Reaching Out With New Book

Jun 10, 2014
sistasinzion.com

  Two African-American Mormon women who’ve gained a following with a popular podcast, Sistas in Zion, are out with a new book about their experiences in the LDS church.

Tamu Smith and Zandra Vranes say their book Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons addresses spiritual topics as it bounces back and forth between uniquely Mormon culture and the urban dialect they grew up with.  They say it’s helping them find a new audience.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  The head of public affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has responded to criticism that the church is not engaging with women seeking to change its practices.

BYU Reopens Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum

May 29, 2014
Dan Bammes

  The Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum at Brigham Young University has re-opened after a two-year renovation project.  

The museum first opened in 1978 to showcase Monte Bean’s collection of big game trophies from a lifetime of hunting.  With an additional 30-thousand square feet, there’s lots of new exhibit space as well as room to house a number of research collection of animal specimens.

Dan Bammes

  The University of Utah will become the new owner of the historic Wall Mansion at 4th East and South Temple in Salt Lake City.

The Wall Mansion was built in the 1880’s and renovated by mining millionaire Enos Wall early in the 20th Century.  In the 1960’s, it became the home of  LDS Business College, but it’s been empty since the college moved to the Triad Center  in 2006.

Dan Bammes

  Priesthood ordination is available only to men in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  But a group of women seeking ordination is trying a new tactic to persuade Mormons to change their minds.

Ordain Women is publishing a series of six discussions on its website, covering the history and doctrine of the LDS church and hoping to persuade more women to join the effort to change church policy.

LDS Apostle: Freedom of Religion Under Attack

Apr 17, 2014
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  A top leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says religious freedom is under attack in the United States.  Elder Dallin Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke at Utah Valley University’s Center for Constitutional Studies on Wednesday. 

Oaks said the inability of conservative scholars to publish in some academic journals and campus speech codes are examples of organizational restraints on both free speech and religious expression.

Dan Bammes

  Once again, members of a group of women seeking ordination to the priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were denied the opportunity to attend the priesthood session of the church’s General Conference.

Ordain Women gathered for a devotional service in a city park two blocks from Temple Square  in the afternoon before the priesthood session on Saturday.  Gina Colvin came from New Zealand.  She says the church’s patriarchal structure disempowers women.

Reporters Excluded from Temple Square

Apr 4, 2014
Dan Bammes

Temple Square is typically crowded with members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other visitors during General Conference sessions twice a year.  But reporters and media cameras or recorders won’t be allowed on the square this weekend.

  Members of the church public affairs staff say they’re just reiterating a long-standing policy about media access to Temple Square, though reporters with cameras have often taken pictures and interviewed visitors on the square in past years.

atheists.org

  Last year, the Atheists of Utah held an event in conjunction with the LDS General Conference, inviting disaffected Mormons to quit the church.  They’re planning a similar event this year with some national leadership. 

Jonathan Kland / LDS Architecture https://ldsarchitecture.wordpress.com/category/meetinghouses/united-states/utah/salt-lake-valley/salt-lake-12th-ward/

Many faith leaders in Utah have been vocal about encouraging lawmakers to expand Medicaid in the state. But the dominant faith – the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – has been silent when it comes to the Affordable Care Act. In the meantime, one LDS ward in downtown Salt Lake City is quietly working to help congregants get access to health insurance.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints plans its general women’s meeting on Saturday, a week before its twice-a-year general conference.In the past, church leaders held annual meetings for its auxiliary organizations, the Relief Society, Primary and Young Women.  These have been combined into a single meeting that will be broadcast by internet and satellite around the world and translated into 55 languages.

courtesy photo

  A group pushing for the ordination of women to the priesthood of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is urging its members to wear purple to the church’s general women’s meeting this weekend.

Dan Bammes

  A group of Mormon women asking for ordination to their church’s priesthood is planning to stage another demonstration at the LDS General Conference in three weeks.  But they may not get as far as they did last October.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Tickets for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's performance of Messiah on Easter weekend were gone less than ten minutes after they became available last week.  But the choir has decided to make the performance available to a worldwide audience on the internet.

While the Tabernacle Choir has recorded George Friederich Handel's oratorio a couple of times, it's never done a public performance of Messiah in its entirety.

LDS Leaders Urge Participation in Party Caucuses

Feb 24, 2014

  As it did in 2012, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is urging its members in Utah to participate in neighborhood caucuses for this election year.

Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not alone in its arguments against the legalization of same-sex marriage in Utah.  Other religious groups have signed on to a friend-of-the court brief to the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals, while another has been filed by Utah state legislators

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is planning to file a friend-of-the-court brief after all in the appeal of the federal court case on same sex marriage in Utah.  The case is currently before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

The church has been involved in other cases and in political battles involving same-sex marriage in the past.  But a spokesperson said shortly after the U-S Supreme Court issued a stay of Judge Robert Shelby’s decision that it probably would not add a formal argument to the case.

U Brain Study Looks At Religious Experience

Feb 6, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

  A new study at the University of Utah is trying to determine what’s happening in the brain when someone has strong religious feelings.

Studies of Buddhist monks and Catholic nuns have shown significant changes in the brain during periods of quiet meditation.  Now, neurology researcher Jeffrey Anderson has designed a study to watch what happens to former Mormon missionaries as they experience religious emotions.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  A top leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says Utah’s liquor laws are just fine the way they are.  But that may not stop further attempts to change them during the upcoming legislative session. 

  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been an active participant in some past court cases involving same-sex marriage, but it doesn’t look like it will make arguments in the state of Utah’s current legal battle.  

A group that once helped gay Mormons attempt to eliminate their same-sex attractions has closed its doors. Salt Lake City-based Evergreen International is turning over its resources and mailing list to an organization for gay Latter Day Saints called North Star International. The merger makes North Star the biggest group in the world that deals with LDS teachings and same-sex attraction.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published an article on its website last week taking an in-depth look at its past practice of refusing to ordain black men to its priesthood.  But a historian who’s studied the issue says there’s more to the story.

Newell Bringhurst has published several books on the history of the church’s denial of the priesthood to men of African ancestry – a ban that ended in 1978 with a revelation announced by then-church President Spencer Kimball. 

BYU Opens "Sacred Gifts" Exhibit of Religious Art

Nov 14, 2013
The Riverside Church /BYU Museum of Art

  Brigham Young University is building on the success of its exhibition of Carl Bloch’s religious paintings three years ago to bring more works by Bloch and two other acclaimed religious artists to its Museum of Art on the Provo campus.

LDS Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage in Hawaii

Nov 12, 2013
richardfale.com

  The Hawaii State Senate will vote on a bill Tuesday that would legalize same-sex marriage in that state, and it’s expected to pass.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has worked with opposition leaders to fight the bill, but it’s unclear exactly what role the Church is playing.

Wikimedia Commons

  The Hawaii legislature has opened a special session to look at a bill legalizing same-sex marriages.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other conservative religious groups oppose the legislation, but it appears likely to pass.

LDS Church Opposes Hawaii Marriage Equality Bill

Oct 28, 2013
Brian Grimmett

Hawaii’s state legislature is holding a special session this week to vote on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in that state.  Hawaii was one of the first states to pass a constitutional amendment on the question, but it didn’t define marriage as amendments in other states have.  Instead, it gave that power to the legislature.

  Descendants of a big pioneer family that came to Utah in the 1850’s are gathering Thursday to meet with a British genealogist.  Peter Cousins  comes from Leicestershire in the English Midlands.  His research on a British industrialist named Orson Wright led him to the Greenwell family, whose forebears joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the 1850’s and emigrated to Utah.

In just a few days in Utah, Cousins says he’s met dozens of people descended from Ambrose Greenwell, who had five wives and forty children.

Dan Bammes

  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints limits its priesthood ordinations to men and boys 12 and older.  And while the church’s positions on some long-standing policies have evolved in recent years, the group Ordain Women found little flexibility on that issue. 

One Year Later: 27% More LDS Missionaries

Oct 4, 2013
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  It’s been a year since the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints changed the age requirements for young men and women to serve as missionaries.  That’s led to a huge increase in the number of young Mormons who’ve signed up to serve.

In the opening session of the church’s General Conference in October, 2012, President Thomas S. Monson announced that young men would be allowed to begin missionary service at age 18 and young women at 19.

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