Religion

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.

Patrick Lee

  It’s been 20 years since hundreds of thousands were murdered in attacks against the Tutsi people of Rwanda.  They were remembered at a service on Sunday at Congregation Kol Ami in Salt Lake City.

A representative of the Rwandan embassy and survivors of the genocide were asked to tell their stories as part of the service.  As many as a million people were killed in months of attacks by the country’s Hutu majority against the Tutsi minority.

  The Salt Lake Veterans Affairs Medical Center has chosen a new contractor to provide sweat lodges and other Native American healing ceremonies.  That’s disappointed supporters of Arnold Thomas, who’s been doing it for the past ten years. 

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.

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.

Mormons Building Bridges

Mormons Building Bridges was last year’s largest entry in Salt Lake City’s annual Pride Parade. But the group’s request to have a modest presence in the Days of ’47 Parade this year has been turned down. 

St. George Russian Orthodox Church

  It’s been a big week for Utah’s only Russian Orthodox parish.  It dedicated a new church in West Jordan last weekend – and its leader has been honored with a new title as well. 

Michael van Opstall was ordained as a Russian Orthodox priest about ten years ago, and since then he’s guided the growing community of believers in Utah.  Last weekend, the parish dedicated the new St. George Russian Orthodox Church in West Jordan, made possible by an anonymous donation of a million dollars.

Dan Bammes

  A group of parishioners at Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church in Holladay are looking at future options for their church after a letter from the church’s national leadership asked them to suspend any talk about dividing the parish.

St. Vincent de Paul School Celebrates 50 Years

Apr 25, 2014
Dan Bammes

  Saint Vincent de Paul Catholic School is celebrating its 50th anniversary this week.

Irish dancers were among those participating in the celebration in the gymnasium at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School in Holladay.  The school began with a kindergarten class in the basement of the old parish church in Murray, and from the very first, there were more students hoping to attend than it could accommodate.

Dan Bammes

  The American Atheists national convention is underway in Salt Lake City, with its leadership promising to take their message to other cities with a strong religious presence. 

American Atheists is the group started by Madalyn Murray O’Hair in the 1960’s following the Supreme Court decision that banned Christian prayers in public schools.  Its president is David Silverman, who told a crowd of several hundred people in a hotel ballroom they’ll continue the fight to keep government from endorsing religion.

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. 

New Rabbi Chosen for Park City Synagogue

Apr 1, 2014
Chicago Sinai Congregation

  Temple Har Shalom in Park City has announced the selection of a new rabbi.  David Levinsky will be coming to Utah from a much larger synagogue in Chicago.

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.

Dan Bammes

  Some members of the Greek Orthodox parish in Salt Lake City are rejecting an effort from the church’s national leadership to settle some long-standing disputes.

Calling itself “Protect Our Clergy,” the group of about a dozen members says the plan proposed in a letter from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is not a viable one to restore peace and order in the parish.

  Members of Salt Lake City’s Greek Orthodox parish have received a letter from the national leadership of the church that hopes to resolve some of the issues that have divided the parish.

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.

SLC Greek Orthodox Parish Will Stay Together

Mar 21, 2014
Dan Bammes

A national newspaper serving the Greek community says the Greek Orthodox parish in Salt Lake City will not be divided. 

The National Herald reports the decision to keep the parish together was made at a meeting of church leaders in Denver last week.  The parish includes Holy Trinity Cathedral in Salt Lake City and Prophet Elias church in Holladay.

Episcopalian Monk Visits St. Mark's

Mar 19, 2014
Dan Bammes

  St. Mark’s Cathedral in Salt Lake City is hosting a rare visit from an Episcopalian monk this week.  Among other things, Brother Jim Dowd will be overseeing a Lenten retreat on Saturday. 

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.

Petition Asks for Split in Greek Orthodox Parish

Feb 27, 2014
Elaine Emmi

  A petition asking the Greek Orthodox Archbishop to split Salt Lake City’s two Greek Orthodox churches into separate parishes is being circulated among some church members.

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.

SLC Greek Orthodox Dispute Goes to US Archbishop

Feb 20, 2014
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

  The worldwide head of the Greek Orthodox church has reportedly become involved in a long-standing dispute between the parishioners of Salt Lake City’s two churches and the church hierarchy.

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.

  The Salt Lake Veterans Affairs Medical Center has promised to continue Native American healing ceremonies every week – but the spiritual leader who’s conducted them may not be leading them any longer.

Dispute Brings Police to Greek Orthodox Church

Jan 24, 2014
Dan Bammes

  An ongoing dispute over church finances brought police to Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church last Sunday.

Members of the parish council that governs both the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Salt Lake City and Prophet Elias church in Holladay have been trying to cut expenses by letting one of the three parish priests go.  The Greek Orthodox hierarchy has told the parish that the priests’ employment is its responsibility, and that conflict has divided parish members.

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