Religion | KUER 90.1


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. 

Hannukah Menorah Vandalized at SLC Synagogue

Dec 2, 2013
Chabad Lubavitch of Utah

  Over the weekend, somebody vandalized the Hannukah menorah in front of a synagogue in Salt Lake City.  But the rabbi doesn’t think it was meant as a hate crime.

Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit Opens at Leonardo

Nov 21, 2013
The Leonardo

  Friday morning at 10:00, The Leonardo museum in Salt Lake City opens its exhibit The Dead Sea Scrolls – Life and Faith in Ancient Times.

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

  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.

Jewish Identity in Utah

Oct 9, 2013
Congregation Kol Ami

  Last week, the Pew Religion and Public Life Project published an extensive report, A Portrait of Jewish Americans.  It includes population estimates, demographic information, a study of religious beliefs and practices and much more data about just who Jewish Americans are - and how that's been changing. Congregation Kol Ami is Utah's largest synagogue, and we invited Rabbi Ilana Schwartzman to offer some thoughts on the Pew study.

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.

Alicia Geesman

  In the past, women have not been welcome at the priesthood session that is part of the general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  But the group Ordain Women is trying to change that.  Its leaders sent a letter to the church asking for 150 tickets for women to attend the session scheduled for October 5th.

Utah Episcopalians Remember Pacifist Bishop

Sep 4, 2013

  As Congress debates a possible military strike against Syria, Episcopalians around the country are remembering a bishop from Utah who paid a high price for his opposition to war. 

Today (September 4th)  is the feast day for the Right Reverend Paul Jones across the Episcopal Church in America.  Jones became the missionary bishop of Utah in 1916.  Over the next several years, he strongly criticized the United States’ entry into World War One.

LDS Missionary Killed In Colombia

Sep 2, 2013

A missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has died in Cali, Colombia.Elder Jose Daniel Encarnacion Montero died on Saturday from what appears to be a stray bullet. He was with three other missionaries at the time of the incident.

Greek Orthodox Churches Resume Services

Aug 28, 2013
Dan Bammes

The priests at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Salt Lake and Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church will begin conducting services again, starting tomorrow.  They're responding to a resolution passed by parish members last Sunday reinstating their regular salaries.  The Greek Orthodox Metropolitan in Denver has approved the church's return to liturgical services.  The parish will hold services on the Feast of St. John the Baptist tomorrow, and regular services will be held on Sunday.

Meeting Planned to Resolve Greek Orthodox Dispute

Aug 15, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

  Members of Salt Lake City’s Greek Orthodox parish plan a general meeting later this month, hoping to straighten out some of the issues that have led to a suspension of church services.

The Greek Orthodox hierarchy suspended services two weeks ago at the Holy Trinity cathedral in Salt Lake and Prophet Elias church in Holladay after the parish council imposed a pay cut for its three priests.

Wikimedia Commons

  There will be no religious services at Salt Lake City’s two Greek Orthodox churches until a dispute between parish members and the church hierarchy can be worked out.  Prophet Elias church in Holladay and the Holy Trinity cathedral in downtown Salt Lake are both part of the same parish.  Lay leaders looking at a budget shortfall informed the parish’s three priests last week that their salaries would be cut by 40-percent.  Metropolitan Isaiah, the regional leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in Denver, responded by saying t

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  The group Mormons Building Bridges plans to attend the opening of the Norman Rockwell exhibit at the LDS Church Museum this afternoon. The paintings on display showcase Rockwell’s relationship with the Boy Scouts of America. 

Rockwell Exhibit Opens at LDS Museum

Jul 18, 2013
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  An exhibition of Norman Rockwell’s Boy Scout paintings and magazine covers opens this weekend at the LDS Church History Museum in Salt Lake City.

Norman Rockwell was on the staff of Boys Life, the Scouting magazine, long before he became famous as the cover artist for The Saturday Evening Post.  The exhibit at the church museum on West Temple includes 26 Rockwell paintings and many more Boys Life magazine covers on loan from the Boy Scouts museum in Irving, Texas.

Dan Bammes

Mormon and Catholic religious leaders both say they’re disappointed with today’s U.S. Supreme Court rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says it “remains irrevocably committed” to strengthening traditional marriage after the Supreme Court rulings.

Church spokesperson Michael Otterson issued a statement saying the court has “highlighted troubling questions about how our democratic and judicial system operates.”

Mormon Missionaries Will Use Tech Tools

Jun 24, 2013
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will do less tracting and more tweeting as they try to recruit new members.  

Mormon missionaries have traditionally spent much of their time “tracting,” or going from door to door.  Their use of e-mail has been limited to a message home each week.  But new mission presidents and others were told during a meeting at Brigham Young University on Sunday that they’ll now be able to use social media such as Facebook and text messaging to reach out to potential converts. 

Victim and Church Recovering After Shooting

Jun 17, 2013
courtesy photo

  The victim of yesterday’s shooting at St. James Catholic Church in Ogden is expected to recover, while the parish community is working to emotionally heal after witnessing the violence. 

Friends describe 66-year-old James Evans as a pillar of St. James the Just parish.  He was kneeling in a back pew with his family on Sunday when his son-in-law allegedly shot him in the back of the head.  Doctor Barbara Kerwin, who heads the intensive care unit at McKay-Dee Hospital, says the bullet struck near his right ear, but missed his brain.

Bob Nelson


Hundreds of mourners gathered at the LDS Tabernacle in Temple Square Thursday to remember Frances J. Monson, the wife of President Thomas S Monson, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Ann M. Dibb says her mother used her quiet manner to show her deep conviction and strength of her faith.

“As a family we are so grateful to Frances Monson for her legacy, a legacy of humility, service, faithfulness and love,” Dibb said.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang traditional hymns throughout the service.

Boy Scouts of America Open Scouting to Gay Youth

May 23, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

  The Boy Scouts of America has voted to change its policy on including gay youth. At a meeting in Grapevine, Texas 61-percent of the delegates from Scout councils across the country voted to support the change, which still bars gay adults from becoming Scout leaders.  A delegate from Utah who says it was a very civil debate, even though there were strong feelings on both sides.

Scout Leaders Gather for Vote on Including Gays

May 22, 2013
Utah National Parks Council

  Boy Scout leaders from all over the country are gathering in Texas for a vote on a change in policy that would allow young gay men to participate in Scouting. 

Ken Krogue is among 17 members of the Utah National Parks Council of the Boy Scouts of America who will be voting at the meeting in Grapevine, Texas.  No lobbyists or media are allowed at the hotel where they’re meeting, but Krogue says there were some groups making their opinions clear as he traveled from the airport to the hotel.

LDS Groups Plan Bigger Role in Utah Pride Parade

May 20, 2013
Utah Pride Center

  Mormons marching in their Sunday best were a big part of last year’s Utah Pride Parade in Salt Lake City.  This year, even more could turn out to support the LGBT community.

The group Mormons Building Bridges will be joined by the group Mormons for Equality.  In all, Corey Howard with Mormons Building Bridges expects as many as five hundred marchers.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  Frances Monson, the wife of President Thomas S. Monson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, passed away early this morning at the age of 85.

A news release from the church says Sister Monson never sought the spotlight, but President Monson said she was the practical partner in their 64-year marriage.  Speaking at the church’s General Conference in 2008, he recalled the moment when she woke up in the hospital after living in a coma for almost a month.

Alicia Geesman

When Rabbi Joshua Aaronson arrived in Utah eleven years ago, Temple Har Shalom was a small Reform Jewish congregation meeting in rented space in Park City. Today, it’s in a beautiful new building with three times the attendance and a vacancy to fill. Rabbi Aaronson is moving on to Temple Judea in a suburb of Los Angeles – and leaving behind a lot of people who will miss him.

LDS Church Endorses Boy Scouts Policy Proposal

Apr 26, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is endorsing a proposed policy change by the Boy Scouts of America that would let young gay men participate as members, but would still exclude gay adults from leadership positions. The current policy excludes both gay adults and youth.

LDS Women Seek Ordination

Apr 7, 2013
Alicia Geesman

  The prayer offered by Jean Stevens at the end of the Saturday morning session of the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was unprecedented – no woman has ever been asked to pray in a General Conference session.

The change could be seen as part of an effort to draw attention to the leadership roles Mormon women already serve in their church – and a way of countering pressure from some members to ordain women to the LDS priesthood.